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I.T. & Telecommunications careers

Development, Design & Programming: Web/Internet

Designing and developing the internet

The internet is perhaps mankind’s greatest invention. It is used every day all over the world for both business and personal use.

The World Wide Web has created millions of careers all around the world and the internet is undoubtedly the fastest growing industry in the 21st century. Careers in web development and design are ever-changing and developing. These careers really are the future. So why not get with the programme?

If you heard the words ‘web’ and ‘career’ in the same sentence, you might be excused for automatically thinking of Spiderman. However, a job which involves wearing spandex and fighting green goblins is not normally regarded as a viable career option. In actual fact, we are here to talk about the exciting world of web development and web design.

What kind of work do web designers and developers do?

These careers are essential for creating, maintaining, updating and improving web applications. This can involve carrying out highly complex tasks and, therefore, highly-skilled and knowledgeable web professionals are required to carry them out.

Without these guys, the internet would have crashed and burned. You wouldn’t be able to message your friends on Facebook; you wouldn’t be able to find out about random things on Wikipedia; you wouldn’t be able to do your online banking; and most importantly, you wouldn’t be able to use AllAboutCareers.com.

Web developers and designers can work for all kinds of organisations, from investment banks and hospitals, to charities and advertising agencies. Some of these professionals will work permanently for one organisation, others will work for web agencies or consultancies and others will work purely on a freelance basis.

What skills and qualifications are required to be a web developer or designer?

Owing to the technical nature of these careers, web developers and designers tend to need specialist training. Most web professionals now have an I.T. degree. Some also have vocational qualifications in specific programming languages, such as Perl, PHP, Java, or HTML.

Alternatively, if you have the right kind of mathematical skills and logic, you can theoretically teach yourself a huge range of web development and design skills from books and through trial and error methods. However, this is a very difficult and rare way to develop your I.T. career.

Since new technologies are constantly being introduced and existing technologies are constantly being updated, a career in web development and design is a constant learning process. Indeed, everyone might need to do some home studying at some point to keep their skills fresh. However, on-the-job training is by far the best way to develop your skills.

What is the role of the web developer?

Essentially, web developers deal with the ‘non-design’ aspects of building web applications, such as coding.

Firstly, these guys liaise with their clients and try to understand their website needs. Once they understand the desired functionality and purpose of the proposed website, they will go away and manipulate the various programming languages that they know how to use, in order to write specific codes and programmes.

These programmes then simultaneously send various commands to the web server and the browser (e.g. Firefox, Chrome, Safari etc.). These specific commands then influence how a web application works and determines how a website’s various features operate.

Web development: Front-end vs. back-end

Web development can be split into two main disciplines: front-end and back-end. Back-end development deals with the programmes sent to the server; these guys develop the stuff we don’t physically see on the website. For example, they write codes that determine how data is distributed and how data is arranged.

Front-end developers focus on the commands sent to the browser, which determine how a website looks and behaves. For example, how a website scrolls up and down, how hyperlinks open and how multimedia features work.

Web developers can use a plethora of different programming languages and scripts to create web applications, such as PHP, Javascript, HTML and Ruby. All of them have their own advantages, disadvantages and specific purposes. Some of them are more useful for back-end development and some are more useful for front-end development.

Many web developers are skilled in a range of different programming languages. However, most people eventually choose to specialise in one or two specific languages and develop their careers around those niche skills.

What is the role of the web designer?

Web design careers are focused on how a website looks. These guys combine graphic design skills with specific knowledge of computer programmes to create and arrange the pages that comprise a website.

Websites may include text, pictures, sounds, videos and other interactive features. It’s a web designer’s job to make sure these work properly, look good and are easily accessible to the users.

Web designers will have a good understanding of art and design principles, such as colour and space. They will use computer design applications, such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Flash, to physically design websites. They might also then use applications, such as CSS, or lightweight programming languages, such as HTML, to style the website and manipulate how text and images are arranged on the page.

Sound good? Got the skills? Down with the jargon? Have a look at our web development and design job listings and get ready to weave your own career in web development, design and programming!