Main image of article Web Development: Key Languages to Know
Web programming is a desirable skillset—and a lucrative one. Earlier this year, Dice reported that, when it comes to return on investment in education, Web developers rank among the top jobs, with the average annual salary hovering at around $77,000. Better yet, the Bureau of Labor Statistics believes the number of Web developer jobs will continue to grow through 2022. And according to a report issued late last year by Wanted Analytics, global demand for Web developers is high. That demand makes it harder and more expensive for companies to hire top talent. It also means that those skilled in Web development can demand a premium in salaries and perks. “In today's professional world, it's important to stay on the cutting edge,” said Zach Sims, CEO of Codeacademy. “Programmers who learn many Web languages are able to stay versatile and keep a pulse on the evolving professional needs within their field.” But which languages are essential for any Web developer to know, especially if they want to lock down a good salary?

CSS Still Matters

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style-sheet language that provides the backbone for how Websites should look and behave, and ensures proper spacing, alignment and the integrity of other key design elements. Those without in-depth CSS knowledge will have a hard time designing a Website, since the language dictates so much in terms of look and feel. Anyone who wants to develop for the Web can’t overlook it.

PHP: The Basis of Key Platforms

PHP is a server-side scripting language that acts as the foundation for many of the world’s most popular Web platforms, including WordPress. Although periodically dogged with security issues, PHP boasts a flexibility that makes it useful in everything from standalone graphics applications to generating HTML code. Anyone who learns PHP should do their best to become as familiar as possible with the platform’s open-source libraries, as well as how it interacts with database servers such as MySQL and PostgreSQL. If you’re interested in boning up on your PHP knowledge, check out these Dice articles about the difference between it and .NET, some programming basics, and how to answer job-interview questions related to it. From conditionals to arrays to loops, there are all kinds of things to learn about PHP, but once you know what you’re talking about and how to fix issues, you’ll be far ahead of competitors for many must-have jobs.

JavaScript for the Masses

JavaScript regularly tops the lists of most-popular programming languages, and with good reason: alongside CSS and HTML, it helps power the vast majority of Websites around the world. The interpreted programming language allows programmers to create critical workflows, apps, games, and just about everything else they can think up; it combines a series of items, including data structures, objects, and countless other elements, to help users build whatever they desire. So it’s a versatile platform, but also one with a lot of moving parts—programmers interested in learning more about it will need to explore everything from choosing the right frameworks to advanced tools such as strict mode. JavaScript knowledge can also be parlayed into mobile development. “We often encourage learners to start with JavaScript,” Sims said. “It's one of the most versatile programming languages around. Learners can utilize their knowledge of JavaScript to build a wide-range of products for both web and mobile use.”

HTML as the Basis of Understanding

HTML has been around forever, and it’s arguably the easiest of any Web language to learn. It remains important as the Web’s standard markup language. Given its age, discussions on HTML and its importance are old and staid. That being said, any newbie getting into Web programming should learn the basics of HTML, understand how to create different tags, and design simple Websites for practice.


Focusing on just one of these languages is not enough to be a successful Web programmer. As Sims said: “A flexible mindset is the key to success.” The key is to not only learn thoroughly, but also put yourself in a flexible mindset that will allow you to adapt to the inevitable changes in languages and methodologies. As seasoned Web programmers know, there’s always something to learn, and no shortage of languages worth pursuing.