Why it is no longer enough just to be a web developer

Why it is no longer enough just to be a web developer

Web development trends come and go faster and faster. Keeping up with them is a challenge.

Web technologies are constantly changing. Faster internet connections, new devices or changed user behavior make trends emerge and fade away again. A Flash element on a website used to be the be-all and end-all of a good website, but today it only shows that the page has not been updated for a long time. Behind the virtual scenes, web developers are working on using the new technologies as innovatively as possible. Meanwhile, the way you implement web projects is changing. Where does web development stand today? And what are the upcoming trends? ESKA asked our top programmers whose projects always deliver the best quality, satisfying the customers, what it is like to be a programmer in 2021.

Courage, opportunities, added value

When asked how they think web development has changed in the last five years, many programmers refer to the increased quality. The industry has become very professional and best practices have emerged in many areas that lead to high quality on a much broader basis. As a result, innovation has withdrawn more to specific sub-aspects and often needs even more courage than before. Besides, today professionalism must be paired with innovation to stand out from the crowd. Our developers also mentioned that today’s programmers need more skills, specialists, and know-hows to shine in their careers today. They also mentioned that on the customer side, significantly more resources are needed than before, and everyone has to pay more attention to scientifically supported processes. Content is just as important as the packaging. Users are not prepared to spend long periods on a page if the content does not offer any added value.

The basics of good, sustainable work on the web have remained the same. But the web developers of 2021 are working with ever better freely available modules that can be used faster and can be built even better. In short: the open-source principle has prevailed. Our developers also added that the rise of China is also taking place in this area, referring to "Vue.js", which they describe as "the defining front-end framework of these years".

Competencies without limits

What other trends are web developers currently facing? Our web developer mentions a marketing aspect, saying that the new main medium is the web, not other advertising media. Other trends are front-end design patterns, speech recognition and language assistance in the customer journey, conversational navigation, and always-on usability testing. Also, CMS systems with a focus on their core functions - so-called headless CMS are in trend for them. The headless CMS as SaaS has developed a maturity that makes them better alternatives in more and more cases. Besides, backends are increasingly appearing as APIs and are increasingly being implemented as microservices. So, we can say that we see a trend towards relocating demanding work to the build process, i.e. to do it before delivery to the browser. This can be used to effectively cushion increased complexity and demands. Business logic and rendering, on the other hand, are shifted to the browser. In general, more attention is paid not only to performance but also to accessibility.

Our developers also wanted to add that they see trends in team and project work, saying that there is a shift from web development to product development. The collaboration takes place across previous team boundaries: developers work directly with designers, data analysts, and users to find the best possible product thinking which is increasingly user-centered, as UX is becoming more important. And of course, data protection is also a big topic, where the trend lies towards more transparency and user participation.

It's faster and requires more knowledge

With new trends, new challenges come to the developers. There are two main aspects of it. On the one hand, the speed of change is great: What is modern today may be out of date in one or two years. Recognizing trends early is accordingly important. On the other hand, the technical spectrum becomes bigger and the product development encompasses to be a better one. In addition to the various technology standards, know-how in related specialist areas is becoming increasingly important, for example in the area of SEO.

Our web developers say that now in 2021, an unbelievably large amount of expertise is demanded from them. Today you are no longer just a simple yet professional web developer, but a React developer with a focus on data connectivity, or a UI developer with accessibility expertise or DevOps for cloud computing. The constantly increasing abundance of possibilities and specializations is not just a challenge for newbies. In this context, the most important challenge is and will remain further training. Not only in technology but also in methods, communication, and cooperation.

More than just writing code

What does tomorrow's web development look like? Our programmers think that the gap between smartphone apps and web apps will close. The capabilities of the devices will be transferred to the web faster and more consistently. NFC will be accessible to web apps for payments, voice control anyway, AR and VR.

In the front-end area soon, we will see many interesting approaches in the area of web components and CSS/Houdini. In the nearest future, we will also rely more heavily on complex stacks. We will not only increase AI approaches in web developments, but deep learning will also increase support for ourselves, be it with code inspection and generation, but also with testing and automated audits. The teams will be even more multidisciplinary, especially with large projects, while smaller ones will focus on mature environments. Our developers also said that WebGL is increasingly being used for visual experiences, and custom shaders are being used more and more as well. 

Our programmer’s team members believe that the new possibilities will further increase the complexity. They say that seeing the trends, various inputs such as voice, facial expressions, and gestures will play an increasingly important role. Besides, personalized and individualized content, as well as the correct display of messages, will be intensified. The optimal placement in the ecosystem with overarching stakeholders will inevitably develop even more and trigger a dynamic that the complexity increases even further. It is not only important to think interdisciplinary, but also to work in cross-functional teams. Due to the highly competitive talent market, you also have to be able to work with a geographically dispersed team in which individual members work remotely. Ultimately, the inclusion of customers and other stakeholders is even more important.

Many changes in web development are happening at the technology level. Our small survey conveyed from ESKA’s web developers shows how individuals can specialize in a variety of subject areas. At the same time, it is becoming more important to broaden your skills and to go beyond the limits of programming. To sum it up in one sentence we will say again, that web development today already means much more than just writing code.