The career opportunities for web developers are currently very good and will not deteriorate over the coming years. However, in order for you to have the chance of a good job, you should have certain professional as well as social skills.
Necessary professional skills
Below are the absolutely necessary professional skills if you as a web developer (or PHP developer) would like to work:
- HTML5 and CSS3. No matter what kind of web developer you become, you should have a good knowledge of HTML5 and CSS (book tip). You don’t have to be a perfect web designer, but there are often designers who specialize in it and keep an eye on it. But you should be able to adapt and expand corresponding HTML pages.
- At least one backend programming language. The most commonly used programming language for a web backend is PHP. If you have good knowledge of it, that is absolutely sufficient. A few companies work with Ruby on Rails, but the number of jobs is lower there. Even fewer rely on the relatively young Node.Js. These are often companies with very innovative web services, usually found in start-ups. Getting started with PHP and perfecting this is what we highly recommend as a startup web development company.
- Knowledge of databases, such as MySQL.
- Safe handling of object-oriented programming. Most job offers require that the basics of OOP be mastered.
In addition to the necessary skills mentioned above, it is advisable to supplement your profile with a number of other skills. Below are the other skills that you will find more often in job offers:
- Experience with a PHP framework. Often, the Symfony or Laravel framework is asked for. Experience with a template engine such as Smarty is also useful. My personal favorite is the Laravel framework.
- Most websites nowadays run on WordPress. Experience with WordPress, as well as how to write your own WordPress plugins and themes, if necessary, is a big plus. The content management system Joomla is a little less common, but still often found.
- When working in a team, it is important to use appropriate source code versioning software. Many use Git. Mastering basics is an advantage, but not a broken leg if you can’t.
- Experience with the handling of APIs is an advantage, just as JSON can be used. For example, you have experience with how the APIs can be used by Google or Facebook.
- If you aspire to a career as a front-end developer, you should be familiar with responsive web design. Mastering appropriate HTML5 frameworks, such as bootstrap, is also recommended.
The most important skill ever: experience
By far the most important skill for web developers, whether frontend or backend, is experience. You don’t learn programming by working through a tutorial or reading one or two books. Tutorials serve as an introduction, but to really get a good job as a web developer, experience is extremely important.
Fortunately, this experience can be gained quite easily, for example, next to a school or university. Look at web applications that you can somehow use for your websites. For example, your own guestbook or comment function for the website. Then come larger web applications, such as a discussion forum, which you can also make publicly available to other people.
Making your own software available as an open source project, e.g. on Github, brings you an incredible amount of experience. You will actually only learn how programming works with larger projects. And at the latest when you want to expand your project, you will notice what unclean code you have written and how it works better.