What does a contemporary web developer need to know?
The real thing a web developer needs to do now is knows how to build and support web applications with teams. As technologies evolves dramatically and it's no more the age of heroes with one single person. Here are some advice for contemporary web developers from.
- Don't use the term "webmaster". The kids will just look at you with a blank stare.
- Get a thorough re-education in CSS and go through the most commonly used frameworks (Foundation, Bootstrap, YUI).
- Go through Nicole Sullivan's OOCSS lectures and libraries. It will change the way you use CSS.
- Learn HTML5 and study up on the differences between IE, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, both on the desktop and on iOS/Android browsers.
- Learn one or more of Ruby/Rails, Python, PHP, and/or NodeJS.
- Get a GitHub account and go through and deconstruct as many projects as you can.
- Understand the commonly-used content management frameworks like Drupal and Wordpress as well as build-a-website services like Wix, Weebly, and Webs.
- Learn about AWS, Heroku, Rackspace, and other hosting options. You should almost never need to touch a server.
- Learn Photoshop or Fireworks.
- Learn to fully-utilize browsers' debug tools like FireBug, Chrome Developer Tools, IE Developer Tools, etc... this will make development 1000x easier.
From above advice list, you can easily find how much you need to know to be a full fledged web developer. Apparently if you just want to be a backend or fontend developer only, then you need to put more effort on the relative topics. However, it's always a good add-on if you can know about some other areas as well.