A certificate in web development offers an introduction to best practices of web design, development, and debugging. You can enroll in a web development certificate program at the undergraduate or graduate level. Combining technical, creative, and business communication skills, web developers typically work in teams; with experience, many developers work as independent freelancers.
Job opportunities for web developers are growing due to the growth of ecommerce, proliferation of mobile devices, and ongoing need for updated web presence in nearly all industries. With the rise of "digital nomads," you may find that a certificate offers a career jumpstart that opens opportunities for remote work in web development. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web developers can look forward to a projected job growth rate of 15% by 2026.
How to Choose the Right Certificate in Web Development Program
Keep your career goals and learning style foremost in your mind when developing selection criteria for web development certificate programs. Typically, certificate programs attract candidates seeking education to gain a foothold for entry-level junior web developer jobs. Certificate programs also serve web professionals seeking to update their skill set. Students who remain uncertain about seeking a graduate degree may find that a certificate program provides sufficient experience to help them decide whether to pursue further education.
To narrow your list of prospective schools, compare the benefits of online and on-campus programs. While distance learners enjoy the flexibility of earning a web development certificate, some students find that on-campus programs offer additional benefits, such as proximity to local tech hubs or increased networking opportunities. For online learning, use this list to identify the top online certificate programs in web development. Not all programs offer specializations at the certificate level. Most programs focus on front-end development, so if you aspire to focus on back-end or full-stack development you should select a program that prepares students for further study. Most certificate programs do not require students to complete practicums.
Verify that prospective programs provide suitable training with updated technologies. Note that web developers must commit to lifelong learning practices and building cross-functional skills to stay up to date with emerging technologies because the field changes rapidly.
Employment and Salary Outlook for Certificate in Web Development Graduates
Web developers enjoy robust employment growth and positive salary trends, with a $61,000 median salary. Geographic location, company size, industry, and years of experience affect salary growth potential. Web developers typically work on production teams for business applications; those who move into independent consultant and entrepreneur roles may find higher earning potential. The table below features median salaries for four career stages applicable to those with an on-campus or online web development certificate.
Career paths in web development commonly begin with junior web developer roles and require frequent self-study of new technologies. At the outset, developers typically start in front-end development, with some taking on back-end development later in their careers and becoming full-stack developers. After gaining significant experience and education, web developers often move into senior roles, such as project managers or software engineers. Entrepreneurs may choose to work independently, freelancing as project consultants or web business analysts. With the rise of remote work opportunities, career paths for some experienced developers include international travel and a cross-border clientele.
- Web Developer
Web developers code, test, and debug dynamic websites and web applications. They often work closely with web designers and project managers. Their responsibilities include programming, scripting, mobile application design, performance optimization, usability, and accessibility. With a certificate in web development, graduates gain a competitive advantage for junior developer positions.
- Web Designer
Web designers create and maintain the design aspects of websites. Duties for web designers often overlap with those of developers, although developers focus more on technical functions than visual appeal. Since many designers enter the field with a background in art, obtaining a certificate in web development offers a path to gain more technical skills.
- Front End Developer / Engineer
The work of a front-end developer/engineer focuses on analyzing and debugging code, documenting features, and making recommendations for problem-solving. Reporting to the IT manager, front-end developers create project plans and interpret design requirements. This role typically requires a bachelor's degree, and many developers begin their careers by earning a certificate.
- Software Developer
Software developers write and implement computer programs and applications. They analyze the needs of users or clients, and design systems to address those needs. Attaining a job in software development generally requires a bachelor's degree and a web development certificate is a means of acquiring relevant basic skills.
- Web Designer & Developer
Web designer & developer roles must oversee all components of website design and development, including coding, maintenance, optimization, and troubleshooting. Their job duties often include supervisory roles for web updates and coordination with other departments. A certificate in web development provides a path to launching a career in the industry.
Accreditation for Web Development Programs
Accreditation assures that an educational institution offers rigorous instruction and meets or exceeds standards set by outside organizations. Accreditation enlists a peer-review process to recognize academic excellence and commitment to quality improvement. While no formally recognized accreditors handle certificate programs, you can interpret a school's programmatic accreditation status as a general indicator of quality and credibility.
Eligibility for federal financial aid remains limited to accredited institutions, and accreditation eases the transfer of previous credits and acceptance to universities. To ensure that a certificate program offers a legitimate education respected by employers and other institutions, review each school's accreditation status.
Web Development Certificate Program Admissions
Generally, there are similar admissions processes for online and on-campus certificate programs in web development. Criteria for certificate programs often allow more flexibility than degree-granting programs. In some cases, programs require a minimum cumulative GPA of 1.5, no standardized test scores, and no up-front admissions fees, allowing students to defer payment until enrollment. Certificate programs often offer application fee waivers for active-duty military members, spouses, and veterans. Typically, schools require a completed application for admission, official transcripts from high school and postsecondary institutions, and proof of immunizations for on-campus programs.
Many students apply to 5-8 certificate programs, including at least one or two programs that represent a reach. Some programs conduct admissions procedures with a stronger focus on professional experience than educational background and allow applicants to provide resumes, portfolio work, employer recommendation letters, or other supplemental materials with their application.
- Application: Applicants to web development certificate programs submit an application detailing their educational and professional background. The application typically takes an hour to complete. Some programs permit prospective students to register for classes without submitting an application.
- Transcripts: Most certificate programs require applicants to submit official transcripts to ensure proper placement and facilitate review of previous coursework. Most schools assess small transcript fees for each copy, though some schools omit these fees. In some cases, applicants can submit unofficial transcripts and send official copies upon acceptance.
- Application Fee: Most certificate programs defray their admissions processing costs by charging application fees of $20-$50. Many schools provide fee waivers for military service members, spouses, and veterans. A few certificate programs assess no application fees.
What Else Can I Expect From a Certificate in Web Development Program?
Core Courses in a Web Development Certificate Program
Although programs vary by focus, curriculum, and concentration, most reputable programs offering a certificate in web development provide similar core courses in web development. The following list highlights three typical courses required in web development certificate programs.
- Web Design
This course provides an introductory survey of principles and best practices for shaping the design, appearance, and navigation of interactive websites. Students engage in hands-on activities covering web design fundamentals, such as HTML, CSS styling, graphics applications, and tools for editing and publishing.
- Mobile Application Development
In this course, students follow the development lifecycle of applications for mobile devices, learning programming languages and frameworks. Through an interactive team project, students acquire design and implementation skills applicable to standalone programs and program suites for mobile operating systems. Topics include user interface design techniques and integrated development environments.
- Introduction to Scripting
How Long Does It Take to Get a Certificate in Web Development?
The majority of certificate programs in web development involve 6-8 courses and 6-12 months of full-time study comprising 16-40 credits. Most schools offer several different start dates each year, and if you select a program offering asynchronous coursework, you may find that you complete your studies faster. Receiving transfer credit through nontraditional means, such as examination or previous work experience, provides another way to shorten your time to completion.
A few programs operate on a cohort model, meaning that all students progress through the full course of study at the same pace; however, the majority of web development certificate programs offer individually paced study, permitting more flexibility for completion time.
How Much Is a Certificate in Web Development?
When budgeting, remember costs for web development certificate programs vary, and students attending certificate programs typically do not qualify for federal financial aid. To develop an appropriate financial estimate for your education, compile a checklist of relevant factors that affect the cost of your education. For example, some programs charge in-state tuition to all students or offer additional tuition discounts up to 50% for military service members, spouses, and veterans. Taking advantage of regional reciprocity agreements in your local area may also qualify you for in-state tuition rates in other states.
If you already work in the field, investigate the possibility of tuition assistance or reimbursement programs through your employer. Online programs may involve additional technology costs, but they also enable students to avoid incurring additional costs for housing and transportation. In general, students paying resident tuition for web development certificate programs can expect to spend $5,000-$16,000 for their education.
Professional Organizations for Web Developers
Joining professional organizations provides many benefits for students earning an on-campus or online web development certificate. Making key professional connections early in your career establishes a foundation for future success. Many prominent organizations host annual members-only conferences and job fairs featuring lectures from industry experts and networking opportunities. Membership also provides access to workshops, mentoring opportunities, publications tracking industry trends, active job boards, and other professional development services. Some organizations offer discounted membership fees for students.
Focusing on community education resources, WOW offers support, empowerment, and resources for groups and individuals in web professions. As a nonprofit organization, WOW provides legislative advocacy on behalf of the industry, advises policy decision-makers, and provides vendor-neutral industry certification exams.
Founded in 1996 as a nonprofit international trade association, IWA publishes guidelines for ethical industry standards, offers certification and education for web professionals, and provides employment resources and technical support for individuals and businesses. IWA fosters advancement opportunities and supports regional and global networking in the web industry.
As a leading professional organization serving educators, students, and professionals, AITP brings together professionals in technical fields for career development and advocacy. Supporting innovation and diversity in technology careers, AITP advocates for the technology industry, offering education, networking opportunities, and industry insights.