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You don't have to be a web developer to be a programmer

When I first started out coding, I was sickened with impostor syndrome. All these great web developers with their fancy portfolios. But I'm not them. I can't design anything at all. I can't make things look beautiful or elegant.
But, the world is rifled with "learn to program by becoming a web developer".

I felt like I was destined to be a bad programmer as I couldn't do web development no matter how much I tried.

As I grew up, I realised that I don't have to be a web developer. Backend developers are just as cool, and even cooler to me personally.

I feel like this is because:

  • Web developers have more to show off
  • The vast majority of people becoming programmers go into web development (likely due to the fact that the web developers know how to build a well designed course / website)
  • Websites like are predominantly about web development (sort by top posts of all time, it's all web dev 😎)

Soo if you're a beginner programmer, I wanted to let you know that you don't have to be a web developer to be a good programmer. You don't even have to touch HTML if you like!

There are thousands of programmers not involved in web development. You don't even have to be a backend developer (that develops server-side applications). There are thousands of jobs where you develop internal tooling, databases, security and more.

Remember. Web development is not the only goal. You can become a great programmer without touching HTML or CSS.

While I'm not the best example, my projects have around ~9k GitHub stars. Hopefully you can see that people love non-web projects just as much as they do web projects. And you can use GitHub as your portfolio instead of some fancy Vue / React / Whatever JS framework is popular portfolio.

Hello World


🐝 Autumn | 💻 Software Engineer | 🌏 London, UK

About me

Checkout my Blog Posts here &

One last time.

You don't have to be a web developer to become a programmer 💖

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Top comments (9)

mccurcio profile image
Matt Curcio • Edited

Hey B,
Saying that you can do many other things with computer programming is helpful to see/hear. It may be obvious to some but your right, it needs to be 'pointed' out, too. As a junior, I feel that I have to know everything about WEB-DEV to be productive, which is overwhelming.

_bkern profile image

There are so many ways to go in programming / development I am glad you found what you love. I like to do both front-end and back-end programming and I have been at it a long time but said all that to say I still cannot make presentable sites on my own without using a pre-existing design or design system. Its truly a talent and starts to bleed into designers vs developers but to echo what you said: That is totally fine (your experience and thoughts) the community at large needs everyone and all types of developers.

aormsby profile image
Adam Ormsby

Preach! I greatly appreciate this sentiment as someone who feels constantly pulled toward web dev.

And while we're here, perhaps help me figure out how to get around the web dev monolith. It sure seems like I'm expected to have experience in web-related things to get a job anywhere (on top of everything else and 5 years experience...) Do you have any advice for narrowing my focus outside web dev AND being considered employable at the same time? Plz hlp.

brandonskerritt profile image

Honestly! I just went straight for backend stuff. I do some Rust, Python, AWS kinda things. Just find what you like, I'm sure there's jobs for it!

devworkssimone profile image

I started programming in vba for excel. I want so bad to work in this sector. But as you said, you can easily show off your skills with frontend projects while backend remain a bit in the dark, at least for me. I always preferred back to front but I do need to see result of my work too. In Excel the workbook change under my vba code. On the web you cant really show nothing without frontend. Would like to be pointed otherwise.

seeila profile image

It's good to make it a reminder because when you are a beginner and don't know what to look for, Web development is the first result to appear. One question we could ask is why so many developers begin with Web development? Maybe because it's easier to land a job when you have no experience.
I was a graphic designer and with my knowledge of HTML and CSS only, I landed my first job. At the same time I started online classes to learn JS in depth and now I am a React Front-end dev. If I had to wait to have enough knowledge in JS to land a job, it would have taken a lot of time.

ac000 profile image
Andrew Clayton

There was no web when I started programming!

leob profile image

For me "web" is just a platform on top of which we can deliver apps - similarly to how we can use Android or iOS as an "app platform".

Decades ago people wrote desktop apps, in VB or C++, now almost every app is a "web app". I guess it's just a matter of convenience and popularity. I view myself as an application developer, and since "web" is the most popular and ubiquitous platform that's what I'm using (I did Android/iOS as well but largely moved away from that, mainly for pragmatic or should I say opportunistic reasons).

Of course there are also people who are more specialized in "web sites" rather than "web apps", and they'll generally put more emphasis on design and on the artistic and aesthetic aspects of their "product", but I really see these as two quite different categories - "web site creators" and "(web) app developers".

sir_wernich profile image
Wernich ️

i work on our company's web app. our backend is c# and our frontend used to be with jquery and devextreme components. two years ago we started redoing the frontend in vue and i'm loving it. my day is basically fiddling with individual components and make dialogs and slapping vue components together to make stuff.

i don't have a personal website (own two domains though and been paying for cheap hosting for YEARS). i feel like i have no idea what to do on my site and i don't really know how to put it all together. and you know what? i feel ok about that.