Skills you need to have to be a good web developer or designer

How to be a good modern web developer? What skills do you need to be a good web developer? Is it just about few technical skills or you need to have something more in you? Only having web development skills can you become a successful freelancer also? Well, let’s discuss about all these today.

I am in the software development zone since 2008 and have worked in various domains. But the domain which made me strange by its immense growth in the industry, is none other than ’Web Development’. And it’s pretty much obvious also; cause the world is moving to the mobile devices (not only mobile phones) now a days. People are surfing internet from many difference devices in many different circumstances, so the business is making itself adaptable in every possible device to reach out people and this tendency made ‘web development’ one of the fastest growing fields in software industry today.

The field is growing, and so is the requirement of developers. As a result more software developers are finding their interest into this field which took the competition in a high level. So, now you must focus more on your skill development otherwise you may get disappeared in high tide of competition. So let’s discuss about the technical skills first.

Technical Skills:

JavaScript is God now:

The old POJO days are over. Now JavaScript is being used to make very high level, attractive, optimised and easy to maintain web projects. The way frameworks like Angular, Ember, Backbone and many others, becoming popular and being involved in ambitious projects of big companies; it won’t be a hyperbolic sentence if I say “JavaScript will roar in near future”.


Restful web services are helping the world to make desktop like web apps. The two pillars of client side, which actually has the capability to use the features of restful services, are JSON and AJAX. So, to be a modern web developer you must know the usage of these two.

 HTML5 and jQuery:

Though many people will consider HTML5 and jQuery as a part of designing, but I will say, the way they simply replaced the place of flash and making more comprehensive and structured development; they certainly should be considered as technical stuffs. The usefulness of these two is increasing day by day. HTML5 solves many browser related problems very easily, while jQuery, enriched with thousands of plugins can do very rapid development.

Backend with Database:

Java + Oracle, .NET + MSsql, PHP + mySql, or any other combination, or a mix-up is fine to make your backend. But you atleast need to have the concept of one combination. Even if you are a typical UI developer, sometimes the concept of backend really helps to make your development less time consuming.

More Concepts:

You must have the concept of how the internet works, flow of httpRequest and httpResponse, DNS, CDN, REST Api, caching. It won’t take much time to get a basic understanding of all those. But the deeper is the better.

Designing Skills:


Well, if you consider is a ‘design’, new things are always in demand in the market. So more creativity, more new things, more fresh designs is equal to success.

UX, not UI:

The days of developing User Interface (UI) is over. Now it’s the age of User Xperience (UX), where you have to design you page keeping human behaviour, user experience in mind; so that the visitor don’t find any kind of difficulty to access your website.


Well, without CSS, the websites will look as a world without oxygen. And CSS3 is the pro version. Frameworks like SCSS, LESS also help to develop more structured designs.

Responsive Design:

Now a days, if your page is not responsive to support in mobile devices; it is considered as bad web page. As people are moving to web devices, so it’s obvious that you must design your page to support multiple devices.


It’s no longer a part of technical skills, the SEO. It’s 2014 now and search engines have become smart giants. So it’s almost impossible to cheat Google or any other search engines. The best tips for SEO is, don’t be over smart, don’t try silly tricks to cheat Google, follow the conventional SEO guidelines Google provided, and that’s enough from the SEO section.

Graphics & Tools:

For web designers, it’s mandatory to have graphic knowledge and learn tools like photoshop, whereas it’s an advantage for developers too to know these stuffs.

Development Concepts:

Web development is not just writing html, css and javascript. It’s about performance, reusability and putting right things at right places.

Object Oriented Programming:

From my personal experience in the web field, I will recommend you to start with some object oriented language. No matter C#, java or even C++, but you must have the concept of oops to be a better developer, cause even in case of ambitious UI development, the project follows the oops concept everywhere. It may not be that important in small or mid type project development; but if you have oops concept, it reflects in your code structure and makes you different from 5 other developers.

Think Before Starting:

think-before-startBefore starting, think how should you go ahead and finish. Which model structure will suite your development, how should be the flow. The basic planning should be in your mind.

Reusability of Codes:

Less code, more fun. Don’t repeat or duplicate your code; try to make your code generic and reuse it wherever required. Than your project will become more maintainable, more flexible, and less time consuming.

Choose Frameworks Carefully:

Whether you choose a javascript framework, or template or some styling frameworks like bootstrap, you must list out the requirement of your project first, then choose any.

DebuggingMakes You Pro:

Debugging skill is very much required in any kind of projects. The faster you can debug, the sooner you can fix the issues and complete the project. From your IDE to browser dev tools, you need to know the debugging techniques of all.

Domain & Business:

Without proper domain knowledge if you work on something, you may not achieve success even if you have sufficient skills. So, always have an eye in the industry; how it’s behaving, where is the requirement growing, where can be the future scope, what new development is going on, how fast the things are moving, where the end users actually exists. All those things matters a lot not to be a good developer, but to be a successful one. So you must have the knowledge; cause, at the end of the day, success matters.

Self Learning:

As it’s a growing field, the web, so you will find new things around you very often. So try to grab them and take a step forward. Because the ‘old is gold’ concept is not really true in case of software field. Here the new things are more on demand and they help to take the development to the next era. So, stay hungry, stay foolish and learn as much as you can.

Tips to be a Good Programmer:

  1. Ask ‘WHY’ obsessively. Why you’re going to select this framework? Why jQuery over JavaScript? Every time you take a decision in your project, ask ‘WHY’ to yourself again and again.
  2. Always speak out. Don’t keep things in your mind. Discuss with your team. Make views clear.
  3. Structure your curriculum. Don’t mess everything up at the end.
  4. Experiment recklessly. If you don’t experiment, you will never get any ‘NEW’ or faster way to meet your goals.
  5. Program a lot. There is no alternative of it.
  6. Stop f**king programming sometimes. Your mind can’t work 24X7.
  7. Try different languages. You will get new ideas and approaches.


Web is the future. If you are choosing web as your career, there may not be anything better than that. Everything is going online now; and soon hardly any offline business will exist. So it’s also a matter of pride to contribute to such a young and fastest growing field. So, increase your skills, contribute more, work hard and I assure you, success will wait for you.

About This Author

Hello! I am Paul Shan, a JavaScript Expert, Full Stack and DevOps Engineer cum Consultant based out of Bengaluru, India.

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