Is Learning Web Development Worth It?

You are staring at your computer, mulling over if learning web development is worth it. Don’t worry. You are not alone. Many others have been at the same crossroads and choosing whether to spend countless hours of your time to become savvy in web development is a big decision. In short, it all depends on your individual goals. 

Studying web development is worth it, But you don’t have to learn it all. If you are seeking an intrinsically rewarding career or if you just want to know more as a consumer about web development, understanding the basics of web development can help you. Knowing about frameworks, databases, servers, and the many coding languages can help you efficiently and effectively create websites and solve any problems that arise in them or who to hire to do it for you.

Take a moment to think about what your biggest motivation is for setting foot onto the web development path. Whatever the reason, I plan to validate your choice to become a developer and tell you just how worthwhile the web development field is. 

The Extent Web Development Is Worth It

Just like you don’t have to be a professional athlete to enjoy soccer, you don’t need to be a developer to enjoy and appreciate web development. Likewise, the more you practice, the better you become. Even learning a small amount of development can help your work team tremendously.

When Learning Web Development Is Worth It

Learning the basics of coding languages like HTML, CSS, and Javascript are helpful for communicating with your team members. 

If you are the only person at your company in charge of building a website or are a  web freelancer, having more in-depth knowledge about coding languages like HTML, PHP, SQL, XML, Javascript, or CSS, the database, servers, and API will be extra beneficial to you. The types of coding languages to focus on will depend on what you want to build and how customizable and feature-rich you want your website to be. 

Frameworks make the dreams work

Depending on your situation, you may want to just use frameworks of the code that are already built. Using a framework would require a lot less web development knowledge than coding a website from scratch. A framework is a preconceived method for building something that can be a way of organizing project files, a drag and drop interface, or anything in-between. An example would be WordPress’s fully built PHP framework which many people use to create their own websites with minimal web development knowledge.  

When you do learn more in-depth coding language for both the front and back end of a website, you will be able to assist in increasing a website’s recoverability, security, maintainability, and interoperability. Creating websites isn’t just about making the website look pretty. That is more up to the web, visual, and UX (user experience) designers. Website developers help the website be fast, secure, functional, and reliable.

In addition, many web developers talk about the intrinsic rewards of knowing code and proclaim that alone is enough reason to learn web development. The feelings of accomplishment when completing a project they worked on whether it was for 8 hours or 8 months continues to drive their passion. The community of developers is very collaborative as shown with open code where developers can learn from each others’ successes online and copy another developers’ system step by step. Even the creators of Twitter started Twitter on an open-source platform for everyone to see. They just used the open source to their advantage to experiment with their framework of Twitter and eventually created Bootstrap. 

When Learning Web Development is Not Worth It

Depending on the company you work for, learning the basics of those coding languages for the sole purpose of making a website from scratch is often not worth it because: 

a. Other members on your team may already know how to code in much more extensive detail so they could do that part of the website building for you. Speaking particularly to if you are on the business side of the company in marketing, graphic design, or sales.

b. It is so much quicker and easier to use a website builder application like WordPress or SquareSpace if you are asked to build a website than start from scratch. These website creators were literally built to make your life simpler.  

c. It takes a lot of time to learn development and know enough to construct a website with strong data integrity, 99% uptime, and great user experience and accessibility. Sure you may be able to create a website, but will it be good is the question. 

However don’t be discouraged. Learning web development just takes time and commitment and it can be worthwhile to everyone to understand how the web works, even if just as a consumer. 

Low Barriers to Entry

Web development is worth the time commitment to learn. You can learn for free, at your own pace, whenever you want! How fast you get there can vary based on the time you have available to set aside for it but the underlying message is web development is accessible for anyone who wants to learn more about it. It is a career that you can get into at any point in your life. 

Learning for free

Let’s talk about learning for free. You can gain experience for zero cost through reading up on industry trends on WDRL (web development reading list) at https://wdrl.info/archive or attending FreeCodeCamp.com. There are other coding bootcamps but most are not zero cost. Some others include The Odin Project, Codecademy, and Coding Dojo. 

It’s smart to vet a coding camp before you decide to pay money for it as some coding camps are better than others when it comes to gaining project and result oriented experience to put on your resume. This is important to note for job interviews, since developers are often judged by their portfolio of completed work rather than schooling. This means you don’t need to graduate college to be a web developer. Many successful web designers never went to college and learned purely by self study. 

Typically the best way to get your foot in the door for a certain job in web development is to already have done the job you are applying for. How do you do that? Take for instance you wanted to become a WordPress plugin developer. What’s the best thing you could put in your portfolio? Successful WordPress plug-ins you created that are being used by others. 

You can use this analogy for any niche in web development you want to pursue. Often prospective developers will create free plug-ins, apps or software for others to use in open source code so their work can gain notoriety and their job interviewers will see their skills and capabilities. 

The accessibility of a web development career doesn’t stop at little to no schooling required. You also hardly need any equipment to get started. The only must have item would be a basic computer and access to the internet. 

Lots of Opportunity = Lots of Flexibility

In web development, you are provided with ample areas to specialize in. Web development is worth pursuing if you are ever worried about becoming bored and learning all there is to know in your current job.

The three main types of careers you can pursue in web development are to be a front end developer, back end developer, or full stack developer. 

  1. A front end developer is one who helps design and modify the look of the site using HTML, CSS, and Javascript most often. They work on debugging and testing the site using browser development tools, version control, monitoring website performance like site speed, and use CSS frameworks like Bootstrap to create responsive design.  
  1. A back end developer creates the systems to support the front end part of the website including the website database, server, and API. Back end developers jobs can involve building frameworks or architecture, writing unit tests, producing a payment processing system, or even organizing the logic of the system.
  1. A full stack developer is an expert in both front and back end development but typically knows the systems in slightly less detail than a full front end or back end developer. 

In each of these segments of web development, you have the options to specialize in different programs and decide how deep you plan to go. Programs to learn in development can include:

Type of DeveloperPossible Skills Needed
Front EndJavaScript, HTML, CSS, JQuery, HTML5, CSS3, Ajax, JavaScript, Angular, ReactJS, vue.js, Ember.js and Meteor.js
UX/UI
Back EndJavaScript, HTML, CSS, JQuery, SQL, Java, Linux, Python, Ruby, PHP
Full StackJavaScript, HTML, CSS, JQuery, PHP, SQL, HTML5, Ajax, CSS3, Linux, Python, Ruby, Angular or ReactJS, UI; HTTP/HTTPS, Bootstrap, Git, GitHub,  SourceFree 
LAMP Stack – Linux, Apache, MYSQL, PHPMERN Stack – MongoDB, Express, Angular.js, Node.jsMEAN Stack – MongoDB, Express, Angular.js, Node.js

As you can see above, there are dozens of frameworks, languages and systems to learn. It’s up to you to figure out where you want to spend your time. 

The flexibility of web development doesn’t just come from its endless learning opportunities. There are also lots of options in the jobs. With millions of unfilled web development jobs, there is plenty of opportunity to help those companies out by either directly applying for the position or by becoming your own boss and contracting out your services to multiple companies. When you choose to freelance you open up the realm of possibilities, leaving flexibility to travel, live wherever you’d like, set your schedule, and more. 

Conclusion

If you are considering learning web development whether to understand the basics or make your career out of it, it is worth it. Web development offers a job filled with intrinsic satisfaction, lifestyle flexibility, and the option to become your own boss. It is easy to get into and offers you endless opportunities to learn. So what are you waiting for? Pick up that coding book and start reading!