What’s a Web Developer and how to hire the right one

Web Development is a fast-growing, highly sought-after skill in today’s digital society. Since its birth at the end of the 20th century, the internet has grown massively. Billions of people access the internet every single day, from scrolling social media on their smartphones, to reading the news on their tablets, to researching their latest project from a desktop.

Every company needs a smart and engaging website to cut through the digital noise and talk to their customers and with many organisations choosing to hire teams of Web Developers to sit in-house, let’s explore the role of a Web Developer. 

But what do they really do? 

Web Developers don’t sit in a dark room closed off from the world and work late into the night drinking gallons of coffee (well maybe some of them do!). Their work is typically very project-orientated and involves collaborating with a team of people who help to ensure that the end product is customer-focused. Their day to day role may include meeting with clients to discuss their requirements for a website or chat through how to keep their website functioning and up-to-date. Web Developers must be able to communicate effectively, set goals and meet tight deadlines.

Web Developers take web design and turn it into a website. They do this by writing lines and lines of code. They take a language that we understand, English, and translate it into a language that the computer understands, such as HTML or JavaScript. This language, or code, tells a website how to function. The good ones will get the website up and running, make sure that the site works across all web browsers and devices and is optimised for organic search.  

Are all Web Developers the same?

There are three main types of Web Developers and each has different responsibilities and skill-sets:

  1. Front-End Developers: These Web Developers code the front end of a website; the bit that the customer will see (i.e. the pretty bit). While a Web Designer works on the way the website will look, the Front-End Developer will bring that design to life on the web. More recently a lot of website functionality is moving into the Front-End Developer’s camp with modern libraries such as React, Angular and Vue allowing for just that.

  2. Back-End Developers: Someone who builds and maintains the technology needed to power the components that enable the customer-facing side of a website to exist. A bit like the car engine that’s under the hood but keeps the car running. Back-end programming languages include PHP, Java, Python, and Golang to name a few.

  3. Full Stack Developers: These Developers understand how every single part of the web development process takes place and can provide guidance on strategy and best practices. Whilst they look at the ‘big picture’ they also delve into the small details. They bring together the knowledge of front-end and back-end developers – they are the glue that holds the parts together. 

How do you hire the right web developer?

Most companies only need a basic marketing website to create an online presence. If all you need is a marketing website, you can hire a front-end developer with skills in popular content management systems such as WordPress. 

If you are looking to build something that’s a bit more complex than a marketing website, (i.e. more than web pages with content and forms) you may need both front-end and back-end developers, or a talented full-stack developer.

Ribit for example has both a marketing website (you’re on it now) and a web application that connects top student talent to innovative companies, so our developers are a mix of front-end and full-stack.

Your business depends on having access to talent and skills when you need it. Ribit connects innovative companies to quality student talent available to work on a part-time, project or full-time basis. If you’re looking to hire talented student web developers for your business, click here to post a job, it’s free!

Want to know more about Ribit? Read about a student journey from Ribit.net to Microsoft HQ Seattle!