If you’re considering becoming a web developer, great choice! Web development is an exciting and lucrative career path, with a low barrier to entry for beginners.
But deciding to explore a career in web development is the easy part.
To help you figure out if you’ve got what it takes to be a web developer — and if web development is actually right for you — you need a realistic understanding of today’s web developer requirements.
But with pages upon pages worth of (sometimes conflicting) information to troll through, getting your questions answered is easier said than done!
We’re here to help 🙋
In this blog post, we’ve rounded up nine of the most commonly asked questions about the skills, traits, and background required to become a web developer.
Our aim is to help you put some of your niggling anxieties about becoming a web developer to rest — so you can confidently move forward knowing exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
These are the questions we’ll answer:
- 🧑💻 What makes a good web developer?
- ➗ Does web development require math?
- 🎨 Does web development require design skills?
- 👵 Is there an age requirement for web development?
- 📚 What education do you need to become a web developer?
- 🤔 Is web development for introverts?
- 🎆 Does web development require creativity?
- 😓 Is web development hard to learn?
- 👀 Should I become a web developer?
- 🎓 Web development requirements: Next steps
Ready? Let’s get into it!
What makes a good web developer?
Short answer: Good web developers are proactive, keen learners, and committed problem-solvers. If you’ve already mastered these core soft skills, you’ll definitely make a good web developer.
When you’re considering a career change into web development, you might be wondering about how you’ll stack up against other web developers. So, what makes a good web developer — and how do you know if you’re the right fit?
The truth is, there are certain characteristics and personality traits employers look for in entry-level developers to enhance their tech teams. These include:
- Adaptability 👉 Web developers need to be able to think on their feet and remain positive and proactive in response to changes in direction, turbulent times in the company, or tight deadlines.
- Attention to detail 👉 If nothing gets past you, chances are you’ll make a great web developer. Pixel-perfect websites and applications require a keen eye for detail, and a commitment to delivering an exceptional experience for the end user.
- Willingness to learn 👉 From processes and frameworks to programming languages, there’ll genuinely always be something new to learn — and you’ll need to stay ahead of the latest technology and user trends.
- Problem-solving skills 👉 Good web developers are committed to finding a solution, no matter how complex the problem. If you love hearing “it can’t be done” so you can prove people wrong, you’ll be an asset to any tech team.
- Communication skills 👉 You’ll be expected to work with designers, product managers, developers, and other key stakeholders throughout the business. Tip-top communication skills are a must, especially when it comes to translating technical concepts into simple terms.
These are just some of the characteristics that separate good web developers from great ones. If you pride yourself on already having a few of these checked off, you can rest assured that you’re on the right track.
Does web development require math?
Short answer : Having basic or intermediate math skills might help you connect the dots quicker, but it’s certainly not a prerequisite for becoming a web developer.
When many people think of coding or programming, they think of math. In reality, a lot of computer science is in fact rooted in math — which is why math is often listed as a prerequisite for IT degrees. So let’s set the record straight: Do you need to be a math whiz to go the distance as a web developer?
The short answer is no, you don’t.
Web development might see you use basic arithmetic or algebra when working with formulas, variables, and pixels. This includes:
- Calculating the sizes and positions of various elements on a webpage
- Using decimals, fractions, and percentages for CSS styling
- Using acute logic-based critical thinking skills to solve complex problems
Backend development requires some more intermediate mathematic equations to build more complex systems and applications, like game engines or rockets 🚀. But for frontend development, all you need is an in-depth understanding of the programming languages and tools you’re using.
Does web development require design skills?
Short answer: Design skills aren’t required — but learning some basic design skills will undoubtedly make you better at working with designers, and give you a competitive edge on the tech job market.
In practice, design skills aren’t required for web development. Web developers will have a lot of proximity to design by default — and might even find themselves searching for inspo on design sites like Dribbble or Behance. But they don’t need to design in order to get the job done.
That’s not to say that design skills aren’t a big plus ➕. A growing number of developers are adding UX/UI design to their skills arsenal, which gives them a distinct advantage, including:
- 🔥 Better communication with UI designers to properly interpret their ideas
- 🔥 A better understanding of usability concepts, to create more user-friendly end experiences
- 🔥 A smoother, more frictionless handoff from design to development
Is there an age requirement for web development?
Short answer: You’re never too old for a career change! As long as you’ve got the necessary skills, and a kick-ass web development portfolio, age shouldn’t be a factor in your ability to land your first web development role.
Ageism is a hot topic in the tech world. Thankfully, a lot of outdated stigmas around hiring older developers are slowly making their way out. Nevertheless, many older web developers to-be are wondering if their age will impact their ability to forge a successful and fulfilling career as a web developer.
Rest assured: There is absolutely no age limit to becoming a web developer. No matter your age, location, and background, it’s never been more accessible to learn the technical skills you need to break into the field.
What’s more, there are plenty of opportunities to go around — as long as you’re happy to start your career in a junior web development position.
There are also quite a few benefits to becoming a web developer later in life. You’ll likely have:
- 🔥 More experience and wisdom to bring to the role,
- 🔥 More transferable skills from your previous career paths; and
- 🔥 More patience and resilience in your approach to learning new skills.
Just ask former customer service professional Michael Robards, who defied the odds and learned how to code at 51 years old (while working full-time, we might add) before landing a career-defining developer role at Coca Cola! 🥤✨
What education do you need to become a web developer?
Short answer: You don’t need a computer science degree to become a web developer. You just need to learn the technical web developer skills required to do the job, which you can do on a frontend developer course.
One of the most searched queries about web development is whether or not you need a relevant degree. With web development being a technical vocation, surely some kind of computer science degree or IT qualification is required, right?
Sure, many computer science graduates go on to become web developers — and some foundational education in programming is definitely an advantage. But you won’t be on the back foot without one.
In fact, you can be a high-flying web developer without any degree at all. We talk more about this in our guide to becoming a web developer without a degree.
For today’s tech employers, the emphasis is placed on your technical abilities and soft skills. And when it comes to learning those skills, there are much cheaper, faster, and more career-focused alternatives to getting a degree (we’ll explore these at the end).
Web development’s low barrier to entry makes it a popular choice for career changers from all kinds of backgrounds. Don’t believe us? Check out Scrimba graduate Chris McCoy, whose past experiences included:
- Food delivery driver 🍔
- Retail worker 🛍, and
- Pastor ✝️
…before he decided on a more permanent career change into web development.
Despite his history of odd-jobs (and lack of computer science degree) he still managed to land a great web development role.
Is web development for introverts?
Short answer: Web development definitely isn’t just for introverts. Extroverts will have plenty of opportunities to meet and collaborate with colleagues, and even introverted web developers will be expected to come out of their shell to present and talk through their work.
One quick Google image search of ‘web developer’ will generate images of solitary professionals sitting pensively at their desks, surrounded by multiple screens that show endless lines of incomprehensible code in dark-mode.
Not a very ‘social’ picture, so it’s no wonder most people think of web development as an isolated discipline — perfect for introverts.
Naturally, there is a lot of autonomous work involved in being a web developer. Coding, de-bugging, and CSS styling all require a level of deep focus. But there’s a lot more collaboration and teamwork involved in the day-to-day than you might think.
As part of their day-to-day jobs, web developers have to:
- 📣 Present and explain their work to key stakeholders across the business
- 🤔 Lead and participate in problem-solving and strategy workshops
- 🧑🏫 Mentor and onboard other team members
Web developers also work collaboratively with designers, product managers, and other members of the product team.
The balance of solitary work to collaborative work varies from company to company, depending on the culture. But if you’re worried about feeling isolated or ‘cut off’ as a solitary web developer, rest assured: From web development communities to regular meet-ups and webinars, there are endless opportunities for socialization and collaboration in the web development world.
Does web development require creativity?
Short answer: Web developers are truly the magicians of tech 🪄. If you don’t consider yourself a creative person, you can still become a web developer — but having a creative approach to web development will help you get better at your craft.
Web development is generally considered a technical and mechanical field, devoid of creativity. But many people don’t consider web development ‘creative’ because they have a more traditional definition of what creativity entails.
Unlike designers, who work with creative mediums like colors, fonts, or animation, web developers are primarily concerned with building and problem solving. So how much creativity does the role really require? 🧑💻✨
While web development might not explicitly be a creative discipline, programming actually does require some degree of creative flair.
Web developers are in charge of getting clever with code to bring the interface’s elements to life. They’re also expected to find creative solutions to technical problems; thinking outside of the box and incorporating various tools, techniques, and frameworks to create digital experiences that users will love.
Because of this, web developers are often visionaries who are able to step back and look at the bigger picture 🤩.
Is web development hard to learn?
Short answer: Learning web development will be a challenge. But with the right support, you’ll triumphantly come out of the other side with all the web developer skills you need to land your first role.
This is a very frequently asked question among beginner web developers — and for good reason.
🛠 On one hand, some senior professionals paint web development as a tough and exclusive industry that is ‘not for the weak.’
🍋 On the other hand, you’re bombarded by offers from various bootcamps claiming anyone can learn web development in less than a day, easy-peasy lemon squeezy.
With so many conflicting messages about what the journey into web development really looks like, it’s hard to get a sense of what you’re in for.
The reality is that learning web development is no walk in the park. There’s a fairly long list of technical skills that every web developer should know, and it’ll take a hefty amount of time, motivation, and commitment to master them all.
Think about it like this: If web development was easy, web developers wouldn’t be so well paid 💰.
But don’t panic! Web development has a low barrier to entry, and an abundance of resources and networks to help beginners nail their new skills.
In her book Crossing the Rubycon, author and web developer Nadia Zhuk talks about her experience of breaking into the field as a beginner:
“I found web development to be challenging, but still, it is not rocket science. Yes, you need to understand core programming principles and master a lot of tools, but you don’t need to get a five-year college degree or go through years of training. You can start building simple programs within a few months—or weeks—of starting to code, and you can be hired as a programmer within a year of starting to learn. If I did it, there is no reason you won’t be able to do it.”
The key takeaway is that if you’re motivated and committed to learning the craft, you’ll be rewarded with a long and fulfilling career. Even some of the most senior, high-earning developers felt like the dumbest person in the room at one point. Everyone has to start somewhere — and if you stick with it, what you consider ‘too difficult’ one day will feel like a breeze the next.
To help you along your way, here are 5 quick-fire tips to guarantee success:
- 🤝 Join a web developer community where you’ll find other beginners on a similar journey who can keep you accountable.
- 🧑🏫 Find a mentor who can offer tailored feedback on your work and help you build a personal roadmap to success.
- 📆 Create a schedule for learning web development, and stick to it — so you’re less likely to fall off the bandwagon.
- ✏️ Do an interactive course that allows you to immediately apply your skills to real-world projects, which will accelerate your learning.
- 📱Make learning web development fun and engaging by doing coding challenges, games, and hackathons.
Should I become a web developer?
Short answer: Everyone can learn to code, but not everyone has what it takes to become amazing developers. Some are destined to go the distance, whereas others might hit a wall and realize it’s not for them.
In this blog post, we’ve looked at some of the most common fears and anxieties people have about breaking into web development: From how much math and design is required, to whether or not you’re the right age.
Now, the ultimate question remains: Should you become a web developer?
The answer to this question depends entirely on your motivations, personality, and past experiences. The reality is that web development isn’t for everyone: And some types of people thrive more in the field than others.
🛑 If you hate sitting at a computer every day, and don’t have the patience to solve complex technical problems, a career in web development right not be the right fit for you.
✅ If you’re a keen problem solver with an analytical mind (maybe you love puzzles or Sudoku) and you find satisfaction in seeing immediate results from your hard work — these are great signs that you should become a web developer.
On the Scrimba podcast, we asked junior developer career coach Anna whether anyone can be a coder. In response, she likened coding to singing:
“There are some people who are just tone deaf and no matter what they do, it's just not going to work for them. I believe this is a very, very, very small proportion of the world's population. I think almost anyone can learn to hold a tune and sing. I see coding as being very similar to singing in that there are some people who roll out of bed at the age of six and somehow sound like professional singers. I believe almost anyone in the entire world can at least learn the basics of programming and at least become decent at creating code.”
Meeting web development requirements: Next steps
Navigating web developer requirements can be a minefield, which is why it’s worth investing in the right course or program to ensure you’re hitting them all — like Scrimba’s frontend developer path.
Created to get beginner developers hired, we’ll take you through every stage of learning web development; starting with fundamental web dev concepts, right through to nailing the web developer interview process. You’ll also be taught by industry-leading developers, and practice your new skills through interactive coding challenges.
The best part? The path comes at a fraction of the cost of a traditional coding bootcamp 💰🤩.