What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Web Developer?

What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Web Developer?

Emily Stevens

Web developer: two little words that can add huge value to your job title.

Ranked as the 8th best job in tech, 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 Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts around 15% employment growth for web developers by 2026.

What’s more, the majority of web developers love what they do; according to Skilled Up, 88% of web developers are happy in their career.

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 web development…

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 look at Sam, our very own Head of Web Development here at CareerFoundry. He originally trained as a musician, before swapping chords for code and enrolling on the Web Development course. With no prior knowledge or 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.

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 do it! 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. 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.

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Still interested? Let’s take a look at some of the core skills you’ll need to learn.

What are the key skills that I’ll need to learn to become a web developer?

Before you can call yourself a web developer and start applying for jobs, you’ll need to master the following skills:

  • Languages: HTML, CSS and JavaScript
    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. CSS is used to describe the visual presentation of these pages, determining things like layout, colours and fonts. JavaScript is used to make these pages interactive. These aren’t the only programming languages - you can find a guide to the 10 most popular languages here - but they are the most useful for beginners.

  • Libraries and Frameworks: Bootstrap and jQuery
    Once you’ve mastered the basic languages, you can start exploring libraries and frameworks - which have essentially been created to simplify and speed-up the way you work with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. There are tons of 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 front-end library containing HTML and CSS-based design templates, Bootstrap will enable you to create responsive, mobile-friendly websites that display flawlessly on any device. Now remember the programming language JavaScript? Well, jQuery is simply a JavaScript library. In very basic terms, jQuery condenses common JavaScript tasks into fewer lines of code.

  • Git and GitHub
    Git is a version control system that enables you to keep track of all changes made to your code. GitHub is 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 Photoshop - but it doesn’t hurt. Many designers use these tools to present website mockups and prototypes, and if you ever plan on working as a freelance allrounder, 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!

Do I need a certification or formal 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, 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.

The CareerFoundry Web Development course offers 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 your portfolio throughout, and once you’ve graduated, we’ll help you find a job within six months.

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 a Careers Advisor - or check out these 7 benefits of learning to code.

What You Should Do Now

  1. If you’d like a step-by-step intro to find out if web dev is right for you - sign up here for our free 7-day web dev short course.
  2. If you are interested in becoming a Web Developer check out our web development course (you'll learn the essential skills employers need).
  3. If you’d like to speak to an expert Career Advisor for free about how you can really get a new job in tech - connect with us here.

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Emily Stevens

Emily Stevens

Contributer to the CareerFoundry Blog

Originally from England, Emily moved to Berlin after studying French & German at university. When she’s not writing, she can be found travelling, hula-hooping or reading a good book.