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Web Development Career Path: Everything you need to know

Lucy Li
July 6, 2022
Last updated on
March 13, 2024

In the age of digitalisation, web development has grown to be one of the most significant professions of a lavishly thriving Industry 4.0. It is among the best ways to make a career pivot to the IT domain too, and regularly attracts people due to the high median incomes it provides.

Every web application or mobile app we come across has been built by a web or app developer. But what exactly is web development, and what does a career in it entail? All of these questions will be addressed in this guide on pursuing a career path in web development.

What Is Web Development?

Web development refers to the programming that fosters website functionality. It is different from web designing, which chiefly pertains to the designing aspect of creating websites. On the other hand, Web development encompasses everything from simple text webpages to complex browser applications, social networking applications, etc.

The web development hierarchy follows the structure below:

  • Client-side coding, also known as frontend coding
  • Server-side coding, also known as the backend coding
  • Database technology
  • Development operations and maintenance
  • Quality Assurance Testing

Most web developers use Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and JavaScript in one form or another to develop websites.

HTML defines the basic framework and structure of a website. It forms the building blocks that define a page’s layout, format, and critical components. However, websites built with HTML are just skeleton websites with limited functions unless enriched with CSS and JavaScript.

CSS is used to implement the style and design of the website by utilising a suite of shared files throughout the site. This way, whenever a modification needs to be implemented, such as changing the colour of all the icons on every page of a website, a web developer only would need to edit a solitary CSS file.

The JavaScript scripting language is used to handle the interactive elements of several different website components. For example, it can develop effects that change the look of buttons and menus and introduce dynamism and other interactive features.

In the context of how web development manifests itself as a professional field, it can be called a constitution of three main overarching disciplines:
Frontend Developer: The term "frontend" refers to all customer-facing functionalities of a site or app, such as text boxes, images, icons, and buttons. Frontend engineers create the interfaces that the end-user interact with. Frontend coding languages include HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Backend Developer:

Backend engineers develop the mechanisms that allow a website to process information. They ascertain how the web page will interact with servers and how user input will be gathered, stored, and managed. The most popular programming languages for backend development are PHP, Python, and Ruby, though JavaScript is breaking into the space, making NodeJs an in-demand skill.

Full Stack Developer:

If you have a distinguished portfolio containing various frontend interfaces as well as backend architectures, you can be defined as a full-stack web developer. These knowledgeable developers can direct the user flow and determine how user input and data is transferred to servers and back.

Career Paths in Web Development

A profession in website development, while demanding, is financially lucrative and has a lot to offer in terms of job satisfaction and career progression. A recent survey found that website development positions are forecast to grow by 13% by 2028, surpassing average job growth.

According to a report by PayScale, the average compensation package for a web developer in Hong Kong is HKD 248,153 per annum. Of course, salary varies depending on location, years of experience and the specific skills you bring to the table. Once you start deciding which type of programmer you want to become - JavaScript developer, Python developer, or a full-stack web developer, you can determine your learning pathway. Hence, giving you a jump start on your road to becoming a web developer.

Web development encompasses a wide range of specialisations. Here are a few website development career paths you can seek with your acquired skills.
Web developers or web programmers use code to ensure that the website functions correctly and are involved with the backend or coding aspect of building a website. They should not be confused for a website designer, who is only concerned with the appearance or experience of an application or website.
Front-end engineers or front-end developers create, implement, and evaluate a website's UI elements. The frontend developers are responsible for the site's appearance and features.
Backend engineers or backend deve
lopers are in charge of developing, designing, and even evolving websites and web-based applications on the server side. In other words, the primary duties of a backend developer are to decide the structure of a software application, ensure that the app is persisting data and develop consumable API(s) that the client will call.

Full-stack web developers work on both the frontend and backend of a website. Full-stack developers should possess strong knowledge of various coding disciplines to do their job well, from API development to implementing databases and datasets to visual design, interfacing, and UI/UX management.
Software architect: A seasoned developer who leads the development process is known as a software architect. They take high-level layout, architecture, and functionality decisions and develop departmental techniques and benchmarks.
Web Developer Salaries

As per a report by Payscale, the median salary for a web developer in Hong Kong stands at around HKD 248,000 per annum. On the other hand, an entry-level web developer with 1-3 years of experience can expect to earn between HKD 240,000 – HKD 280,000 per annum, as per a report by Payscale.

What’s more, with COVID under control, the labour market in Hong Kong is expected to improve in the coming year. According to a report by JobsDB, around 80% of employers were actively hiring in the third quarter of 2021 and are expected to continue this behaviour as this year unfolds.

The labour market outlook and the improved flexibility in working options introduced by COVID have contributed to an accelerating demand and equated supply of web developers. A senior-level web developer with 8+ years of experience can expect to earn an average salary of HKD 742,322 per annum.

Where to Learn How to Become a Web Developer?

The first step to a career in web development is to learn the necessary languages, libraries, and frameworks. The skills you want to acquire should determine whether you wish to specialise in the frontend, backend, or full-stack development. Irrespective of this, however, all web developers must be fluent in programming languages, which is why web development enthusiasts enroll in Full Stack Web Developer courses since it exposes the student to various language implementations.

Online Coding Courses

Online paid courses can either be pre-recorded or live classes. It combines the structure of a bootcamp with the flexibility of learning from home. Xccelerate offers flexible learning options including remote learning.

Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps are typically 8-16 weeks rigorous, interpersonal courses where students are taught and made to code to learn through practice for the course duration. These bootcamps are the best way to gain hands-on training in coding languages and learn faster, imparting aspirants with a developer-level mindset, coding skills, design ability, and the expertise they need to make it into the industry as web developers.