Learning about legacy technologies is one thing; understanding what truly matters for web development in 2018 is another. To land a web developer’s role in an ultra-competitive environment, you need to have the skills that give you the winning edge. Before coding a website, a web developer has to have a thorough grounding in design skills, new technologies, front and back-end development, digital marketing and even soft skills.
#1 Design Skills
Before a website is coded, the overall design needs to be clear. With the advent of new design principles in 2018, here’s what a web developer needs to know to excel at his or her job.
Responsive Designs, Mobile-First Technologies
As the number of smartphone users reaches record highs in 2018, a web developer must have knowledge of how to build mobile-first websites that work equally well across every OS, browser, device and screen. If the website looks amazing on a giant HD screen but fails to work on an iPhone, the chances of your succeeding in the web development industry in 2018 are slim to none.
From Google’s Material Design to Apple’s Flat Design
Knowing design paradigms is essential for a web developer. It increases the aesthetic appeal of the website, but has other benefits too. Being familiar with design paradigms creates familiarity and integrates with the advanced internet trends users today are used to. Websites need to be intuitive and functional, and design paradigms that incorporate this are an essential skill in any web developer’s repertoire of skills.
Consider the Floating Action Buttons from Google’s Material Design. This is an excellent example of functional design, because it creates clarity about where to click, and users don’t even have to think about it.
The UX, Usability and UI Matter
Buzzwords for a modern-age web developer include UX, UI and usability. Ease of use and satisfaction with a site are the key goals for any web developer. Possessing the skills to develop sites that offer exceptional value for user experience, user interface and usability matter.
Progressive Web Apps
Googleplex’s new design principle combines the best of HTML and native mobile apps without their pitfalls. These apps are just websites designed to appear like mobile apps when accessed via a device. Progressive web apps are known for their offline-first, native experience. Traditional mobile apps are not as easy or cheap to design and develop. Cross-platform progressive web apps are developed with HTML, JS and CSS, so they’re easy to build too. Fully functional mobile apps, these progressive web applications allow a faster and smoother experience than conventional mobile websites. Twitter, eBay and Forbes are just some of the companies rolling out innovative and progressive web apps.
#2 Front and Back End Web Development Skills
While HTML is a fundamental building block for websites, CSS adds an aesthetic appeal. For web developers in 2018, JS is just as important as HTML or CSS. This is because digital-age websites are extremely interactive. Apart from this, web designers must have knowledge of jQuery, Ajax requests, event listeners and manipulation of the DOM with JS.
Web developers also need to opt for version control platforms like Github which allow collaboration for editing code. Finding bugs in new codes is easier with these platforms. Knowing the latest tools for developers on browsers like Google Chrome can enable a web developer to view JS consoles in browsers, track the speed of download of fast assets from servers and a whole lot more.
Some people start out as back-end specialists. Most entry-level web developer jobs require an understanding of how the server works and websites interact with back-end infrastructure through Application Programming Interfaces.
SQL and database management are other back-end developer skills which hold value in 2018. You need to know how they work and how to interact with these. Finally, cybersecurity is the key to successful web development. Consider that in 2017 alone, 145 million US citizens faced identity theft.
Another top trending technology in web development for 2018 is AI. With skills in artificial intelligence, better user experiences can be created leading to quicker business conversions through decoding of buyer intent. With the help of AI, search results can be tracked and viable alternatives selected.
Automated chat bots make online customer support for websites also revolutionary, emulating live human interaction. These advanced technologies have caught on in 2018. Whether you’re selling a book, a software product, or any other item, AI-powered chatbots are a critical tool for effective website development. A study by Gardner found 85% of customer interactions on eCommerce sites will be managed by chatbots in 2020. This emerging technology is a critical skill to acquire, as is Motion UI.
A SASS library by Zurb enables web developers to animate quickly. Leaning away from flashy GIFs and technicolour animations, the focus is now on simple websites with modern design elements and mastering Motion UI is one way of excelling at web development in 2018.
Estimates suggest more than 43 percent of users abandon sites with security warnings. Cryptographic protocols such as TLS use three layers of protection. SSL and HTTPS are some other layers of security web developers must know how to install for securing a website. PHP versions like Laravel, Django and Ruby on Rails know-how must be part of a contemporary web developer’s skill sets too.
#3 Digital Marketing and SEO
Digital marketing skills are a must for 2018 web developers. Web developers with a knowledge of digital marketing deliver tangible results. From keyword analysis to competitor analysis, generating quality backlinks and understanding the value of content marketing and internet marketing skills are critical for web developers. Website developers must know about ORM, CRO, SEM, SMO and SEO for digital marketing success.
#4 Soft Skills
Apart from technical skills, people skills are equally important. Working on communication is critical. Soft skills like sociability also enable you to be a well-rounded developer. Many individuals tend to focus on developing just one subset of skills. To be a successful developer in 2018, there’s a lot you need to know about website development and design. For creative websites that are virtual storefronts and digital calling cards par excellence, you need to be a website developer with cutting-edge skills. There’s simply no other way to innovate.