How to Become a Web Developer

Written by Coursera • Updated on

You can become a web developer by teaching yourself, taking courses, getting certifications, or earning a degree. Learn more about becoming a web developer and how to take the next steps.

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To pursue a career as a web developer, you will have to learn the skills necessary to create and maintain websites. Some web developers opt to earn a degree in computer science or a related field, while others may take courses to learn specific skills like programming or digital design. In some cases, you can learn the necessary skills through hands-on experience.

Regardless of their path, web developers need the ability to turn someone's vision into a functioning reality. To accomplish this, they require a combination of technical training and workplace skills.

What web developers do

Web developers create and manage websites for a variety of organizations. Some developers specialize in the technical side of the website (also called the back end), working with databases, machine learning, and artificial intelligence used to support the function of the website. 

Front-end developers typically spend more time working with the creative side of the website, using graphic design and code editing tools to make the website functional for users. 

Full-stack developers work with both front-end and back-end tasks. Web and digital interface designers develop websites that look appealing through carefully selected fonts, colors, and graphics.

The work of web developers extends beyond the actual creation of the site. During a workday, developers may perform any of the following tasks:

  • Meet with clients to discuss the needs, design, and functionality of a website

  • Create and test applications, interfaces, and navigation menus

  • Write code

  • Work with a team to determine what information a site will contain

  • Determine layout with graphics and other designers

  • Integrate graphics, audio, and video

  • Monitor website traffic

  • Create prototypes and mockups

  • Design and develop graphics

Career outlook for web developers

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, organizations need web developers, and demand for them should grow by 13% by 2030 [1]. As e-commerce expands, so should job opportunities for web developers. In 2020, the median pay for web developers was just over $77,000 per year, with most developers working full-time [2].

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Technical and workplace skills to develop

Web developers must develop a set of technical skills to create websites. They include the markup language HTML, programming languages like JavaScript and SQL, and multimedia publishing tools like Flash. You must also develop specific workplace skills to become a web developer.

Workplace skills

Being a successful web developer requires more than knowledge of programming languages and web design. These character traits and interpersonal skills also are essential:

  • Communication skills: Web developers must communicate effectively with their co-workers and clients, including asking questions and explaining ideas. Although web developers spend a considerable amount of time working alone, they need to communicate with the people whose vision they are implementing.

  • Creativity: Websites should look good and be easy for users to navigate.

  • Customer service: Web developers should respond politely to questions and requests from their supervisors and clients since they are not creating websites for others.

  • Detail-oriented: Web developers need the ability to focus for long periods and write code precisely. A single symbol in the wrong space can affect a website’s layout and function.

  • Problem-solving: When a website does not work correctly, developers must locate errors in the code and correct them.

Technical skills

To be a web developer, learning at least one of the most commonly used tools can help you land a job. JavaScript and HTML/CSS are the two most popular programming languages used in the world, according to Statista, and more than half of developers rely on them to do their work. Python, SQL, and Java round out the top five.

Being fluent in the most popular programming languages is helpful, but knowing how to work with less commonly used languages may help you land a job. Here are additional programming languages to consider:

  • Node.js

  • TypeScript

  • C#

  • Bash/Shell

  • C++

  • PHP

  • C

Degree programs to consider

Earning a degree in computer science or a related field is one path toward a career in web development. Many web developers have an associate or bachelor's degree in web design, digital design, or graphic arts. Coursework can typically include computer programming, coding, graphic design, and math classes.

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Read more: How to Get a Bachelor's Degree

Certification programs for web developers

It is possible to have a career as a web developer without a degree. You can learn the necessary skills through certification programs and hands-on experience. In an online certification program, you take courses similar to those in a degree program, such as creating content with HTML and elements of design. You may also choose to take individual courses to learn a specific programming language and develop your skills independently.

Read more: What Are Certificate Programs?

Take the next step

If you're ready to take the next step toward a career as a web developer, you can start your new path today. Explore the selection of web development courses on Coursera, ranging from introductory classes to programming languages designed for everyone from beginners to advanced learners. Get an overview of basic web development skills with Meta Introduction to Web Development.

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Introduction to Front-End Development

Welcome to Introduction to Front-End Development, the first course in the Meta Front-End Developer program. This course is a good place to start if you ...

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BEGINNER level

Average time: 1 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

Web Development Tools, User Interface, Front-End Web Development, Html And Css, Responsive Web Design

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Article sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Web Developers and Digital Designers-Job Outlook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm#tab-6.” Accessed May 24, 2022.

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Web Developers and Digital Designers-Pay, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm#tab-5.” Accessed May 24, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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