Web Developer Skills


Web Development Skills

The definition for a web developer is rather broad and the skills needed to become a web developer can be very, very diverse too. Nevertheless, I will attempt to explain the skills that could be implemented by a web developer.

Please note that larger companies often hire specific people to do various coding and graphic design for a website. Therefore, defining this term 'web developer' can be a little more difficult. But, if the company is a freelance web developer, it can be more easily to define since one person would oversee and maintain the projects. Since a web developer will be doing and managing all entire projects, the developer is often referred to as a 'Full Stack Web Developer'.

For the remainder of the article, the description for a web developer will be related to one freelance web developer who maintains all the websites.

Web Developer Skills
 


Introducing Typical Progression For a Web Developer

Normally, a future web developer starts off by making basic static websites with html code. Then, other client side languages like Javascript and Jquery are introduced. After that, making dynamic websites with a server side language like PHP and a database like mySQL is implememted and PHP / mySQL is used. However, some people actually build a website based on these languages using a tool like WordPress, but, they have no idea about the code under the hood. Not having a deeper understanding will cause big limitations for building custom websites.

Once a person has strong skills with the coding previously described, he may move on to knowing more about the system where the files are stored. More often than not, that is a Linux distribution. Knowing how to navigate the file system and commanding it will really help a web developer.

Apart from the website, a web developer may want to have the ability to create mobile applications for Android and the iphone. in addition, custom apps for other web sites like Facebook could be added to the toolkit too. 

For the next level, knowing a low or medium level compiling language like C can make it easy to edit and create custom Linux packages. The next section will detail the steps of progression.

The stages of progression to be able to code secure applications and edit and run the Linux system can take a while. However, persistence and a strong desire to be able to have a large array of web development tools will help make the journey an enjoyable process.

On top of all of the code and systems that will be used, a web developer will need to be able to analyze content, SEO and Google Adwords accounts. Traffic is always important and it is an ongoing procedure. There are many tools that will help the web developer analyze and deliver the desired results. 

The rest of this article will go into more detail onto the topics that had been previously mentioned. 

Web Development Skills 

Website Coding Skills

On a basic level, a web developer should have the skills to create and maintain a database driven website. This would include knowledge of the file system and all coding for the website. For example, a website could contain PHP , mySQL, Html5, CSS, XML, Javascript and JQuery.

Meanwhile, another web developer could maintain a similar website but that person uses ASP, MSSQL, Html5, CSS, XML, Javascript and Jquery. As you can see, the main differences here are the scripting language and database. 

Asides from the actual languages, there are many programmed applications that have graphical user interfaces and you may want to become familiar with them. For example, content management systems like Joomla, WordPress and Joomla and shopping carts like Magento and Prestashop use PHP , mySQL, html and css; but you actually create pages with a 'point and click' system. Then, you may dig into the source code for web pages and make alterations. Therefore, using these systems efficiently can be important to completing projects quickly.

Beyond The Website

Email

After there are websites, you often have the need to create and modify email accounts. An email server will run on the hosting accounts and it will be used so that people can send and receive email from the website address.

Traffic Analysis

Once websites have been built, the web developer can use tools that analyze visitor log files (ie Awstats) or add Javascript to the website files to monitor traffic with Google Analytics. Google Analytics can allow you to view where the visitors came from, what pages are being viewed and much more.

Google Web Master Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is very valuable for users to view their impressions from organic traffic and upload sitemaps for the websites. It also has many other useful tools like 'Fetch as Bot' so you can see what the Google bot receives when it hits your web pages. Spam can be injected into pages and this tool can let you know if Google is receiving clean pages. Also, there are tools to check for infected pages too.

Google Adwords

Using Google Adwords can be used to bring in desired traffic and help find beneficial paid and organic keywords. Many large companies gain most of their revenue from this service.

Coding Beyond The Website

As times goes forward, it is very likely your skills will too. So, if you acquire significant traffic to your website, or find a need for which you need a custom web server setup, there will probably come a day when you will need to migrate from a shared or cloud host to a VPS or dedicated server. When this happens, your whole world as you knew it could change since you will have root access to the Linux operating system and will need to take care of this system. If you don't want to care for the operating system, you will need to pay someone to do that for you.

With that said, having Linux System Administrator skills will mean that you will like need a decent skillset with Bash, Sed, Awk and knowledge of the Linux file system. There are courses that will teach these skills.

On top of that, you may come to a point where you will be regularly editing installed Linux packages like the Apache server and Varnish. Like a lot of Linux packages and system files, they are written in C. So, learning C would not hurt as well. If you have a fairly strong background with PHP or Perl, you will find editing C files sort of straight forward. In addition, learning C will give the deeper understanding to your Unix based operating system too.

If you want to create your own C programs and packages for Linux, building them with C is an option. After you build and compile them, you can run them like any other package.

Conclusion

As you see, the toolbox for a web developer can be rather broad. You may find a person calling himself a web developer that builds basic web pages with html / css that are stored on a shared host, or you could find one that has a more well rounded skillset using the LAMP(Linux, Apache, mySQL and PHP) stack.