Want to Shift From HTML Developer to Web Developer? Learn These 4 Skills

HTML to Web Developer

If you’re an experienced HTML developer with dreams of becoming a full-stack web developer, achieving your goal may be a matter of mastering a few specific skill sets.

Here’s some advice for shifting gears in your HTML developer career and making the move into web development.

1. Perfect your UI skills

Modern web applications must look razor-sharp and be visually and functionally consistent. The best way to achieve both goals is to use an HTML framework like Bootstrap, which allow you to use a prebuilt set of user interface (UI) components and functionality that are pretested and share consistent UI concepts.

These frameworks can save you a lot of time while helping you improve your web applications. As you start to explore the web developer path, look for projects that allow you to explore UI concepts and refine your skills.

2. Learn JavaScript and jQuery

If HTML is the steak, then JavaScript is the sizzle. It lets you add onscreen interactivity and functionality to web applications so they feel silky-smooth to the user.

The jQuery development framework makes working with JavaScript much easier and is an in-demand job skill for web developers. (Bootstrap is designed to work nicely with jQuery as well.)

You might also consider learning a front-end framework like AngularJS so you can build interactive web applications more easily. A project that asks for web browser tricks such as pop-up dialogs, form validation and interactive functionality will give you the experience you need to officially add JavaScript to your list of skills.

3. Go server side

You cannot move from HTML developer to full-stack web developer without being able to write code for the server itself. Learning a server-side web development technology such as Java, ASP.NET, Ruby on Rails or Node.js will make you a nearly complete web developer.

Java and ASP.NET are already well established within the enterprise as development tools. Ruby on Rails and Node.js are rising in popularity, and there are substantial opportunities for both full-time and consulting work in these areas. To get the experience you need to evolve into a web developer, find a project that has server-side functionality.

4. Get down with data

What’s a web application without a database? Web applications need to save their information somewhere. You therefore cannot go wrong by learning to work with a traditional relational database management system (RDBMS) such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, OBM DB2 or MySQL.

Experience working with a NoSQL database such as MongoDB or CouchDB can give you a significant advantage in the web development hiring market, too. Chances are good that if you find a server-side project to work on, you’ll also have the opportunity to gain firsthand database experience.

By pursuing a full-stack web developer career, an HTML developer with the right skills can also realize a significant boost in compensation. According to the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide, starting salaries for web developers in the United States range from $73,500 to $122,000, a 6.5 percent increase compared to 2014.* Even higher starting salaries are available for senior web developers. (Use our Salary Calculator to adjust salaries for your city.)

*For Canadian web developer salaries, consult the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide.

What tips do you have for an HTML developer looking to advance his or her career? Let us know in the comments.