You’ve probably read through quite a few job descriptions by now on your search for the perfect web developer job; it can be quite the challenge to break down all the exciting descriptions and lists of benefits to see what the job actually requires and what you’ll be doing every day. Sure, free coffee and fruit sound lovely, but what programming language knowledge does the role demand? Is the role fully remote, hybrid, or is in-person attendance required? Do the experience levels and salary range fit what you can offer?
Navigating through job descriptions, especially at the beginning of your career or when you’re making your first job change, can pose quite the challenge. And that’s why we’ve created this guide: to help you make sense of web development job applications and read between the lines: is this the right role for you? Are you right for the role? Let’s dive right in.
What is a Job Description?
A job description is just a summary of the role, right? Well, not quite. A decade ago this might have been true, but the reality is that with so many available roles out there, companies are trying to go above and beyond in their job postings to capture your attention and ensure you apply for the role.
And why are job descriptions so important? Let’s discuss:
The last thing a company wants is to go through the lengthy recruitment, hiring, and onboarding process to end up with a candidate who isn’t the right fit. Job descriptions help outline the important characteristics that the right candidate should have, ensuring that the hiring managers are (mostly) receiving applications from those who meet the requirements.
The job description helps figure out where a new hire’s training should be focused, saving time from training them on the things they already know and instead centering on the areas where they’ll need more help, streamlining the onboarding process.
With an accurate and well-defined job description, tracking the performance of the new hire will be easier and more straightforward; you’ll have a clear list of their responsibilities so that you’re able to see where they’re falling short and what they need to add to their duties. In the case of hiring the wrong candidate, this can serve as a protection and clear evidence that an employee isn’t fulfilling the role they signed on to do.
Accurate and truthful job descriptions, including salary expectations and benefits, help create a sense of trust with candidates, even those who you don’t end up choosing, and build a good reputation for your company. The last thing you want is for word to get around that your job descriptions are inaccurate–this will deter qualified applicants from applying in the future.
Job descriptions usually consist of the following:
Company description: first and foremost, companies provide a short description of who they are, what they do, and why they’re looking for a new employee to fill this role. In this section, you can expect to learn about the industry in which the company works, their location, and their mission and values.
Role description: with a clear picture of what the company does, the next section outlines the job itself and what the company is looking for with the new hire. Here you can find the job title and basic summary of the responsibilities you’d have if hired.
Job responsibilities: sometimes the job title and brief summary isn’t enough to help you understand what you’ll have to do in the role and this next section will help define, in more detail, the exact duties you’ll be tasked with so that you can decide if it’s the right fit.
Job requirements: this is a major section–under the job requirement section, you’ll find the non-negotiables of the job, such as specific experience levels, industry knowledge, programming languages, and more. In this section, you may also find crucial information regarding in-person/remote policies, so make sure your goals line up with the company’s requirements before applying.
Note that skills listed under this section are largely non-negotiable and should be treated as such; focus your energy on job postings where you meet the requirements of this section.
Job preferences: in a fast-moving world like that of tech, hiring managers don’t expect their applicants to meet every single requirement they have; the job preferences section exists to show other skills or qualities they’d like you to have, but don’t require for the job. These are frequently things you could learn on-the-job as well, so don’t be afraid to apply even if you don’t possess these preferences.
Job conditions: in this section, you’ll find out what the job offers you, such as the salary range, remote working options, vacation days, benefits, and any other perks you can expect from this job. Pay close attention here–this is where the company tries to sell themselves to you and can be very telling about the experience you’ll have in the role.
Web Development Job Descriptions
As we move into web development job descriptions and the specific qualities you’ll need to land your ideal web development role, let’s take a look at each section and how it relates specifically to web development.
If you’re looking for your first role in web development, you may be under the impression that your options are limited to only tech companies; however, those with experience in the field know that web development is growing daily and companies in basically every industry are in search of skilled web developers. This means that you could choose to work in practically any sector, finding one that interests you beyond just your duties as a web developer.
Take the time to read company descriptions carefully and make sure their values and mission align with yours, in addition to the industry as a whole.
This might be the most important section! Web developer roles can vary significantly and finding a role that fits your interests means you’ll have to sort through different postings to find one that fits your profile; for example, a job title might just say “Web Developer” but upon reading the role description, you’ll find that the company is in need of a front-end developer or Scrum Master, helping you decide if you’re the right fit.
Here, you’ll get a more in-depth explanation of what your day-to-day would look like, helping you imagine having this job. You can expect to see specifics mentioned here, such as working with one or two programs or programming languages, which can give you a hint as to if this job aligns with what you bring to the table.
All hiring managers search for candidates with a set of skills that they already have and those that they could learn in the future, if they don’t already possess it. In this section, you’ll find the hard requirements for the job, which are usually hard skills or years of experience that are needed for the role.
While you can apply if you don’t meet all of them, we recommend spending your time applying for jobs that do fit your skills as to not waste your time, nor the hiring manager's.
This area is more flexible and as it lists the things they’d like a candidate to have, they are not requirements. In web development, hiring managers usually look for candidates with knowledge across the board of web development; this could mean a front-end developer with knowledge of the back end or great people skills.
If you find that you have some of the skills or qualities listed in the job preference section, highlight these in your application or during interviews to set yourself apart from other candidates.
As you start out in a field or are looking to make a career shift, it can be tempting to take just any role that’s offered to get your feet wet. While this is understandable and a good way to get into the field, carefully read through the job condition section of a job posting for any red flags or things in which you are not interested, such as 5 day in-office requirements or salaries below the normal pay range.
You won’t find out the full benefit offering or salary until you’re offered a role, but the hiring process can be lengthy and intensive for both you and the hiring manager, so if you know from the beginning that it isn’t a good fit, don’t waste anyone’s time and focus instead on finding a web development role that is right for you.
At Ironhack, we fully understand that the job hunt is a daunting and intimidating process with lots of unknowns; we also know it can be hard to prepare yourself properly for a career shift. That’s why our expertly designed Web Development Bootcamp is such a popular option for those looking to get into web development or learn a new web development skill: check out our offerings today and don’t let another day go by. Your future in web development is calling.