A Web Developer’s Mindset

As a trainer, I often get asked this question by students who are curious about what I do: “What’s it like to be a web developer?”

There are as many answers to that question as there are web developers. But, I want to express something about what it’s like.

1. Computers


An Osborne Executive portable computer, from 1982, with aZilog Z80 4 MHz CPU, and a 2007 AppleiPhone with a 412 MHz ARM11 CPU; the Executive weighs 100 times as much, has nearly 500 times the volume, costs approximately 10 times as much (adjusted for inflation), and has about 1/100th the clock frequency of the smartphone. (wikipedia)

Computers are miraculous machines. As a web developer, you’re career is made possible by a long and fascinating list of ideas and people. Many dedicated, smart human beings have worked hard to increase the power, capacity, and usability of computers. I imagine they did it to empower civilization. You should use your miracle machine to try and do the same if you have the opportunity, which you do as a web developer!

You’ll need to gain some mastery of the many systems your computer and it’s software use.

You’ll never master them all and this is something to keep in mind.

Keeping your computer clean and functional is important. You’ll buy cleaning supplies to make sure this is usually always true.

You’ll become the owner of a small collection of accessories that increase the utility of your computer. Including extra screens, stands, mice and keyboards, various adapters and so on…

Computers are expensive, and you should prepare to replace yours if necessary. If you’re not working as a freelance developer, your employer will help you with the expense.

2. Computer Science


The history of computer science is an engrossing saga of genius and innovation. We often think of the dawn of computer age taking place from WW2 through the early days of the Space Race. However, much of the thinking that informs how our laptops and smartphones work today began to percolate during the early 19th century. Charles Babbage was inspired by the punch card system used by Jacquard looms in the textile industry and conceptualized his Analytic Engine — meant to be the first general-purpose, programmable computer — based on what he found there.

While Babbage never finished building his machine, his work — along with that of Ada Lovelace, often considered to be the first computer programmer — laid the technological foundation for modern computing. We are still using some of the systems devised by Babbage today!

Learning about this fascinating history will demystify many of the key principles and concepts that underly every computer system in the world. By taking time to reflect and appreciate the fundamentals of computer science, you in turn become a more competent — and confident — web developer.

3. Computer Culture

Computer Culture

The world of computers and technology has long been thought of as a space dominated by men in their twenties and thirties, but that’s changing today.​ Code is being taught everywhere from primary schools to prison recreation rooms.

There are more and more women entering the industry, and greater age diversity in those looking to make a leap into a career in tech (we’ve seen this firsthand in our full-time web developer professional program at RED).


And at the same time, software is eating the world. Knowing how to code has become an asset in jobs that traditionally were considered non-technical. Further, what we can do with web-centric technologies has exploded. We can use JavaScript to program robots and even interact with the physical world.​

With so many resources at your disposal to learn web development essentials, as well as in-person meet-ups and conferences dedicated to every tech topic imaginable, it’s never been easier to take part in computer culture.

4. Imagine the future!

The best part of being a web developer is having the ability to imagine the future while also have the tools and abilities to help build it!

The tech-centric world of tomorrow doesn’t need not be frightening or Orwellian. Skynet is not an inevitability (unless we let it happen). As web developers we’re harnessing the incredible power of the interconnected internet, and we can and should bring that power to bear on by choosing to work on projects that help build a better future for our planet — to do work that helps communicate solutions for and connect people around important social and environmental issues.

Learn more about our Web Development program.

Mackenzie Kieran

Mackenzie is a front-end developer who’s been working professionally in Vancouver’s dynamic and burgeoning start-up scene since 2010. He brings strong experience with Javascript and contemporary web development to RED.

One look at Mackenzie’s experience will show you that he is passionate about doing work that fosters community-building, which makes him a great fit for our growing community at RED!

Interested in finding out more?

Fill out the form and we'll walk you through the rest.

Vancouver 778 379 7175

Toronto 647 793 2333

Vancouver 778 379 7175

Toronto 647 793 2333


aaand it's done!
thank you.