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:
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:
- Front-End Development
- Software Engineering
- Software Development
- Web Application Development
In addition, many job postings list the following “soft skills”:
- Communication skills
- Problem solving
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:
- 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.
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.
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