How to Become a Web Developer Without a Degree and Make Money in Kenya

How to Become a Web Developer Without a Degree and Make Money in Kenya


Web development has created a lot of buzzes globally over the years, because of its projected growth in the future.

I have friends who became web developers fresh out of high school and when I see how much money they are making now, I wish I had joined this bandwagon earlier.

I know I’m not the only one who missed out on an opportunity to make money because I thought I didn’t know how to code or web development is hard.

If you are like me, then don’t worry.

Technology has simplified things and you can easily become a web developer and make money building websites.

Is Web Development Marketable In Kenya?

Web development is sought after by many youths in Kenya because it is very lucrative and in high demand.

It is a more relevant job today because there are many companies and businesses that are looking for web developers.

Every business is going online and with the rise in the unemployment rate, it is easier for a college graduate or school dropout to learn web development through short courses, set up their own business and start offering their services to clients. 

What is Web Development?

Web development simply means building a website.

There are activities that are involved in the functionalities of a website and these are all a part of web development. 

These websites are usually developed for the Internet (World Wide Web) or the Intranet (a private network).

Web development can range from developing the simplest static single page of plain text to the more complex web-based internet applications, social network services and electronic businesses. 

Oftentimes we confuse web design with web development, so I’ll simplify it this way; web design is associated with the appearance and overall outlook of a website, whereas web development lies more on the technical side of a website.

What Does a Web Developer Do?

As a web developer, besides spending your time on your office desk with your eyes glued to a computer screen building websites, you will be faced with the following duties and responsibilities.

  • Working with web designers for the overall look of the website.
  • Testing and documenting software for websites
  • Identifying and correcting problems uncovered through testing.
  • Debugging software for websites 
  • Writing code to generate web pages, access databases and business logic servers. 
  • Converting written, graphic, audio or video components to compatible web formats.
  • Using programming  languages to build websites.

You will also need to meet with your clients and communicate with them regularly so that you know what they really want from the website. 

How Do I Become a Self Taught Web Developer?

The usual route in becoming a web developer is usually to seek formal education to know the basic coding languages and acquire technical skills. 

If you do not want to spend so much time in school and you already have too much going on in your life, there are ways you can learn web development on your own.

I am going to give you a step by step guide that will make it easy for you in your career transition to web development. 

  1. Find a niche. There are a lot of web development career options that are available and you can look into what interests you most about them. You can be a front end web developer, a back end web developer, a user interface developer or a user experience designer. Find out which of these options sparks your interest, do your research and see if it is the best fit for you. That way, you will know what skills and expertise you need to get started on them.
  1. Choose a basic tutorial. Once you have known all the options and have made a pick, you can now look at courses and tutorials that offer the kind of knowledge that you are seeking. There are many online courses that will give you a good foundation on coding, for example Codecademy, HTML5 Rocks, Khan Academy or Coursera. You do not have to go to college to be a web developer. There are many successful web developers who taught themselves and you can too.
  1. Build something. Now that you know the fundamentals and have learned the basic coding skills, it is time for you to start doing sample projects to test your level of understanding. Apply what you learn so that you do not forget or you do not get lost. Practice, practice, practice. Spend a lot of time on your first website so that you will feel comfortable with your final achievement. 
  1. Make it mobile friendly. Your website should be usable on every mobile device. With this digitally connected world, you should tailor your website to be accessible on a smartphone, android or iOS.
  1. Put out your portfolio. As you were doing your multiple projects, there had to be some that you did perfectly and that you were drawn to while working on them. Focus on these website projects and select around five of the best and see if you can use it on your portfolio. The purpose of this is to hone your skills so that you can market your services to a target audience. This is the fastest way to get into jobs and land yourself a  client. 

What Do You Need To Start Web Developing?

To start web development, there are some tools and equipment that you need in your arsenal.

  • A laptop 
  • A website software/builder to build your websites with ease
  • An antivirus software to secure your websites 
  • A productivity software to check on your progress, for example Google Docs 
  • Programming skills, for example Javascript,Java, HTML, CSS etc.

Web Development Softwares 

These are web development platforms that allow you to build your websites from scratch with so much ease. You will create, edit and update your web pages for free or at a price.

I have done my research and I am going to list some of the best software that you can use if you want a fully functional and good looking website.

  1. WordPress. This is one of the most popular website builders and it is free for personal websites and for business websites, you can pay around Ksh. 500 per month or subscribe for premium options. It is developed in the PHP language, easy to install, safe and SEO optimised.
  1. Weebly. Weebly is a good platform for beginners and professional web developers. It is programmed with HTML and CSS and you can connect freely or pay for business purposes.
  1. Adobe Dreamweaver. This platform is specifically for Adobe Systems. It is programmed with Javascript, HTML and CSS. It costs around Ksh. 1000 per month.
  1. Bootstrap. Bootstrap is popular with HTML, CSS and Javascript. They offer free templates and it is quite easy and safe to use.
  1. Github. This is the world leading software development platform. You can pay for premiums or use it for free, depending on the type of website you want. 

Other popular software that you can use for your web development purposes include

  • Photoshop
  • AngularJS
  • Adobe XD
  • Google Web Designer
  • MAMP

What Skills Do I Need For Web Development?

Working in web development will need you to have a set of skills that are going to make it easier for you.

Try to develop these skills and improve in them, so that you can get the best out of this field.

  1. Communication skills. As a web developer, you will be working with web designers and content producers. You should be able to listen to what your clients want, communicate your ideas and work with other employers who are associated with the final look of the website.
  1. Time management skills. If you are a freelance web developer, chances are you will be working on multiple projects, so you will need to know how to manage your time and beat crazy deadlines. 
  1. Problem solving skills. When your client asks for changes in the website, you should be able to take the necessary parts aside and bring in new solutions to the changes.
  1. Presentation skills. After you are done with your website, you have to show it to your clients for review. Male sure you understand every aspect of your project and be able to take them through in a clear and precise way.
  1. Consulting skills. Since you will be working with other employees, you will have to consult with them how they want the website tailored to meet all the requirements. 
  1. Analytical skills. A web developer should be able to identify the user’s and client’s needs and develop the website to meet those needs.
  1. Technical skills. These skills are important to understand the hardwares and software you are using. For example, SQL software development.
  1. Programming skills. These skills are important to build your website from scratch. Know how to use the programming languages like Java, Javascript, HTML, PHP and CSS.

What are the Qualifications For  Web Development?

When you are looking for web development jobs, your employer will need to see some qualities in you that makes you eligible to land a job in their company. 

  • A bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming or any relevant field.
  • At least 2 years of work experience in lieu of the degree
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills. 
  • Work portfolio 

Web Development Jobs

If you do not know where to start looking for a web development job, you can start targeting advertising and promotion agencies, web design companies or marketing organisations. 

You will notice that web development is an umbrella term that houses different job titles, for example:

  • Front end developer
  • Back end developer
  • User Interface (UI) developer
  • User experience (UX) designer
  • Software developer

Freelance web development jobs are available on Upwork and Fiverr.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Web Development?

To truly master web development, you have to practise it. The bottom line is, everyone’s learning curve is different. For some, it may take years and for some, just a few months or even weeks.

Going for a degree means you should be “done” learning web development after 4 years and you can easily take on tasks because of a good education foundation on programming languages and skills. 

If you are taking short courses on web development, either online or onsite, you will need 6 months of dedication and commitment to master it.

To be able to pull up complicated tasks with much ease, you will have to be on a continuous learning journey for years, because technology keeps on changing and you have to keep up with the trends.

How Long Does It Take To Build a Website?

Building a website can be a daunting task, especially if you want to build something perfect with minimal changes. 

Before you build a website, you have to know what your needs or your client’s needs are, have a plan and then get started on web development. 

Depending on the type of project, it should take you an average of 15 to 30 hours to build a single website.

Website software will allow you to do it quicker and easier.

How Much Does It Cost To Develop a Website?

There are two options to develop a website.

  • Doing it yourself 
  • Hiring a professional to do it for you

The cost for developing a website is tied to the type of website you want to develop, the technology behind that website, the components of the website, as well as the set-up and maintenance.

If you don’t know how to code, you can easily build a quality website for Ksh. 4000 on a website builder. This is advantageous because it reduces cost, it is easy to use, you get 24/7 support and you can produce high-quality graphics.

If you want to hire a web developer, be ready to part with around Ksh. 15,000 to Ksh. 100,000 per website.

How Do I Present My Work To Clients?

When you are presenting the websites to your clients for review, you can hand in your portfolio and give out the sample projects that you have done for them to judge your work.

Export your work as a single PDF work, that way they all stay together and easily shareable throughout the company.

How Should I Charge For Web Developing?

When you want to charge for your services, you need to make it profitable so that you can cover your cost of living as well as business expenses. No one wants to be in a trade that does not make him enough money for sustainability. 

There are two options to price your work; per hour or a one-off flat rate. 

If you are charging per hour, you can focus on the number of projects, project length, project difficulty, page count, commitment level and if it is an only or new client.  Typically, you should charge Ksh. 7500 per hour for your services.

If you are giving a one-off flat rate, make sure it is relative to the level of your skills. Start with Ksh. 30,000 per project.

If you want to make money from web development, pricing is key.

How Much Money Can I Make With Web Developing?

If you are going to invest your time, energy and money into something, you need to know that the returns are great.

The average base salary for a web developer in Kenya is around Ksh 500,000 a year. 

This means that it is possible to earn around Ksh. 42,000 per month with determination and consistency. 

You can also make more money as a freelancer because you can work on multiple projects for different clients and have many income streams.

How Do I Attract Clients?

Getting clients for your web development services is quite simple.

This is what you have to do.

  1. Create your own website. Pay attention to your own website to drive traffic to your services. You can use portfolio websites like Dribble or ask a friend to link your website with theirs. That way, you reach your target audience. 
  1. Ask for referrals. Ask your clients to recommend people to you and have a referral program where you can give discounted or free services for those who refer someone.
  1. Use social media. Use the connection you have built online to get your clients for your services. You can upload your web designs or add a link to your website on your social media profile.
  1. Improve your skills. Do not always think that you have reached the peak with web development. You have to keep on competing with trends and new designs if you want to be successful and make more money. Improve your skills.
  1. Find a niche. When you have focused on one particular area, it is easier to get clients who are interested in that particular service. However, I’m not telling you to limit your options. You can always multitask if you are comfortable and confident in your work.

How Do I Promote My Services?

If you want to grow your web development business, you need to put yourself out there and make yourself known so that you can land more clients.

  1. Use social media marketing. Build relationships and engagements. These days, almost all of us are using social media to get products and services. Putting your business in front of your target audience can lead to more leads. You can share your projects on Facebook or Instagram. 
  1. Optimise your website for SEO. Your personal website should be able to appear on the top searches of Google so that you build your brand and trust on your clients that you are able to provide quality content. 
  1. Create quality content. Be the expert. Go out and build recognition in your field. Quality is the best marketing strategy. When you do an excellent web development job, people will acknowledge you and your clients will tell other people about how great your services are.
  1. Link with other websites. You can ask your friends or other web developers to link your website with theirs so that you can reach out to more clients. 
  1. Signature branding. Branding your website is also a good way to promote your web development services to new clients who are seeking your work.

Advantages of Web Development 

These are some of the benefits that you will have when you start a web development career.

  1. Working from home. You do not have to report to the office workplace everyday. You can set up your work at home and do it online. 
  1. Higher pay. Web developers are on high demand. It is a very lucrative career path and you can make a lot of money working on a single project or multiple projects.
  1. Many career opportunities. There are different career options for a web developer, from a front end developer, a back end developer or a user interface designer. 
  1. Enhanced creativity. You have to tap in to your creativity as a web developer if you want something unique. This expands your horizons to new ideas and techniques. 
  1. Improved critical thinking skills. Facing problems and finding solutions means you should be a critical thinker and you can use these skills in life as well.

Disadvantages of Web Development 

Some of the challenges and problems you will face in web development include:

  1. Working long hours. Sometimes you will be world on difficult projects or you may have crazy deadlines, so you will need to work late into the night to finish them. This can be very exhausting. 
  1. Constant changes in technology. You have to keep up with the new trends and technology used to develop websites so you are never really done with training and learning. 
  1. Multitasking. When you are working on multiple projects at the same time, you may end up not doing quality work on some projects because they will be neglected.
  1. Demanding clients. Some clients are difficult to deal with. They want constant changes and they set tight deadlines. It may be difficult to please them.

How Can I Become a Successful Web Developer?

There are certain qualities that are quite noticeable in successful web developers all over the world. If you want to be a successful web developer, these habits and skills will help you in your journey.

  1. Patience. As a web developer, you will need to be very patient with yourself and your clients. Sometimes you will beat yourself up if things get tough and this is detrimental to your success. You also have to know how to deal with demanding clients.
  1. Communication skills. Be a good communicator. You will be working with designers, content producers and your clients so you need to make sure that no information gets past you.
  1. Continuous learning. There are new scripts, widgets and designs released nearly everyday. You have to keep up with the technologies and always learn how to match with the current trends. 
  1. Consulting. You need to consult with experts who are going to teach you how you can be successful. Do not always rely on your own intellect. There is so much you can learn from others.

Tips For Web Development 

These tips will help you to improve your overall soft and hard skills so that you can get more clients, work on more successful projects, make more money and become the web developer you have always wanted to be.

How to Improve Your Web Development Skills

Here are some tips on how you can improve your web development skills.

  1. Try new challenges and take lessons. This way, you will learn new skills as you use different approaches to solve different website problems. 
  1. Learn from experts. Check out how successful web developers have done it and look at the skills and qualities that are unique and stand out for all of them. You will know what skills you need to focus on improving if you want to succeed.
  1. Learn different coding styles. There are many different programming languages and you can dream different coding styles despite the ones you already know so that you can improve your skills. 
  1. Practice everyday. Like they say, practice makes perfect. Always develop something everyday. You will be keener and you will be able to handle multiple projects and improve your skills.
  1. Read. This is quite underrated for technical subjects. You can read books about programming and expand your skills through this. 

Web Development Ideas

These web development ideas will give you a competitive advantage over other developers because it will give you some unique and appealing ideas on how you can differentiate your work from the old recurrent trends. These ideas can be used by both beginners and professional web developers.

Latest Project Ideas For Web Development 

Some of the best creative project ideas for web developers today include.

  • Search engine result page
  • Javascript drawing 
  • SEO friendly website
  • Social share buttons 
  • Toast notifications 
  • Word counter
  • Online affiliate marketing for businesses 
  • Note log
  • Survey form

There are tutorials online on how you can develop these project ideas.

Conclusion 

The future for web development is bright.

There are hundreds of thousands of websites online and as many businesses are struggling to get an online presence and stand out of the crowd, it is time for you to stop thinking and jump into this boat and make money. 

Do not doubt your coding capabilities, because website building software will do all the work for you.

If you are a creative person, this is your chance to monetise your gift.

You can make a lot of money just from web development and there are many career paths you can follow with this knowledge and experience. 

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