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To be a web developer, you will need to learn HTML, CSS and JavaScript!

But hold on – you should also know that before a web developer actually writes any code, there are a number of steps, and several other disciplines may be involved: User Interface experts, Information Architects, Interaction Designers and of course, Visual Designers. Sketches may have been drawn, flowcharts created, navigation and interfaces designed and even prototypes built, but ultimately, someone has to sit down and write the code! The front end web developer is that person. They actually get to build the final site.

Modern websites are built using HTML, CSS and Javascript. Web developers must have production-level skills in these languages.

HTML – your first step

Your journey begins with HTML. Originally, webpages were built only with HTML (and subsequently didn’t look very exciting). There’s more going on in modern webpages, but HTML is still absolutely essential. HTML provides a library of ‘tags’ which define various page elements – headings, paragraphs, lists, sections, images etc. Web developers often refer to HTML as providing the structure of the page. HTML alone won’t create a modern webpage though – here’s a page from 1994, before CSS was introduced:

CSS – it’s all about presentation

Once you have the basics of HTML (and that doesn’t take long), you’ll need to learn how to write CSS. Everything from fonts and colour to page layouts and responsive design and beyond. So, a visual designer may provide an exact specification for a button – colour, shape and size, font, positioning, how the button responds to the mouse, basically everything to do with the button’s appearance. CSS is used to implement the design. Your designer is happy!

Javascript – watch your behaviour

Javascript is a programming language, which runs in the web browser. It provides ‘behaviour’, or in other words, interactivity, animation and more. When you interact with an image slider, or even play a game online, Javascript is working behind the scenes to make that stuff happen. You don’t have to be a programmer to begin writing Javascript – some stuff is pretty simple. Many front end web developers use existing scripts, and modify them to suit their particular requirements.

jQuery – making Javascript easier

JQuery is a Javascript library that dramatically speeds up the scripting process. jQuery utilises familiar and concise CSS syntax. There are hundreds of plug-ins for jQuery that cover pretty much everything to do with user interface design – slideshows, responsive navigation, animated scrolling and much more.

Your journey continues

Web developers may be expected to have a good understanding of a wide range of topics including SEO, animation, image optimisation, video User Interface design, UX… And then there are ‘assistive technologies’ – solutions that speed up the development process in different ways: Frameworks such as Bootstrap or Foundation and CSS pre-processors such as SASS or LESS.

The journey towards becoming a web developer doesn’t simply stop at the end of the line – it’s a lifelong learning experience. Our industry changes constantly, and one of the exciting challenges is keeping abreast of new technologies and techniques, and staying as close as possible to the cutting edge!

Ready to get started?

City Desktop Training provides a wide range of web development courses at all levels – from beginner to advanced, as well as certification packages. If you’re ready to jump in, our intensive HTML | CSS & Web Principles course covers HTML and CSS to an intermediate level – a great way to get up and running quickly.

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