The tech world is always growing, new advancements, new features and new technologies happen every year. There are so many different occupations within the tech industry, there are many jobs to choose from.

One of the biggest industries is web development and even then, there are many roles within the web developer scope. A career in web development can range from front-end and back-end roles and they are usually intertwined at some point, so it is good to understand many different technologies at once.

Each area of web development requires an expert in that field, companies are heavily interested in many different roles and it is very important to future proof yourself and pick a role that will be required for decades to come.

That is why we should first understand what exactly a web developer is and what they do and then go through the web developer's required skills. Then we can go into more detail about each web developer skill and explore the different roles.

Web Developer Skills

What Is A Web Developer?

A web developer is a type of programmer. You may have heard the words coding, development, web coder, and web designer. Essentially they all mean the same thing; someone who works in the software development field who specialises in website development.

For example, any website you visit will have been created by a web developer. This could be a solo person or multiple people in a team. However, they will all have web development roles and skills to make a website and keep it updated.

These types of developers can be split into front-end and back-end developers, something which we will learn more about later on. First, let’s explore the skills needed to be a web developer.

What Skills Are Needed To Be A Good Web Developer?

There are many roles in the web development scene and different technologies to work with, but overall these are the skills you will need to become a web developer:

  1. Keen in solving problems and building solutions
  2. Capable of general computer skills
  3. Works well in a team
  4. Excellent communication skills
  5. Having a creative mindset
  6. Good time management skills
  7. Ability to self-learn and overcome fallbacks
  8. Capable of explaining technical concepts to others
  9. Logical approach to work
  10. Curious and eager interest in technology
  11. Attention to detail

Now that we have listed the most key web developer required skills to be successful, let’s go through them in more detail and explore what they mean.

1. Keen in solving problems and building solutions

Solving problems

This web developer skill is essential. As a web developer, your main role will be identifying problems and solving them. You will need to directly come up with a solution to a problem, probably every day, it is something so core to the job that it needs to be second nature.

However, you don’t need to be a superhuman straight away and you don’t need to know everything. It is more about being able to learn and solve problems as they come up. Usually, you will get the grasp of the problems you’ll face pretty easily, and sometimes problems will be unique and require a unique solution but by doing that, you gain a new skill or improve it.

2. Capable of general computer skills

General Computer Skills

This web developer skill should come easy: it is more about having general computer skills like knowing how to operate an operating system and complete simple tasks without much or no help at all. Things like using a web browser, printing a document, using an email account, etc. The basic principles of using a computer and understanding the internet.

Part of this web developer skill should include being able to complete basic admin work and being comfortable with word processing and spreadsheets.

3. Works well in a team

Web Developer Working in Team

Even if you are looking to become a freelance web developer or only work solo, at some point or another you will have to work in a team. It is important to overcome the obstacles and navigate working well in a team environment.

More and more companies are either remote or offer remote working, so team working is something you cannot get away from, online or not.

Team skills are essential in solving problems and building effective solutions. Expect to work with people across departments and people with different roles. You may be a front-end programmer who needs help with someone that works with the back-end database, so communication and team skills are a must.

4. Excellent communication skills

Communication skills

Just like working in a team or when working with customers, you need excellent communication skills to be a good web developer.

You cannot always hide behind live chats or emails. Eventually, you will need to communicate with work colleagues or customers who want a video call.

Don’t worry though. You just have to embrace talking to people and come prepared. If you have a client meeting over a video call, make sure to research, speak clearly and listen to their problems. Be yourself and keep learning when any interaction goes wrong so you can learn from it.

This web developer skill is important because you can use it to work well with others and communicate any issues you may have yourself.

5. Having a creative mindset

Creative Skills

Like with solving problems, talking to customers, and working well in a team, you will benefit from having a creative mindset to your working.

Being creative doesn’t always mean being good at design or in an artistic way. It means coming up with a creative way to solve a problem. For example, you could face a programmatic problem and you will have to find a creative solution to solve it. That’s what this web developer skill means.

Programming requires a creative mind to build creative and effective solutions.

Problem-solving involves getting your thinking hat out and understanding what the solution will look like, sometimes from multiple angles.

Not always just problems though, sometimes you may need to create or design graphics or even a website layout. Something which we talk about in more detail in another blog post about website layouts.

If you need inspiration as a web developer, check out our list of creative websites.

6. Good time management skills

Time Management

Web developers usually work to deadlines, just like any other job. You will probably work on many different projects as well, so being able to manage yourself between projects and their tasks is important.

Time management is key to delivering on time and meeting your targets. Web development is a fast-paced environment, trends change over time and you will have to adapt quickly and complete work within a time frame.

Also, being good with time-keeping skills enables you to work well in a team because someone else may be dependent on you getting something done for them to complete.

7. Ability to self-learn and overcome fallbacks

Self Learning

The tech industry changes all the time. As discussed at the start of this article, technology is ever-changing and trends pop up and fade out, sometimes without much notice.

So as a web developer, you must be able to learn by yourself. New technologies, new programming languages, different platforms, or development trends will require you to stay on top of your game. This web developer skill is essential to be up-to-date always.

Sometimes you will have to learn something new to overcome a problem, this could mean you need to learn a new library or work with a new programming language, you just cannot predict it.

While asking for help is not an issue, you cannot expect someone to teach you everything along the way, self-learning and initiative go a long way.

8. Capable of explaining technical concepts to others

Explain to others

While you may be able to understand the solution you’ve built to solve a problem or a design you have come up with, you will need to be able to clearly communicate this to other people.

You will have to convince others that your idea, solution, or design is good enough and explain why it is the best approach to something. You cannot expect people to understand what is going on in your head.

Key web developer skills here are communication, the ability to explain in a simple manner, being able to design and present said design to others in a clear way, etc.

9. Logical approach to work

Use logic

Any decision you make as a web developer will need to be based on a logical approach. If you want others like your boss or colleagues to understand your work, a logical approach will help make that simple. Simple web developer skill, but not very common at the same time.

Being logical means you can understand a problem, identify what is wrong, and come up with a solution that is effective, suitable, and feasible.

Logical people usually analyse the situation first, they take into consideration the inputs and feedback before working on a solution. You don’t usually go with your gut, it is more about working with facts and reason.

10. Curious and eager interest in technology

Be curious

You cannot be a web developer or any type of programmer if you don’t have a genuine interest in technology. You need to be driven by interest and curious about being a better developer and always wanting to learn.

If you ever feel like you have stopped learning, then something is wrong. In web development, you are always learning and can never know everything.

This kind of web developer skill is more of a trait, it is useful to have so that you are pulled forwards and kept interested in your line of work.

11. Attention to detail

Attention to detail

As with any kind of job it is good to have a keen eye for detail, customers or managers want you to have the attention to detail in your work.

Being able to create something with detail means to program in such a way that you have taken the time to allocate your cognitive ability and be thoughtful about the solution; you will have to consider if your solution is logical, efficient, and cares about best practices and testing.

No matter how big or small a task is you will always have a keen eye for productivity, efficiency, and performance. Minimising errors and optimising your own work output.

Web Development Roles / Jobs

As mentioned at the beginning, a web developer can in general, work as a front-end or back-end developer, sometimes both. Here we will learn more about what that means and the technologies that they work with.

Web Developer Roles and Jobs

Front-end Developer

This is a developer which focuses on client-side programming or design. This can include things like the web browser, mobile device, or something where the client interacts with.

Front-end developers work with programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Learn more about how long it takes to learn JS.

A front-end developer is responsible for producing the website content that the user will see, they will take the data that comes from a database and use it to display it on a webpage.

Back-end Developer

Compared to a front-end developer, someone who works on the back-end will be programming things that the user does not see. This kind of work is less visual and more focused on networking and servers. You still interact with different software and applications but more so from the console or terminal.

A back-end developer will work with languages such as PHP, JavaScript (Node.js), Ruby, C# (ASP.NET) and SQL.

A lot of the time a back-end developer will work with databases as well, they can be responsible for fetching, sorting and manipulating data before sending it to the client.

Web Development Responsibilities Inside A Company

We have talked about a lot of different web developer skills and technologies required for web development but... what does all this look like inside a real company?

Both front-end and back-end work can be split even further and a company usually works with people across multiple departments:

  • User Interface and Designers: People who create web graphics, edit images, produce wireframes and design a structure for a website layout.
  • Front-end Developer: As discussed, these people will take the design from the designers and actually implement and code the website to make it look like the design.
  • Back-end Developers: They work closely with front-end developers so they can match up with the data they need to display to the users. They work with data and manipulate it to what is needed, writing code to support the front-end logic.
  • Database Administrators: These people work on the database side. This could be MySQL, MongoDB, etc. They are responsible for keeping the database alive and working, they may interact with back-end developers as well.
  • Project Managers: These kinds of people keep everyone in sync and help manage the flow of the development, making sure everything knows what they are doing.

Such developers will usually find themselves working with each other and towards a shared goal, based on the purpose of the project.

Further Web Developer Skills

Developers around the world are employed as web programmers or designers and there is no formal qualification needed. A good portfolio or showcase of skills can get you into a company. I’m pretty sure that most of the designers of these 20 web developers' portfolios would tell you that their portfolio was important to find a job.

However, there are some further skills that you should be aware of, as there are many more categories within web development…

You should at least understand and have a basic knowledge of the following:

  • User experience
  • User interface design
  • Visual design and wireframes
  • Programming concepts and object-oriented programming
  • Web developer best practices
  • Front-end and back-end security
  • Unified Modeling Language (UML)
  • Entity Relationship Diagrams (ERD)
  • Website SEO
  • Graphic design work
  • Networking and how servers operate
  • The Linux operating system

You don’t need to be an expert in any of these. Just a good foundational knowledge will help you stand out and be a better developer and you will likely face each one at some point.

Final Thoughts

Web development is a huge industry and spans many categories of job roles and is very diversified with what you can do in your career as a web developer.

It is easy to get started: you can jump in and learn basic web developer skills like HTML and CSS design and keep moving forward to learn more. You don’t always have to have a degree or college qualifications to get a job. Sometimes a good online portfolio and experience are all that is needed. Lots of people all over the world switch their jobs into programming and become very successful.

My advice is to start small, learn the basics, and choose a part of web development that interests you. Once you have found that area, create something and share it, keep a log or portfolio of what you do.

Do not be afraid of starting with a pre-designed web developer portfolio template. Once you get to a higher level, you can create your own website. And hey! Why invent the wheel again? You can always make use of pre-made JavaScript libraries that help you create eye-catching websites: fullPage.js, Bootstrap, ScrollMagic, etc.

If you really desire to be a web developer, nothing should stop you! So, take courage and go for it!

About the author:

Luke Embrey is a full-stack developer, BSc in Computer Science and based in the UK.
You can find out more about him at https://lukeembrey.com/