Whether you’re eyeing web development in Chicago as a career, or you’re just curious, it’s always good to know what to expect from the web development professions and what you need to consider before committing. Here’s some of the lowdown.
Scripts, scripts everywhere.
It can be tough to know where to start, when you consider the ton of scripting languages out there. Of course, starting with the very, very basics is always wise- HTML and CSS. However, dynamic and interactive content is in demand and becoming even more so as the web landscape evolves, and more and more websites require multimedia integration too. Plus, of course, the fact that the rise of the smartphone means cross-platform development is becoming a must. How do you even know which language to start with? Be pragmatic. You can’t learn it all at once. Knowing bits and pieces of everything here and there won’t benefit you. Rather plan your studies to embrace one or two of these languages, well suited to the field you want to work in [free-lance, corporate etc.], and only consider moving on once you’ve mastered them. For Front-end content, that generally means HTML, CSS, JS and one of the CMSs which suit you. Don’t forget that not every good web developer is a designer too. If you’re not a natural designer, then go easy on the designing. Use themes or hire someone who is.
Don’t forget to advertise yourself.
Would you hire a web developer without a website to their name? Or worse, someone using a WordPress template? Nor will your customers! Make it a portfolio that displays what you can do and what makes you stand out from the crowd.
Meet the people in your field.
Get to know the web developers and related trades in your area. You’ll end up working with them, so get to know them. You never know what you might learn. But don’t stop there. Reach out to the wider net community for advice and peer-chat too. Listen and learn from those with more experience in the field, and attend conferences. Not only will it keep your content up to date and refreshed, it will help you keep up with trends and further yourself. Don’t be afraid to start passing on your knowledge after a while either, if you’re comfortable with mentoring.
Specializing and soft skills.
Soft skills will help anyone, no matter the business. IT is just the same. The ability to communicate complicated tech speak to laymen sensibly is invaluable. So is general client services, business services and more. It helps to play well with others two. You’ll also have to consider whether or not you intend to be a generalist or specialist. It will depend mainly on your tastes.
IT and web development can be a rich and rewarding career for the right person.