How Long Does It Take To Become An Elementary Teacher – If you love working with technology, have a passion for design and are up for the challenge of making online tools work better, a career in web development may be right for you. But how does one become a web developer — and how long does the process take?
In this article, we will review the steps you can take to start a career in web development. We’ll also trace some of the educational paths (and associated timelines) you can take when entering the field. We’ll also explain how a web development boot camp can help you kick-start your career change.
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Changing your life for the better is not as difficult as you think. By taking your first step, you can put yourself on the path to an in-demand career with incredible growth potential, opportunities for creative expression and upward mobility.
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Even if you know you want to be a coder, you may not know what boxes you need to check to be successful in the field.
Passion and desire can play an important role in helping you achieve your dreams; however, you also need to gather some important soft skills, programming languages and technical capabilities before competing for a job. Once you build a solid educational foundation, you’ll be in an excellent position to start your career as a coder.
Below, we’ve outlined some steps that aspiring web developers of all experience levels should consider as they pursue their studies.
Where you start in your academic journey depends in part on how much coding knowledge you already have. Maybe you’ve used do-it-yourself software to build your own website or have some basic experience organizing content on an employer’s site. Or, you may have no programming experience at all — just an interest in learning to code.
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If you’ve built or edited websites before, even if you relied primarily on code written and developed by others, you may be able to move more quickly into more advanced areas of web development. On the other hand, starting your journey with no experience may mean you need to spend a little extra time getting the basics right.
If you’re considering a career as a programmer, you should set aside some time to familiarize yourself with popular coding languages, technologies, and tools. Fortunately, this is easier than you might think; free resources are available through the web, books and video platforms such as YouTube.
Getting a basic introduction to key technologies is essential to progressing as a coder in training. Below, we’ve listed some technologies you might want to check out as you become a web developer.
, used to define the structure and architecture of the site, as well as define the content on each page.
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While HTML is more about structure, CSS focuses on style. Cascade Style Sheets define the appearance of a website, from the fonts and colors used to how the site changes when you move from desktop to mobile. HTML and CSS are at the heart of even the most complex websites, as they provide the basic foundation upon which more advanced web building tools are built.
Most modern websites need to do at least some interaction with a database. MySQL and MongoDB are two of the most common “query languages” that allow developers to efficiently interact with, manage, and access databases.
Want to build a website from the ground up? You may want to expand your back-end and front-end capabilities by exploring development libraries and frameworks designed to help programmers simplify and accelerate development.
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Not sure where to start? Technologies like Bootstrap, Node.js and React.js are some of the most widely used development libraries and frameworks in the industry today.
Major content management systems such as WordPress and Drupal frequently use PHP scripts. Exploring the world of theme and plugin development for WordPress, for example, will expose you to a wide variety of PHP applications. Additionally, PHP’s syntax is similar to several other languages, so it may be more approachable for those with past programming experience.
These are some — but not all — skills you may want to prioritize as you make your career change to web development. You can start your education early by getting involved with sites like Codecademy or freeCodeCamp, which offer free web resources for motivated students.
However, if you’re considering a faster career change or want a more comprehensive coding education, you may want to supplement your independent studies by enrolling in a formal college program or bootcamp.
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It’s a simple fact of life — no one will hire you if you don’t have the skills and knowledge needed to do the job. Education is paramount in coding; you need to know how to program if you want to build a career in that field. However, there is no “right” way for aspiring programmers to learn to code. The educational path you take will depend on your goals, circumstances and available resources.
Say, for example, you’re someone who wants to make a mid-career pivot. You already have a four-year degree in an unrelated field, work full-time and have family members to support. Given your situation, you may not have the time or financial flexibility to take a four-year break from the workforce and enroll in a college program.
While college programs remain the most popular option for coding education, they are not as necessary. According to a 2020 survey from Stack Overflow, only 9.7 percent of professional developers see formal coding education as “very important,” while 15.8 percent see it as “not at all important/not necessary.”
This is not to say, of course, that a college education won’t be valuable to the right person. College presents an unparalleled opportunity for aspiring coders to gather a wealth of theoretical and practical knowledge, professional connections and portfolio projects.
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Below, we’ve outlined two other educational paths you might want to consider if you’re wondering how to become a web developer. Consider your options carefully before you commit to a learning path!
Earlier, we recommended using online resources as a way to familiarize yourself with the basics of coding — and that advice certainly still stands. However, in addition to using online resources as a supplement to more formal education, you can also use online classes, video tutorials, and projects to build the core of your skill set.
There are many paid and free courses available online; with this, you follow a set curriculum and watch a series of tutorials and recorded lessons. Some may provide an opportunity to submit your code for some type of review. You can also gain hands-on experience by joining communities like freeCodeCamp, which offer opportunities to offer your growing coding experience to nonprofits.
However, in general, it is important to remember that these programs are self-directed. You set the schedule and pace of your education. On the one hand, this can be an advantage, because you can learn when you have time.
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However, you need to be confident in your ability to set a schedule and stick to it. If you don’t have strong motivation, you may find yourself falling behind. Many aspiring web developers need more structure, interaction and feedback to create a meaningful and responsible educational experience.
If you want the flexibility of an online learning experience but can’t forgo the structure and support that a formal learning program provides, a web development bootcamp might be the path for you.
Programming bootcamps are intensive learning experiences that train students how to become professional-grade coders in three to six months. The program offers a structured curriculum, individual and group lessons, practical projects, scheduled classes and supportive instructors. Most provide a variety of scheduling options that can accommodate any other existing work and family obligations you may have.
At a web development bootcamp, you can focus on learning web development skills that employers want. You can also choose a bootcamp program that focuses on your area of interest in the field (full-stack development, front-end development, back-end development, etc.). Bootcamps are designed for job success rather than theoretical education, so you can hit the ground running on your first day on the job.
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Keep in mind that employers tend to like — and hire — bootcamp graduates, too. A recent survey from Hacker Rank (PDF, 2.4 MB) found that 39.2 percent of hiring managers surveyed felt that bootcamp alumni were just as qualified as college graduates, and 33 percent felt bootcamps were more complete than their degree-holding counterparts.
Bootcamps are designed to prepare their students for success in the professional world, so you’ll graduate from the web development bootcamp with a portfolio of individual and group projects to present to potential employers that showcase your practical coding skills and experience.
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