What REALLY Makes a Brilliant Web Developer?

With increased demand comes more competition, what can web developers do to stand out in a crowded market and get the top jobs in our industry?

Web Developer

Web development is one of the most exciting and sought after areas to work in.  With the fast evolving technology scene and digital transformation, web developer jobs are on the rise, as they are now an entity that no business can be without. But with increased demand comes increased competition, so what can web developers do to stand out in a crowded market and get the top development roles in our industry?

Trend-spotting
Part of being a great developer is being ahead of the trends:

Obviously over the past 5 years’ there has been a huge rise in mobile, meaning developers who can create fully responsive programmes which can be used across all mediums websites, mobile and iPad, are highly attractive candidates. However with technology developing as it is, items like Apple iWatch, Oculus Rift and Google Glass and many other new wearable gadgets are all the rage – developers will no longer be restricted by mobile first strategies.

Javascript frameworks such as React and Angular are on a huge rise also, meaning many of our clients are on the lookout for developers with this skillset – so a top tip for developers is to stay on top of the game by learning these new programmes as and when they come out – for example Angular2 which was only recently released.  Developers can use websites like github or bitbucket to complete tasks and play games, to get a better understanding of such languages.

Python is a simple to use, yet very diverse programme that can do anything, from web apps to data analysis, but with Google’s investment in this programme, popularity drastically risen. Motion UI (part of the SASS library) has emerged as a big trend – it is used for creating speedy animations, hugely popular with developers at the moment.

Many companies are utilising their large volumes of data, and programmers with experience in data mining/analysis (or programmers who can design for scalability) are becoming very attractive in the market to assist with ‘Big Data’ and its associate technologies.

Do more than code:
Code is the most basic form of web development, and with courses popping up in every local town (and even in schools) coding skills are becoming the norm. So what will make you stand out when compared to other developers who can also code?

Having examples of code will put you at a huge advantage as clients will be able to see your ability prior to the interview so it’s a great way to show off your skills before even meeting them.

Also make sure your technical skills are up to date and if you are looking for a new developer role and find a business you want to work in, make sure your skills fit the companies programming needs as well as showcasing your soft skills. Team work, communication, accountability and design are all traits that are vital for web developers in today’s market.

Versatility
Developers really have a competitive edge if they are fluent in multiple languages – e.g. full-stack with both front and back-end capabilities, or a PHP Engineer who also really understands database languages.

We are also seeing a demand for Creative Developers or Creative Technologists where the work/projects are more than just coding, an interest and experience in physical interaction, electronics and creating beautiful experiences is really important too. Being open and adaptable in your approach to development will only make you better at your role.

Listen:
A less obvious “must have” skill for a web developer, however it is a vital one. As a web developer you must understand what the user/ customer wants to achieve from using the website. Also what does the company want to achieve, what are their objectives – to develop a site you must have an extensive understanding of the needs of the client and the end user in order to meet the brief accurately.

Positive experience:
Many developers are highly talented with all things technical however, some tend to keep themselves to themselves when working with clients. For some businesses that works, but in agency world in particular all employees are expected to be involved in the culture and buzz of the workplace – so put yourself out and immerse yourself in their culture – it will enable you to get a better feel for the business and will ensure you receive a glowing reference when you leave.

SEO Friendly
Search engine optimisation shouldn’t be left exclusively to the marketing team – a good developer will have a strong understanding of the ways to help increase SEO to a website. Considerations such as, how fast your site loads, redirects, status codes, semantic mark-ups and url structures can all contribute to better SEO. The more traffic driven to the site, the more successful the site it deemed, so some SEO consideration in your development will only make you look better!

Cogs work with developers on a daily basis and over the years they have developed a clear understanding of what sets apart the ‘amazing’ and the ‘average’. If you can make sure you are doing all of the above, then you will have absolutely have no problem being snapped up for a top developer role.

A lot of our roles at the moment are demanding front end skills, JavaScript, CSS and HTML as well as JS libraries and frameworks like Angular, React and D3. There are some amazing opportunities available now, so why not check out our live roles, or contact the tech team today to speak to one of our specialist consultants.

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