The beautifully structured web pages and applications that you use on the Internet are all made available by the design effort of some very creative web developers. Designing web pages and providing functionality through them is an art and if you are planning to join this art troupe, there are a lot of skills that you need to master before you start expressing yourself on the canvas of the world wide web.
Who is a Web Developer?
The web page you see in front of your eyes is an example of the kind of work web developers engage in. Creating, publishing and maintaining aesthetically appealing web pages which provide desired functionality and interactive ability for the users worldwide, through client and server side coding, is the developer's job. It's a field where the newest developments become part of history within a few months as better options are brought in. To be a developer is to constantly learn new things and try out new things to create web pages that achieve the desired functionality.
How to Become a Web Developer?
Web developers can be broadly classified into two groups - client side and server side. A web page actually resides on a 'server' computer, where it is hosted and made available for viewing for people, 24x7. Whenever you type in the address of a web page in your web browser, a request is sent to the server, which then serves it to the client computer. The web browser reads the code from the server and renders it to display the web page. A client side programmer works on the client side rendering of the page on the web browser, while a server side programmer works on providing the server side functionality that makes availability and functionality of web pages possible. Here are the most important steps.
Master HTML & Web Designing
The Hypertext Markup Language is the most basic thing you need to learn to create a web page. It is the language which is understood by the web browser to display web content in a specific manner. You need to be fluent in writing HTML code to be able to create basic web pages. It's an extremely simple language to learn and you will surely enjoy working with it. There are plenty of online HTML tutorials and books to help you out. Later you may also dabble into XHTML and XML which are more advanced markup languages.
Learn CSS to Render Beautiful Web Pages
Cascaded style sheets (CSS) is a more specialized language used in rendering the formatting of the web page to create web pages with aesthetic beauty. CSS mastery is an essential part of the training course to become a web developer. CSS works with HTML, XHTML and XML to create elegant web pages.
Learn Server Side Scripting With PHP, ASP .Net & Java EE
Client side scripting can provide very limited functionality and to deliver special functionality like the one required for hosting a site offering email facility, you require server side scripting. To be able to do that, you have to master PHP, ASP.NET, and JavaEE or at least acquire expertise in any one of the four.
A mastery of Java and Java based server side technologies is essential. You will need to learn basic VBscript too, if you plan to do any serious server side scripting on the .NET platform. Learning to handle server software like Apache and server operating systems like Unix and Linux is also necessary, if you want to double up as a web administrator for the pages you create.
Learn to Handle Server Side Databases
If you want to have a thorough mastery over all aspects of web development, you need to learn SQL (Simple Query Language) and learn to use database management systems like MySQL that are used in web designing. You may also need to learn Oracle database administration in context of web technologies. You may also need to master advanced technologies like AJAX later as your preparation advances.
Get Certified For Web Technologies & Apply for a Job
As you must have realized by now, there is a lot that you need to learn, to even get the basics of web development. A degree in computer science, followed by certification in one of the advanced web technologies like ASP .Net or PHP will provide you with credentials that may help you gain a job in businesses specializing in web development. At least four to five years of experience in using and implementing various web technologies is needed, before you can even call yourself a web developer!
Keep updating your skill base with the newest developments like AJAX which can provide extreme power to create even better web pages. Keep experimenting, learning coding and spinning your new 'web' pages, to get better at it. Sooner or later as you get better at what you do, with experience, opportunities for employment and projects will walk towards you. Here's me wishing you with all the very best in becoming a web developer who will add more beautiful pages to the world wide web, that enrich its ever-increasing store of information and facilities. In the process, you will empower millions of Internet users with knowledge and means to stay connected with the world.