Do Web Developers need to know Networking?
To be an effective developer in this competitive industry, web developers need to have a good understanding of the basics of networking, especially the APPLICATION LAYER of the TCP/IP model.
Web developers must understand how computing devices exchange data and share resources. This understanding will be very useful when developing web applications for the internet.
Frontend web developers may not bother much about networking but backend developers and full-stack developers must endeavor to have an applicable understanding of networking.
In today’s insight, we are going to look at a few things that will help us understand how much computer networking fundamentals web developers should understand.
SHOULD WEB DEVELOPERS UNDERSTAND THE TCP/IP MODEL?
“TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. TCP/IP is a suite of communication protocols used to interconnect network devices on the internet.
TCP/IP is also used as a communications protocol in a private computer network (an intranet or extranet).”
In simple words, TCP/IP is a common way that computers communicate with each other.
The common TCP/IP Protocols include:
- FILE TRANSFER PROTOCOL: The standard communication protocol used for the transfer of computer files from a server to a client on a computer network.
- HYPERTEXT TRANSFER PROTOCOL (HTTP): used for communication between the server and the browser.
- HTTP SECURE (HTTPS): Used for secure communication between a web server and a web browser.
Nearly every web developer is familiar with these protocols.
Further, the TCP/IP Model is divided into four layers; The Application Layer, The Network Layer, The Transport Layer, and The Physical Layer.
- APPLICATION LAYER: The protocols of the application layer include HTTP, FTP, Post Office Protocol 3, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). Every web developer must invest time and resources to understand this layer. This is the closest layer to the user. Browsers, FTP, rely on this layer for communication.
- TRANSPORT LAYER: The transport layer provides a reliable data connection between two devices. It deals with the coordination of the data transfer between end systems and hosts, including the rate of sending data and how much data is sent.
- NETWORK LAYER: The Network layer (also called the internet layer) controls the movement of packets around the network. Packets also known as IP datagrams, contain source and destination addresses (logical address or IP address).
- PHYSICAL LAYER: The physical layer (also known as the network interface layer or data link layer), handles the physical parts of sending and receiving data using the Ethernet cable, wireless network, network interface card, device driver in the computer, etc.
Ultimately, I must re-emphasize that web developers must have a good understanding of the Application Layer of the TCP/IP model and the common TCP/IP protocols (HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, etc.).
IS NETWORKING PART OF WEB DEVELOPMENT?
Networking is not part of web development. Networking is a full-fledged field in itself, with 3-4 years of study for a degree program. Web development and Networking are two different fields that work together to deliver a good interconnection and internet experience for many users and businesses.
“Computer networking refers to interconnected computing devices that can exchange data and share resources with each other. These networked devices use a system of rules, called communications protocols, to transmit information over physical or wireless technologies.”
On the other hand, “Web development is the work involved in developing a website for the Internet or an intranet. Web development can range from developing a simple single static page of plain text to complex web applications, electronic businesses, and social network services”
There is a little bit of an intersection between these two fields. Web development relies on the fundamentals and principles of computer networking to deploy and distribute web applications on the internet.
Given that computer networking is so broad, web developers must concentrate on learning the fundamental networking principles that affect them the most. Learning the Application Layer of the TCP/IP model is a must for web developers.
Having a good understanding of networking principles will help you as a web developer to build secure and reliable web applications.
If you are working in a small team, it becomes almost necessary to understand computer networking fundamentals.
If you are in a big team working for a big company, all of the computer-networking work will be handled by the networking team, however, you still need the basics of computer networking to help you develop secure and reliable web applications.
Learning the entire computer networking program is entirely a different career path and something that will take a lot of time to achieve. Concentrate on the fundamental principles and they should suffice for web development.
If you are interested in improving your web development skills, you can read our article TIPS TO BECOME A BETTER DEVELOPER