What is life like for a web developer? Is it a life of opulence? Can they always work on their own terms? Does it entail going to the office daily or working from home?

These are questions almost everyone asks before they become web developers. The new professionals don’t take much time to realize how stressful work can be, and how difficult it is to get the work-life balance right.

Being a web developer is not easy. It wasn’t easy in 2000 and it isn’t easy in 2020! The novices often face a lack of rewarding projects and well-compensated jobs. While the job landscape is undergoing a slow but steady improvement, WebBuildersGuide can only provide a few actionable tips to make life a little easier for our fellow web developers:

Be ready to evolve even before you begin

Source: market.enonic.com

Coding has never stopped evolving. Even 5-years ago, websites used to be smaller and simpler. Responsive website designs were not mandatory and AMPs were still a thing of the future.

You need to try new concepts like GraphQL, challenge yourself by using VS code and extensions and even learn a new programming language like Ruby on Rails in 2020.

Learn the intricacies of website architecture before working on a running website

When you are working on the backend of an already online website (let’s take a WordPress website for instance), pay close attention to its architecture. It is indeed the toughest part of website development. Especially when you need to edit a bunch of existing codes. The architecture is made of template files (which are essentially PHP files), JavaScript files, style sheet files, Image files and other files like functions. That’s a lot for you to know and get comfortable` with.

When you understand the architecture, you can always hope to meet these two main goals – to ensure that your new code does not introduce new bugs in the existing system and the security of the existing system remains unaffected by the new set of codes.

These are facts you should consider before you implement the new code. Once implemented, the bugs and security flaws will be excruciatingly difficult to remove.

Don’t ignore design. Acquire design skills to become a good web developer

You need to pay more attention to design! Web developers can be a little snooty when the topic of design skills come up. There was a time when development and design were mutually exclusive, but 2020 is definitely eons away from that time.

Every website developer needs design skills to survive in this uber-competitive environment. Today, website design involves HTML and CSS, a decent dose of coding. The designer cum developer, who can design the frontend as well as the backend is no longer a myth.

You can pick up design skills online from the likes of Udemy, Codeacademy, and Tuts+.

The tech industry highly values developers who can code as well as design the frontend layout. So, while you are busy honing your coding skills, do think about including HTML and CSS in your resume.

Utilize new tools to make web development faster and smoother

No rulebook states that website developers cannot use free resources. In 2020, you can find hundreds of free tools and ready to use stacks on the web. Beginners can require the additional boost to complete the project in-hand perfectly and move on to something new.

Web development projects demand specific standards. So, you must ensure that your choice of resources is right for the project. Applications like Dash can make work easier by allowing the developer to search for specific commands and solutions for almost all major web development platforms in use.

Don’t think twice before using frameworks

You may have mastered one or more languages including Java, HTML, JavaScript,

Python, and CSS, but you shouldn’t underestimate the power of frameworks. Utilize frameworks instead of coding everything from scratch. Frameworks not only catalyze a project, but they also ensure that the resulting websites are as close to flawless as possible.

Frameworks reduce the workload by providing you with compliance and save time by preventing you from re-inventing the wheel. For example, you don’t have to spend one whole day creating an authentication form, since the framework for it already exists. You can readily implement one by choosing a framework according to the language and platform you are using.

Learn how to write clean codes in any language

Source: community.notepad-plus-plus.org

The first thing you need to master is writing clean code. It often begins with distinguishing DRY code from the WET code. While some prefer one over the other, you should find out which one works for you. Implementing one or the other depends on your individual preference.

Always consider the possibility that in the future, either you or some other developer might have to edit the code you are writing today. So, write legible code without any fluff. Make sure that your future self will understand the code you are writing now.

Choosing a reliable code editor (such as Notepad++, Eclipse, and Sublime) for your programming language (HTML5, CSS, PHP, Python, JavaScript, etc.) helps in writing neat and clean codes.

Brush up your communication skills. You will need them to deal with clients

Dealing with clients is the toughest part of any web developer’s job. Treat each new client as a new challenge, because most of them do not know for sure what their project needs. Transparency in communication can solve more than 75% of the issues that arise due to the friction between a client and a developer.

With experience, you will learn how to gauge deadlines. It will also give you the valuable lesson of saying “no” to the client when it is necessary. Always be realistic about how much work you can finish within a stipulated deadline. Don’t shy away from turning down work when you already have your hands full for the sake of preserving quality.

Give yourself a break every day!

Know when to step away from work. Taking breaks is as important as meeting deadlines. Don’t overwork and over-practice.

Keeping the work-life balance is integral in the life of any web developer. In this line of work losing track of time, missing meals and ignoring health concerns are not as rare as we’d like them to be.

Follow a strict schedule. Maintain proper office hours and if necessary, set alarms for taking breaks every couple of hours. Be sure to install an f.lux–like filter on your work computer to protect your eyes from constant digital strain.

Give yourself new challenges to keep your skills sharp

In your free time, which will soon become rare, pick up new challenges. Code for open source projects and build smaller websites for brushing up your HTML and CSS skills.

Explore the world of WYSIWYG website developers to see what additional advantages your services can provide. Talk to fellow developers, potential clients and troubleshoot existing coding projects.

Working on a side project and interacting with other developers will give you valuable insight that you cannot acquire by reading textbooks on languages or working on client projects alone.

Ask questions, even if you think they are dumb!

Most website developers don’t like to admit that asking dumb questions is part and parcel of their career growth. While learning never stops in the tech-industry, waiting for the right question to come to you does not help you fast-track the learning process.

Your reputation matters, but so does the quality of your work. Therefore, when a new client approaches you, don’t shy away from asking about the specifics of the project. Become members of web developer communities and forums. Follow discussions. Become a member of the github.com community of web developers to stay on top of trends.

Visit dedicated subreddits and follow users. Participate in discussions to share your views. It is alright if you get a thing or two wrong! Learn from your mistakes and give your career the chance to grow as you acquire new skillsets. Being a web developer is not always easy, but these 10 tips will definitely give your career a smooth start in 2020!