You’re well on your way to becoming a skilled web developer, but even early on in the job you’ve discovered that there are certain things that other people just don’t get. And while they seem quite straightforward to you, you find that even other members of the team are asking questions that don’t make sense or make you doubt if they truly understand what it’s like to be a web developer.
It can be frustrating--we get it! But before you get too down, remember that there are a lot of people out there who go through the same daily struggles as web developers and totally get where you’re coming from. In fact, that’s why we’ve dedicated this article to helping you relate with other web developers and take a sigh of relief: it’s not just you!
A Day in the Life of a Web Developer
Before we head right into things that only web developers understand, let’s explore web development a bit further, explain the most common roles in the field, and dissect the daily life of web developers.
What is web development?
As we’re sure you know, web development is the field of creating, building, maintaining, and optimizing websites and applications, incorporating practically every aspect of the entire process. With the field itself, this means every aspect, such as web design, web programming, web publishing, web optimization, and database management, among others.
Because the field of web development is so broad and takes on lots of responsibilities, the roles you may see or consider for yourself in web development are varied:
Front end developer: one of the most common roles on a web development team is a front end developer, whose main responsibilities lie with the client side of the website, ensuring the client experience is as positive as possible through intuitive, dynamic, and easy-to-use designs
Back end developer: another frequently seen role is a back end developer, who manages the server side, or the back end, of the website, creating, writing, and debugging the code that lets the website run as intended.
Fullstack developer: for those that simply can’t decide between the front and back ends, fullstack development is a combination of both, typically used on smaller teams that don’t have the bandwidth to employ two separate professionals.
Graphic designer: a well-written and dynamic website is useless if users can’t navigate it easily and aren’t drawn to the site’s design and look and feel. UX designers or graphic designers are responsible for the overall feel and design of the website.
Quality tester: as we mentioned above, the website needs to be fast, dynamic, and attractive to potential clients and quality testers are responsible for flagging any potential issues with the site, such as slow loading times, bugs, or non-responsive links/pages.
Project manager: such a large team means there’s many moving parts that are simultaneously working on the same project; to ensure that problems are flagged as soon as they emerge and not too late, project managers oversee the day-to-day of the entire team.
Your specific responsibilities will vary based on your particular role and daily tasks, but web developers can expect to incorporate the following into their day-to-day on the job:
Writing code: this one is pretty obvious! Web developers are known for their ability to write code, but it’s not just any code: this code needs to be clean (meaning free of bugs) and efficient (meaning it moves fast). The exact programming language used will depend on your company, knowledge, and needs at that moment, but web developers are typically proficient in a few and have experience with the HTML and CSS frameworks.
Team meetings: as we mentioned above, web development teams are quite varied and everyone has different roles and responsibilities. To ensure that the project is moving at the correct speed and will meet deadlines, daily team meetings are an absolute necessity and help tackle any roadblocks while guaranteeing everyone is on the same page.
Testing: even the best web developers sometimes see bugs in their code and that’s totally fine; that’s why the testing stage is such an essential part of the web development day-to-day. Testing and trying out your designs helps you identify any possible issues, in addition to ensuring that the product is flawless once it’s released to users.
Monitoring live products: the job of a web developer doesn’t end once a product is launched to users; in fact, web developers must continue to monitor and evaluate the results from their previous projects to ensure that there are no issues and optimize processes when needed.
Things Only Web Developers Will Understand
With a clear understanding of what web developers do on a daily basis and the different roles that exist within the field of web development, let’s dive right into the things that only web developers will understand and what we can do to tackle some of these common misconceptions.
When people assume you know all the programming languages
There are tons of programming languages out there and many developers frequently face others assuming they just know them all! But as you know, programming languages are quite varied and to truly master one, it takes lots of time, practice, and dedication, meaning even the best programmers only use a couple at one time.
Our tip: if someone says this, take the chance to explain to them that it’s simply not possible to know every single programming language out there because they’re all detailed and as a professional, you prefer to focus on just a few and master them, instead of spreading yourself thin across many.
When people conflate front and back end development responsibilities
As a front end developer, you might have people ask you about back end responsibilities (or vice versa!) and there’s nothing more frustrating than someone showing a complete lack of understanding of what you do. This issue is more commonplace than one might imagine, given that fullstack developers exist and do take on the responsibilities of both of these roles.
Our tip: if someone asks you to do something out of your skill set or knowledge, kindly remind them that your expertise lies in your specific area of knowledge and point them in the right direction. It may get tedious to do this over and over again, but keep in mind it comes from a place of ignorance, not of malice!
When someone says, “Can’t ChatGPT do that for you?”
Artificial intelligence tools are incredible and we’re lucky to live in a time where they’re just taking off and we’re discovering everything they can do to help us. This doesn’t mean, however, that they’re suited to take on any challenge or capable of writing detailed code that’s specific to our exact project needs, checking it for problems, and maintaining it over time.
Our tip: people are excited about ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence tools because what they can accomplish is truly awesome. So before you get too frustrated with these repeated comments, focus on what AI tools can do to help you and your daily workload and don’t let these kinds of comments get to you.
When someone assumes something is a simple fix
Have you ever worked so hard on creating what you think is incredible, clean, and efficient code only to be faced with bugs and other challenges from the rest of your team? Probably, because it’s a normal part of the job for the vast majority of web developers; what’s most frustrating, however, is people assuming that fixing these issues is simple and requires little time when in reality, you’ll have to painstakingly review your code to find the bug and fix it.
Our tip: you and only you know how to properly do your job and while it can be frustrating to have your hard work and responsibilities minimized to simple, take it as a compliment: you make it look so easy that they see it as a simple fix! You can also take the time to explain the intricacies of reviewing and debugging code to ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future.
The life of a web developer is incredible--you’ll consistently be challenged throughout your career, always ready to take on the next challenge and master whatever comes your way. But we understand that it also comes with its frustrations and requires a good deal of patience, especially when dealing with those who don’t truly understand what being a web developer is all about.
While it can seem impossible, we’re here to tell you some good news: it’s truly not! Becoming a web developer in 2024 is all about facing unknown challenges and setting yourself up for success in a field that’s growing exponentially. And at Ironhack, our Web Development Bootcamp is specifically designed to teach you what you need to know to reach success in this awesome tech-filled world.
If you’re considering taking the next step towards starting your web development career, you’re in the right place--check out our bootcamp below and don’t let another day pass!