If you are to become a web developer, you probably want to know what to expect ! What will your life look like day-to-day? Who will you be working with? What do you even do at work 🤔?
A day in the life of a web developer varies from person to person. Your company’s values, the size of the organisation you work for, who’s on your team, and your personal preferences will all impact what your daily life will look like when you become a developer.
Some people like mornings. They work from 9 am to 5 pm and wake up at 5 am to make time to get exercise in the morning. Others are night owls and find themselves waking up right before they need to log on to their work-from-home job, later enjoying personal time after work 🦉.
While it’s not the simplest task to predict a day in the life of a web developer, there are some standard aspects of a job like this. Web developers can, at least, expect to be doing a lot of coding and collaborating with their teams.
So, what does a web developer do on a daily basis? Read on to find out!
What is a Web Developer?
A web developer writes, tests, and designs the code that makes up a website or web application. Web development is split into two parts: the frontend and the backend.
A frontend developer focuses on the code that runs inside the web browser (a.k.a. the client-side). A backend developer handles the code that runs on the server (a.k.a. the server-side). A full stack developer is someone who works on both the front and the backend of a website.
What does a web developer do on a daily basis?
Usually, a developer is expected to work a typical 8-hour workday or 9-5 schedule but there are exceptions to this rule. There are also times when you may be expected to stay late to finish a certain aspect of a project to meet a deadline.
Most developers split their day into two parts when making their schedule. Let’s look at what a typical developer does in the morning and afternoon.
For most developers, the morning is reserved for planning, team meetings, administrative tasks, and deep coding work. Most developers find it easiest to focus on deep work as early as possible in the morning. But it’s also important to make a game plan with your team before diving into work.
In the morning, you can probably find a developer doing tasks like:
- Answering emails ✉️
- Setting up meetings 🧘🏻
- Reviewing pull requests 👨🏻💻
- Attending morning team meetings 👋🏻
- Working on a sprint 🏃🏻♂️
- Working on tickets 🎫
- Developing skills 📈
- Writing or reading documentation 👀
Afternoons are usually reserved for collaboration, experimentation, more meetings, or deadline work. If they’re coming up on a deadline, developers might find themselves doing more deep work in the afternoon. But for the most part, afternoons are for collaboration and higher-level tasks.
In the afternoon, you can probably find a developer doing tasks like:
- Testing code 🧰
- Debugging code 🐛
- Deploying completed projects ⬆️
- Creating documentation 📝
- Writing design briefs 🎨
- Responding to emails ✉️
- Attending collaborative meetings 👋🏻
- Pair programming with a teammate 👥
What does a web developer do?
If you become a web developer, your responsibilities will depend on whether you specialise in frontend, backend, or full stack. As a web developer, you’ll be responsible for three types of work:
- Developing: finding solutions, developing new features, collaborating with your team, pair programming, creating design documents, creating documentation, and presenting solutions to your team.
- Testing: maintaining software functionality, finding and fixing bugs, code reviews, pull requests, responding to tickets, and incorporating user feedback.
- Deploying: using git to share code, staging and launching new code, and launching new features or products.
Many developers will be managing multiple projects or pieces of a product at once. One thing is for sure, being able to manage your time on multiple different types of tasks in one day is essential.
What is the workplace of a developer like?
Being a web developer is exciting and has many perks including:
- the freedom to work from home
- negotiate what you work on (which tickets, etc.)
- and work with smart people.
Every web developer job looks a bit different. For instance, if you work at a startup, your life will probably be wildly different every day and you’ll work on many different things.
At larger companies, you’ll likely have more stability and predictability unless you’re on a tight deadline.
Around the world, remote web dev jobs are becoming the most common but some will require in-office work. Every company has its own culture and unique traits.
ℹ️ Some teams are incredibly collaborative and involve many meetings while others will involve mostly solitary work with only occasional collaboration.
You may end up working for a company that holds fun events for their staff and expects you to join many meetings for company morale.
While others stick to the bare bones of company culture and only expect you to get your work done as efficiently as possible.
Does a web developer work with a team?
Web developers often work on a team! Unless they work for a startup or as a freelancer, developers are usually integral parts of the information technology team. But their team isn’t just made up of other developers.
Developers usually work on a team with
- Visual designer: (sometimes called web designers) who create the fonts, colours, spacing, emotion, visual concept, and theme
- User interface designer: (sometimes called information architects or interaction designers) who designs wireframes, user interactions, user interface functionality, and app structure
- Frontend developer: who writes code that users interact with which runs on the user’s device
- Backend developer: who writes code that runs on the server
- Full stack developer: who works on both frontend and backend code
- User experience designer: who maps out the user journey, designs app flow and conducts user testing
- Data scientist: who engineers the data components of the website, creates automations, and collects and analyses data that the project collects.
Some larger teams might also have an SEO strategist, DevOps engineers, performance engineers, API developers, database administrators, or quality assurance engineers.
Who does a web developer report to?
Web developers usually report to someone else in the IT department. This varies from company to company depending on the size of the organisation. As a web developer, your relationship with your manager will vary at each job as well.
Most developers report to a senior developer, the IT manager, a project or product manager, or the web development manager. Freelance web developers typically report directly to the client, a project manager, or a company contact person.
ℹ️ If you’re not a freelancer, you’ll have one-on-one meetings with your manager often. You’ll probably see them on a daily basis in the morning meeting. Sometimes you’ll collaborate with them at other points throughout the day.
At some companies, your manager may also act as a mentor too. This is especially true at large tech organisations like Google and Microsoft. Some startups also prioritise mentorship.
A day in the life of a web developer
Now you know what a developer actually does! The web developer’s job is to construct and maintain websites or web applications. Web developers might work in-house or freelance, remotely or in-person. Their specific tasks and responsibilities will vary depending on the company they work for.
Developers usually spend about half of their time coding and working on projects, a quarter of their time in meetings, and the remaining time finding and fixing errors. Outside of coding, a developer’s most valuable skills are time management and collaboration.
They work with teams and their responsibilities are often changing daily. Developers need to effectively budget their time with enough focus on deep code work and handling tasks that the rest of their team sends their way.
Does this sound like the job for you? Learn more about how to become a web developer!