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Which web developer skills will help you land a job building and maintaining websites? That’s a crucial question confronting any web developer—but the answer depends on whether you want to become a front-end, back-end, or full-stack web developer.

According to Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass), which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, organizations want web developers who have mastered a selection of the following skills:

In terms of prioritization, which skills should an aspiring web developer actually learn first? That depends on whether you want to pursue front- or back-end development work. Front-end developers, for instance, should emphasize learning HTML and JavaScript, which are critical to the end-user experience, while a back-end developer might want to focus on the elements that keep a website running, such as cloud-based storage and infrastructure.

Lightcast also states that the median annual salary for web developers is $91,991; the profession is projected to grow 8.4 percent over the next decade. That number inevitably rises as a developer masters new skills and builds out a portfolio. Just for comparison’s sake, the average U.S. technology professional salary now stands at $104,566—a 6.9 percent increase between 2020 and 2021, according to the latest Dice Tech Salary Report

Front-End Web Developer Skills

Job postings for many front-end web developer positions cite the following skills as necessary:

  • JavaScript
  • Front-End Development
  • Software Engineering
  • React JavaScript
  • TypeScript
  • Software Development
  • Web Application Development

In addition, many job postings list the following “soft skills”:

  • Teamwork/collaboration
  • Communication skills
  • Writing
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Troubleshooting
  • Planning

On top of those technical and soft skills, front-end developers can benefit from a strong design sense, as they’ll often end up working closely with UI/UX and graphic designers on the look and feel of the website. It can pay to become familiar with certain design languages such as Google’s Material Design.

Back-End Web Developer Skills

Back-end developers are responsible for building and maintaining a website’s backend; if they do their job correctly, a website’s users have a seamless and quick experience. Back-end developers must architect systems that can quickly deliver requested information; squish bugs before they can interfere with the website’s operation; and manage APIs.

Back-end web developer skills often cited in job postings include:

  • Java
  • PHP
  • SQL
  • Git
  • CSS
  • HTML
  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • Cloud platforms (AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure)

That’s in addition to having a working knowledge of databases and server-side applications. SQL is particularly important to learn, as it’s key to managing the relational databases that power many web services (familiarity with NoSQL is also a must for those who wrestle with databases).

As with front-end web developers, back-end web developers need “soft skills” in order to effectively work in teams and convey information in an easy-to-understand manner to other stakeholders, including executives who may not understand how the technology actually works.  

Full-Stack Web Developer Skills

If you opt to become a full-stack web developer, you’ll need to learn the principles of front- and back-end development, which is a complicated task—but it will allow you to stand out amidst a crowd of applicants when applying for new jobs.

Many full-stack developers start out mastering a popular front-end development language such as HTML and JavaScript; they might also learn languages such as Swift and Kotlin that allow them to develop for the mobile web. From there, they can expand to server-side programming languages and web frameworks, followed by database management.

While many tech professionals can learn everything they need to know about full-stack web development on their own, many also choose to pursue bootcamps or online instruction. There are always free courses, as well as resources such as W3Schools’ collection of tutorials.

 

Related Web Developer Jobs Resources:

How to Become a Web Developer

Web Developer Interview Questions

Web Developer Resume Template

Web Developer Salary

Web Development Certification

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