So you have read about the huge demand and opportunities in the tech world, right? And now you need a little help finding the best role for your skills. You're in the right place!
Software developers, web developers and web designers are three of the most accessible and in-demand roles in tech. However, it can be confusing to understand what the difference is between a software developer vs a web developer vs a web designer. They have some overlap but differ in overall job duties and skill sets. This article explains what they do and how you can take your first step towards a career in one today.
Excited? You should be! Here we go...
Difference between software developer vs web developer vs web designer
These terms can be confused with each other, but the projects they work on are very different.
Web developers build the core structure of websites and apps.
Software developers create the software for the apps and programmes.
Web designers are responsible for the design and usability of these websites.
Let’s take a deeper dive into what they involve...
What does a software developer do?
Software developers create and manage the programmes we use on our desktops, laptops and mobile devices. They use a range of ‘languages’- like Java, C# and SQL- to write the coding that makes our apps work. They also fine-tune and troubleshoot the software after it goes live.
There are software application developers and software system developers.
Applications developers focus mainly on applications for consumer audiences. Systems developers are more involved with the systems-level software for business customers.
Software developers need:
- Math skills.
- Problem-solving skills.
- Knowledge of programming languages
- Attention to detail.
According to Glassdoor.com, the average software developer’s salary in Kenya is KES 290,000 a month.
What does a web developer do?
Web developers are creative people who build websites from the ground up. They are responsible for how the website (or application) looks and functions.
There are three types- front-end, back-end and full-stack developers.
- Front-end web developers: make the software as easy to use as possible. They also ensure it can be used with other operating systems.
- Back-end web developers: focus on the technical aspects of websites and web applications- how they actually work.
- Full-stack web developers: do both front- and back-end tasks. Most have lots of experience across application design, user experience, and programming languages. This can then lead to highly-paid technical and advisory positions.
Web developers need:
- Computer skills.
- Maths skills.
- Attention to detail.
- Excellent problem-solving skills.
- The ability to explain technical matters clearly.
According to Glassdoor.com, the average web developer’s salary in Kenya is KES 104,000 a month.
What does a web designer do?
The web designer’s job is to make sure the site looks as good as possible. As well as the general framework and layout, they also need to consider how the pages will look on different devices.
They need to be up-to-date on current design trends, dealing with brand imagery, colours and fonts etc.
The job includes lots of research and testing, to ensure the finished job meets the expectations of both the client and the users. They also need to consider how their design will affect the coding of the site, creating the mockup developers then bring to life.
Again, their job doesn’t end with the creation- they are also required for updates, maintenance and performance.
There are three different types of web designers, each focusing on a specific type of work. These are:
- User Experience (UX)
- User Interface (UI)
UX designers ensure the website is attractive to visitors and provides them with a positive user experience.
UI designers also play a role in the design of the website, with their role more concerned with how easy to use it is.
Visual designers work on the site layout and how it looks.
They need to be able to use several tools to perform their task. From design and editing software (like Adobe Photoshop) to Content Management System software (like WordPress) and website-building platforms (like Elementor).
Web designers need:
- Good analytical skills.
- Attention to detail.
According to Glassdoor.com, the average web designer’s salary in Kenya is KES 137,000 a month.
Training for a Career
For such in-demand and financially rewarding careers, the barriers to entry for technology jobs are surprisingly low. The tried-and-tested route involves a qualification to gain the basic knowledge needed, some mock-up work to develop practical skills and build experience, before an entry-level position in the industry. Here are some steps you can take to get started in one of these in-demand careers:
1. Gain Skills With Courses – You do not need to spend years in university to learn the fundamentals for these careers! Decide which career suits your abilities and wants. Then, study to gain the knowledge and qualifications you need. Because these careers have overlapping duties, some courses can even prepare you for more than one career opportunity. In addition, many courses will allow you to put together a portfolio in the process, which you can use to apply for jobs.
Below are quality courses to consider. They will teach you all you need for a successful career in the industry:
Software and Web Development courses teach the coding languages, as well as the hard and soft skills, necessary for a career in software development, engineering and programming.
Web developer courses teach in-demand programming languages and how to build a dynamic website. They can take learners with absolutely no experience in coding to that of a junior web developer.
Web designer courses give learners all the skills and training needed to secure a placement with an agency or a company’s in-house creative team.
2. Apply to Jobs with Your New Skillset – Once you have gained the fundamental knowledge and skills, you can apply to positions. A good quality course will help you put together a portfolio that you can use to apply to jobs. These job fields are in-demand, so there should be many openings looking for your skill set. You can apply to entry-level positions and then grow in the field.
3. Grow in Your Career – As you work in your new career, you can gain even more skills and knowledge. Be sure to ask questions and learn from others on the job. This way, you can advance quickly and become an expert! With expertise comes more job opportunities and salary increases.
Sound like something that interests you?
We hope this article has given you a better understanding of what these similar-sounding but very different jobs do. And, who knows, maybe even the encouragement you need to train for one…