Introduction - Getting a Web Development Job For Dummies (2015)

Getting a Web Development Job For Dummies (2015)


Web development is a big bright spot in the world of work. Web development jobs include graphic designers, visual designers, front-end software developers, back-end software developers, content developers, and user experience people. All of these jobs tend to be interesting and high-paying. Most important, they make up a large and fast-growing part of the economy.

Although web development represents a passel of new opportunities, getting a job in the web development area can be a nerve-wracking prospect. The web area is changing fast, and the web needs of organizations change rapidly too. Large companies hire scores or hundreds of people for a big project, then let most of them go when the project is over. Or they hire a web development company, which staffs up when times are good, and then downsizes the moment they get a little difficult.

Web development people are also quick to change jobs to pursue new opportunities and to keep their skills sharp. So, as a web developer, you’re likely to spend less time in each job than people in other kinds of careers, and to be looking for a job more of the time.

This book helps you get a web development job, keep a web development job, and then get your next web development job. It helps you understand what your immediate colleagues with the same or similar job title do for a living, and what your not-so-immediate colleagues who fill out all the related positions on a web development team do as well.

With this book, you can become more valued, more employable, better paid, and easier to hire.

About This Book

Getting a Web Development Job For Dummies introduces you to the world of web development and to employment in web development. With this book as your guide, you’ll learn

· How web development got to be such a big and important area

· Why companies care so much about their web-development efforts

· How to make yourself valuable within the web development world

· What the major categories of web development jobs are

· Which web development jobs you can position yourself for, given your interests and skill set

· How to position yourself if your core abilities are graphical and artistic

· How to position yourself if your core abilities are technical (related to writing code of some kind)

· How to teach yourself what’s needed to offer the best of both worlds — and to get hired easily and paid accordingly

· How the web development needs of small companies, big companies, educational institutions, governments, and non-profits differ — and how that affects your employment prospects

· How to choose from among full-time employment for a traditional organization, full-time employment for a web development organization, and self-employment

· Why a web portfolio matters so much

· What the key concepts of web design jobs are

· How to get formal education for web development

· How to get on-the-job training — the famous OJT — for web development

· What the major web development tools are

· How to work for different kinds of companies

· How to network effectively in web development

· How to use online job boards and LinkedIn

· How to ace the interview

· How to create a portfolio site that will help you get the job you want, over and over again

· How to keep and grow within your ideal job when you find it

After you decide you want a web development job — or, once you have one, and decide that you want to keep working in web development — how do you move forward?

That’s what this book is here for. It empowers you to understand the web development landscape and get the job you want, and then build the skills you need and the career you deserve.

The web development world is different from most other kinds of work: jobs, technologies, tools, and standards are changing all the time. This book is your guide to keeping up.

Many people got web development jobs — and some even kept them — without this book in hand. But, using this book as a reference, you can get jobs more easily, negotiate a better package for yourself, and build a career that you’re proud of.

Foolish Assumptions

Getting a Web Development Job For Dummies is written in a way that’s fully accessible for beginners, for people who don’t currently hold a web design job and are looking to get their first one. However, we do have to make a few assumptions in writing this book because we wouldn’t have enough space to help you with the key parts of getting a job if we had to explain what a web page is! Here are our assumptions:

· You are familiar with computers, such as Windows PCs or Macintosh computers. We assume you can work with icons, the keyboard, and a mouse, and that you know the basics of using your computer for things like using the Internet or writing letters.

· You are familiar with using web pages for common tasks such as searching the web, looking for a job, and buying items such as books and movie tickets.

· You have a smartphone or a tablet computer and have used apps, and that you’ve used an app store to find and download new apps. If you do not have a smartphone, get a friend who has one to show you around the smartphone and how to find and download a new app.

· You know something about the basic mechanics of getting a job. If not, please see Job Hunting For Dummies, 2nd Edition, by Max Messmer (Wiley) to get up to speed.

Icons Used in This Book

If you’ve read other For Dummies books, you know that these books use icons in the margin to call attention to particularly important or useful ideas in the text. In this book, we use four such icons:

tip.eps The Tip icon highlights expert shortcuts or simple ideas that can make life easier for you.

technicalstuff.eps Arguably, the whole book is technical stuff, but this icon highlights something that’s particularly technical. We’ve tried to avoid unnecessary jargon and complexity, but some background information can give you a better understanding of what you’re doing, and sometimes we do need to get techy. Sections highlighted with this icon might be worth re-reading to make sure you understand, or you might decide that you don’t need to know that much detail. It’s up to you!

remember.eps Although we’d like to think that reading this book is an unforgettable experience, we’ve highlighted some points that you might want to particularly commit to memory. They’re either important takeaways, or they are fundamental to the project you’re working on.

warning.eps As you would on the road, slow down when you see a warning sign. It highlights an area where things could go wrong.

Beyond the Book

· Cheat Sheet: This book’s Cheat Sheet can be found online at See the Cheat Sheet for information about the switch from tables to CSS, as well as the rocky introduction of the CSS standard in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

· online articles: Companion articles to this book’s content can be found online at The articles deal with creating an online portfolio, tips for searching for a job online, and how to get up to speed on specific tools.

· Bonus Getting a Job For Dummies content: Like all books in the Getting a Job For Dummies series, this book offers additional bonus content on the web. Sample resumes, a resume template, and videos about the web developer role can be found

· Updates: If this book has any updates after printing, they will be posted to

Where to Go from Here

Like other For Dummies books, Getting a Web Development Job For Dummies is a reference. That means you can read it in any order that you wish. You can page through the book for hot topics or use the Table of Contents and the Index to hone in on what interests you.

You can also read the book in order. This is especially valuable in two quite different situations. If you’re new to the world of web development, reading the book through is a great way to pick up a lot of context about what web development people do, and how they work together.

Also, if you’re moving up into some kind of leadership or management role, it’s valuable to read the book all the way through at that time as well. You can use the book’s descriptions as an opportunity to think about how all the different kinds of professionals on a web team work together, as well as to reflect on what you can improve in your organization’s web development efforts.

If you’re considering moving into web development, either as your first career or from another area of work, read Part III. It talks about how to get a web-development education. If you have some other kind of education, or don’t have any higher education, you can use this Part to figure out what relevant background you do have, and how to fill in any gaps.

If you’re looking for a job and you have experience already, read Part IV. It tells you how to build a portfolio site, or how to improve one if you have it already, as well as how to carry out your job search.