Nowadays, a website is essential for any company to maintain brand awareness and to communicate to customers their products, ideas, services or offerings. Web developers play a critical part in building, improving and maintaining websites and preventing technical issues from occurring.
Since web development does not require any formal qualifications, anyone can claim to be a web developer (degrees in programming or computer science are often considered nice to have). Finding a quality developer to hire internally has many challenges, which is why some businesses often choose to outsource web development to a third-party agency or freelancer.
If you're unsure what skills and abilities to look for during recruitment, this useful guide should help you understand the best way to hire a developer and how you can best assess them during your selection process.
What should a web developer be able to do?
Primarily, a web developer is responsible for writing quality code to support the development of web applications and websites.
They should also be familiar with content creation tools, management tools, and digital media.
It's important for a web developer to be able to work within a team, as they will often need to work with a range of key stakeholders across different departments (marketing, finance, product, etc.), some of whom might be non-technical. Being able to communicate in layman's terms can be the difference between a good web developer and a great one.
The main day to day tasks of a web developer include:
- Designing and building websites or web applications
- Updating website content (CMS)
- Carrying out database backups
- Testing software performance
A web developer might be referred to as a full-stack developer, which means they manage both the front-end and back-end parts of a website application. This is specialised and often more difficult to recruit for.
Web developers should take a mobile-first approach when building sites, since the majority of users access the internet through their mobile. Therefore, a developer who can create responsive websites that are built for a range of devices is another relevant activity.
Skills to look for in a web developer
When hiring a web developer, it is important to identify the key skills needed to assess their capabilities of succeeding in the role.
The five core skills to look for in a web developer are:
- Technical knowledge
- Problem-solving ability
- Strong communication
- High stress-tolerance
- Excellent time management
Web developers need to be highly technical individuals, since their role is primarily working with software.
Being an excellent problem solver is critical for a web developer as most programmers will encounter coding bugs and errors that require fixing during development. Figuring out how to solve these types of problems without becoming stressed, frustrated or giving up is a sought-after skill.
Stress management and time management can be vital in delivering business objectives within a timeline. For example, web developers are often given projects that must meet deadlines for other teams to succeed. Handling pressure is difficult to assess without some form of assessment, which is why skill tests are so useful.
Useful abilities for a web developer
A web developer should be creative, innovative, methodical and analytical in their approach to building websites or web applications. For example, there are logical steps to approaching a website build or debugging an error.
UX, web design and graphic design are also a plus when assessing the abilities of your web development candidates. Being able to understand the design principles of what makes a website look good and easy to use can be a helpful ability.
Which soft skills tests could I use to hire a web developer?
Soft skill tests relate to how a potential candidate works, such as work ethic, professional attitude and cultural fit.
The soft skill tests you might consider using to assess a web developer are:
Time management: is useful to ensure your candidates will meet deadlines and can manage the changing needs of stakeholders, their requirements and priorities of different web projects.
Interpersonal skills: are essential to working well with others - being able to listen to requirements, communicate well and having good people skills is an indication of good cultural fit. The interpersonal skills test would allow you to assess this ability.
Teamwork: is critical for a web developer as you will often work with other team members from other departments. Being a team player is key.
Which technical or aptitude tests could I use to hire a web developer?
Technology and aptitude tests make it easier to shortlist candidates during the early stages of the recruitment process. Using their test scores, you can gain valuable insight into each individual's strengths and weaknesses.
The software tests you might consider using to hire a web developer:
- Google Cloud Platform: GCP is useful software for developers to know as you can build web applications and websites using it.
- Microsoft Azure: Similar to GCP, Microsoft Azure is another cloud hosting service provider that lets you build web applications and websites.
The programming tests you might consider using to hire a web developer:
- HTML5: Used to write markup in order to style with CSS.
- CSS: Used to style HTML and make sites look professional and branded.
- PHP: general-purpose coding language that can be used to build interactive websites.
- Angular:A popular website framework.
The aptitude-specific tests you might consider using to hire a web developer:
- Error checking test: A useful skill test to ensure an applicant has strong attention to detail.
- Numerical reasoning test: An effective way to assess maths and problem-solving skills under time pressure.
Our recommended test battery for a web developer
There are plenty of assessments to choose from when hiring a web developer.
Our recommended test battery for a web developer are:
The first three tests involve core programming skills needed to build websites.
Error checking is an important aptitude test required to problem solve such as reviewing lines of code.
Time management is an important soft skill as web developers must meet certain deadlines set by marketing, product and business teams.
For more information about hiring a web developer, check out Picked's web developer test guide.