For those not in the field, a web developer (also sometimes called a front-end developer) is a person who builds the part of a website that a user sees when they open their browser. This includes the text, images, colors, layout and interactions on a webpage.
So, where do developers come from…? Are you wondering how you can become one? We’re here to help!
Hello, my name is Rachel and I’m a Senior Software Engineer here at Vulcan. I’ve been a developer for 9 years, and in my current role, I work on a project called Skylight
Sounds fancy, did you need like 10 years of schooling for that??
Slowly I started getting better and moved on to temp work as a web developer at different companies, growing my skills and confidence, and eventually landing a full time job. I couldn’t believe it.
Wow, what a weird way to become a developer!
Not really. My story is actually pretty common in this field. According to the 2018 Stack Overflow Developer Survey
only 50% of professional developers have a degree in computer science (2% of those are in web development). So how did the other 50% end up where they are? Well, in similar paths as myself. 78% are self-taught and 10% participated in a bootcamp or online training course.
In fact, the only part of my story that’s weird is that I identify as a woman. That same survey shows that 93% of developers are male. In my entire career as a web developer only once have I worked on a team with another developer identifying as a woman. Likewise 74% of people surveyed identified as white and 93% identified as straight.
So what’s going on here?
The American Association of University Women (AAMA
) has studied the issue and found that it’s multifaceted and caused by everything from conscious stereotypes to implicit bias to the cultures of STEM related departments in schools and businesses. Thankfully things are starting to change, there’s a wealth of STEM programs encouraging young women and people of color to participate, and many companies like Vulcan are embracing a DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) programs to ensure their hiring practices and culture encourage and support diversity.
Sounds awesome, I don’t know anything about coding, how can I learn more?
Any of these steps would get you in the right direction:
- Take free online classes (a quick google will yield dozens but here’s a few I’ve liked)
- Code Academy: https://www.codecademy.com/ (HTML, JS, CSS, Python)
- MIT Open Courseware: https://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm
- Code.org: https://www.girlswhocode.com
- Sign up for a community college class on the evenings or weekends
- Attend local development conferences and Meetups. There’s hundreds, but here’s a few great ones:
- Women who code: https://www.womenwhocode.com
- Py ladies: https://www.pyladies.com
- Black girls code: http://www.blackgirlscode.com/
- Sign up for a coding bootcamps - You can find them ranging from 3 months to a year and they’ll get you set up for an entry level job in the field
- DIY! Make a website for your friend’s business or band.
Interested in reading more about our work at Vulcan? Check out more of the blog, and visit Vulcan.com