It’s hard to imagine life without the internet. For decades, this interconnected network has kept us engaged, enthralled, and entertained (sometimes to a fault). But keeping that network running (and growing) requires millions of technologists skilled in the arts of web development.
These web development experts can specialize in many things: design, front-end development, back-end development, mobile apps, enterprise technology. They’re all equally vital. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) submits web development will see 13 percent job growth over the next decade, which it deems “faster than average.”
But how can you start a career in web development? How long will it take to learn the core skills? Where can you get training – and should you consider going back to school? We spoke to experts and found out everything you need to know about training to be a web developer.
How Much Does it Cost to Get Web Developer Training?
Maksym Babych, CEO at Spd Load, tells Dice: “The education costs vary widely from school to school. Many successful web developers have learned all they know from online courses. While it can be a difficult decision to choose between earning a college degree, attending a trade school, or earning a certificate from free online courses, it is best to keep in mind that the right choice is not the same for everyone.”
Some companies will provide web development training. Chloe Lim, Web development project manager at technologist placement agency Zoewebs, says: “We usually provide a two to five months web development training for interns in order for them to be qualified in web development jobs. The training time depends on individuals; it could be shorter if the intern takes initiative to learn when they are outside our supervision.”
If your goal is getting a job as a web developer, what matters is your skillset and portfolio. Some “self-taught” web developers simply take a series of Udemy courses. Others may sign up for a “nanodegree” program via Udacity, where a four-month Front End Web Developer program will cost $1,356. Whatever option you choose, it’s important you continue your education.
Are There Free Options for Web Developer Training?
Tons, really. Will Manuel of Core Mobile Apps tells Dice: “YouTube is definitely the best resource. You also have resources like Udemy and Skillshare, which do offer a handful of Free courses, however, they are usually either very basic or they are mini-courses that you would need to purchase monthly or annual plans to access the full course.”
Sites like freecodecamp provide updated, ongoing training for disciplines like web development if you want to learn with no added cost. A better option may be low-cost courses; for example, Udemy often has flash sales with courses from $10, which are rated by others so you get a good idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
Why Should I Learn Web Development?
Pointing back to BLS data, Manuel adds: “The web, even today, is still growing at a rapid clip. If you are a web developer with great front-end design capabilities, you can expect to be scouted very heavily as a front-end web developer with great design skills is rare.”
Lim adds: “Due to high usage of internet and the emergence of e-commerce stores in the COVID era, there continues to be high demand for web developers.” She also notes that freelance web development is booming, so striking out on your own in this moment may actually be a bit easier than it was a few years ago.
Do I Need Experience to Get Into Web Development?
After you’ve racked up some training, Manuel suggests: “The best thing you can do is start building some demo websites and develop a portfolio so that you can showcase this when any opportunities present themselves.” Employers hiring freelance web developers are interested in your education and skillset, and a portfolio (complete with demo projects, and perhaps a healthy GitHub presence) is a great way of showing that you’ve learned vital elements of web development.
Tim Absalikov of Lasting Trend tells Dice: “Almost all industries struggle from job shortages right now. Even with basic training, it’s very easy to find an entry-level position in web development. The only way to become a good coder is to start coding. Get trained, create a demo project, apply for an entry-level position, show your project during the interview, then start to work on as many new projects during your first job as possible.”
What Qualifications do I Need to Get a Job as a Web Developer?
Absalikov reminds us that not all web developers are “just” coders, and the discipline requires soft skills and the ability to rapidly solve dynamic problems. For the technical skills, he suggests looking at job descriptions to know where you should up-skill: “Search for jobs you’d want to apply to. Copy 10-20 of those job descriptions, find similar requirements across many or all of them, including common frameworks.”
With so many libraries and frameworks available, it’s difficult to provide a succinct list of all the skills web developers should have. The React framework is very popular, and companies often make deep investments in IDEs, which can require unique skillsets to master.
The upside for learning web development is profound. The job market for web developers is booming, learning the basics is free or very low-cost, and pay is decent. It’s also one of the few disciplines in tech that allow a lot of grace for entry-level positions to rapidly up-skill on the job, which only helps your career long-term.