How do I get started as a professional web developer?

7th August 2019

Web developers are sought after all over Australia. In fact the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business are reporting a shortage of web developers within the Australian information and communications technology (ICT) industry. That’s great news if you have your heart set on this exciting career, because your skills are currently in high demand. In this article we take a look at what you need to get started as a professional web developer.


1. Personal qualities

A career in web development is appealing, but do you have what it takes? No doubt you already love everything tech, and absorb software updates and hardware releases at lightning speed — but are you:

Empathetic - can you focus on the audience, customer, and end user? Web developers create IT systems to be used by someone else — so you need to be able to see yourself in their shoes (or operating hands).

Focused - are you willing to back-pedal through hours of coding to find that single digit, dot, or backslash that is interrupting the command flow? Do you have the stamina to sit it out until the website is fully operational?

Adaptive - can you respond to project changes in a heartbeat and — without a care in the world — throw away days of work your work when the client, the budget, or the testing indicates a new direction?


2. Certifications and training

If you believe you’re cut from the right mettle, the next step is gaining the relevant qualifications and training. Web developers are hired by big tech companies, digital marketing agencies, IT departments, and small web development firms, so if you want to be successful in this role you will need:

Diploma of Website Development (ICT50615) (ESSENTIAL) - learn how to build and create dynamic websites applying the latest trends in web development.

Diploma of Software Development (ICT50718) (OPTIONAL) - become fluent in a wider range of programming languages, while learning how to apply software development methodologies.


3. Skills and experience

Armed with some skills, it’s time to get to work and build something. Your formal qualifications are just the beginning and you’ll need to practice using the key programming languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), and maybe tinkering around with the Internet of Things or deploying mobile peripherals. This will also be the time to decide if you will specialise in:

Back-end: developing and refining the server architecture and databases behind a website or application.

Front-end: directing the way users interact with a website or application.

To be more employable you might also consider honing your technical writing skills (you may need to create operating manuals), interpersonal skills (you will definitely need to be able to communicate effectively with end-users, designers and clients), and design skills can be beneficial (so your websites and applications look amazing too).


4. Portfolio website

If you want to get hired (either by a corporation, agency, or directly by a client) you’ll need a portfolio of work to demonstrate your expertise. As a minimum you should have your own slick website that has some cool selling points (eg, speed, effective navigation, responsive design) and ideally a suite of live client websites or mockups.


Where to now?

In Australia right now web developers can expect to earn $65,000-$75,000 per annum (latest stats on with plenty of scope to increase as you gain more experience. Sound great? Ready to get started? Why not browse our web development and tech courses right now. One of the best things about an ICT qualification is you can enrol today and begin your studies immediately.

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