Requirements for a Career in Web Development

How can you get your career in web development started? Discover what job and education requirements you need to enter the field.

portrait of Doug Wintemute
by Doug Wintemute

Updated November 4, 2022

Edited by Margaret Weinhold
Share this Article
Requirements for a Career in Web Development
Image Credit: Thitiphat Khuankaew / EyeEm / Getty Images


The way we use the internet continues to change. Organizations must react quickly to this evolution. Web developers ensure websites meet the growing list of user demands while also functioning smoothly and integrating new technologies.

This ever-changing environment stimulates growth in the web development field. Did you know that there are more than 200 million active websites and more than 200,000 created every day?

www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to start your journey?

And while not every website needs a professional developer, the ones that feature complex architecture and functionality usually do. Here, we look at what it takes to become a web developer and what career options there are.

What Are Common Web Development Careers?

Web developers possess in-demand skills that apply to various computer and information technology occupations.

Typical web development jobs focus on creating and maintaining websites, but the field has many specializations and subfields that allow professionals to branch out and diversify.

Web developers usually focus on front-end, back-end, or full-stack development. Front-end development deals with the visible components of the website, back-end focuses on its construction and performance, and full-stack does it all. Developers can also specialize in user experience or interface functionality.

Other web development jobs include those working with specific technologies. Some developers specialize in using certain programming languages or vendors. Web developers can also work with website applications, mobile development, cloud computing, e-commerce setups, and gaming websites.

The skills you learn from your degree and your career can also apply to other fields and occupations. With experience, web developers can move into analyst, consulting, or management positions.

You can also incorporate website and information systems security into your capabilities or expand into software development.

You can specialize in this field at any time. You can learn new skills and focus your training during school, on the job, or through continued education.

Web Developer vs. Web Designer

Web developers and designers often work together, but their roles differ considerably. Web development focuses on the technical aspects of a website, including the programming, the applications, and the performance.

Designers manage the look and feel of a website, overseeing the layout, graphics, and style. They ensure the site appears inviting while also maintaining usability and functionality. Web designers have an eye for aesthetics and give developers the vision for building the website.

While web developers mainly work with coding languages and web development platforms, web designers work with design tools and graphic design software.

What Degree Should You Get to Work in Web Development?

The web development field welcomes professionals from many different educational backgrounds. Some have specialized web development degrees or web development certificates. But others have more general computer science degrees and specialize through web development internships. Here, we look at the most common paths available.

Certifications

In web development, certifications typically refer to focused educational programs and their credentials. Web development certificate programs usually take less than one year to complete and cost between $1,000-$10,000.

Graduates from these accelerated programs not only enter the job market quicker than those in degree programs, but they can even compete for some of the same web development jobs. Web development bootcamp providers and schools issue certifications.

In college-run programs, students have access to school facilities and career services. Many of the schools and bootcamp providers running these programs have relationships with organizations that hire web developers.

Associate Degree

Web development degrees at the associate level provide students with an information technology foundation. In addition to the web development fundamentals, learners study computer science principles. And they take general education courses, too.

While these two-year programs can lead to entry-level careers in the field, they also serve as stepping stones to more advanced degrees. The degree allows graduates to enter the workforce quickly and develop their careers with experience over timeI .

Associate programs also feature less restrictive admission requirements. And average tuition rates cost less than half of bachelor's programs in 2020-21, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree in web development qualifies graduates for most entry-level web development jobs. These four-year programs typically take a comprehensive approach to computer science, offering web development as a specialization or concentration option.

Admission requirements vary by school. Some feature open admission policies, while others have more competitive requirements, such as a high GPA and SAT score. According to the NCES, the average tuition rate for undergraduates was $9,400 at four-year public schools and $37,600 at four-year nonprofit private schools in 2020-21.

And bachelor's degrees position graduates to take master's web development degrees or graduate certificates.

Master's Degree

A master's in web development delves into the more advanced topics and specialized subdisciplines of the field. Depending on your program type, you may conduct extensive research. You can add to the discourse in your focus area or study the practical applications of specific technologies.

Many programs at this level explore the business side of web development. Students may look at website development and management as a business solution or apply market research and user experience data to their creations.

These programs typically run for 1-2 years and qualify graduates for most web development roles, plus management and analyst occupations. According to the NCES, the average annual graduate tuition was $19,792 in 2019-20.

Doctoral Degree

Doctoral programs have the most advanced studies in web development but are also the most challenging and restrictive. Many programs have high admission standards and demanding workloads. Doctoral students must take courses and seminars while developing their original research.

But the reward makes it worth it. These 4- to 6-year programs lead to the most desirable careers in the information technology world, including management and postsecondary teaching roles. Doctoral programs also offer nearly endless specialization opportunities, allowing students to create their own field of expertise and career path.

The average annual tuition rate for these graduate students was $19,792 in 2019-20, as per the NCES. To help manage these costs, doctoral students may take on teaching responsibilities.

Web Developer Internships

Google's internship opportunities include one for information technology. In this program, students provide user support, complete a development project, and receive technical training.

UScellular internships are available in various areas, including information technology, application development, and computer science. The 10-week programs offer project and networking opportunities.

Apple's internships and co-ops give students a first-hand look at how a tech giant operates. Interns take part in large-scale projects and learn programs throughout their time.

Microsoft's intern program offers summer internships in the engineering department. Students join a team for 12 weeks and take on real projects while also networking and learning.

Amazon internships provide students with a team and mentor. They tackle projects and participate in projects while also benefiting from onboarding and internal training.

What to Include in Your Web Developer Resume

  • Relevant experience: Include only the most recent experience related to your desired web development job. Rather than list off job duties, highlight accomplishments and points of pride.
  • Internships: Incorporate your internship experience in your resume by highlighting your relevant responsibilities and accomplishments.
  • Education: Point out your major credentials, such as degrees and certificates. Lead with your highest level of education and work down. Only include relevant credentials.
  • Achievements and awards: Include any additional achievements or awards you received during your studies or employment. This may include scholarships or special recognitions and acknowledgments.
  • Skills: Outline any technical skills that demonstrate your knowledge and experience. For example, list the programming languages you know, your software and program proficiencies, and all the development platforms you have worked with.
  • Portfolio: Consider including a link to your digital portfolio if possible. Include any unique projects you've developed or contributed to during your work and studies. Try highlighting different skills, web development fields, and styles.

Frequently Asked Questions About a Career in Web Development

Is web development a good career?

Yes. Web development can be a very good career, offering flexible, professional job positions, growth opportunities, and a promising job outlook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 23% growth in the field between 2021 and 2031, significantly higher than the projected growth rate for all occupations.

As technology grows and changes, new developers will be needed to handle these developments. They'll need to meet demand from e-commerce or users of mobile and other devices.

Is web development a stressful job?

Web development jobs can become stressful when facing strict deadlines or difficult challenges. While web developers typically work traditional full-time jobs, these extenuating circumstances can lengthen weekly hours and add complexities to the job.

Aside from meeting deadlines, web developers often complete repetitive tasks. When unique problems arise, things may become stressful. But since much of web development focuses on solving problems, many professionals embrace unique challenges.

Do web developers get paid well?

Yes. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for web developers and designers was $78,300 in May 2021, more than $30,000 higher than the median annual wage for all occupations. Plus, the top 10% of professionals in the field made more than $150,000.

Other top industry salaries include computer systems design services, which pays a median salary of $80,110, and advertising and related services, which pays a median salary of $63,240.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare your school options.

View the most relevant school for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to find your college home.