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It is a relatively easy argument to make that web development is one of the most essential components of the Internet. While the Internet is this complex system of undersea cables, water-cooled servers and computers all connected, web development produces the structure and interface with which you can interact directly with the Internet.

So what is Web Development? Although Wikipedia gets a bad rep as a source, their definition is pretty good. It defines Web Development as "the work involved in developing a website for the Internet or an intranet. Web development can range from developing a simple single static page of plain text to complex web applications, electronic businesses, and social network services."

Web development includes front-end and back-end application development for web, mobile and other computing devices.

Web Development Vs Web Design

You may have heard the phrase web designer used interchangeably with web development, but there are slight differences between both fields.

While web development is concerned with the entire process of building accessible interfaces for web and mobile applications, web design focuses on aesthetics, concerned with creating the most user-friendly and accessible web interfaces. A web designer can also be a graphics designer or someone who has studied UI/UX design concepts. A web developer, in the most generic sense, will be a coder who understands how to build the back-end structures of the web as well as enough front-end knowledge to deliver a fully-functional web product.

According to Forbes, there are 1.3 billion websites on the Internet, and a new one is launched every three seconds. the Canadian Job Banks projects an estimated 10,400 new job openings (both from expansion demand and replacement demand)) for Web designers and developers over the period 2022-2031. In Canada, the average web developer took home about CAD$55,623. With an apparent demand for people to fill lucrative jobs within the field, let's look at the areas of specialization you might consider as a web developer.

Web Development Specializations/Career Paths

At this stage, you probably know you're a tech nerd and have decided to follow your passion for web design. Let's look at the different types of web development and the areas you might specialize in this sector.

As a web developer, there are three main paths along which you might specialize, and these are:

Front-End Web Development

The website Front-End Masters describes a Front-end developer as "a type of software developer who specializes in creating and designing the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) of websites and web applications. The primary responsibility of a front-end developer is to ensure that the visual and interactive aspects of a website or application are user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and functionally efficient." It is also the front-end developer's job to capture a client's website's brand and vision through code. A front-end developer might be familiar with many of the following, depending on your organizations tech stack:

  • HTML and CSS
  • Responsive Web Design
  • JavaScript
  • Node.js
  • React JS
  • Babel
  • Webpack
  • Computer science fundamentals
  • Testing techniques and tools
  • Bootstrap
  • AngularJS
  • EmberJS
  • jQuery

Back-End Web Development

If web development were a house, the back-end web developers would be the foundation. The back-end web developer is focused on the server-side part of the Internet and everything going on behind the scenes that make it work - so that's things like database management, scripting and server-side technologies. A back-end developer will also have enough front-end knowledge to connect both. They will be adept in a number of the following:

  • Ruby
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Node.js
  • Software architecture
  • Databases and SQL
  • Testing techniques and tools
  • Computer Science Fundamentals
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Java
  • .Net
  • MySQL
  • SQL Server

Full-Stack Web Development:

As the name implies, a full-stack web developer has a broader specialization in both Front and Back end - Full Stack. This is particularly useful if you are entrepreneurial and want to set up your firm. It is also great for those who enjoy working in smaller firms who usually might not have the budget to hire separate back-end and front-end specialists. A full-stack developer will be well-rounded in their knowledge and might know any of the following:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • Ruby
  • ReactJS
  • Node.js
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Babel
  • Webpack
  • Computer Science Fundamentals
  • APIs, Databases, and Servers
  • MongoDB
  • Express
  • Angular
  • Vue
  • Symfony
  • MySQL

The choice of which area of web development to specialize in comes down to interest and career opportunities. An artistic person with a passion for tech might like to specialize in the front end, while someone with a passion for coding might prefer the back end. Your first job might have opportunities for one or the other, and you might decide to go where career prospects within the organization are brightest. Though many full-stack developers work in large firms, it is also beneficial if you want to work in a small or boutique organization or decide to set up a web outfit. It is more likely that tech professionals in large organizations specialize in one area due to the size of the projects.

Want to know more about Web Developer Career Paths? We did a whole article here.

Web Developer - Career Advancements

No matter what field you specialize in, you will experience growth along that path. Often, regardless of what area of web development you specialize in - Front, Back or Full Stack Development -as you get more experience and start moving into senior developer roles, you'll assume more managerial, operational and strategic roles. You will begin to lead a team or teams of developers, setting their agenda and delegating resources.

Some of your broader duties will involve the following:

  • You will start leading teams of developers, supervising and managing their output and perhaps even handling their appraisals and performance reports.
  • You will still be involved with coding, even at the mid to senior level. You might be a more hands-on leader, taking a chunk of the work, or you might delegate more and only concentrate on making code improvements or writing the pivotal code blocks that tie together a project's different code sections.
  • Meetings will also be part of your daily activities as you get involved early on in projects, meeting with clients and other third-party providers like UI/UX professionals and database consultants.
  • You will set and enforce coding standards for the developers in your team. As a senior developer, you will probably have some control over your team's budget and resources.
  • Sometimes, you might even have hiring authorization, working with the HR department to select and screen new team members.

Other Career Paths

With your knowledge and training as a web developer, there are other paths along which you might decide to advance your career, including entrepreneurship and consultancy.


With your skills as a Web Developer, you will have everything on the tech side to launch your web venture. With some acumen and a drive for success, you can open an online store offering goods or services directly to end users.


As a Web Developer, you might decide the corporate career path is not for you and decide to go Freelance or start a boutique web development shop with a few of your dev friends. As long as you believe in your abilities and training and have a well-rounded team that covers all aspects of web design and development, many students have successfully set up their own dev shops immediately after an immersive and accelerated program like our Web Development Programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between web development and coding?

Coding refers to the singular act of writing code. You can write code as a system engineer or a database administrator, but that doesn't make you a web developer. Web development refers to that sub-branch of the tech sector that concerns itself with building functional, accessible and dynamic interfaces through which the Internet is experienced by the end-user.

Ready to begin your journey to a career as a Web Developer? Download the Web Development curriculum here, or click the button below to visit our program page and see which of our Programs is right for you!