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Job Profile of a Web Developer

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As stated at several places, the field of Web development consists of many various technologies and skill sets that are dependent on the specific needs of the company or client. These skills can include HTML authoring, programming Web applications, creating artwork optimized for the Internet, performing usability testing, and so on.

In general, most Web developers are responsible for coding content for Web sites into HTML. Oftentimes this involves creating custom scripts in JavaScript or ASP to enhance the functionality of the Web site.

Sometimes, programmers that create applications for Web sites are included under the title of Web Developer. In job listings, they are also referred to as Web Programmers. In addition, developers that integrate database solutions into a Web site can be included under this title as well.

Furthermore, artists who create the style and artwork for the Web site are also considered Web developers. Most of the time, however, these individuals are also skilled in HTML coding and have learned how to optimize graphics and artwork for the Web as part of their daily tasks. Rarely is there a separate department devoted entirely to creating artwork for a Web site.

Quite often two or more of these roles and responsibilities are given to one individual, depending on the size of the company. In many situations, a Web developer will interface primarily with programmers, database architects, and network architects. In larger development environments, Web developers also interface with graphic designers and content authors.

Daily Tasks

Most of the Web developers day is spent in front of a computer generating the code for Web pages on the site. A more challenging aspect of being a Web developer is interfacing with all of the other individuals that create the content and design of the Web site. Generally, you will find yourself taking content from a copy editor, artwork from the art director, and combining it into the design that has been specified by the site designer. The challenge arises when each department has a specific idea of how their elements should be implemented into the final design. It is easy to find yourself being an ambassador of sorts for all of the departments.

However, this is what many Web developers feel is the most fulfilling part of their job. The following list contains some of the more common day-to-day tasks of a Web developer:
  • Develop end user interfaces-This task involves interfacing with a site designer who has designed how the Web site will look and function. It is the responsibility of the developer to write the code that makes the design happen. An additional challenge is keeping the code compatible to both Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer browsers.

  • Author supporting client or server-side code-In addition to writing HTML code, many Web developers find themselves writing scripting code that enhances user interactivity. The two most popular languages in use are JavaScript (client-side) and ASP (server-side).

  • Integrate supporting applications-On many e-commerce sites, the programs perform inventory checking, credit card transactions, and order processing are written in compiled languages, such as Java or C++. It is the duty of the Web developer to integrate these applications into the HTML code used on the Web site.

  • Integrate supporting databases-Many sophisticated Web sites use databases for collecting and storing customer information, inventory, and user authenticate As with applications, it is up to the Web developer to integrate the database into the Web site. This usually involves writing scripts to parse the data and formatting it into HTML.

  • Write or update content-The most common task of a Web developer is to ' content in HTML, the standard programming language of the WWW. So-the more common tools used for authoring web content are Microsoft FrontPage, Adobe PageMill, or Macromedia Dreamweaver. Furthermore, content needs to be kept fresh and up-to-date. Therefore, updating currer pages with new content becomes routine for a Web developer.

  • Produce or optimize graphics /artwork-Although many Web developers thi; are skilled artists, many lack the ability to design powerful and attractive looking Web sites. In the case of large commerce-based Web sites, there usually a team of graphic designers that produce the artwork that is usee site. However, many graphic artists produce work that is far too large to a Web site. Web developers, therefore, find themselves optimizing this art for better performance on the Web site.
Qualifications and Requirements for Web Developers

To be truly qualified in the area ofWeb development, you not only need to be proficient in HTML, JavaScript, and ASP, but you also need some extensive skills in graphic design and page layout. These skills are not limited to just image manipulation with a program like Photoshop, but also include the ability to combine images and content in such a way that it is useful and engaging to the site's visitors. The best Web developers have backgrounds in communication media, graphic arts, and computer science. A solid knowledge of networking technology is very useful to understand the underlying components that make the Internet work.

With the increased demand for Web developers, many continuing education schools and universities are offering courses in Web development.You should look for a training program that not only teaches you about HTML and Internet technologies, but also teaches you more intermediate and advanced level topics, such as JavaScript, ASP, and database integration. Additionally, some basic programming skills would be beneficial as well, such as JAVA, C++, or Visual Basic. Many of these programs offer graduate recruitment and internship offerings. Thereafter, the particular company that hires you will most likely provide you with any additional training in areas that are valuable to its business model.

For those who do not have the benefit of a job placement program, it is recommended that you create a personal Web site that showcases your abilities. Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs), like AOL and Earthlink, give their members personal Web site space as part of their service agreement. This Web site space provides you with the capability to create an "online portfolio" of sorts that will give a potential employer a good idea of what your skills as a developer are.
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