Essential web developer skills for jobseekers (With tips)

Updated 24 August 2023

Web developers are responsible for creating websites. Their job involves a variety of both hard skills and soft skills. To be successful as a web developer, you need a deep understanding of how websites function and how to use the tools necessary for their creation. In this article, we discuss what web developer skills are, look at some key skills needed to be a web developer, examine some ways to improve these skills and explain how you can highlight them to land a job.

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What are web developer skills?

Web developer skills refer to the knowledge and abilities necessary to create websites. With specialised applications and other tools, they contribute work at every stage of the process, from conceptualisation to launch. As both a creative and technical occupation, web development requires a range of skills to fulfil the necessary duties. Successful web developers are not only computer-literate but also imaginative and capable of interacting with others to complete complex assignments on time.

Related: What does a web developer do? (With salary and skills)

Examples of key web developer skills

The field of web development requires a combination of hard and soft skills. Here are some examples of key skills you need for success as a web developer:


If you hope to become a web developer, you must understand HTML and CSS. HTML is a markup language, or element-defining tags, that developers use to create web pages, and CSS is a complement to HTML, used to design websites in terms of fonts, colours and layout. While HTML lays the foundation for a webpage, CSS styles it.


Developers use the scripting language JavaScript to create complex visual features, such as videos, graphics and other elements. Features such as these can be appealing to viewers and help to engage them, as interactive web pages tend to grab people's attention. Thus, proficiency in JavaScript can allow you to fulfil higher-level requests from clients and potentially attract greater web traffic.

Read more: FAQ: what is JavaScript?


As a web developer, analytical skills are necessary for ensuring that coding is correct so that a website is functional. Skills of analysis extend to other aspects of the job as well. For example, it's important to analyse the expectations of your client so you can anticipate any unvoiced needs and be ready to implement any changes they'd like to see. A better understanding of both the components of your work and the needs of the client can contribute to a better end product.

Related: Analytical skills (with examples for career success)

Testing and debugging

Web developers regularly test their web pages for potential errors and malfunctions. If any arise, they also know how to debug them or address errors so that they don't occur. Testing and debugging are essential steps in the web development process, and greater aptitude in these web developer skills can help you create better-functioning websites.

Related: What is software testing? Types, benefits and principles

Responsive web design

Responsive web design refers to the creation of web pages that appear and function well on various platforms and screens. In web development, understanding how responsive design works is essential for creating sites that are compatible with desktop, mobile, different web browsers and various operating systems. This skill affects the number of visitors a website can get, as a site that's highly responsive can draw in users from every device type and platform.

Back-end web development

Much of web development occurs on the front-end or the part of the website that users see and interact with. However, some web developers also work on the back-end, which involves implementing code on the server. Back-end developers need to understand what servers are and how they function, be familiar with server-side web languages such as SQL and be knowledgeable about related concerns such as cybersecurity practices.

Even for web developers who don't program the back-end, back-end skills are important since they often collaborate with back-end developers.

Related: 6 essential backend developer skills and how to improve them

Search engine optimisation

Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is the practice of attracting organic traffic to a website. 'Organic' in this sense refers to viewers who find the site through their own browser searches, thereby raising the site's position in search results. This is important to companies because a higher search position attracts more viewers, which can lead to increases in conversions or actions that the client wants viewers to perform. Being vital to the success of companies that need websites, SEO is an essential skill for web developers.

Related: What is SEO? Definition and important types to know about


In web development, creativity is useful in various regards. In the design aspect of the job, creativity contributes to a developer's ability to create websites that are not only functional but also attractive. With programming, too, web developers often must be creative to write atypical code that achieves higher-level functionality. Additionally, web development involves choices on the developer's end, who must make creative decisions about what programming languages to use and how to use them.

Interpersonal communication

Web developers usually work with a variety of clients, so strong interpersonal communication skills are vital. Interpersonal communication includes understanding body language, active listening skills, the ability to collaborate and an overall positive attitude. These qualities can help create higher levels of understanding between you and the client. For example, if a client requests a challenging revision to a website, you're more likely to receive the feedback amenably and also succeed in negotiating the terms of the revision.

Related: 11 types of programming jobs (plus duties and salaries)

Time management

Web development involves several stages, each with numerous time-consuming tasks, so having excellent time-management skills is crucial for completing your workload. This is especially true when you're working to a deadline. Successful web developers tend to be aware of the time needed to complete specific duties and arrange their schedules so they can devote the appropriate amount of attention to each.

Ways to improve your web development skills

As a web developer, there are several ways to hone the skills necessary for this role. Here are some tips to guide you towards improving your web development skills:


Several web development skills are hard skills, which tend to improve with mindful repetition. For example, the more code you write, the more likely you are to increase your accuracy and improve your ability to notice errors. Developing websites in your free time is an excellent way to practise these hard skills, and it provides the added benefit of building your portfolio.

Pursue professional development

There are a number of ways in which you can formally develop your web development skills. Specialised programming and web development institutions offer courses through various means, such as online, in a classroom and during intensive boot camps. Universities, too, offer courses that can teach you both the basic and advanced skills of web development.

Related: Web designer vs web developer: understanding the difference

Earn certification

Professional certification in web development is excellent for building your skills and formally validating your aptitude. Consider searching for specialised certifications in HTML, responsive web design and other developer-related skills. By earning these certifications, you could potentially advance in your career and earn more.

Related: Web developer qualifications: a guide with tips and FAQs

How to highlight web developer skills

As you apply for web development positions, consider these tips for highlighting your skills to potential employers:

1. Web developer skills on your CV

On your CV, there are several areas in which you can mention your web development skills. Including a dedicated web developer skills section is a simple way to list the range of skills you possess. You can also include a personal statement towards the top of your CV in which you describe your strongest skills and how you've applied them to your profession. For example, you can mention any certifications you hold and the ways in which you've implemented HTML, CSS and your soft skills in professional settings.

2. Skills for web developers on your cover letter

Your cover letter provides a great opportunity to expand upon the skills you highlighted in your CV. Consider focusing on two or three skills and writing longer-form descriptions or narratives that flesh out your aptitude. For example, if you've used your coding skills to create websites in your free time, you can note that you've pursued web development as a personal interest and have built a strong skill set that way.

Related: How to write a front end developer CV (with a CV example)

3. Web development skills during a job interview

A job interview is a great time to demonstrate your knowledge of the profession and to showcase soft web developer skills, particularly your skills in interpersonal communication. Prepare for the interview by practising responses to questions the interviewer might ask. Some common interview questions related to your strengths and weaknesses, your employment history and your understanding of core web development concepts.

It's also a good idea to bring in hard copies of your CV and cover letter to remind you of the skills you've already highlighted. Refer to those documents during the interview to expand on your answers and emphasise your aptitude in those competencies.

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