Exam Results Day Help: A Career in Web Development?

Many companies work hard to protect their good reputation and guarantee a pleasant experience for their customers online. Central to achieving this is ensuring that a brands’ main website is not only aesthetically attractive but can be operated with ease by its users. This means site designs must be well thought out ahead of their construction and any onsite bugs, formatting issues or other problems that might occur must be addressed quickly. This also applies to any applications that may be developed to engage with or inflate the current customer base.

In addition, coding must be completed quickly – and accurately – for profitable turnaround. Those who are fluent and experienced in coding languages are therefore vital to the digital marketing industry, and can work to become employed as web developers.

In our second day of digital marketing careers advice posts, we speak with Fresh Egg web developer, Stuart Stubbs, to discover more about working in this technical – and stimulating – field.

Describe the industry of web development in as few words as possible:

Fast paced and ever-changing, the industry of web development basically sees websites and other code-based applications developed and maintained to meet the needs of clients, and their respective customers. Beyond simply developing the applications, working closely with clients is important for ensuring educated decisions are made when it comes to both design and user experience.

What path did you follow to become a web developer?

I am actually from a family of computer wizard-types. My father was a hardware engineer and my brother is a software developer, so it is hardly surprising that I too would end up working with computers! My career choice also makes sense considering I have always enjoyed using PCs.

I completed a GNVQ in ICT in Year 11 and followed this with a BTEC diploma for ICT practitioners at college. I then attended Newcastle University, studied a degree in computer science and enrolled in an additional C++ course on the side, just for fun. I worked at two different development companies to hone my skills before I decided to apply to work at Fresh Egg.

What does a typical day in your role as a web developer for Fresh Egg involve?

Although most of the work I undertake each day is for one of Fresh Egg’s largest clients, my role is actually quite varied. Updating, enhancing and debugging the main client’s website is usual, as is liaising with the client on the phone.

I often help to develop mobile-optimised websites and create Facebook applications to help clients achieve their social media-based targets. I’m also pivotal in the development of many in-house projects.

Definition of development
Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are there any recognised courses a wannabe or practising web developer should complete?

There are many courses out there that are designed to develop and recognise an individual’s coding abilities but I would argue that a wealth of actual hands-on experience is far more valuable than the majority of certificates issued.

Although not completely necessary, I am – like many of Fresh Egg’s employees – Google Analytics qualified. This allows me to effectively read data to determine whether or not the applications I have helped to build have been effective in achieving client aims.

Could you share three top tips for anyone wanting to enter the industry of web development?

  • Start building a portfolio of work as soon as you can. Internalising coding languages is not enough – you need to demonstrate to employers what it is you can do with this knowledge
  • Although learning as many different codes as possible could serve your career well, many – including me – would argue specialising in one language in particular is attractive to employers. I am competent in Flex, Cold Fusion, C++ and Java (and more) for example, but I know C# the best
  • Work experience and/or internships are invaluable for those looking to enter this competitive industry. A willingness to work for no or little money shows a desire to learn and a passion for web development

Do you have any other advice to give?

Developments in social media, SEO and the web as a whole can directly influence the work that a developer completes. To that end, keeping a keen eye on the latest news in these areas is wise for ensuring the delivery of relevant projects to our clients. Obviously, those dreaming of a career in web development should also keep up with changes and/or updates within current code languages.

I would also recommend those looking to develop their coding skills look to Q&A site, stackoverflow.com, and coding example and collaborative development site, Git Hub, since both are incredibly useful resources.

Monday's post: a career in social media.