If you want to become a web developer for a web design company, it is time to take action. Whether you’re fresh out of university or if you’re a self-taught developer, here’s how to start your career at an agency:
1. Ensure You Have The Right Skills
As a developer at a marketing agency, you’ll wear many hats, and will likely have various responsibilities. There will be several core skills you’ll need to be familiar with that you can confidently execute on the job. This skill set and knowledge pool include:
Web developers are expected to know back-end languages such as PHP, C#, .Net framework plus much more.
However, the responsibilities of a web developer extend far beyond that. They also need to have a great understanding of backend technologies, such as the ability to create an account, log-in screens and item order functions.
- HTML (HyperText Markup Language) – The language used to make web pages. This language is the building blocks that’ll help you grow a website.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) — The language used to present your created document. Through CSS, developers can give the layout stylistic choices such as colour schemes and font.
As a developer, the wider the range of skills you have, the better. You’ll be able to teach other developers new skills, and it’ll make your life easier as you won’t need to call on seniors all the time — Aiuyub Bawa, Red-Fern Web Developer
Communication skills are vital when liaising with clients over deadlines, price, project specifics, and end goals, and your team for taking and giving direction.
If you fail to communicate well with the client, the end product will not only leave clients unhappy, but can set you back if they refuse to pay the full amount, or gives the agency a poor review.
In terms of working with your team, it can cause confusion and mistakes will be made if you don’t communicate properly, and this isn’t inclusive to developers, consider those that work on other teams.
Make sure you have clarity on their project and be clear about what you can deliver. If you know this from the outset, you can avoid clashes or confusion that could be frustrating later on.
Learning To Balance
You’ll need to learn to balance aspects of your personal life with your professional life, as these will often cross if you work from home.
As well as achieving a work/life balance, you’ll need to make sure you’re realistic with any projects you take on and keep your manager informed about your workload.
Give your undivided attention to one project at a time wherever possible. Your dedication to the project will shine through in the end result, even if you can’t see the difference.
Working at an agency can sometimes feel like a bumpy ride. You may be overrun with work as client work builds up, but the management team will help you manage your time and stress levels.
Taking the rough with the smooth and remember to communicate your thoughts and feelings with your team.
A company with a positive culture will always be open and listen to any problems you have — Adam Wilson, Red-Fern Technical Director
2. Set Up A Website
For any web developer hoping to secure full-time work, you’ll need a reliable website that advertises your work and personality. It’s the best example of work you can show!
Your website is your main primary tool and will enable people to view the quality of your work, as well as judge your technical know-how and creativity skills.
It’s design, configuration and layout should be top quality, as it’s showcasing your skills to the people that need to see them!
Avoid speaking in technical jargon – you need to appeal to everyone, even business owners or hiring managers may not know a great deal about development.
Include an ‘About’ page, as well as a ‘Portfolio’ and ‘Contact’ page. Learn how to build a beautiful and reliable website by looking at the best web design trends of 2018.
Find Your Niche
While it may seem better to be a dab hand at everything, if you have a niche, you can become an expert in a particular industry.
It’s always better to be known as the best in a particular area, rather than a developer who can do an adequate job for a range of criteria.
However, within this specification there will be various ideas you’ll have to embrace, as part of your day-to-day is adapting to a variety of projects.
Of course, having specific knowledge of certain practices is appealing to agencies who are more likely to hire somebody with a particular skill, but be prepared to develop basic core skills in web development practices.
When selecting your niche, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are your interests? Is there a specific industry you work well with when developing a website?
- What do you have experience in? How can this be utilised to your advantage when liaising and developing ideas with clients?
- What is popular right now? Are you familiar with the latest trends, developments and technology that can take your webpage to the next level, and stand out from the rest?
These are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself with every project, consistently seek to innovate, adapt and look forward.
This will see you improve your skill set and understanding of web development with every project, and you’ll soon have a diverse portfolio that accurately represents you.
You can fall back on this when an agency shows interest, as they can see for themselves the quality and range of work you produce.
Get Yourself Insured
You need to get the right insurance should anything go wrong. Looking out for yourself should always be a priority. If an accident were caused at any point during your liaison, you could be liable for damage caused. It’s advised to be aware of the possible insurance options so that you can protect yourself should such an incident occur.
Hiscox can explain and guide you on the insurance requirements for contractors. Through contractors insurance, the policy will provide cover for negligence or breach of the duty of care, defamation, civil liability, and much more.
3. Build Your Brand
As well as having a top-notch website, you’ll need to take every opportunity possible to build your brand. Remember, getting your name out there can take time.
You need to learn how to market yourself so that people know who you are and what you do. Networking is a vital skill, and there are various ways you can network:
LinkedIn is a brilliant resource for making a name for yourself and connecting with agency workers and owners. The more connections you have, the stronger the LinkedIn profile you’ll create.
You can link your profile to your website, this can give you an edge on competitors and be the differentiating factor that sees you land a project.
Set Up Social Media Accounts
As well as a LinkedIn profile and website, you should seek to have active social media profiles.
Your profiles should be aesthetic and current, with regular, fresh content which shows you post regularly and are aware of the latest trends and developments within your industry.
This costs you nothing and can make the difference between being invited for an interview or shuffled to the ‘no’ pile.
4. Educate Your Website Visitors
Post Tutorials & Blogs On Your Site
Another simple and effective way to build your brand is to post tutorials and blogs on your website. Not only can this set you apart from other developers, but it can also help to expand your brand if readers like what you’re posting.
Enable your posts to be shared, liked and commented on, and you can see your content reach a wider audience and bring traffic to your website. Potential employers will also see you’re a confident web developer if you’re posting tutorials on the subject.
Post Original Content
You can let your personality shine through with the content you post — make it entertaining and informative.
What’s more, it’s a real opportunity for you to showcase your skills and the kind of web developer you are, so you can build trust with potential employers long before you’ve met them.
And Remember...Take Negative Feedback Onboard
Feedback works both ways. Negative feedback can be invaluable, as the only way to improve is to learn from past mistakes and seek ways to innovate in a profession that’s evolving and developing all the time.
If your work is tired, slow and sluggish, wouldn’t you rather know so that so you can work to improve it straight away?
Think You Qualify? Get In Touch!
Getting a job at an agency will take time, patience and diligence. Through dedication, hard work and a unique skill set, you can see your work take you to new places at an agency.
Trust yourself and take on board the points above, and you could see your professional career reach new heights sooner than you think.