How Long Does It Take to Learn Web Development?

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by Bethanny Parker

Updated September 16, 2022

Reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

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How long does it take to become a web developer? It depends on what educational path you choose and how much help you have. Completing a bachelor's degree program in web development takes much longer than finishing a coding bootcamp.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 199,400 web developers and digital designers in the U.S. in 2020, and this number is growing. The BLS projects that there will be around 224,900 of these professionals by 2030.

The demand for web developers grows as the internet expands. The BLS projects the e-commerce sector to grow even more in the next few years, which will lead to more web development jobs. The increased use of mobile devices will also likely grow the demand for mobile web developers.

What Is Web Development?

You may still be wondering, what is web development? Web development is the process of creating websites. Today's web developers need to be able to create websites for both computers and mobile devices. Websites made with responsive design work equally well on any device, which is becoming more important as people spend more time on their smartphones. Currently, mobile devices account for about two-thirds of all web use.

Web developers meet with decision-makers to determine the purpose of the website first. Then, they create a plan for the site, design wireframes, and write the code. They work with other team members — such as graphic designers, user experience (UX) designers, and search engine optimization specialists — to determine the flow of the website, what content the site will include and how it will look.

Web developers and software engineers have a lot in common. They both learn to code, and software engineers sometimes know how to design websites. However, web developers focus on web development. Software engineers are much more likely to work on other types of projects, such as software applications that run on Windows. Web developers also may have to learn more programming languages, as new web technologies are constantly emerging.

How to Learn Web Development

If you are wondering how to learn web development, there are a few ways. First, you could go to college for 2-4 years to earn an associate or bachelor's degree in computer science or computer programming. You could also attend a coding bootcamp or take online courses.

Four-Year Degree

A college degree isn't always necessary to land a web developer job, but it can give you an advantage over other applicants if you have more education. It typically takes four years to earn a bachelor's degree. You can pursue a degree in web development, computer science, or computer programming.

A web development degree focuses on web technologies and may not teach other programming skills. Computer science and computer programming majors typically learn at least two or three different programming languages. They may also learn HTML and CSS for web design. Check the curriculum for each program you are considering to see what languages are covered.

Coding Bootcamp

Students can complete a coding bootcamp more quickly than a 4-year degree program. Web development bootcamps typically take about 3-4 months to complete and teach HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Full-stack bootcamps may also teach SQL, Python, or other back-end coding languages.

Coding bootcamps typically also cost less than a four-year degree program, but there is little financial aid available. The average cost of a coding bootcamp was $13,579 in 2020. Web development bootcamps teach only the technologies you need to learn to become a web developer, so you are not spending time on general education like you would at a college.

Online Courses

Most online courses allow you to learn at your own pace. They also tend to be less expensive than either college or coding bootcamps. You can often find free online courses and free YouTube tutorials. The biggest downside is that there may not be anyone to ask for help if you get stuck. Online courses also do not offer career services, which are standard for most colleges and bootcamp providers.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Web Developer?

Pursuing a college degree in web development, computer science, or computer programming takes 2-4 years, depending on whether you get an associate degree or a bachelor's degree. This is the longest path to becoming a web developer.

Web development bootcamps typically take 3-4 months to complete and teach all the skills you need to qualify for a web developer job. Learning web development from online courses could take anywhere from a single month to several years, depending on how much time you devote to your courses.

Web Developer Certification

Many organizations offer web developer certification. You can earn certifications through online courses, colleges, and even bootcamp providers. Earning a web developer certification can help your resume stand out. Here are three places you can earn a web developer certification:

Benefits of Learning Web Development

  1. There are plenty of jobs available for web developers. If you learn web development, you will have the skills needed to qualify for these positions. You could find work as a front-end developer, back-end developer, or full-stack web developer.
  2. Web developers are paid well. According to the BLS, web developers and digital designers earned a median salary of $77,200 per year in 2020. Keep in mind that entry-level employees typically earn less than those with several years of experience.
  3. You can work remotely. Many companies allow web developers to work from home. This has become even more common since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. All you need is a computer and a good internet connection.
  4. Many big tech companies are hiring. If you have always wanted to live in sunny California, you can find plenty of opportunities in Silicon Valley at big tech giants and startups alike.
  5. You can start your own business. There are plenty of opportunities for freelance web developers. You can set your hours and work from home if you start your own business.

Web Developer Salary

The BLS reports that web developers earned a median salary of $77,200 per year in May 2020. Entry-level employees likely earn less, while experienced workers earn more. According to Payscale, entry-level web developers earned about $51,000 per year as of March 2022, while those with 20+ years of experience earned around $80,000.

The BLS projects that jobs for web developers and digital designers will increase by 13% between 2020 and 2030. This is much faster than the national average job growth rate across all occupations. The BLS expects about 25,500 additional jobs to open up by 2030.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Web Development

What programming languages should I learn for web development?

There are three languages that are used to build the majority of all websites: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. HTML is the markup language that allows websites to be displayed in browsers. This language separates paragraph text from headers and allows images to be placed within a page.

CSS is a formatting language that gives the programmer more control over the way things look. With CSS, programmers can adjust the formatting of different sections using classes. JavaScript adds interactivity. Web developers can use it to add sliders to a page or make an image interactive.

Is web development easy to learn?

For many people, web development is easy to learn. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are all very readable, so you can look at the code and have a pretty good idea of what it means in English. For instance, HTML uses <p> for paragraph, <h1> through <h5> for headings, and <a> for links. Once you know what each one does, the code is not difficult to read and write.

Likewise, JavaScript and CSS are fairly easy to learn. In fact, JavaScript is one of the six easiest programming languages to learn. JavaScript can be used for both front-end and back-end web development.

Is learning web development worth it?

Yes, it is worth it to learn web development. The median salary for web developers was $77,200 in 2020, according to the BLS. Even if you had to pay for four years of college to get started in web development, it would likely still be worth it.

However, there are other ways to get into web development. You can save money by taking a web development bootcamp or enrolling in online classes. You probably don't need a four-year college degree unless you want to move up into management. Many companies hire bootcamp graduates as web developers.

Feature Image: Luis Alvarez / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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