5 Important Skills for Web Developers
- Problem Solving
Today’s successful web developers and leading industry professionals are completely familiar with the following important skills. Those learning about the industry will find helpful tips and strategies for excelling in the web development field. Although it may seem overwhelming to understand everything in this ever-changing industry, having a solid foundation of these topics will allow any professional to adapt to new technology and excel at any job.
As anyone who has ever coded knows, software development takes a lot of time. Contrary to popular belief, most of that time is spent thinking, planning, and troubleshooting problems. Web developers spend very little time physically typing code, but instead figuring out optimal solutions to problems. No matter the technology stack or project, problem solving is at the core of programming. Examples of common problems web developers face include incorrectly typing a variable name, figuring out how to call various API’s to get data, and making sure sites are responsive and look great on all devices.
Ultimately, being able to quickly learn about new technology is the best skill any web developer can have. Although Totaram Ramrattan on Forbes points out that jumping from trend to trend in web development can be a costly waste of time, technology is indeed constantly changing. While knowledge about WordPress, PHP, and jQuery was considered vital in the web development industry around 5 years ago, today’s trending topics are completely different and include topics like Ruby on Rails, Angular, and React. Successful web developers learn about new tools and technologies almost every day, whether at work or on personal projects. In the end, web developers must keep up with the industry and learn fast to maintain job security.
When working on a website, one of the web developer’s key goals is to understand the user. How does the user expect the page to work? Is the information displayed clearly? What if the user is unable to clearly see certain content due to color-blindness or what if that user is visually impaired? One way web developers can grow their empathy is by using assistive technology like a screen reader, a tool intended for visually-impaired individuals. A screen reader reads out the content of a web page and allows a user to navigate that page without using the cursor on a mouse. By experiencing the web with this surprisingly common technology, web developers can understand how necessary it is to follow best practices for accessibility and learn about making a better web for all. Empathy is another important skill for web developers.
Web developers use CSS to style web pages and determine how they look. Although many web developers will agree that CSS can be frustrating at times, it is an essential skill for web developers to master. Some common problems developers encounter with CSS include issues of specificity, not understanding how some confusing properties work, and responsively laying out content on a page exactly as intended. Professionals who want to stand out with their CSS and development skills will learn about CSS Grid and Flexbox for laying out pages as well as Sass for time-saving features to write better CSS.
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