Nowadays, we depend on the internet more than ever, especially amid a pandemic.
For this reason, web development is at the forefront of our digital age. It’s no surprise that web developers are in high demand, and the field is growing much faster than average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you’re interested in becoming a web developer, you can do so with no experience. Everyone has to start somewhere, right?
How Do I Become a Web Developer with No Experience?
Your first goal is to become a junior web developer, also called a front-end developer. Junior web developers work under senior web developers and learn how to create and update websites with web applications. However, if you’re brand new to the field, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances when applying for jobs.
Build Your Skills
These languages all make up the backbone of web development, so take some time to understand how HTML, CSS, and JS work. There are a plethora of detailed websites devoted to the building blocks of web design, or you could take a coding boot camp like this one offered through UNC-Chapel Hill.
Get a Degree
This step is a debated one since there isn’t just one specific degree or track for web development. Most professional web developers have at least an associate degree in computer science or a related subject. For career advancement, you may need a bachelor’s degree, but to get started, aim for an associate program. You can also do a boot camp rather than (or in addition to) getting a degree.
Through formal education, you will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to build on when you start working as a web developer. You will also gain the support of your instructors and peers, which allows for networking in the future.
However, do note that plenty of successful self-taught web developers do not have a formal degree.
Decide Your Web Development Focus
After you gain some education in web development, you will decide whether you want to focus on front-end or back-end web development (or both).
Back-end developers, as you can guess, work on the “back-end” of websites. These professionals work behind the scenes with the server, application, and database to make sure everything runs smoothly on the front end. Back-end developers use languages like Java, Ruby, PHP, and Python.
Build a Portfolio
Your next step is to build a portfolio website to showcase to employers. Register a domain and let your web development skills get to work. Share your website with others and offer to build a site for others (you could start with family and friends; no experience is bad experience). You will have the opportunity to add these projects to your portfolio.
Your website should be a true reflection of your abilities as a web developer and will be a vital tool to present your skills.
Network with Other Web Developers
A pivotal move in becoming a web developer involves networking with others. You can do this online, of course, through the “largest and most advanced development platform in the world,” GitHub and the open community for coders, Stack Overflow. Both of these platforms allow you to look for open source projects of all types, and you can add your knowledge and gain knowledge from others.
Also, commit to staying up to date on current news and events in the field by reading blogs and articles, listening to podcasts, joining online communities, and chatting with others. Finally, make sure your LinkedIn portfolio is up to par since there’s a good chance potential employers will check out your page.
Start Your Job Search
Now that you have built your skills, a portfolio, and a network, it’s time to start searching for jobs. Look for entry-level web or junior web developer job listings from job sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, or LinkedIn, and get an idea of what you’re looking for.
Polish your resume and start applying for web developing jobs that interest you. Make sure you follow up if you don’t hear back from a company. Another way to find jobs is through networking. You never know who may be looking for a web developer. Make it known that you’re available and ready to jump into this exciting career.