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How to Become a Web Developer in the UK (with No Degree and No Experience)

Web development is a growing field. In this digitally-dominant ecosystem, it is integral to choose career options that have growing opportunities in the future. Web Development is one of those rare fields, which is expected to have a high demand in the upcoming years.

Being a skill-based job, Web Development does not require a formal degree or much experience to start off. If you have the skills and the talent to perform the responsibilities associated with the role, you can kick-start your career in Web Development easily. With that said, if you wish to explore the field of Web Development, you can take the ensuing guide into account.

What is a Web Developer and what do they do?

Web Developers are individuals who transform a web design into a functional website. In order to achieve this objective, Web Developers write multiple lines of intricate codes, using a plethora of programming languages. Fluency in multiple programming languages enables Web Developers to create different codes to feed the individual demands of each website, organization, or client. A Web Developer transforms human-language (communicated by the client) and codes it in a language that could be understood by web crawlers or algorithms.

With that said, Web Developers are required to have a thorough understanding of different programming languages, along with having the knowledge of how they are used. While it is impossible for Web Developers to be well-versed in all programming languages, they usually attain fluency in specific areas. As a result, Web Developers often have to work with different other developers, holding expertise in different languages.

Essentially, there are three types of Web Developers, front-end developers, back-end developers, and full-stack developers.

Front-End Developers

Front-end Developers receive the client’s website design and subsequently, write a code to make the page functional. Typically, a front-end developer must have a comprehensive understanding of at least three programming languages. These include HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Fluency in HTML empowers front-end Web Developers to add content to a website, by segregating it into headings, paragraphs, and tables. Whereas, having knowledge of CSS allows the developer to manage the design elements of the website, such as the color, style, size, border and etc. Similarly, the knowledge of JavaScript promotes the insertion of interactive features, within the website’s design.

While working on the front-end of the website, Web Developers certify that the content of the page is placed at a precise and discernible position. Additionally, certain firms require Web Developers to have polished writing abilities, so that they can also curate the content for the page as well.

Moreover, front-end Web Developers are further required to manage the color story of the page. They make sure whether the color of the text, background, and headings is well-fitted with the design. In addition to this, front-end Web Developers certify whether all outbound links follow an accurate format. Assessing the functionality of the buttons and design is further part of a front-end developer’s job description. All in all, front-end web developers make sure that the website is functional, interactive, and attractive for the user.

Front-end Web Developers usually work with the website development for mobile and desktop-friendly websites.

Back-End Web Developers

Back-end Web Developers handle the ‘server-side’ of programming. This includes writing programming code that operates the web site’s servers, databases, along with applications that reside within it. A back-end Web Developer generates an astute code, which facilitates a smooth and swift flow in the website’s operations. For instance, a back-end developer makes sure that the website’s pages load, as quickly as possible.

Back-end Web Developers use a variety of server-side programming languages, such as PHP, Python, Java, JavaScript, SQL, and Ruby. A back-end developer must have an in-depth understanding of these languages, so they can employ creative ways to ensure that their work is flexible enough, to deal with the individual requirements of different websites. By this means, back-end developers can code up a program that is secure, scalable, along with being easy to operate and maintain.

Full-Stack Web Developer

A full-stack Web Developer has the amalgamation of skills held by both front-end and back-end developers. Full-stack Web Developers are usually employed to construct the entire website or to supervise a project.

Training to be a full-stack Web Developer can increase your chances of employment. Additionally, with both back-end and front-end development knowledge, you would be able to proficiently handle all areas of the project. Considering this, you can make more money working as a full-stack Web Developer.

Web Developer or Web Designer – Which option should you go for?

Web Development and Web Designing are two incredibly diverse niches that are mutually dependant on one another. A Web Designer creates the layout and the design of the website, and the Web Developer breathes life to it. Consider Web Design as creating a sketch of the building. The Web Designer lays out the specifics of the structure and subsequently hands over the control to the builder, who makes the sketch come alive.

Web Designers concocts specific strategies to make sure that the website’s layout is attractive, up-to-date, and interactive for the users. These experts decide on the web page’s color story, themes, icons, text placement, logos, and the insertion of videos or images on the website’s page. To become a Web Designer, you would also need to have a certain set of technical skills, such as having proficiency in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign. The proficiency in different software programs, along with creative thinking, is a crucial aspect of the Web Design field.

Once the design is created, it is forwarded to the Web Developers, who power up the design using specific codes. In some cases, Web Developers acquire the skills of Web Designers, so they can increase their chances of getting hired. With that said, most Web Developers rely on the use of coding and programming to ensure that the website functions in its optimal form.  Moreover, some firms hire in-house Web Developers to handle the maintenance of websites as well.

Essentially, Web Designers are employed by a variety of industries including software houses, journalism, publishing houses, and other service industries. On the other hand, Web Developers usually work for software houses and related service industries. However, self-employed Web Developers collaborate with a wide variety of businesses to help them digitalize their existing systems.

Keeping this in mind, the two domains require different sets of skills and responsibilities. If you are just interested in creating the layout of the website, you can work as a Web Designer. However, if you are fluent in programming languages, landing a job as a Web Developer can serve to your advantage.

In addition to this, you can also learn the combined skills of a Web Designer and a Web Developer. This will make you an all-rounder, thus increasing your chances of gaining employment. If you are able to design and code an entire website, you can also work as a freelance Web Designer and Developer, to generate extra income.

The Salary of a Web Developer

The salary of a Web Developer magnifies with the experience. However, Web Developers, who are starting out in the field, are able to earn a reasonable amount without having to pay for formal education. Hence, getting yourself into Web Development would empower you to spend a relatively less amount, while initiating a strong career.

Beginning of the career

At the beginning of their careers, Web Developers can earn up to £21,000 per year. This group includes individuals with less than one year of experience in the field. Similarly, a Web Developer who has perfected their art for at least 3 to 4 years can earn a slightly larger amount. On average, the Web Developers with initial-level experience make around £24,000 per year.

Mid-level career experience

Essentially, the field of Web Development bestows monetary rewards with increasing experience. A Web Developer with 5 to 9 years of experience typically generates an income of £29,000 per year.

Seasoned Web Developers

However, if you stick to Web Development for a period of 10+ years, you can really give a boost to your salary. According to data collected from surveys, the typical salary for an experienced Web Developer is around £35,000 per year. Lastly, Web Developers, in their late careers, defined by more than 20+ years of dedication to the field, are able to make around £45,000. This shows that as a Web Developer, you would room to grow and increase your earnings with more and more experience.

Salary by Location

In addition to experience, the pay for Web Development differs in accordance with the demographic regions as well. According to data collected from a survey, Web Developers in London earn at least 20% more, in contrast to the national average. Similarly, Web Developers in the north of the UK will be paid significantly low but their living expenses are also lower than that of London.

The impact of Skills on Pay

The expertise of a Web Developer also plays an important role in their pay scale. On average, Web Developers with proficiency in C# Programming Language earn 4% more than the national average. Similarly, individuals with fluency in JavaScript are able to earn more than those without it. Therefore, in order to earn more, you must improve your skills in working with different programming languages.

Skills and Training required to become a Web Developer

In order to launch your career as a Web Developer, you must have expertise in different areas. If you are thinking about pursuing a career in this profession, make sure that you have the skills and training required to initiate your career.

Dexterity in Programming languages

As stated earlier, a Web Developer’s salary is determined by their degree of fluency in different programming languages. Essentially, a Web Developer must hold proficiency in understanding and writing code in multiple programming languages, such as JavaScript, HTML5, Web application development, Java, Software development, jQuery, SQL, AngularJS, CSS, User interface (UI) design.
In addition to this, a Web Developer must have expertise in understanding database management. This knowledge enables Web Developers to successfully provide businesses with results that align with their individual needs.

Understanding of Web Design

As Web Developers work off the design engineered by Web Designers, it is crucial for them to have an understanding of Web Design. If expertise is lacking in this area, the coding for the website could be compromised. Keeping this in mind, it is essential to have comprehensive knowledge about the different aspects of Web Design.

Additionally, if you have versatile talents, you can work as a Web Designer, as well as a Web Developer. This would enable you to generate a larger flow of income, while also increasing your chances of landing a job.

Excellent Communication Skills

Web Developers need to have excellent communication skills. These individuals work with Web Designers, clients, and organizations, to ensure that the website under construction turns out to be flawless and well-suited to the client or organization’s needs. With that said, it is crucial for Web Developers to translate their technical vocabulary into layman’s terms so that the people they collaborate with are able to understand their discussions. If you lack communication skills, it is important to work on explaining your ideas to an individual with a non-technical background.

The desire to seek knowledge

As the digital world advances every day, it is imperative for Web Developers to enhance their skills to match the requirements of the technological eco-system. As a Web Developer, you must update yourself on the latest techniques added in the industry. The launch, as well as the subsequent use of the new tools, scripts, widgets, and designs, would make your life as a Web Developer easier. Additionally, integrating new technology into your work could increase the effectiveness, along with the speed of your work. Keeping yourself updated and knowledgeable can further increase your chances of gaining employment.

The ability to Self – Manage

Web Developers can be either employed at a firm, or they work as independent business owners. Either way, the skill of self-management is extremely important in this industry. As you have to work in accordance to a schedule, it is essential to remain disciplined in your work ethic. Without self-management, Web Developers can find themselves in stressful and strenuous situations.

Mastery in Patience

If you wish to pursue a career as a Web Developer, you must be patient. The challenges of the job include going back and forth with the client until they are fully satisfied with your performance. While this can be extremely challenging, it is essential to remain patient and deliver precisely what the client required.

Start your career by becoming a Guru

As Web Development is an in-demand field, there is a significant amount of competition in the industry. Considering this, it is imperative to promote your skills in a manner so that you can stand out from a sea of candidates with similar talents. One way to achieve this objective is by becoming a house-hold name within the Web Development industry. When you establish yourself as a Web Development Guru, you can increase your chances of getting employed. This suggests that whether you seek a job as a Web Developer for a software company, or you wish to initiate your venture as a field expert, you can achieve success, simply by being recognized.

However, becoming a Guru is easier said than done. You would have to dedicate yourself to promoting your brand on various social media and other online platforms. Once your name is out in the open, you can build a following that invites job opportunities. Instituting yourself as a guru would require you to take the following initiatives.

Exhibit your knowledge by starting a blog

You can introduce yourself to the Web Development industry by starting a blog, which features relevant and helpful advice for the community. Initially investment some time integrating SEO strategies to gather a following on your blog. The combination of dexterous advice and increased visibility (due to higher rankings), can make you visible to a large set of followers.

However, if you are unsure about the type of content you wish to include on your blogs, you can take a look at some of the most popular Web Development blogging sites to find your inspiration. These include Scotch.io, A List Apart, Smashing Magazine, Codrops, and CSS Author.

Start a YouTube Channel

You can also get your name out in the digital atmosphere by starting a YouTube channel. YouTube is a platform that indulges in the art of educating, informing, and demonstrating knowledge. The content you display on your channel may include video tutorials, vlogs, and other interesting facts about the Web Development industry. With that said, your YouTube channel should mimic your blog, while also providing new and relevant information. For instance, if you blog about the latest tools in coding, you can add a YouTube tutorial on using that specific tool. This will create a coherency between your blog and your channel.

Network – like your career depends on it!

Survival, in this competitive industry, is largely dependent on how well you are connected to the people in your industry. In order to build your reputation and target clients, networking with relevant individuals is crucial. As a beginner-level Web Developer, you must connect with industry professionals on online and offline bases. This means you must create an account on LinkedIn to promote your blog, YouTube channel, and knowledge. In addition to creating an account, you must connect with leading professionals in the Web Development industry. This can increase your online visibility, thus generating the right type of traffic on your page.

Parallel to networking online, you must also connect with the industry experts in person. To make this happen, you should look to attend Web Development seminars, workshops, and other events that can give you exposure. By visiting these places, you can communicate with experts, learn from their experience, and increase your network in the industry.

Promote your Brand

Whenever you are selling your skills, your name should be the emblem of your brand. This means that you must represent yourself and your company by using a name that can be easily linked to Web Development. Therefore, construct a brand that represents and separates your work from other Web Developers in the industry. To build your brand, you must take the following initiatives.

Step 1: Build a website for your services

As a Web Developer, you must have a website that represents your skills. Essentially, your own website can be used as a portfolio, depicting the work that you do. While developing your business website, be sure to make it attractive and interactive for the visitor. This way, when potential employers and clients visit your page, they can gather an idea about the type of work that you can accomplish.

Additionally, to increase the rankings of your website, apply SEO strategies to ensure that it is visible to the users. Without SEO, your website may drown in the extensive pool of search results that feature thousands of similar pages.

Step 2: Promote your brand on relevant social media platforms

Promotions on social media platforms would enable your brand to be visible to a diverse range of audiences. Several employers may assess the credibility of your services by checking your reviews on social media platforms. However, it is crucial to only create social media pages that are relevant to your target audience. For instance, branding on TikTok could be a waste of your time and resources as your target audience would not look for you and review your service on this platform.

For a Web Developer, some relevant social media pages include YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. When you are representing your brand on these platforms, be sure to make your pages interconnected to demonstrate cohesion. For example, you may post a YouTube link on your Facebook page to notify your followers about your latest video. This way, you increase traffic on all of your pages.

Step 3: Collaborate with other influencers

Another way to build your brand is by collaborating with leading influencers in the industry. You can reach out to experts and request them to give you a shoutout on their pages. This will guarantee an increase in traffic on your personal business pages. Some of the leading individuals in Web Development are Rachel Andrew, Umar Hansa, and Jonathan Reinink.

Build a Portfolio

While branding can bring clients to your page, your portfolio would convince them to work with you. Your portfolio must be carefully created, as it would represent the type of work you can execute for the client. To create a Web Development portfolio, keep the following tips in mind.

  • Add simplicity to the design
  • Make it visually striking, simple and sophisticated
  • Feature all relevant information about yourself
  • Showcase some of your best work
  • Inject your personality into the portfolio
  • Be sure to add all contact details. You can also include a contact page on your website.
  • Emphasize on your individuality

Target Clients

As a Web Developer, targeting clients is carried out by self-promotion, branding, along with the demonstration of a strong portfolio. When starting out a field, you can take additional steps to target your clients.

Add to open-source projects

Working on open source projects would enable you to connect with potential clients, who are looking for freelancers. This initiative can increase your exposure.

Collaborate with related businesses

You can also get clients by working with a related service provider, such as an SEO firm. This business can direct their clients to you, while you can return them with the same favor.

Offer discounts on referrals

To maintain the growth of your business, set up a referral system. You may offer discounts to clients who refer your business to other clients. This way, you can maintain and grow your services simultaneously.

Conclusion – is it right for you?

The Web Development industry is all about communicating with a team to create a website that is functional, interactive, and user-friendly. Web Developers are required to have a distinct set of technical skills, and the love of updating their knowledge in the industry. Oftentimes, the Web Development jobs can be quite draining, therefore, having a passion for the job is essential. So, if you have the technical and communication skills to become a Web Developer, along with the patience and self-management tactics required to perform the job, you can start your career in the field by establishing your authority on the subject of Web Development. Once you build a name for yourself, you can create a portfolio and target clients to generate a steady income. If you have a passion for coding, Web Development can be the right career path for you!

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