12 Skills a Web App Developer Must Have

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Web app design and development is one of the most important things that businesses invest in. Websites and web apps play an important role in marketing and promoting business, which makes design and development one of the core activities that the business marketing team cannot compromise on. Web app developers and design professionals today have a need to be better than their competitors today to thrive in their profession. And for that, they need to master a few tools and build a few skills.

Planning

The first thing that any professional should learn is planning. Planning is the first and most important step that enables you to do everything else. But that is not all. If you want to offer complete web development solutions for your clients, you need to take care of everything from planning to implementation to testing and maintenance of the clients' website. Planning can also inspire and give you ideas for the kind of design the customer wants. Take your time before starting out with building out the actual project and be thorough. Carefully planning a project can save a lot of time in the long run and minimize stress whenever an expected problem arises.

Design Sense

This is the most important skill that a successful web app developer can have. Design sense is about understanding the full picture in addition to having the basic web development skills that are needed to build the website. Along with the technical knowledge and skills, designers should have some kind of design sense and ideas that can make building web apps more efficient and easier. You need not be a design expert to have a design sense. But you should know the basics of effective UI/UX design and the terminology or words used to work in collaboration with designers. Lack of design sense can be frustrating too, especially if you don’t have a designer around to answer your questions.

An Understanding of the User Interface

Web app developers can build the ideal website successfully only when they understand what the user wants. And to do that, to create a web app that matches the exact requirements of the clients, understanding and knowledge of user interface and user experience is vital. Along with that, web app developers should also be able to see and feel the web app like a user would do, and not as coders. It is important to take a sympathetic approach to your users, at the end of the day the product your building is ultimately for them. If possible allow your target demographic to test your apps, get feedback early, and implement changes that you believe would make their overall experience a more positive one. 

Mastery in HTML and CSS Preprocessors

Every web app developer needs to have mastery over HTML and CSS Preprocessors. Why mastery over 'understanding'? An effective web app developer needs to know the intricacies of both in order to minimize the amount of code written to and simplify the structure and styling of HTML elements. This especially becomes important when you are working with more complex functions using the javascript frameworks. The more you can simplify your front end markup the easier it will to bring projects to life.

Take some time to become familiar with CSS Preprocessor and styling best practices. One great styling philosophy is the ITCSS method.

Have a Strong Understanding of JavaScript

Learn Javascript JavaScript is the backbone of web app development. It is imperative for creating a powerful web app, which is why developers should focus on becoming JavaScript experts before they learn other coding languages or skills. Understanding how you can use JavaScript in the most efficient way possible enables you to use it for developing better web applications. It is recommended that good javascript developers keep up to date with javascript best practices and changes.

Javascript Frameworks (Angular, React, Vue, etc.)

A good web app developer is familiar with one or more of the above popular javascript frameworks. These frameworks make it very easy to create and scale an application (if built properly). Web apps are usually built with a javascript framework, these frameworks have powerful features built-in that allow you to build scalable and powerful applications. It is recommended to do some independent research to see which framework is best to use for your project and take time to learn best practices for building in that framework. In Angular's case sometimes, you might need to take a quick crash course to learn how to properly use TypeScript in tandem with Javascript.

Master Version Control (git)

Version control allows you to go back to a previous version of the software if necessary. If you are unhappy with the upgrades you have made, you can use version control programs like VCS or Git to switch back to a previous version of the web app. Mastering a version control software and having your web app code under version control reduces the need for major corrections.

Master SQL

If you want to develop web applications, you should also learn how to manage databases. SQL is one database you should learn for that, to be able to develop efficient websites. It is not necessary for web designers to learn SQL or other databases, but knowledge about them can come in very handy.

Mobile First Designs

Responsive DesignMobile First Designs are designs that need to revolve around the mobile user experience. After all, your core audience is going to be using your service mostly on their mobile device. Mobile-first design philosophy focuses on having a good foundation for smaller devices so that you can then scale the interface for larger designs and make it as functional to its smaller counterpart. Knowing responsive design for mobile-first design imperative and a given for any successful web app developer.

SEO

Regardless of web design trends in vogue today, SEO will always remain one of the important things for a website. Knowledge and familiarity with search engine optimization basics and strategies will help web developers in designing easily accessible and usable sites that users will fall in love with. In fact, basic SEO skills are a must for anyone working with web technology.

Learn a Native Mobile Platform

Mastering one of the native mobile platforms like NativeScript, Flutter, or Ionic will be an added advantage for web app developers working on responsive designs and mobile-specific apps. When you are taking a hybrid approach, the apps run on the native mobile platform on the device. If you want to build a native app for a platform, then you must learn how to code for it.

Project Management

Project management is about managing a web app project from start to end. Web app developers, even if they are a part of a team, should develop project management skills which can help them climb up the competitive ladder quickly. Professional web developers are those who can handle everything about website development for the company, right from planning and conceptualization to implementation of the site. 

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