Web development is one of, if not the, most famous areas of tech. And those who work in web development are faced with a large responsibility: creating high-quality and user-friendly websites and apps that benefit both the client and the company. As you know, with great power comes great responsibility and web developers have so many options when it comes to web design.
From design choices to debugging code, web developers face quite a wide array of challenges in their day-to-day life. And for those who aren’t prepared to tackle said challenges, the field can seem daunting. But what challenges can web developers expect and how can they overcome them? And what do web developers need to keep in mind when preparing for hurdles? We’ll cover these questions and much more in this article.
Web Development: a Quick Summary
Before we dive into the challenges that web developers face, let’s make sure you have a clear and up-to-date understanding of web development and what it is. As we mentioned before, web development is an incredibly broad field, but one that can be classified into three main categories: front-end, back-end, and fullstack web development.
Front-end web development: front-end developers work on the client facing side and focus primarily on ensuring that the customer has the best possible experience while on the website or app, creating user-friendly and intuitive designs.
Back-end web development: if you think of coding when you think of web development, you’re probably thinking of back-end development, which is where all the magic happens. Back-end developers build and test the code that makes up the website or app’s framework, ensuring it can run properly.
Fullstack web development: for those who can’t decide between the front or back ends, fullstack web developers work on both the front and back ends to create the ideal user experience.
There are lots of other areas in web development however: client-side scripting, product management, network security management, and content management system development are all part of web development. When properly used, web development can lead to the following:
Increased web traffic: well-designed websites are inviting to customers and make them more likely to both visit the website and stay on it. And this goes without saying, but clients who spend more time on the site will probably end up purchasing your product or service.
Enhanced security: websites collect data from clients every time they visit, regardless of if they make a purchase or not. Websites that are properly built and protected safeguard client and company personal information.
Expanded reach: well-functioning websites with options for different languages or settings can help your company take off internationally or simply reach more people in more places.
Applications of web development
Web development can seem a bit abstract, but it’s actually all around us, constantly present in our daily lives:
Social networks: have you ever wondered how Facebook knows to update you with a news article you’d be interested in, or Instagram suggests accounts you should follow? Web developers design websites so that client preferences are taken into account and updated on their own, providing the user with the most personalized experience possible.
Streaming sites: Netflix always knows the next show to recommend, right? But that’s not all: streaming sites can work on a wide range of devices, allowing you to pick up where you left off during your last show or even downloading content to watch when you’re offline.
Document sharing: Google Docs’ popularity has skyrocketed, thanks to its ability to update in real time with other users, letting you edit at the same time as other users. But because it’s so easy to share content across Google Drive, Google’s developers had to prioritize security and confidentiality, while providing their users with the best possible experience.
Challenges in Web Development
You have a clear idea of web development and what web developers do to create an ideal user experience. But what sort of challenges do web developers face? Do they differ based on area? What can they do to combat these difficulties?
Let’s dive into some of the most common challenges in web development and how to overcome them.
Managing a large team
Web development teams are usually quite large, consisting of front-end developers, back-end developers, back-end developers, tech leads, UX/UI designers, and much more. Each of these people plays a crucial role on the team, working on individual parts of an entire project, meaning that communication and teamwork is absolutely essential.
Ironhack’s tip: are you worried about everyone working towards a common goal? It can be hard to keep track of a large team--after all, the last thing you want is to bring the project together at the end of a sprint and find out that one team member misunderstood their assignment. Scheduling weekly or even biweekly check-ins to ensure everyone is on the same page may seem tedious and unnecessary now, but will save you a lot of time and stress later on.
Balancing client requests with reality
When you start a web development project, you’ll be given instructions from the client: what are they looking for? What problems are they looking to solve? What are their overall goals? Having this information clearly defined is definitely a plus, don’t get us wrong. Frequently, however, clients may have unrealistic or too high expectations that a web development team simply can’t meet.
Ironhack’s tip: hear your client out and consider what is important to them. Once you understand their goals, take a moment to think about their wishes from your side, evaluate the realisticness of them, and come up with your own proposal. It’s important to be honest with the client from day one and tell them what’s viable and what’s not; make sure you communicate to the client that you understand their goals and bring your own, adapted version of them to the table.
Creating safe web applications
There’s some really cool stuff you can do with web application design; skilled developers can create almost anything. But there’s one thing that can’t be compromised: security. Cyber threats are progressing daily and they’re more and more realistic. How can you ensure your client data and web design is protected?
Ironhack’s tip: security needs to be your absolute priority when it comes to web design. Instead of finishing your design and then looking at securing your site, keep cybersecurity in mind from the beginning. And if you’re unsure about how to properly secure your site, reach out to cybersecurity professionals to get their expert opinion. Just remember: nothing is more important than security.
Finding that sweet spot between the front and back end
As we discussed before, the front end works on the side the client will see: the designs, font choices, style, and overall optics of the site or application, while the back end handles the communication between the code that allows the app to function. The perfect web design balances these two perfectly, creating simultaneously functional and inviting designs. However, these are two separate roles and the developers can have opposite visions.
Ironhack’s tip: it’s better to check in too much than not enough! Make sure your front and back end developers are working together, bouncing ideas off each other and reaching a consensus about the best decision. There will be times when one has to sacrifice their idea to agree with their colleague; that sweet spot comes with lots of communication and overall compromise.
Keeping up with the latest trends
We know that tech is advancing rapidly and web development is no exception. In fact, so many new trends and tools are entering the market that keeping up feels impossible. But knowing the newest updates and happenings are absolutely essential in web development.
Ironhack’s tip: struggling to keep up or find the time to learn a new programming language? What about understanding the newest cybersecurity threat? In such a fast moving industry, that’s totally normal! And no one expects you to know everything; however, make sure you carve out a few hours a week to read about the sector and any new developments. After all, you never know when that information will come in handy.
We’re not going to lie: being a web developer comes with its own set of specific challenges and all aspiring developers should be ready to take them on. But they’re totally manageable! That’s why web development is one of the fastest growing industries. If you’re interested in joining the fight and taking on some of these challenges head on, Ironhack is the perfect place to get your start in web development. Ready?! We can’t wait to see you in class.