Web developer: two little words that can add huge value to your job title.
Ranked as the 8th best job in tech (with similar role software engineer at #1), web development is known for being well-paid, mentally stimulating and, in light of rapid market growth, a pretty safe bet in terms of career choice.
The US Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts around 23% employment growth for web developers by 2031, 18% more than average. It’s no surprise then that web development qualifications are becoming increasingly sought-after.
There’s no question that this is a highly attractive career choice—but how do you break into such an enticing industry?
If you fancy a piece of the pie but don’t know where to start, this one’s for you. Let’s take a look at the who, what, how and why of a career in programming. If you’d like to skip ahead to a section that interests you more, just use the clickable menu:
- Who can become a web developer?
- How do I know if a career In web development Is right for me?
- What are the key skills that I’ll need for a web development qualification?
- Do I need a certification or formal web development qualification?
- Further reading
1. Who can become a web developer?
Anyone can become a web developer. You don’t need to be a tech wizard or possess a never-ending list of formal qualifications; as long as you’re passionate about the field and willing to learn, a career in web development is well within your reach.
Don’t believe me? Just take a look at CareerFoundry web development graduate Gabriel. After years working as an Uber driver to support his family, he started studying coding with us at the same time, landing a developer job just three months after graduating. With no prior experience, he dove head-first into the industry and has never looked back.
That isn’t to say that forging a successful career in web development is easy. Learning the necessary skills takes time and dedication, and there’ll be times when your brain will hurt. But the point is, web development isn’t reserved for one type of person—nor is there a clear-cut route into the field. Anyone who wants to do it, can.
2. How do I know if a career in web development is right for me?
There’s no magic formula that will make you a successful web developer—as we’ve seen, anyone can learn to code!
However, if you’re a keen problem-solver with a knack for building things and getting them working, you’ll probably find yourself quite at home in the web development industry. There are a whole range of questions you can ask yourself to see if you’re a good fit for a web development career, but if you enjoy puzzles, riddles or logical tests, it’s likely that you’ll also enjoy programming.
Another tell-tale sign is patience and perseverance. As a web developer, you’ll spend most of your time dealing with stuff that’s not working and trying to find ways to fix it. As Sam, our Head of Web Development, explains:
“When programming, you constantly hit obstacles. For some people, this is a challenge that motivates them. For others, this ends up being a source of frustration which actually takes the enjoyment out of their work.”
If you can relate to the former, web development could well be your calling.
It’s important to note that a career in web development is not just about sitting behind a screen and hacking away at code. You’ll also need to be an excellent communicator, especially if you’re working in an in-house role. It also helps if you can think strategically and learn to create solutions that benefit both the user and the business.
If you want to dip your toe in the world, this video is a good taster. Abhishek, one of our own in-house web developers, kicks you off with creating your own website:
Still interested? Let’s take a look at some of the core skills you’ll need to learn.
3. What are the key skills that I’ll need for a web development qualification?
It’s important to keep in mind what a web developer actually does as part of their day-to-day job. So, before you can call yourself one and start applying for jobs, you’ll need to master the following skills:
It’s impossible to go into a career in web development if you’re not fluent in these three core languages. HTML is the language used to create websites and apps; you’ll use it to describe the structure of the page.
These aren’t the only programming languages—we recommend you check out our guide to the 10 most popular languages—but they are the most useful for beginners.
Libraries and Frameworks: Bootstrap and jQuery
There are tons of programming libraries and frameworks out there, but Bootstrap and jQuery are the most popular, so knowing these two will give you a huge advantage.
A free, open-source frontend library containing HTML and CSS-based design templates, Bootstrap will enable you to create responsive, mobile-friendly websites that display flawlessly on any device.
If you want a more in-depth look at it, we’ve elaborated the differences between the two.
Git and GitHub
Git is a version control system that enables you to keep track of all changes made to your code. GitHub is key for developers, acting as a hosting service for your Git repository, enabling teamwork and collaborative projects.
Optional: Design Software—Sketch and Photoshop
When working in web development, it’s not strictly necessary to be familiar with programmes like Sketch and Figma—but it doesn’t hurt. Many frontend designers use these tools to present website mockups and prototypes, and if you ever plan on working as a freelance web developer, this will certainly give you an advantage.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg—there are loads more languages, tools and platforms that web developers use in their day-to-day work. However, it’s important to start with the basics and walk before you can run!
4. Do I need a certification or formal web development qualification?
This is perhaps one of the biggest concerns for people considering a career-change into the web development field. Especially if your student days are long behind you, the thought of going back and starting over again can be terribly off-putting.
The good news is that there is no must-have qualification, degree, or certification. As long as you can showcase your work and prove that you’ve mastered the necessary practical skills, you are qualified to enter the world of web development!
The internet is full of free resources, and you can certainly get a head start by reading up on the essentials. However, with so much to learn, it’s easy to become overwhelmed—and almost impossible to know where to start. If you really want to commit to a career in this field, you’ll need to structure your learning and practice on real-world projects. If you do feel like you want to enter into this part of the world with some form of accreditation, then check out our guide to the best web development certification programs.
Options from progressing seem to be endless, and that’s only a good thing. Online certification courses such as the CareerFoundry Web Development Program offer the best of both worlds. You can study online from anywhere in the world, yet still benefit from all the structure and guidance of classroom-based learning.
The course is broken down into six Achievements, so you’ll master all the essential skills in a logical order. What’s more, you’ll have a tutor and an expert one-on-one mentor—you’re not simply left to your own devices. Most importantly, the course gets you job-ready; you’ll build up an impressive web development portfolio throughout.
A career in web development is challenging and rewarding—and more accessible than you might think. If you like the sound of what you’ve read so far, get in touch with one of our career advisors to discuss exactly how the course will take you from complete beginner to hired professional, guaranteed.
5. Further reading
If this has only whetted your appetite to learn more about the world of programming, take a look at some of these articles: