Web Developer Certification: Is it Worth It? (+ How to Choose)

Written by Jessica Schulze • Updated on

Browse FAQ and learn about popular web developer certifications and certificates with this article.

[Featured Image] A web developer reviews study materials on a laptop and monitor in their home office ahead of a certification exam.

Certificates and certifications are excellent ways to build knowledge and demonstrate capabilities in any field. They are credentials that you can use to strengthen your expertise and showcase your skills to potential employers. As skill-based hiring continues to be a top trend amongst employers, these credentials may be more relevant than ever. The following article breaks down key questions about web development certifications and certificates, like whether they’re worth pursuing, where to start, and how to include them on your resume. 

Certificates vs. certifications

Despite being used interchangeably, certificates and certifications represent different accomplishments. Both are effective ways to demonstrate your skill, expertise, and motivation. However, certifications typically indicate that you’ve passed an exam. Certifications may be required or requested by employers for specific roles. Certificates focus more on building skills and experience. They indicate structured training and specialized knowledge. 


What is a web developer certification?

A web developer certification is a credential that demonstrates your proficiency in web development technologies, concepts, or methodologies. Relevant areas of expertise include:

  • Front-end development. The term front end refers to everything users can see when they interact with a website or application. Front-end developers work on the client side, creating interactive elements like buttons and search bars and visual components such as logos. 

  • Back-end development. The term back end is used to describe everything users cannot see when they interact with a website or application. Back-end developers work on the server side, including logic, integrations, databases, and servers. 

  • Full-stack development. Full stack is a term that describes both the front end (or client side) and back end (or server side) of a website or application. Full-stack developers are involved in all aspects of the software development life cycle (SDLC) and have the ability to work with front-end and back-end languages and technologies. 

  • User interface (UI) design. UI design is the process of creating interfaces for websites or applications that users find pleasant and easy to use. UI designers might study graphical user interfaces (GUIs) such as your computer’s desktop, voice-controlled interfaces (VUIs) like the iPhone’s Siri, or gesture-based interfaces like in virtual reality (VR). 

  • User experience (UX) design. UX design is the process of crafting a user’s experience from the moment the user acquires a product or enters a website throughout its use. While UI designers tend to focus on visual elements and interactivity, UX designers also manage branding efforts and emphasize usability. 

  • Search engine optimization (SEO). Search engine optimization is a set of practices that aim to boost the visibility of websites and content on search engines. SEO is a key subcategory of digital marketing, making the SEO skill set a valuable one to have. It includes content strategy, keyword research, link building, and data analytics. 

  • Visual design. Visual design is the process of creating an aesthetic website via the strategic use of fonts, colors, images, and other elements. Visual designers enhance websites and applications by designing the icons, graphics, logos, and other visual components that make up the front end of a product. 

Is a web developer certification or certificate worth it?

Whether or not you think a web developer certification or certificate is worth your time and effort depends on your ideal outcome. Many people pursue these career credentials for one of the following two reasons:

  1. Career advancement. If you plan to use this credential to get a job, you’ll need to choose one based on the skills requested by employers in your desired industry. Search job postings for positions you’re interested in. Take note of any recurring skills or qualifications to consider acquiring. Certifications may be more suitable than certificates depending on your desired role. 

  2. Skill improvement. Aside from credentials, the process of earning a professional credential will grant you knowledge and provide you with structured practice time. In some cases, you’ll also gain hands-on experience with tools and platforms commonly used in the field. If education or experience is your primary objective, certificate programs may be a better match for you. 

Keep your desired outcome in mind as you browse the benefits and drawbacks in the sections below. Setting an end goal can help you narrow down your options. It can also ensure the web development certificate or certification you choose aligns with your desired results and, therefore, feels worth pursuing. 


In many cases, certificates and certification programs include projects you can use to enhance your web development portfolio. If you don’t yet have a portfolio, it can be challenging to know where to start. The guidance and structure a certificate program provides can help ensure you complete your portfolio projects in a timely manner. If your chosen program is instructor-led, you’ll also have guidance available when you need it. 

For those new to the field of web development, certifications and certificates can be an excellent way to fill in the gaps on your resume. Often, employers expect hands-on experience, even for entry-level roles. Internships can prepare you for these requirements, but they aren’t a good fit for everyone, especially if they’re unpaid. These programs can be a lower commitment alternative, offering more flexibility for those working full-time jobs or caring for family. 

Do employers care about certifications and certificates?

These types of credentials can reduce the amount of on-the-job training required for new hires. As a result, many employers offer higher pay to candidates with relevant certifications or certificates. In a competitive job market, they can also help you stand out from other job seekers. 


Things to consider

It’s important to note that not all certifications and certificate programs are equal in value. Make sure the source you receive your credentials from is recognizable and reputable in your field. Many industry leaders in technology offer certification and certificate programs, such as Meta, Google, and IBM. Additionally, certifications vary in difficulty, cost, and duration. It can be discouraging to enroll in a certification course that’s too challenging and tedious to enroll in one that’s below your current skill level. Consider your previous experience, budget, and the amount of time and effort you have to contribute to earning your credential. 

The sections below outline a few popular web developer Professional Certificates. Each one is beginner friendly, meaning they are ideal options for anyone who is:

  • New to the field

  • Seeking credentials to showcase a foundational skill set

  • Transitioning into web development from a related role

Google web developer certificate

Upon earning a Google Professional Certificate, you’ll gain access to Google’s Employer Consortium with 150+ hiring organizations, career support, and interview preparation resources like mock interviews and resume review. 

  • Google UX Design Professional Certificate: In this program, you’ll learn about the entire UX design process. You’ll find out how to apply foundational UX concepts like user-centered design and accessibility, as well as create a professional portfolio with three end-to-end projects. 

IBM web developer certificates

Once you’ve earned an IBM Professional Certificate, you’ll obtain free access to IBM’s People and Soft Skills Specialization. Soft skills are also referred to as workplace skills, and include competencies such as presentation skills and professional communication. You’ll also gain access to career support resources like interview prep.

  • IBM Full-Stack Software Developer Professional Certificate: In this program, you’ll learn to develop, deploy, and scale applications using Cloud Native tools and technologies such as containers and microservices. You’ll practice using front-end development languages like React and Bootstrap while building your GitHub portfolio with hands-on projects and a capstone. 

  • IBM Front-End Developer Professional Certificate: This program focuses on the tools and languages commonly used in front-end development. You’ll use HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and React to develop web pages and learn to manage GitHub repositories and branches. By the end, you’ll have built a portfolio to showcase your work to potential employers through participating in labs and hands-on projects. 

  • IBM Back-End Development Professional Certificate: This program focuses on back-end tools and technologies like Kubernetes, Docker, and server-side Python. You’ll learn to write back-end applications and employ software development methodology like continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) for automation. 

  • IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate: In this Professional Certificate program offered by IBM, you’ll learn about key AI concepts like machine learning, deep learning, and neural networks. Without any programming, you’ll learn to create and deploy AI chatbots and virtual assistants. 

Meta web developer certificates

Earning a Meta Professional Certificate will also provide you with career resources such as resume review, interview prep, and career support with Coursera’s job search guide. 

  • Meta Front-End Developer Professional Certificate: Taught by Meta staff, this certificate program will lead you through the creation of a responsive website with HTML content structuring, visual styling with CSS, and JavaScript for interactive experience development. You’ll also build portfolio-ready projects and learn about the best ways to approach problem-solving. 

  • Meta Back-End Developer Professional Certificate: In this program, you’ll learn to use programming systems, including Linux commands, Git, SQL, JSON, XML, and Cloud Hosting. Through Meta staff-led projects and a capstone, you’ll build a portfolio using your new skills. 

University-led certificate programs

Completing one of the below specializations earns you a shareable certificate from the university offering the instruction. 

  • Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development & Coding Specialization: This approachable specialization offered by the University of Michigan covers the use of document object model (DOM) to modify pages, interactivity development with Javascript, and the fundamentals of CSS. By the end, you’ll be able to add responsive web design that’s viewable on various devices. 

  • Responsive Website Development and Design Specialization: Offered by the University of London, this specialization covers key web development technologies like HTML/CSS, Javascript, MongoDB, and Meteor.js framework. You’ll be guided through the creation of reactive, multi-user applications using fundamental full-stack web development skills. 

  • UI/UX Design Specialization: This four-course series offered by the California Institute of the Arts focuses on user research, sitemap creation, and the best practices for an impactful user experience. By the end, you’ll have participated in several visual and non-visual design exercises to create wireframes, mockups, and a mid-level prototype. 

Tool, language, or platform-based certificates

Prospective employers often value experience with specific development tools and platforms. Having experience with industry-standard languages and technologies minimizes the amount of time a new hire will spend getting acclimated to their role. Once you’ve browsed job postings and identified the technologies that are most relevant to you, consider earning a certificate that aligns. Here are a few platform-based certificates to get you started:

  • Django for Everybody Specialization: Offered by the University of Michigan, this intermediate-level specialization is taught by subject matter experts. It covers the essentials of building full-featured web applications with the Django library. You’ll strengthen your coding skills in Python, learn SQL, and get hands-on practice with jQuery and JSON web services. 

  • Meta React Native Specialization: This beginner-friendly program focuses on programming fundamentals for UI design. You’ll gain the skills to create cross-platform applications with React, React Native, and JavaScript while building out your portfolio with projects.

  • Developing Applications with Google Cloud Specialization: In this intermediate-level specialization offered by Google, you’ll learn the best practices for cloud-native application development with Google Cloud products and services. By the end, you’ll be able to deploy applications using Container Builder, Container Registry, and Terraform. 

  • Full-Stack Web Development with Angular Specialization: Led by industry experts from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, this intermediate certificate program focuses on front-end and hybrid mobile development. You’ll use Bootstrap, Angular, and the Ionic framework to build mobile, cross-platform applications with just one codebase. 

Prerequisites and recommended experience for the following certifications vary. Research each one and make sure you’re prepared to pass the exam before you enroll. 

Google Web Developer Certification

After passing a Google web developer certification exam, your name will be added to the official certification directory. 

GIAC Certified Web Application Defender

  • GIAC Certified Web Application Defender: Also known as the GWEB certification, this exam demonstrates your knowledge of core web technologies and security strategies, access management, proactive defense, authentication, and more. 

Training materials are available through separate resources if you need to prepare before enrolling to take this exam. 

Adobe Certified Professional

Adobe Certified Professional exams represent your collaboration with industry experts and your ability to pass thorough technical evaluations. 

How to list web developer certifications and certificates on your resume

Where you list your certifications depends on the layout of your resume. You may create a section titled “certifications and licenses” or simply place them alongside your education. If you want your certification to stand out first, consider including it in your resume summary. Mentioning your certifications in your cover letter is also an excellent way to showcase them. 

Read more: How to List Certifications on Your Resume: Guide + Examples

Start building your web developer skills today with Coursera 

You can start earning a web developer Professional Certificate today, at your own pace, with Coursera. If you didn’t find a recommendation that aligns with your goals in this article, consider browsing our catalog of web development courses, specializations, certificates, and degrees

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Jessica is a technical writer who specializes in computer science and information technology. Equipp...

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.