Is web dev the only route out there?

I’m fairly certain that the answer is a resounding “No”, but is web dev the best way to break into the developer world? I’ve been learning python for a few months now, and am starting to work on a couple of bigger programs (The ones I’ve been wanting to tackle since the beginning, but knew I needed some land under me before I started).
On a whim I went an took a look at the job boards out there, and Holly Cow Turds! there are a lot of jobs listed for full stack web developers… I mean Jezz! Is building my personal projects in a GUI like Kivi a good idea (I was hoping to use it as portfolio piece and keep it running as an open source project as a passion piece), or should I shelve it until I have a better grasp on JavaScript and build it with the Django stack?

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You are correct, there are multiple “routes” to being a web developer.

If your goal is to learn web development for employment I usually recommend “going backwards”. Where you start with the jobs your seeing you can apply to, take what they are asking for and learning those technologies and requirements.

So for example, if your seeing only full-stack web developer jobs asking for C# + JavaScript + React (just an example) it would be wise to at least look into those technologies, and compare them to what your currently learning. Obviously direct experience is the best experience when applying, but similar experience with similar technologies might suffice.

Depends what your goals are with this project. If its just to show off and contribute to over time as a “passion piece” then yea go for it, you will learn something.

However, if you want to show it off as the main project when you are applying for then it would be best its as relevant as possible for the jobs your applying for. So for example, if your write your project with Python + Tkinter (Python’s GUI lib) and your applying for a full-stack job, it probably wont help much.

There is one technology/language that is undeniable to know if you want to end up doing web development and that’s JavaScript. The browser can basically run only 1 language and that is JavaScript. HTML and CSS are standards that are good to know as well, but JS is what “makes things do stuff”, and as such is a basis for all the big frameworks out there. So its basically a given that you have experience with JS if you want to get into web development, unless you plan on going for a pure back-end roll, or be a UI/UX expert that works with the developers.

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There are all sorts of specializations in the world of software development. And a significant fraction of 21st-century software is deployed via the web. Look around and you’ll see what I mean. Your cheezy five-year-old home router has a web interface. Many high-end database management systems have web interfaces. e-commerce has web interfaces. So do the Free Code Camp lessons, this forum, and Zoom.

Notice how much the devs of these various web apps have to know about the business of their employers. Notice how much of their business is “back-end” stuff (server stuff). If you specialize in only “front end”, you need to work at a place with a back-end team in place. You’ll be the tail and the back end team will be the dog.

But if you’re conversant with the basics of “back-end” development as well as “front-end” you’ll be able understand and do more with the business needs of any employer.

Learning the web dev trade is like learning to drive for a living. You need to know how to do it. But then you need to decide whether you’ll drive a taxi, a school bus, a delivery truck, or diesel fuel over mountain passes in an eighteen-wheel tank truck. Each of those choices takes domain knowledge. None of them are pure “driving”.

The business of the company that hires you for your first web dev job will help you set your direction.

My suggestion: look at help-wanted job listings. Find three or four jobs that catch your interest, and figure out what you would need to know to be a decent candidate for them. Figure out how YOU might help those employers solve THEIR problems.

Keep your demo projects going. Why? They’re fun, and they’re something to talk about in interviews.

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I think this depends on what you want to do, and also where you’re able to find a job. Most jobs related to python are not in web development, if you look at the overall landscape. There are of course some companies that for some reason have python microservices/backends, but I wouldn’t say it’s dominant. More likely you will find python used in data science or big data jobs. Web Dev is easier to break into because there are more jobs for that and it’s easier to get into entry level jobs like that.