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How to become a web developer from scratch


Here is a simple answer to this question: a web developer creates and maintains sites. They need the best specialists, and they are ready to fork out for serious money in order to get such web developers.

Responsibilities and requirements for web developers:

  • Create web pages using various markup languages,
  • Creation of high-quality models and prototypes,
  • Creating sites on WordPress from scratch,
  • Understanding HTML and CMS,
  • Understanding UI and UX,
  • Development of the functionality and design of sites and web applications,
  • Maintenance and site improvement.

If we talk about the specialization of web programmers, then there are three main areas:

  • Front-end development. “Front-end” means the elements on the site that you see and interact with, such as menus, drop-down lists, etc.,
  • Back-end development. The “back-end” is similar to the underwater part of an iceberg. Without it, the site cannot function. Back-end is about things like servers, applications, and databases,
  • Full stack development. This is a combination of back-end and fron-tend development.

Market situation

Considering the overall picture of the market, we can distinguish the most popular areas in the IT sphere:

1. Frontend — the loudest and fastest growing industry in which trends are constantly changing. It relies on the JavaScript programming language and its frameworks, such as Angular.js, React.js, Vue.js and others, as well as the HTML hypertext markup language and CSS style sheets.

2. Web-development, Namely, backend development using various languages, for example, PHP, Ruby and Python.

3. Android / iOS-development - development for mobile devices in Java, Swift, Objective-C, C # (Xamarin), JavaScript (React Native) and others.

4. .NET-development - development of both desktop applications for the Windows operating system in C # and server programs, including websites, using ASP.NET technology.

5. Java-development - development of cross-platform Java applications, as well as large high-performance systems using Java EE technology. It is chosen when reliability, scalability and flexibility are needed.

6. Game development - game development for various platforms.

7. UI / UX - user interface design.

8. QA - software quality assurance and testing.

9. Embedded development - software development for hardware: automobiles, household appliances, and various devices using low-level languages ​​such as C and C ++ with assembly inserts of the corresponding processor.

Why go to the web?

Now web development is such a fast-growing industry that it is worth exploring one technology or framework and start working with them, after two or three months something completely new will appear on the market and everyone will start to use it.

Web development is constantly updated by young professionals. Senior programmers with ten years of experience can be met quite rarely: either managers manage to grow out of them, or they have to learn new languages. This rapid growth of the industry forms a broad information field and a strong community.

Therefore, if you are young, full of energy, have a sense of taste, and even love programming, web development is for you.

How much does a web developer earn?

After looking at job search sites, you can see the full range of salaries of web developers. A beginner who has less than six months of experience can earn from 30,000 to 60,000 rubles. An average specialist with good experience receives 80,000-150,000 rubles. The income of a professional is 150,000–250000 rubles. In addition, a lot depends on the country, region, language chosen and the company offering the vacancy.

Web developer scarcity

In the world more than 11 million web developers of different profiles and levels. However, according to CMS Magazine and Runet Rating, 62% of companies and web studios are acutely aware of a lack of staff. This is how they answered the question about the shortage of employees in the field of web development.

Today, only a quarter of all web studios are satisfied with the number of their full-time employees. It turns out that there are a lot of programmers, but still not enough. Why?

  • 15.9% of employers believe that the level of education of potential employees does not meet the requirements of the market (there is no decent portfolio, no teamwork experience).
  • 15% of companies believe that in principle there are few qualified web programmers on the market who can develop complex projects (especially in the regions).
  • 7.3% of companies say that many web development experts prefer freelance work to the state.
  • 6.3% of web studios believe that cooperation does not work due to the mismatch of the salary expectations of applicants with the capabilities of employers.

Thus, there are really few cool developers who know the whole cycle of creating a web project and are able to immediately prove themselves in business. Those that are, have already been dismantled by large web studios, or they have gone into freelance, because they understand that on a piece-by-piece basis, earnings are more than salaries in some small company.

Take a look, for example, at this Runet Rating graph.

From the article "The web development market remains the market of" manual "labor"

Freelance developers occupy a rather large niche in expensive projects. They get 6% of projects costing from 100 to 300 thousand rubles and 8.3% of projects are more expensive than 300 thousand rubles.

Web developer required

It is easy to verify the relevance of the profession of a web programmer. It’s enough to go to any online employment service.

In Moscow alone, almost one and a half thousand vacancies. Among IT companies and web studios, there is a serious struggle for good developers.

28.4% of companies are looking for employees with the help of job resources, 21.4% - through social networks and on recommendations, 16.2% recognize the section with vacancies on their own site is quite effective and 12.7% hang out employees “from school” , that is, they invite talented students to internships, track medalists and olympiads, organize competitions for students, and so on.

The last path is the thorniest. According to experts, academic education is inert and does not keep pace with the new dynamic industries.

Vladimir Zavertaylov, Founder and Head of Sibiriks Internet Studio

Therefore, to become the coolest web developer that companies will fight for, you do not need a diploma - you need knowledge.


Under the web developer, the employer usually understands the universal specialist full-stack.

Full-stack consists of front-end and back-end development. Front-end developers provide the appearance of the site (portal, project). Back-end-development includes the shadow side of the resource, something that is not visible to the user, the wrong side of the site. But, regardless of specialization, the web programmer must know the full cycle. Without this, it is impossible to imagine how that piece of the task that you are implementing will integrate with the overall project.

To date, the standard of web development (full-stack) is the following set of knowledge.

Layout + browser programming language + server language + language for working with databases + framework (s).

You can get this kind of knowledge at GeekBrains. This is an educational platform where lectures and webinars for those who want to study programming are collected. The specialization "web developer" is designed for 11 months (plus internship) and consists of several courses.

  1. HTML / CSS. These are the basics of creating sites. Training takes place through practice: students develop an online store website, while studying the properties and capabilities of HTML / CSS in parallel.
  2. Javascript - first and second levels. This programming language is designed to make the site live: it interacts with the visitor to the resource, responds to cursor movements, mouse clicks and keystrokes. In the first course on JavaScript, the basics are given, in the second, the knowledge gained is consolidated.
  3. Database Basics. These are 20 intensive video tutorials about data storage and processing systems that are accessed using SQL (Structured Query Language).
  4. Php - first and second levels. This programming language is one of the three most popular. At the first level, students learn the principles of object-oriented programming and learn how to use the basic language constructs correctly. The second level allows you to hone your PHP skills to virtuosity.
  5. HTML5 and CSS3. This bundle makes it possible to typeset layouts, create and edit static sites. On the course, students go through all stages of creating an advertising site for a commercial organization.
  6. AngularJS / D3.js. Here students learn to work with D3.js in symbiosis with the most powerful framework for building single-page web applications Angular.js.
  7. Yii framework. This is one of the most popular and popular PHP frameworks. The lectures discuss the basic and advanced application templates and develop an analogue of the Evernote program. As a homework, students are encouraged to create a calendar program that can later be used in the portfolio.

A full-fledged case for the portfolio can be made during a two-month internship from GeekBrains. On it, graduates go all the way from generating ideas to the implementation of the project and learn to interact with the team. Also, there is always a chance to get a paid internship with subsequent employment in one of the GeekBrains partner companies or find like-minded startups.

And in the end about the most pleasant - about money. After all, as was mentioned at the beginning, the profession of a universal web developer is not only demanded, but also highly paid.

According to the Tagline agency, web programmers receive a 1.8 times higher salary than the average Russian resident.

The average salary of a web developer in the country is 60 310 rubles, in Moscow - 75 270 rubles, in the regions - 46 790 rubles.

This profession does not have a career ceiling, with its help you can secure a comfortable old age. By working hard and successfully implementing large projects, you can become the head of an information technology department or even an IT director. Also, web developers quite often choose freelance and are not dependent on anyone. And this specialty is an excellent platform for opening your own business on the Internet.

Create a simple web page

As you already learned, a web page is a file with the .html extension, which contains HTML code. It is a set of specific tags enclosed on both sides in angle brackets. Tags are closing and non-closing.

We will use the text editor Sublime Text3 and create a new index.html file in it.

Now we have a standard HTML document structure. Open the created page in the browser, you will see a blank white background. The entire content of the page that is displayed in the browser is placed between the opening and closing tags and - for now, it only has a title displayed in the browser tab, but there is no content.

Add some elements. Each of them has its own tag. First, create a title and add it with text and a button.

To add a title, use the tag

Why become a web developer?

Web development is an industry that definitely will not die in the near future. The US Bureau of Human Resources Statistics has predicted a 27% increase in web development jobs by 2024.

Here are five main reasons to become a web programmer and learn from scratch:

  1. You can work remotely,
  2. You can work independently. Freelance or start a business,
  3. You enter a profitable technology market. Web development is a ticket to the world of high technology. Most tech startups have a need for web developers, so this may be your path to success.

How to become a web developer

  1. Learn the basics of HTML, CSS and Javascript

These are nuts and bolts of any site, with them you will work daily.

  • HTML defines the structure
  • CSS makes it visually appealing
  • Javascript makes it function.

Before becoming a web programmer, we will consider each of these aspects.

Below are some basic HTML tags that you should familiarize yourself with:

... - this tag is displayed at the beginning and at the end of the HTML document.
... is the name of the web page. It matters both to search engines (when crawling and indexing web pages) and to users (it appears in the browser title bar), clearly indicating the main theme of each page
... - contains information about a specific web page, including title tags, metadata, and links to scripts and style sheets.
... - includes all the content that will be displayed to users, including everything that they see and read.

Note All tags begin as "" and end as "". "/" - indicates where the action of a particular tag ends. It is important to add a closing tag, otherwise it will be applied to the entire document.

They define the style of the HTML structure. In principle, without CSS, HTML will be boring, and as a result, the web page will be boring.

Here's how they fit: in the HTML, you are referencing a CSS stylesheet.

The following is an example of what CSS looks like in action:

Javascript is a programming language that allows you to implement interactive elements on web pages. For example, interactive maps, 2D / 3D graphics, and much more that even a web program intern knows.

  1. Explore WordPress Tutorials

  1. Learn the basics of UI and UX

UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) are the basis for developing a user interface.

Most developers are not design experts - these are two different areas. But by learning the basics of building a user experience, you can better understand how a site should work.

To learn more about the basics of website design, I recommend exploring Adobe Creative Suite. Photoshop should be the first thing you take on, as it is suitable for the most serious designers. If a junior web programmer doesn't like Adobe, you can also learn Sketch, which is a rising star.

  1. Learn SQL and PHP (more advanced skills)

SQL is a database management system. And PHP is a "scripting" language that puts or retrieves data from the database.

For example, consider WordPress. It uses MySQL to store and manage information (blog entries, page contents, comments, etc.) in database tables.

PHP is what makes any WordPress site dynamic by interacting with these elements and updating the database as the site develops.

Learning more about how SQL and PHP work, you can thoroughly master the development of sites based on WordPress. This type of service is in demand.

You will not master all this in a week or two. But over time, as you gain experience and skills, you can significantly increase your competitiveness in the market as a web programmer.

SEO is a search engine optimization. The process of improving the ranking of sites in search engines such as Google. This is one of the most important skills in online business.

In SEO, the structure and code of a site also play a role. For example, title tags (HTML) are extremely important. They tell search engines what is really important on the site.

Should You Become an SEO Expert? Definitely not. But you should definitely learn the basics of SEO and consider them when developing sites. Thus, the site you created will have a better chance of success.

Here are some SEO tips for web developers:

  • Optimize Meta Tags. In search results, meta tags tell browsers what your site is about,
  • Make sure the header tags are in a specific order. H1 should be the main heading, and then it is necessary to go down the hierarchy of headings (i.e. H2, H3, H4, etc.). This makes it easier for search engines to crawl a site,
  • Make sure the title tag describes the webpage correctly.

Spend at least 3-5 hours learning the basics of SEO. This will allow you to develop sites more efficiently and positively affect the salary of a web programmer.

Responsive - means that the elements of the site are adjusted to the screen size of the user device. Thus, the site will look good on both a laptop and a smartphone.

How to find your first web development client (or become a freelancer)

Now, as a web developer, you have two options. You can: 1) try to get a permanent job in the company or 2) go the way of freelance and look for orders online.

I recommend freelance. Although it does not provide the same guaranteed pay as full-time employment, this type of work has three advantages:

  • Freedom: there is no longer the beginning of the working day and the end of the working day. You can still work during the same hours (or more), but your schedule, location and living conditions are completely up to you,
  • Money: as soon as you become a good freelancer, you will have more chances to earn more money (and not wait for a monthly three-percent increase),
  • Prestige: over time, you will have the opportunity to develop your personal business and brand so that in the end it guarantees a constant influx of new customers.

In this section, we will focus on how a web programmer intern can get his first freelance order ...

  1. Use job exchanges

Most freelancers found their first web development projects on exchanges. This may be useful for gaining experience, but you do not need to use them as a long-term strategy.

The quality of customers there may vary. Some may be wonderful. Others do not.

Often on such exchanges come across customers who do not have experience in hiring issues. This can create a lot of problems when you try to work with them.

Strong dependence on exchanges will not leave you the opportunity to start creating your own brand. Attracting “incoming” attention to your work will ultimately give the best (and most solvent) customers.

But this is a good option to start.

Remember that each order that you receive in this way will help you gain the necessary practical experience for working in the future.

It's also pretty easy to get started on bulletin boards ... Below is a screenshot of the UpWork search:

To find customers faster, create a web programmer’s resume and portfolio website. On it you can demonstrate your latest projects, customer reviews, provide potential customers with a convenient channel for communication.

Here are some tips for creating a portfolio site:

  • Use reviews from your previous and current customers. This will give visitors the confidence that you have worked well in the past and that others were happy to work with you.
  • Highlight your benefits. What are you good at that makes you different from others?
  • Publish important information about yourself - a name, a short version of the story about how and why you became a web developer.
  • Answer the question “What does web development mean to me?” Describe the benefits of working with you.
  1. Networking

Try to attend at least 2-3 events every month. If you live near a big city, this should not be difficult.

Focus on events that attract entrepreneurs, as these people are likely to want to create a new site.


Why not learn the skills that will allow you to easily find work in the foreseeable future? This is one of the main advantages of web programming. Following these tips, you can begin your journey of becoming a web developer.

This publication is a translation of the article "How to Become a Web Developer", prepared by the friendly team of the project Internet