Web Developer Skills: Definitions and Examples

Updated August 9, 2023

Having the right set of web developer skills is essential to success in this profession. Though the exact skills needed for someone in this profession will vary by company, the overall skillset web developers need are the same.

In this article, we define web developer skills and provide you with examples and methods for improving them.

What are web developer skills?

Web developer skills refer to the specific abilities needed to get hired and successfully perform in a web developer role. Having these skills in abundance can help you stand out from other candidates vying for the same role and in your everyday tasks on the job. As with any job, you also can develop your skills as a web developer over time. Some web developer skills include understanding HTML, general design skills and being analytical.

Related: Learn About Being a Web Developer

Examples of web developer skills

To become a web developer, you'll need a variety of hard and soft skills to succeed. Here are some of the most common skills to have in this role:

HTML/CSS skills

If you hope to become a web developer, you must understand HTML and CSS. HTML is the most used markup language across the web, and web developers use it to create web pages on the Internet. CSS, on the other hand, is used to style the website. It's responsible for the choice of fonts, colors and layout in a website's design. Whereas HTML lays the foundation for a webpage, CSS styles it.

Analytical skills

As a web developer, you'll need to have keen analytical skills to create a variety of successful websites. This involves ensuring the coding is correct and the website is functional.

Also, it's important to understand the needs of your customers or clients. You'll need to analyze their wants and needs and be ready to adapt to any changes they'd like to see implemented on the website. The better you understand your client, the better your website will turn out for them in the end.

Responsive design skills

If you work as a web developer, it's important to understand how responsive design works. Because many people view web pages both online and on their mobile devices, the websites you create need to adapt to the changing screen sizes.

If your website isn't responsive, this means it won't be compatible with either the desktop site or the mobile site. In other words, it won't function or show up properly on either of these platforms. Your ability to create a responsive design can also impact the number of visitors a website gets since most people are deterred from a website when it's not displaying properly.

JavaScript skills

You'll also need to understand JavaScript as a web developer. JavaScript is a high-level programming language that implements complex features onto a website. This involves things like moving elements, search bars, videos or interactive maps on a webpage. In knowing JavaScript, you'll be able to meet higher expectations from your clients in the web development process.

Using these skills, you'll be able to reel in more webpage viewers, as well, since the majority of people tend to prefer interactive web pages that grab their attention. Special features go a long way in engaging viewers, and your job as a web developer plays a large role in seeing them come to fruition on a digital screen.

Interpersonal skills

Since you'll be working with a variety of clients, you must have good interpersonal skills. This includes various social skills like good body language, active listening skills, the ability to collaborate and an overall good work ethic and positive attitude. The more you get along and can effectively communicate with your clients, the smoother the web development process will be for both of you.

Testing and debugging skills

As a web developer, it's important to know how to continuously test your webpage for any possible errors. Should any arise, you should also know how to debug it. Testing makes sure your coding is doing what it's supposed to and will come down to either functional testing or unit testing. Being able to consistently and effectively test and debug your webpage is essential in this role.

Back-end basics

You'll also need to understand some of the fundamentals of back-end web development. This is because you'll be working in collaboration with back-end developers or might be tasked with using these skills yourself. In this regard, you'll need to know how servers work as well as APIs, SQL, databases and cybersecurity. All of these are important skills to know as they relate to the server-side of a webpage.

Search engine optimization

As a web developer, you must know all about search engine optimization. This is because website traffic is becoming more and more important to companies. If a website has good SEO, it'll attract a greater number of webpage visitors by showing up high enough in search engine result pages. Because more and more companies are looking to have good SEO, it's an important skill to have as a web developer.

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

How to improve web developer skills

As a web developer, there are several ways to hone in on the skills necessary for this role. Here are some tips to guide you toward improving your web developer skills:

1. Practice coding

The more you write code, the more experienced you'll become. This will not only help your typing skills, but it'll help you catch mistakes that you can avoid in the future. You can practice through various free online programs. As long as you're consistent, you'll see improvements.

2. Learn something new

If there's a programming language you don't have experience in, consider taking a course in it. This will help you get out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in a new skill that could work hand-in-hand with your current skill set.

3. Take a break

Taking the time to let your mind rest could be the boost you need when you come back to work. If you're constantly working, this could lead to you feeling run down and burned out.

4. Practice improving your interpersonal skills

You can improve your interpersonal skills by being more mindful of your nonverbal cues, the way you respond in certain situations and being a better listener overall.

Related: How To Develop Your Skill Set To Advance Your Career

Web developer skills in the workplace

Though your web developer skills can be used in a wide variety of circumstances, here are some ways to use them effectively in the workplace:

  • Be a good listener. When you're at work, it's important to engage with your clients and completely understand their concerns and needs.

  • Manage your time. When you're able to effectively manage your time, you leave little room for errors in your coding. This ensures you're not rushing through your work hastily.

  • Be receptive to feedback. Being receptive to feedback from your supervisors is a great way to improve your skills. Take the advice and critiques they've given you and use them to become a better web developer.

  • Pay attention to trends. Web development trends are bound to change over the years. The more on top of your skills you are and the more you're able to adapt, the better.

How to highlight web developer skills

As you enter the workforce as a web developer, there are several ways to highlight these skills to hiring managers. Here are some tips you can utilize during the hiring process:

For your resume

Your resume is a great place for you to clearly and concisely state the web developer skills and experience you have. Make sure your resume is well-structured and free of errors. You can list your web developer skills in the skills section of your resume.

For your cover letter

Your cover letter provides a great opportunity to expand upon the skills you highlighted in your resume. This is one of the first impressions the hiring manager will get of you, so your cover letter must be also free from error and easy to understand. Keep it brief, tailor it to the job description and feel free to include background details in regards to your web developer skills.

For a job interview

During your interview, you'll be allowed to showcase your interpersonal skills. Make sure you have positive nonverbal communication, are an active listener and effectively communicate with the hiring manager. It's also a good idea to bring copies of your resume and cover letter that highlight your web developer skills. Be ready to answer questions that pertain to the role you're hiring for and how your skills meet the job requirements.

Related: How to Create a Web Developer Resume (with Web Developer Resume Template and Sample

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