10 Things Every Web Developer Should Know

Being a web developer is awesome! If you are reading this article, then you already know that web development is one of the most exciting fields right now. But when you ask a web developer how they feel about their job, most will tell you that they enjoy development, but it is not as easy as you might think and there are many skills required. The evolution of web browsers and devices, alongside the languages and frameworks to build with, has left developers with more of a challenge than ever before. As there are too many resources and tools that change, from day to day, for developing web apps, here is a list of must know skills and languages for every web developer.

1. HTML and CSS

HTML and CSS are two of the core technologies for building Web pages. HTML provides the structure of the page, CSS assists in the layout of the html elements on the page, for a variety of devices. In current web design trends, it’s necessary for every web developer to create fast and beautiful experiences in browsers across our growing list of devices. That’s why many front-end developers have higher salaries than server-side developers these days. You can see examples of interactive websites that developed using HTML5 and CSS3.

2. JavaScript

JavaScript (JS) is a scripting language, essential for any web project that renders web pages in an interactive and dynamic fashion. This allows the pages to react to events, add special effects, validate data, create cookies, detect a user’s browser, etc. JavaScript is a major component of any web project with its popular jQuery library and awesome jQuery plugins. There are also JavaScript frameworks that provides structure to your code and help to keep it organized. This language is also very fast turning into a ubiquitous and robust tool for servers, devices, Web browsers and even robots. With this, you can speed up development without wasting time into asynchronous functional programming and prototype-based programming.

3. Learn Git

Version control of your code is essential, currently the Git platform, called “Github”, is the standard for source control and version control, for all modern open-source projects. It is popular among web development communities, for collaboration, record-keeping and incorporation with deployment processes. If you are just getting started, I would highly recommend to try Git for version control and also get involved in social coding through GitHub to speed up development.

4. Frameworks

In current scenario, programming frameworks have been receiving a lot of attention from the web development community. If you look at web development job listing, the “MVC Framework Experience” is one of their requirement. It is fast becoming a must-have skill set for web developers. The main reason it’s becoming so popular, is that it provides you with the certainty that you are developing an application that is in full compliance with the business rules, that it is structured, and that it is both maintainable and upgradeable. Most programming languages like JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, Java, C# and Python all have multiple frameworks designed to make Web development fast and more pleasant. I would highly recommend to pick at least one and learn it really well. Try to create multiple Web apps with it and make sure you’ve covered as many different features as possible, on both the server and browser side of things.

5. Learn Browser Development Tools (Chrome)

Most programmers are used to the Firefox debugger tool called Firebug, which allows developers to really understand what the front code is doing. Currently all modern browsers now have pretty decent debuggers, which can be added as an extension, but Chrome’s developer tools seem to be the most widely used. These tools will save you precious time and make your development much faster.

6. Data Formats

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a lightweight data-interchange format and the most used format in web development. It is the dominant language of automated communication between services on the Web today. It is very important for developers to work with APIs and how to build their own. This is because web development is becoming increasingly modularized, as service-oriented architectures, which incorporate third party APIs is now very common in all kind of web apps.

7. Databases

If you are building a web app, most likely your data will be stored in a database and your backend code will call that database, to get what the user needs. The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert in databases development any more to use them, because you will most likely use a package that will do all the heavy lifting for you. But you will still need to understand the basics of how to use your data, which is stored in the database.

8. DevOps

Web developers need to be familiar with the rapidly growing set of computing technologies for designing, scaling, migrating, testing, optimizing, continuously integrating and deploying code in the cloud. DevOps is the merged set of tasks that emphasizes the collaboration and communication of both software developers and other information-technology (IT) professionals, while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes. It aims at establishing a culture and environment where building, testing, and releasing software, can happen rapidly, frequently, and more reliably. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and a growing number of tech giants have a truly remarkable set of Web services available for developers.

9. API

It is also necessary for a web developer to have clear idea of WEB API. An API is an application programming interface. It is created by the developer of an application to allow other developers to use some of the applications functionality without sharing code. Developers expose end points which are like inputs and outputs of the application. Using an API can control access with API keys. Examples of good API’s are those created by Facebook, Twitter, and Google for their web services.

10. Caching

Caching is really one of the most important factors, for a great user experience on the Web. But handling caching smartly is always a challenge for most developers. Having lots of unnecessary calls to a database, or to the file system, it is a great way to slow things down and annoy users to the point where they leave your website. So developers should think about how to get as much data into memory as possible, then how to get things cached at the file system level to avoid making calls to a database each time, as this will greatly speed up the application. So take some extra time to learn how to do work with caching, even if you are not expecting high amounts of traffic.

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Robert is a web designer and online marketing expert with over 18 years of experience. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or even by subscribing to our RSS Feed.