Having the right set of abilities to become a great web programmer will improve your chances of getting hired and ensure you perform well at your job.
A web programmer, rather than a web developer or web designer, focuses more on code that works behind the scenes, such as in creating interfaces to payment gateways and databases. They are less likely to choose button colors and more likely to make those buttons work as expected.
The skills web programmers need can vary depending on business needs, but there are several foundational skills that will stand you in good stead throughout your career. Some can be learned through online resources like Udemy (opens in a new tab), while others take time and practice to cultivate. Let’s take a look at the top five skills every web programmer needs.
1.HTML, CSS and XML
The bread and butter of web pages, HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are the markup languages used on all websites. Simply put, HTML code tells the user’s browser what you want to display like text and images while CSS code tells how you intend to display it through layout, colors and fonts.
HTML and CSS are relatively easy to learn in an online course. Within hours, you should understand how to use HTML and CSS to structure web pages. As a web programmer, you will increasingly use other programming languages to dynamically generate HTML and CSS, creating interactive and user-friendly websites and web applications.
Similar to HTML is XML (Extensible Markup Language). This is used to make documents human and machine readable, and is used in web applications to store and transmit data. If you are familiar with HTML, XML is no more difficult to understand and use.
3. Server-Side Web Programming
The code that runs on the web server side is the meat and potatoes of a web programmer’s job. Server-side code must perform many tasks, from querying databases and accessing files on a server, to processing user input, and structuring dynamic web pages.
There are many server-side web programming languages, including PHP, C++, Python, Ruby on Rails, and Java. Most web programming work will only require a good grounding in one or two of these languages, since it’s not that common for a web application to use PHP and C++ simultaneously, for example.
Server-side web programming requires logical thinking, problem-solving skills, and a fair amount of patience. Each of these programming languages has a complex set of syntax rules and many code libraries to learn. The best way to get started is to take an online course that will walk you through building your first server-side web applications.
Most website applications need to store data persistently. Data can include user account credentials, blog posting material, e-commerce product details, purchase orders… the list goes on. To perform data storage and retrieval, most web applications use a dedicated database application such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, or MySQL.
The maintenance and upkeep of a database is usually the responsibility of a database administrator. Therefore, a web programmer is generally not expected to know all the details of how databases work. However, they should know how to create a database, perform database queries, and perform database updates through server-side programming.
In most cases, this involves learning the universal language of the most popular databases, namely SQL (Structured Query Language). Once you learn the syntax of SQL and how to use SQL in your server-side programming language of choice, you will be able to create website code that interacts with databases.
5. Web server technology
We often think of the set of software that runs on a web server as the “web stack”. This includes the operating system (eg Linux), web server software (eg Apache), database (eg MySQL) and server-side script interpreter (eg PHP) .
Understanding how these layers work is essential for web programmers. If you’re responsible for building a working web application on Linux, for example, you need to know how to use the Linux command line to install and update programs, start and restart services, and troubleshoot problems. Or, if your new web application needs a particular library installed in PHP, you need to know how to install PHP libraries.
You can learn these skills with courses and online courses (opens in a new tab) using the best web development tools (opens in a new tab) on your personal computer. Web programming is fun and challenging work, and it’s never been more accessible and easier on your wallet to enter the profession.