How does Web development work? (Part 1)
Web development is a booming field. It has a growing number of training courses, jobs, technologies and high-stake projects. Yet, for the new entrant, the core question remains: “How do I work as a web developer?”
Web development is engineering
It is very easy to forget that, just like housing development, web development is a subset of engineering. This means that there is a mix of abstract/logical processes and technical/practical skills involved. Passive observation needs to be followed up by hands-on learning in the same way a house plan is implemented through 3D printing.
But web development is also radically different from other types of digital engineering. It requires a lot of agility when working on projects and a certain flexibility when handling requirements. Unlike software engineering where the core of the application is almost entirely defined during the planning stage, the testing phase of website development can bring in radical last-minute changes to the final product.
Web development work is creative
There are multitudes of clients, browsers, frameworks and careers being created in web development. You might have trained in Web design, but you find yourself creating static websites initially, before moving on to coding interfaces for single page applications. All these open-ended possibilities can make it difficult to give a direction to your work over time.
In the end, you have to acquire a creative mindset to generate your own tool sets and your own routines. Some people choose to adopt specific technologies earlier on, then use these to decide on which project to undertake. Meanwhile, others look for projects that will give them the opportunity to learn a new stack in depth.
The reality of web development
The basics of Web development revolve exclusively around one or two objects: websites and web applications. They can be single page or multi page; responsive or mobile-only; full-stack or client-side-only. The rise in the number of available libraries (JQuery, Bootstrap, Sass) and frameworks (WordPress, Vue.js, .Net) have made it almost impossible (and certainly redundant!) to develop websites or web applications from scratch.
For these reasons, knowing your tools before taking on projects is an essential step in becoming an effective web developer. Since projects often entail rapid deployment for immediate use, web developers need to be at ease and confident in the technologies that they are using. They also need to be willing to go the extra mile to complete a project based on clients’ business objectives at large.
A career in web development would be tedious for anyone lacking skills in project management, quality assurance and technical writing. Therefore, it is recommended that aspiring developers work on these “soft skills” alongside their coding routines to improve their overall marketability.
You will find Part two here.