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General Discussion

THE LIST of minimum skills you need to master to call yourself a web Developer.

Hi there!

What are the minimum skills someone needs to master, to call himself a Designer, a Developer, or a Programmer?

I agree that this is a relative question, and the answer can vary from one person to another. And with so many languages, and resources up there, is very hard for someone to understand, and decide from where to start, and what to learn, to become a good Designer, Developer, or a good Programmer. So to make it simple, let's make a list of skills someone needs to master, to get good in web industry.

And here is my list, please feel free to submit your opinions, suggestions, and your comments, and help me out to complete this list. I will update this list every time I will find new information on this topic.

Note: This is a list of minimum skills someone needs to master to become good at something. The additional skills you might need, are listed in the "Bonus" section.


Beginner: Photoshop

Intermediate: Photoshop, HTML, CSS

Advanced: Photoshop, HTML, CSS, Ilustrator

Bonus: Fireworks,


Beginner: Photoshop, HTML, CSS

Intermediate: Photoshop, HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery

Advanced: Photoshop, HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, PHP or Ruby

Bonus: firebug or chrome dev tools


Minimum: PHP or Ruby




WEB DEVELOPER "generalist"

Beginner: Photoshop, HTML, CSS, jQuery, PHP or Ruby





Beginner: Photoshop, HTML, CSS, Wordpress,




Beginner: Ruby









Please help me out to complete this list, and If you are a very good designer, a good developper, or a geek, then what are the minimum skills we need to master to be someone like you? Or what are the steps we need to take to get up there?


5 Answers

Hello khcir,

I will share with you my opinion about becoming a web designer,web developer ect ...

In my opinion , a succesfull web developer must have great skills at coding(HTML,HTML5,CSS,CSS3,PHP,MySql,Ruby,...) But prior to that must be great at resolving problems and have great ideas.

Successfull web designer must too have great skills at coding(HTML,HTML5,CSS,CSS3,Wordpress,Themes,Templates,...) But prior to that must be a great with Photoshop,Ilustrator ... vector graphics ,... because a great designer can design own page layouts, plugins, and sell them to make profit. But all with the help of web developer/programmer.

Programmer (Web or not) must be great at programming(C++,PHP,MySql,HTML,CSS,Ruby,Java,Javascript,)... if we talk about web programmer it's in my opininon same as web developer,because you are developing something in code.

Again i'm saying my own opinion. Other can tell you different.

If you narrow your list in to just 3 types: -Web designer(WEB AMATEUR, IT STUDENT,DESIGNER,FRONT END DEVELOPER,WORDPRESS DESIGNER)



If we take at look at this, no one can tell you how to become someone like me,her,... Everyone involved in IT technologies, must make own things and master own skills to be better that other one. This is the beauty of the web.

If you can make astonishing wordpress site with just knowledge of "How to make a wordpress blog" .. .that's fine, if you can sell yourself with only this knowledge ... it even better for you. But you SHOULD NOT become "someone like me" , because then it won't be so much different tools, different plugins, different codes , ... on-line.

I hope this answers your question.

Have a nice day and happy learning :) Aleš Petrova?ki

37,033 Points

A wordpress developer needs a solid understanding of jquery, php, html, css, and wordpress. Most wordpress designers need to understand a lot of the same things because to design themes you have to have the structure in place and unless you are going to just make child themes or take someone else's theme and call it your own by giving it design you need to know the structure. But a wordpress developer unless they are designing the theme needs jquery for sure because it's used in quite a few plugins which would be the only part they would be doing unless they are creating someone else's back end or designing themselves. Wordpress is kind of a fun beast of it's own right.

Patrick Cooney
Patrick Cooney
12,216 Points

I'm gonna discuss the "soft skills". You can know all the software or technologies in the world but if you don't have the skills to use them that wont make you any better. Take a designer for instance. You can be a whiz at Photoshop, almost godly in illustrator, but if you don't understand balance and value and the other principles of design you're probably going to be a pretty piss poor designer.

As a web developer if you're stellar at writing whatever code someone throws at you, but you can't sit down and work out an algorithm for a given problem by yourself you're useless to just about every company.

Edward White
Edward White
11,604 Points

What about also the idea that there is no such thing as a "genius" programmer, designer or such thing? The categorizing kind of does that.

Trying to categorize someone who is an advance designer, programmer, whatever seems a bit odd. Someone can be a great designer just based upon their lack of knowledge. It just means they might struggle a bit more with their craft, to solve problems. I can create beautiful pieces of work, even with lousy knowledge of my tools. At least, in my mind I can!

I don't think its worth spending time deciding where your talent is at, since there is no hard fast rule to when you start providing value, in your skills. Some start early, and struggle thru the project, some wait too long before providing, and find they are still struggling, because they cannot meet the goals of the client.

For example, think back to the earlier days of the internet. Some kid on the block picked up learning to write HTML code, His parents talk to other parents, one says the need a website, and they are like our little johnny knows about that! Next thing you know, he produced a ugly website, but the neighbors are happy for now having a presence. They didn't ask..oh, how advance is he? Does he know Javascript? Cold Fusion? It was more like, if he says yes, and he produces something we like, mission accomplished.

Or the same thing may of happened differently. Someone finds out Johnny can draw. So his friends start bugging him if you could draw roses for his girlfriend to place in their binder, or that he can draw a lion eating a..unicorn. But, Johnny, well that isn't his thing. He only likes drawing Faces. You have to annoyingly turn down the friends, even thought you have the "skill" of drawing, because its just not his style.

But, is he not an artist because he can't draw those things? Hardly.

So, categorizing people into who is this or that, seems moot. It may even get in the way of you producing. Because you might begin fearing, oh I haven't learn enough yet. When you might already have.

As a sidenote, I watched this video(link below), which kind of touches on it, a little bit. Talks more about programming. What your role is really like. At least for programming. It made me learn to not be afraid about how do I know if I'm good enough to provide value.


So, my goal, in programming is this- When I can produce an concept web app or a webpage, mission accomplished. I hope you can do the same. Don't get stuck in analysis paralysis. If you need to see if your really up to the task, do small stuff. Take small outsourcing jobs, on Fivvr, or elance. Then, keep moving up and up to more interesting problems. Don't worry about, can I do this or that? Since a lot of that is developed around your problem solving skills, not your knowledge of a tool.

I agree with you.

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

A web developer should be able to:

  • wireframe/layout a website or web application
  • write HTML and CSS from scratch
  • take a PSD and turn it into a working website
  • add interactivity to a website with JavaScript (or jQuery)
  • write a basic application in an object-oriented programming language like Ruby or Python or PHP
  • work comfortably with a version control system like Git
  • manage a domain’s DNS settings
  • deploy a website to a website host

source: When can I call myself a Web Developer by Scott Magdalein

Rich Braymiller
Rich Braymiller
7,119 Points

I'm kind of just starting out. I just turned 36 and I've been doing html and css as a very casual hobby for a long time. I also do internet security on the side for people now and then. As my industry has worsened, and have been one of those people who have been unemployed long enough to no longer be qualified for unemployment...looking for a new career and have been on treehouse for sometime now...my biggest hurdle seems to be javascript...hopefully in time that will no longer be the case. Thanks for the great info!