Jidaw Systems
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Web Development, Web Design Career Opportunities

What is a career in Web design? Web development career? When talking about web careers, issues relating to Web Development and Web Design are often at the fore. But what is Web Development? Definitions vary widely depending on your perspective. Web Development is all you need to create, design, build and support websites.

Web Development is what makes a website a website - aesthetics, ease of use, impressive and relevant content, functionality, appropriate graphics, convenient navigation, search features; visual clues and other features.

The essence of Web development therefore is to ensure a website fulfils its purpose.

Web Career Options

Popular options / sample titles in the Web arena include: Web Developer, Webmaster, Web Designer, Content provider and Web project managers.

Web developers develop websites that provide content, present data, calculate amounts and provide e-business services. Often implied in Web Development is Web Design i.e. the convergence of the two skill sets of programming and design/graphics.

On the other hand the Webmaster, Web Administrator, traditionally focuses on the efficiency and effectiveness of the site, after the site has been built and is already in use.

The Web project manager works with other members of the web team to bring in Web projects on time, on budget, and to specifications. Not all websites use Project managers, but they are essential for business sites and large web projects.

The Content developer or writer ensures content is relevant and up-to-date - good writing and editing skills are essential.

No career option is better than the other. The choice of which to use on a web project often depends on the objectives of the project as well as the site owner's value judgment. However, it should be obvious that the busiest areas are Web Development and Design. Accordingly we will focus on these areas.

Web Development and Design is about a high quality experience for the website audience by creating the right look and feel and usability design while optimizing website interactivity and functionality.

Web Developer or Web Designer

The famous question: What is the difference between a Web designer and a Web developer?

According to Kunle Adewunmi, CEO WebSignature and Web Services Toronto, "Web development is supposed to focus on developing back end web applications (db integration, jsp, servlets, asp, etc), while a web designer should focus only on the front end (html coding, flash, css, java script). However a lot of organizations tend to blend these two fields and gray out a lot of the differences".

Paul Olawale, Web Specialist at Cyberspace ISP, Lagos, also had this to say: "In a web project cycle, a web designer comes up with the aesthetic design of the pages, graphics design, page layouts/structures, etc. A web developer collects what a designer does and put them all together in web pages. He does the development, uploading, maintenance, programming/scripting, and backend database design for interactive sites. But the fact is that for many projects a single person assumes both roles".

Web design and development are interrelated. Even if you specialize you find that a 'Web developer' with analytic skills may need to be conversant with design to a certain extent while a "Web designer" with artistic skills should also have some development know-how. Interestingly many employers make no distinction at all between a designer and a developer.

 

What does a Web Developer do? What is the work like?

As a first step, you will have to talk to the site owners to know what the objectives of the site owners are. You can't just make assumptions. All sites are not the same. The creation of prototypes helps you communicate how the website will function to the owners.

Building Web applications

A website is made up of web pages. Coding of web pages is essential. You will need to use a variety of software. Based on the content you can code your web pages using HTML or use popular web development software including FrontPage and Dreamweaver.  Development and design may involve setting up interactive forms, shopping carts, mailing lists and online programs. To provide some of these features, other Web programming tools and software at your disposal include: Java, VBScript, MS-SQL, ACCESS, MySQL CGI, Perl, Visual C++, C, Cold Fusion, SQL, JSP, ASP, Flash, PHP, XML and DHTML.

While programming is essential, you should make sure it is combined with aesthetics, presentation, design, layout and navigation features for an effective website.

Testing, Problem-solving, Support

Testing is also a critical function as it is wise to always get a feel of the application before it goes live. Testing is essential for determining if it meets the website owner's objectives. You need to get feedback from owners and users to the website's effectiveness.

After the website becomes available on the Internet, support and maintenance can be provided by Web Developers (Administrators) to make corrections, to keep the site current, to perform site analysis and to update the site with new content and applications required by the website owners.

Which platform?

Many Web Developers choose a preferred OS platform for doing their work. Choosing a platform early in your career helps you in becoming proficient in that platform. Many usually choose between Unix/Linux and Microsoft. But to widen your options, you may learn and master both platforms. For  programming depending on your platform, the choice could either be PHP/MySQL (for Unix) or ASP/Access (for Microsoft). Note that Open source tools, PHP/MySQL are free.

According to Paul Olawale, "Design and programming language styles and platforms may vary. But the end result is what is important. There are many ways of achieving a common design/development with different methods".

 

Knowledge and Certification

To grow the Web development field you must develop the right skills and knowledge. There is a need for you to equip yourself in the technology areas mentioned previously. As a start learning how to design using HTML and Web development software (Frontpage, Dreamweaver) may suffice as a start. Development software speeds up the building process but most developers find understanding and coding HTML empowering by giving you depth in the fundamentals. However, to dig deep into Web development you need to acquire programming skills.

Because of the way Web development is connects with database systems, it also helps to have good knowledge of database development and tools such as Oracle and SQL.

Just like the programming field, certification doesn't seem to hold as much clout as having demonstrable expertise in with these tools and technologies. What is the use of a certification if you are struggling to develop effective websites? While certification can give you value lack of a certification won't be a stumbling block if you know your stuff and you can prove it.

Popular titles to consider include: Prosoft's Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) Professional, Macromedia Dreamweaver Developer, Coldfusion Certification, Sun Certified Web Component Developer (SCWCD), Flash Certifications.

 

Other Issues

Is Digital Media part of Web Development and Design? There is no doubt that digital media (the combination of video, animation, interactive multimedia, graphic design and IT) have a major impact in the Web Development and Design environment. But digital media though very useful, isn't strictly for Web careers. The focus is on artistic applications and productions. It is providing enormous opportunities on the Web as well as in the entertainment (film, music) and advertising industries.

The future

Trends indicate that Web services will continue to grow.  The demand for new classes of applications that use the Web is bound to increase.  According to Kunle Adewunmi, "In terms of the future, XML is growing rapidly, PHP is very popular, Perl is certainly losing ground. CSS seems like it will be here as long as HTML is here. XML and XML offsprings are growing; Flash/Action script is being used on most sites now. The current trend is that most apps/services that used to be available only locally are now being made available online through the Internet".

The future also isn't just about establishing an Internet presence for your client. It is necessary to have an owner mentality - see yourself as responsible for the success of the website - what does the site owner want to achieve? How will the development and design help in attract users (target audience) to the site in a manner that will add value to their business? Will the target audience visit the site regularly?

Web personality? You must have the drive, the passion for the web environment. But though passion is great, it is not enough. As a specialized form of programming you must use your passion to drive creativity and you must be ready to pay attention to detail. Furthermore, just as in other IT professional roles, soft skills can't be ignored. This role often requires large doses of communication, organization and interpersonal skills.

Web development is interesting, but make no mistake you still have to work to create opportunity for yourself. Soft skills are particularly important for getting the right opportunity. It's okay to be armed with the knowledge but where will you demonstrate value? Also consider your growth options. Look for experience and also volunteer. Provide Web assistance for "charitable organizations, your Old school, religious body (Mosque, Church, associations), NGO or your community group". In addition develop your own website and portfolio for both practice and promotion. 

Web development and design - are the challenges and opportunities for you?

I wish you all the best in your IT Career,

 

Jide Awe

Jide Awe is the Founder of Jidaw.com (http://www.jidaw.com) 

 

What Do you Have to Say? Post Your Comments about this content resource Here.


 

Comments

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December 26, 2008

 

Kola Bakare of  Abuja, Nigeria says:

 

 

That's great information for web designers/developers. I have really gained quite a lot and will always look out for more from you guys. Thanks/more pages to your site.

 

November 23, 2008

 

Chuka M of  Port- Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria says:

 

 

Waoh! Its now so clear to me what it means to be web master. In fact the article is gold mine of information! Thanks a lot.

 

November 21, 2008

 

Uchechukwu Graphics and Design Software for Your Web Design of  Lagos, Nigeria says:

 

 

 

I must tell you it's only Nigerians and it will ever be Nigerians only that will have to take up 6 people job at once... in my years of designing a website, I don't think it's meant for one person only... I can design a site today and u might not like the interface whereas another guy out there might like the interface I created.. you didn't mention a web tester.

 

November 18, 2008

 

George Orie of  Fidelity Bank Plc, Lagos says:

 

 

I must re-confirm that the article is technologically compliant. it is no longer news that the web is today's tools for information dissemination which makes the world a global village. Mr. Jide well done, you 're indeed a professional.

 

February 5, 2008

 

Ibrahim Y. Zimit from Diso Quarters, Kano city. says:

 

 

Thank you very much for your article. I did benefit a lot,
 

May God continues to shower his blessings to you.

 

August 14, 2007

 

Ifeoma O from Abuja, Nigeria. says:

 

 

Honestly, I doff my cap for you guys. For you are trying so much with your article to upgrade freshers technologically wise, with this improvement i see a rich and greater tomorrow for our young technologists. Hei! Keep it up.

 

August 6, 2007

 

Yahaya Sani from Kaduna, Nigeria. says:

 

Great job jidaw.  We need more knowledge share in Nigeria for the more we empower others the more we empower ourselves. This is a good kick start for aspiring webbies.

 

March 19, 2007

 

Mike from Abuja, Nigeria. says:

 

You guys are doing a good job, This is something we would have bought with money all in the name consultancy, But here we are, live and free. Thumbs up!

 

January 12, 2007

 

Elendu from Abuja, Nigeria. says:

 

Thanks a million times for the beautiful write-up. I have learnt a lot from it. And it will surely help me in no small way to jump-start my IT career in web design.  

 

October 7, 2006

 

Ogaga Efevberha from Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. says:

 

I want to thank you sincerely for this beautiful exposition on the distinction between Web Designer and Web Developer. One needs to be carried along in this always-changing field. One needs your guidance! Thanks.  

 

Fred from Accra says:

 

I'm not too sure about certs but options are many for the developer/designer. Thanks a lot.  

 

Seun S from Lagos says:

 

This article is the dose most starters in this field of IT need to get going. Thanks Jidaw!  

 

Jay Jay Asemota  from Benin City says:

 

Beautiful write up,  I used to misunderstand what and who a web designer and developer was about. Hey I can now see the truth. Thank u for making my IT career choice crystal clear.  

 


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