Web development is the way toward building websites and applications for the web or a private network known as an intranet. Web development is not concerned about the design and layout of a website; instead, it’s focused on the coding and programming that controls the website’s functionality.
From the most basic, static site pages to social media platforms and applications, from e-commerce sites to content management systems (CMS); web developers have developed every tool we use via the internet.
The Foundational Stuff
The Internet is comprised of three, interacting features:
- Websites: a collection of files and information that we access through a computer and a server
- Servers: the computers that store all the data of websites in a massive network
- Browsers: the programs that load and display content on your computer
Different Types of Website Development
- Front-End Development
Front-end developers work on the client- or user-facing side of websites, programs, and software — in other words, what users see. They design and develop the visual aspects, including the layout, navigation, graphics, and other aesthetics.
- Back-End Development
If the front-end is what users see, the back-end is what they don’t. Back-end web developers work on the servers of websites, programs, and software to make sure everything works properly behind-the-scenes.
- Full Stack Development
Full stack developers work in both the front-end and back-end sides of a website. They can create a website, application, or software program from start to finish. “Stack” refers to the different technologies that handle different functionalities on the same website, like the server, interface, etc.
- Website Development
Website developers can be front-end, back-end, or full-stack developers. However, these professionals specialize in building websites, as opposed to mobile applications, desktop software, or video games.
- Desktop Development
Desktop developers specialize in building software applications that run locally on your device, rather than over the internet in the web browser. Sometimes the skillset of these developers overlaps with that of web developers if an application can run both online and off.
- Mobile Development
Mobile developers build applications for mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. Mobile apps operate much differently than other websites and software programs, thus requiring a separate set of development skills and knowledge of specialized programming languages.
- Game Development
Game developers specialize in writing code for video games, both console games (Xbox, PlayStation, etc.) and mobile games — which means this specialty overlaps somewhat with mobile development.
- Embedded Development
Embedded developers work with all hardware that isn’t a computer (or, at least, what most of us imagine as “computers,” with a keyboard and screen). This includes electronic interfaces, consumer devices, IoT devices, real-time systems, and more.
- Security Development
Security developers establish methods and procedures for the security of a software program or website. These developers typically work as ethical hackers, trying to “break” websites to expose vulnerabilities without intending harm. They also build systems that discover and eradicate security risks.
Key Programming Languages for Web Development
Whatever your area of concentration, you’ll need to know how to use a handful of different programming languages for web development and web design. So, what are the most common programming languages?
Three families of programming languages form the basic tools involved in virtually all aspects of web development:
HyperText Markup Language (HTML) has been used since the 1990s. It’s the foundation of all websites and represents the bare minimum of what’s needed to create a website.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) was developed in the late 1990s. It adds design elements like typography, colors, and layouts to websites — it’s the cosmetic code.
What Is Needed to Become a Web Developer?
- Foundations: To become a Web Developer, you should develop a comprehensive understanding of how the web works. This will deepen your HTML and CSS knowledge to build and style more advanced static web pages, using frameworks such as Flexbox. It will also help you establish problem-solving practices and logic to understand advanced programming concepts.
- Web servers: To become a Web Developer, you’ll need to know how to build servers using a modern back-end framework and how to develop custom APIs and serve static websites and files.
- Server-side programming: It’s important for Web Developers to have an understanding of Server Side Rendering and Templating Engines, which are used to create empty page templates populated with dynamic data, such as a series of product pages for an eCommerce store.
- Databases: Aspiring Web Developers will also have to understand core concepts around data and learn how to manage databases and data on a web server.