Career Attributes

  • $62,381
  • 162,900
  • 3.4
  • 14.9%
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Computer Science
More Attributes

Overview

Web developers come from a variety of educational backgrounds. Some acquire the required skills by participating in online communities where they can ask questions, collaborate with fellow aspiring developers, and learn by experimentation and doing. Others earn a degree in web development or computer science. Most learn the profession through a hybrid of formal and informal training.

Web development programs, which are typically available at the Associate’s Degree or certificate level, focus on the basics of programming and coding languages most commonly used to build web pages: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

There are no required licenses for web developers; however, voluntary certifications are available in specific programming languages and in various development platforms and environments. To earn these web development credentials, candidates must generally complete an independent course of study and pass a certification exam.

While some employers may demand one or more of the certifications available in the field, others may hire applicants who lack these official credentials, but bring years of experience and know-how to the job.

How long does it take to become a Web Developer?

There is no standard length of time that it takes to become a web developer. It depends on the chosen approach to learning. This means that the education track for this career can vary from an 8-to-12 week bootcamp to a two-year Associate’ Degree or a four-year Bachelor’s Degree program.

Steps to becoming a Web Developer

More often than not, the road to working in this profession varies from one web developer to another. While some earn an undergraduate certificate or degree, others opt for the shorter education track offered by bootcamps.

1 Know which skills are required

Prospective web developers need to develop expertise in the three core programming components:

HTML
CSS
JavaScript

They should also learn about CSS and CSS frameworks such as:

Backbone
Bootstrap
Foundation

To build applications, developers should become proficient in back-end languages such as:

Ruby
Java
PHP

They should also become familiar with tools such as:

Oracle Server
SQL Server

2 Choose an initial learning track

Web development is still a field in which proven skills can trump education when it comes to employment opportunities. In short, companies want talented employees who can produce. They generally don’t care how or where their talents were cultivated.

Still, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that an Associate’s Degree is the most common minimal educational requirement in the field. And according to Robert Half Technology, a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science or a related discipline is traditionally necessary for career advancement.

While some aspiring web developers are opting to attend coding bootcamps, such as Codecademy and App Academy, which offer short-term, intensive training, it should be noted there is more to web development than coding. A formal education curriculum goes beyond coding. It provides prospective developers with foundational knowledge of web development and project management experiences that challenge problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Below is a summary of common curricula for Certificate, Associate’s Degree, and Bachelor’s Degree programs in web development:

Certificate Program

Introduction to Coding
Focus
A foundation in computer programming and the basic principles of how computers use software
Target Skills
• Programming basics, such as syntax, functions and code structure
• Understanding of Hexadecimal and binary numbers
• Fundamentals of computer networks

HTML Programming
Focus
The basic language of the Internet, including the theoretical principles of HTML and fluency in the HTML programming language
Target Skills
• Syntax and principles of HTML coding
• How to embed other web programming languages
• How to create web pages with desired elements and requirements

JavaScript Programming
Focus
Introduction to JavaScript programming that allows for the creation of interactive web pages, building off basic web programming HTML
Target Skills
• Designing a web application
• Implementing and testing client and server solutions
• User-interface principles

Intro to Web Design
Focus
Web page design: elements needed to successfully create a web page, including computer hardware requirements, principles of computer networking, and commonly used Internet coding languages
Target Skills
• How web page design elements translate to hardware requirements
• The interaction of several web programming languages and how they produce desired web pages
• Maintaining and updating web pages

Associate’s Degree Program

Website Graphics
Focus
Graphics and how they are used in website design; both aesthetic and technical considerations
Target Skills
• Industry standard graphic formats
• Compatibility issues between web browsers when displaying graphics
• How to manipulate graphics for website use

E-Commerce
Focus
Creating websites for business, taking into consideration the needs unique to businesses
Target Skills
• Principles of customer service websites
• Effective web page techniques for marketing
• Creating effective electronic storefronts for businesses

Web Page Multimedia
Focus
The use of graphics; using animation, video, and objects when creating websites
Target Skills
• Manipulation of multimedia for effective web page presentation
• Overview of different types of multimedia
• When and how certain types of multimedia can and should be used

Database Management
Focus
Introduction to database concepts, principles, and design; computer science concepts
Target Skills
• Familiarity with SQL for database management
• Understanding the underlying computer science principles of databases and how they work
• Identification of and experience with different database platforms

Bachelor’s Degree Program

Website Usability
Focus
The basic principles of what makes a website easy to use
Target Skills
• How we obtain and interpret information
• Strategies for designing websites in an organized way for ease of use
• Web interface technologies and how they can be implemented

Social Media and Collaboration
Focus
Web-based interaction and collaboration technologies and how to apply them to achieve a given objective or purpose
Target Skills
• Differentiating between Web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0
• How collaboration online services work
• Fundamentals of social media communications

Optimizing Websites
Focus
Techniques used to improve web traffic, streamline efficiency, and monitor website performance
Target Skills
• How to optimize websites for a specific goal, such as marketing
• How to secure a website based on its purpose
• Methods used to monitor a website and quantify its performance

Advanced Web Design
Focus
Complex and advanced web creation techniques; the process of creating a website from start to finish
Target Skills
• How to utilize a storyboard to plan a website
• Website creation within a budget
• Techniques and tools for monitoring a website’s performance

3 Employment

Job/Gig Boards

PeoplePerHour
Codeable.io
TopTal.com
UpWork.com

As you gain experience, begin building an online portfolio to test new technologies and tools and demonstrate your coding talent and development skills. Here are some examples of innovative web developer portfolio sites:

MattFarley.ca
Caferati.me
Pierre.io

4 Continuing Education / Certifications

The following associations and organizations provide web development professionals with educational and career improvement resources.

• [Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)] https://www.acm.org/)
IEEE Computer Society
International Web Association (IWA)
Webmonkey
WebProfessionals.org

While no licenses are required to work in web development, many industry organizations offer voluntary certifications in various programming languages, platforms, and environments. Click here for detailed information.

5 Master’s Degree (optional)

Though not particularly common in the field, a Master’s is the highest degree level available in web development. Master’s Degree programs typically encompass the following courses:

Content Management Systems
Focus
How content management systems work and how they can be used to streamline the creation of web content
Target Skills
• The theoretical principles for creating a content management system
• Basics of database management and creation
• Tailoring content management system features to a given application

Digital Communications
Focus
How communication theories apply to the digital and Internet age
Target Skills
• How to apply communication principles to improve website effectiveness
• Understanding of mass media and how it is used
• Understanding of the theoretical principles of digital communications and how they work

Web Development for Servers
Focus
Creation of web applications for servers using specialized programming languages
Target Skills
• Utilizing programs such as PHP and SQL to create server web applications
• Web application security
• Implementation of server principles when developing server based web applications

Capstone Project
Focus
Opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding of web development by incorporating the major concepts covered in their Master’s program
Target Skills
• Ability to manage a web project from start to finish
• Application of real-world principles and considerations while working on a website project
• Management of all aspects of website creation, from design to monitoring and maintenance

Should I become a Web Developer?

Here are some of the reasons that practising web developers cite when asked why they entered the field:

You don’t necessarily need a degree
Many successful web developers are self-taught and do not have any formal qualifications. With knowledge of a programming language and experience with database management, it is possible to enter the field.

It’s creative
Developers, in general, are problem solvers. Web developers, though, are also able to create user experiences.

You’ll be part of a community
Perhaps more than any other field, web development exposes its practitioners to countless online communities. These communities are valuable resources and places to interact and network with like-minded people.

Money!
Demand for web developers continues to surpass supply. Employers are therefore paying higher salaries to get the best talent available.

You can work as a freelancer or as part of an organization
As a freelancer, developers can pick and choose their projects and control their own career.

You can work remotely
The nature of web development means that you can work from anywhere in the world, on your own time – especially as a freelancer.

You can become a specialist
Developers who most enjoy working with a particular language can choose to specialize in it and still have plenty of work.

It’s future proof
As web technology expands and evolves, developers are increasingly in demand.

It’s fun
With countless companies on the lookout for new talent, there are exciting opportunities to work in the field and to be given creative control and ownership of projects.

You can expand into other areas
Web development skills are highly transferrable. The mobile sector, for instance, has similar interfaces, allowing web developers to quite easily transition to mobile development. Companies seeking new ways to engage with customers are always looking for customer-facing web developers.

What are Web Developers like?

Artistic

Based on our pool of users, web developers tend to be predominately artistic people. They also demonstrate a high investigative aptitude. Together, these two characteristics perfectly describe individuals who are responsible for designing and developing websites and website applications, managing site functionality, implementing application features, and integrating security measures.

Web Developers by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 3050 CareerExplorer users

Are Web Developers happy?

61stpercentile

Web Developers rank as moderately happy among careers. Overall they rank in the 61st percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Web Developer Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

Education History of Web Developers

The most common degree held by Web Developers is Computer Science. 29% of Web Developers had a degree in Computer Science before becoming Web Developers. That is over 10 times the average across all careers. Business Management And Administration graduates are the second most common among Web Developers, representing 6% of Web Developers in the CareerExplorer user base, which is 0.8 times the average.

Web Developer Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming a Web Developer, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of Web Developers % of population Multiple
Computer Science 29.3% 3.0% 9.9×
Business Management And Administration 5.5% 6.5% 0.8×
Computer Programming 5.4% 0.3% 17.7×
Web Design 5.0% 0.4% 13.2×
Information Systems 4.6% 0.5% 8.5×
Computer Engineering 4.2% 0.6% 7.3×
Psychology 3.3% 7.0% 0.5×
Economics 3.1% 4.0% 0.8×
English Literature 3.1% 4.9% 0.6×
Mathematics 3.0% 1.9% 1.6×
Graphic Design 3.0% 1.4% 2.2×
Management Information Systems 2.9% 0.4% 6.7×
Communications 2.7% 3.4% 0.8×
Physics 2.7% 1.0% 2.6×
Fine Arts 2.4% 2.2% 1.1×
Business 2.4% 2.6% 0.9×
Marketing And Marketing Research 2.3% 2.2% 1.1×
Computer Networking 1.7% 0.3% 5.9×
Music 1.6% 0.9% 1.9×
Information Sciences 1.6% 0.2% 9.5×
Liberal Arts 1.6% 1.9% 0.8×
Electrical Engineering 1.5% 0.9% 1.7×
Philosophy And Religious Studies 1.5% 1.6% 1.0×
Political Science 1.5% 2.9% 0.5×
Biology 1.4% 3.6% 0.4×
Finance 1.3% 2.1% 0.6×
Film Video And Photographic Arts 1.2% 0.7% 1.7×
Mechanical Engineering 1.2% 1.7% 0.7×
Linguistics 1.2% 0.8% 1.5×
3D Animation 1.2% 0.3% 4.4×
Game Design 1.1% 0.2% 6.3×
Studio Arts 1.0% 0.5% 2.0×
Journalism 1.0% 1.1% 0.9×
Anthropology And Archeology 1.0% 1.3% 0.8×
History 1.0% 2.3% 0.5×

Web Developer Education Levels

50% of Web Developers have a bachelor's degree. 21% of Web Developers have an associate's degree.

No education 4%
High school diploma 8%
Associate's degree 21%
Bachelor's degree 50%
Master's degree 0%
Doctorate degree 0%

How to Become a Web Developer

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Career Attributes

  • $62,381
  • 162,900
  • 3.4
  • 14.9%
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Computer Science
More Attributes