What are Developer/Engineer skill sets?

This is the beginning of a multipart series of posts. While I know this won’t be perfect and people will probably have disagreements, I actually hope we can talk about it a little bit and maybe come to some standardization and unification.

Job definitions are hard, because in most cases working in the technology field, you will end up doing a lot of different things.

Today I want to investigate the title of “Web Developer“.

We have all probably heard of this title before and at first glance most will know what the person that holds that title does on a day to day basis. Or do we…

Let’s start out with what we probably agree on.

A “Web Developer” should be familiar with the core building blocks of websites and the best practices of implementing them.

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Javascript

Keep in mind that there are many tools and ‘technologies’ built on these core languages and platforms. Things like jQuery, AngularJS, LESS, SASS, Bootstrap and so many more.


HTML’s responsibility is to define content and structure it in an organized way. You’ll here the term ‘semantic’ used with HTML/markup a lot.

‘semantic’ means “the study of meaning”.

Semantic HTML is subjective in some cases but there is a lot of content written in HTML everyday and there are many best practices for semantic markup.

Tim Berners Lee, and Paul Irish are big influences that come to mind.


CSS’s stands for “Cascading Style Sheets”. “Cascading” refers to the rules of how styling is applied to HTML and is really the power behind CSS. There are many thoughts behind CSS and how it should be applied and organized. So much so that there are transpilers that enforce or provide simpler access to more complex CSS features.

SASS is my personal preference right now. With CSS it’s important to know about the box model and default browser values for padding and margin to be able to create a consistent experience across multiple platforms. CSS is also where a lot of the “Responsive Design” decisions and management happen.

Eric Meyer is a huge influence on CSS and has contributed a lot of great best practices and design patterns.


Javasript is the core of dynamic websites. Javascript is used for everything from countdown timers to handling complex data manipulation, games and analytics.  Javascript is downloaded by the browser just like images or any other content on your website. Then the browser runs that code inside its own environment.

Javascript is very powerful and also very complex. There are many libraries out there and many thoughts on best practices with javascript. It’s hard to find the right answer for the best way to do something, but a good way to tell is if the javascript is easy to read and understand what it’s doing then it’s probably a good sign.

Douglas Crockford and Addy Osmani have been really influential in the Javascript community.


Next Time…

I plan on this being at least a 1 of 4 part blog post. Next I’ll be covering the “Senior Web Developer” title, followed by “Software Engineer” and “Senior Software Engineer”.

Please feel free to discus and let me know what you think a “Web Developer” does! 🙂

What are Developer/Engineer skill sets?