Should I Become a Web Developer or Web Programmer?

Adult education
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What is a Web Programmer or Web Developer?:

A Web programmer or Web developer is the person in charge of making the website do things. They create the interactivity on the site including the actions on forms, rollovers for menus, and any Ajax or other programmming on the site.

The following questions detail some of the common aspects of working as a Web developer or Web programmer for a company (not freelancing).

The more of the questions that you can honestly answer "yes" to the more suited Web programmer is to you as a profession. Remember, however, that Web development is only one way to work on Web pages. There are also jobs as Web designers, Web producers, Web writers and graphic artists, and Web freelancers. You may be better suited to one of these professions.

Are you interested in the Web?:

Most Web programmers love the Web. They browse it a lot and love looking at other Web pages. While it's possible to do the work without enjoying the medium, if you don't like Web pages, eventually programming them will start to annoy you. If you aren't interested in the Web, then looking for a job as a Web programmer isn't a good idea.

Do you like to solve problems with computers?:

Web programmers are typically problem solvers. They prefer to make a Web page "work" than make it look pretty. If you find yourself thinking a lot about how to make a Web page do something, then you are well suited to be a Web programmer.

Are you willing to learn several Web languages?:

As a professional Web developer or Web programmer, you'll need to learn several different languages. The two most important are HTML and Javascript. But you will ultimately want to learn other languages as well for server-side scripting like:

  • ASP and .Net
  • And there are dozens of other languages you can learn

Are you willing to learn how to work with databases?:

More and more websites use a database on the back-end to serve pages, store content, and manage the site. Maintaining these databases is nearly always the responsibility of the Web developer or Web programmer.

Can you work well with other people?:

Most Web developers are a part of a team of people working on the website. If you don't like working with other people or want to do everything yourself, you should consider freelancing or working at a very small company. Otherwise, you'll almost certainly have to work with designers to create the look of the page, Web producers to manage the HTML and CSS, and Web writers and graphic artists for the content. You might have to fill some of these roles yourself, but most companies split these jobs to some extent.