Today I feel like writing about web development jobs and the services we offer as web developers. I have always wanted to have the power to manipulate code to my will. Back then, being a web developer was a secure thing. How secure is it now as a career? I am going to talk ever so lightly about services like Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress. Could it potentially ever get to the point where I lose my job as a web developer because of the services they offer? These services offer a good solution to making websites for anyone with no technical expertise, which raises two main questions. Do we need to worry about that? Is it something that could one day replace us as developers?
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The thing is, we are working with two different markets that might not be obvious at first, especially to someone who is not familiar with web development. One of them is for creating static, basic content, web pages, which is something that services like Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress offer. The other one is for creating bespoke web apps. Services like Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress the market that is for the creation of basic static websites, which only hold some information or e-commerce websites, which allow you to take your products, put them on that website, and sell them.
It is no lie that there are so many aspects of web development that these services offer. Tools like creating your backend for you, managing your data, managing your secure payments, your SEO, or in other words, the positioning of your website on Google search and how high you rank in the search. Said services are handy for a non-techie. The disadvantage of these services is that they are pretty limited in terms of what they can offer with built-in themes because even for more extensive and complex customizations of those websites, you would still probably need to refer to a developer. What is going on? Why are people saying that the world of web development is being taken over by such services? In my opinion, that is completely not the case, and to be frank, those online services do not cause a problem for us web developers.
There are very few minor scenarios that I can think of which might affect someone. If you are a developer who creates simple websites for people or websites that just dealt with simple e-commerce aspects, I would say you might find it hard to compete against them unless you are offering more than what said services offer on top of what they already offer. Take me, for example. I can create both simple and complex sites. I have a lot of WordPress clients, and I manage to keep being in business because I offer customization whether in design or functionality. I never use prebuilt themes nor page builders. I code the pages from scratch then add them onto WordPress as themes, except they are exactly what the client asks for.
Think of a web app like YouTube. You can make any site look like that using services like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress. No argument there, but what about your watch and search history?
What about things like being able to create a channel? What about creating functionality to rank my videos as the YouTube algorithm does? You will never be able to create things like that with DIY services. This is where the clear line comes in between simple websites and bespoke web applications.
A Web application is something that needs an actual developer to sit down, think about, to plan the structure, the architecture, the databases, and all the seamless integration.
There is a lot of processes involved that would never be available on websites like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress. Sure, WordPress can try and get a little deeper because of the plugins being actively developed, but that is usually not advisable because it affects the size of the site.
How has the presence of these services impacted us as web developers? Well, most probably in some small way, because they did take away that chunk of services that we used to offer. If you are on a path to becoming a web developer, do not lose hope because there are so many custom features that cannot be achieved with a basic template on one of those online tools. Do not get me wrong.
Sometimes I usually refer some clients to such services if I feel like what they want does not require a lot of coding and or customization. It is so effortless for someone to be able to do that, especially when you need something quickly. I refer some clients to such because it just seems like a convenient thing. There is no shame in saying that.
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If you are someone learning or wanting to learn web development, and you were just unsure about a future in web dev, you have an amazing career in front of you, and you should definitely not stop.