Decision Time: Choosing Your Web Development Path

One of the decisions I had to make after learning some of the basics of web development was which career path I should choose. That might seem like an odd question, but there are different flavors of web creators. As I progressed in my skills, I began researching different topics for advanced web development. My appetite for knowledge was insatiable. I would read everything I could get my hands on. I quickly realized, though, that the amount technologies being used for website creation was far greater than my capacity to retain what I was reading. I needed to make some choices as to my career goals. In this post, I want to give you what I see as a couple of different career paths you might want to consider as you progress in your skills.

In its most simplistic form, there seems to be two major paths. One path is the Web Designer path and the other is the Web Developer path. Web designers are those individuals whose focus is on look-and-feel of the web site. They create the websites structure, layout and color scheme which requires a lot of creativity and ingenuity. To them, website creation is more of an art than a technical task. Much of their time is spent working with CSS and images in order to create an appealing design. Web developers are the implementers. They often build upon what the web designers have created adding functionality. They are more concerned with how the websites functions than how it looks. They create the behind-the-scene logic and processes.

Now, I am not suggesting that you can only do one or the other. Many people are successful at both. What I would recommend is to choose one path now. Learn as much as you can about that path and then add elements of the other path into your learning plan. Also, most employers are looking for a specialist in one path or the other so mastering one path might make you more marketable.

If your interest is Web Design, here are a couple of topics you will need to learn:

  • HTML and CSS (especially CSS)
  • Images
  • JavaScript
  • Color Theory
  • Cross browser differences

As a Web Developer, you need to focus on:

  • HTML and CSS
  • JavaScript
  • Scripting Languages (such as ASP and PHP)
  • Databases
  • Object Oriented Programming

Try and choose a path now so that you can narrow the number of topics in which you need to focus.


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