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The 6 Best Online Certifications for Web Development

In today’s tech-centric world, a fully functional and professional looking website can have a substantial effect a company/group/organization’s success, which is why there has been an unprecedented demand for skilled web developers in recent years who possess advanced computer, design, and software skills. If you want to kickstart your career in web development but need the convenience and freedom of pursuing it in your own time, then you should consider an online certification program.

An online certification not only demonstrates your ability to learn and apply new skills, but also shows prospective employers that you’re serious about a career in web development. In this article, we’ve listed the six best online web development certification programs that will challenge you and provide you with the essential skills you need to succeed in this field.

The 6 Best Online Certifications for Web Development are:

  1. Udacity: Front End Web Developer Nanodegree Program
  2. Udacity: Become a Java Web Developer Nanodegree Program
  3. University of Michigan: Web Design for Everybody- Basics of Web Development & Coding Specialization
  4. Udacity: Become an iOS Developer Nanodegree Program
  5. Johns Hopkins University: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for Web Developers
  6. Udacity: Become a C++ Developer Nanodegree Program

Below, we have provided a brief but detailed description of each program, so you know what to expect in terms of course length, content, resources, and what type of certification you’ll be presented upon graduating.

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Do Web Developers Need Certification?

One of the first things any individual interested in becoming a professional web developer will ask is what credentials they need to acquire or qualifications they must fulfill before they can start their career.

While web developer certifications and additional credentials, such as an associates’ or bachelor’s degree in computer science, are often beneficial in pursuing this career, no degree, certification, permit, or license of any sort is strictly required to be a web developer.

Some jobs offered by companies and individuals will require applicants to have credentials, such as a college degree, that prove they have been educated and trained in web development and are, therefore, qualified to fulfill the position, but this is not always the case.

In fact, many web developers, nowadays, avoid the classic bachelor’s degree route as an overwhelming number of employers, employees, and professionals associated with this field have remarked that obtaining a four-year college degree for a career in web development provides diminishing returns.

Instead of paying the ever-increasing cost of a college tuition, it is exceptionally common for individuals pursuing this career to be either entirely or partially self-taught, but that does not mean this is the path for everyone.

What Do You Need to Be a Web Developer?

To be a successful web developer, you will need a wide range of skills, including, but not limited to:

  • Competency in coding languages, ideally HTML/CSS
  • Competency in frontend web programming languages and web animation techniques:
    • JavaScript (libraries and frameworks)
    • Ajax
    • Python
  • Competency in backend web programing languages:
    • C#
    • Java
    • PHP
    • Ruby
  • Ability to test and debug software
  • Computer literacy
  • SEO expertise
  • Numeracy skills
  • Problem-solving skills (ex. syntax problems, workflow loopholes, creation of new techniques)
  • Responsive web designing skills
  • Creativity
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills

Not only do you need to be able to create an efficient and impactful website, but you also need to have the communication and customer service skills that allow you to determine what your client wants in their website, what you can realistically provide them, and how to explain issues, features, and functions of their website in a way they will understand.

At first glance, this might be a daunting list of skills to teach yourself (especially when you consider the fact that it is not an all-encompassing list of necessary abilities).This is why many aspiring web developers still attend collegiate programs, web development boot camps, and/or certification programs

Here, knowledgeable teachers guide them through this extremely technical learning process and ensure students complete the program with all the tools they need to start their career, enhance their skills, and expand on what they’ve learned.   

How Do I Get a Web Development Certificate?

While the skills required to be a web developer might be complex and involved, the process of getting a web development certificate is significantly easier.

Because there are no official credentials required to be a web developer, most web development certification programs don’t have any prerequisites. This means that nearly anyone could apply to the program (although you should ensure its content matches your experience level and interests).

Once you’ve been accepted to your web development certification program of choice, you’ll likely pay a program fee and then receive a course schedule/curriculum and any included resources necessary to successfully complete assignments/projects and/or prepare for testing.

Over time, you will work your way through the program’s curriculum, fulfilling any requirements along the way. Once the program has ended, as deemed by its specified deadline, or you have completed all program requirements, you will receive your certification on the condition that you have met the program’s completion and grading standards.

The 7 Best Online Certifications for Web Development

Obtaining a web development certificate is an exceptional way to learn the skills associated with this field (or even specialize in certain jobs, languages, etc.) in a professional and supportive environment that will result in you having a valid credential to present to future employers.

Unfortunately, because these skills are commonly self-taught and the career, overall, has no strict credential requirements, there are many low-quality web development courses offered by inexperienced and/or unaccredited sources. To ensure you avoid these programs entirely, we have amassed a list of what we deem to be the top six online web development certification programs.

Before we start, you’ll notice numerous nanodegree programs offered by Udacity mentioned on this list, and this is for two reasons.

One is that Udacity is an extremely budget-friendly option for anyone interested in obtaining an online certification, even if you decide web development isn’t for you. Users are able to either pay as they go through monthly access (this is helpful if you think you can complete the program in a single month) or they can pay a discounted fee for four months of access.

The second reason is that, although Udacity is not an accredited university (which means little if you aren’t simultaneously pursuing a collegiate degree), they offer high-quality and comprehensive programs taught by experienced professionals and field experts.

1. Udacity: Front End Web Developer Nanodegree Program

Now that we’ve established the advantages from taking a Udacity certification course, let’s talk about the first web development program they offer that we highly recommend: the Front End Web Developer Nanodegree Program.

As we mentioned previously, there are several skills web developers need in order to be successful, and competency in front-end languages and development is one of the most crucial.

In this program, Udacity instructors Daniel Silber-Baker, Rachel Manning, Alyssa Hope, and Richard Kalehoff will teach you everything you need to know to need to build and develop a variety of websites and applications, including:

  • CSS & Website Layout
  • JavaScript and DOM
  • Web APIs and Asynchronous Applications
  • Build tools, Webpack, and Service Worker

The course is offered for XXX and has prerequisite of ….by the end you’ll know how to:

  • construct responsive websites using CSS, Flexbox and CSS Grid
  • develop interactive websites and UI (User Interface) applications using JavaScript and HTML
  • connect a web application to backend server data using JavaScript

Students have up to four months to complete the program for a 4-month access discounted rate of $1356 or a monthly rate of $399.

Completing a data analytics certification online could be useful to add to your web development knowledge.

2. Udacity: Become a Java Web Developer Nanodegree Program

An alternative or supplemental certificate you can acquire from Udacity is the “Become a Java Web Developer” nanodegree program.

As opposed to the previous certificate that focuses on front-end development, this program will provide you with the essential skills and knowledge necessary to be proficient with back-end development using Java.

While there are several programming languages you can learn and use for back-end development, Java is undoubtedly one of the most popular and, therefore, a quality place to start.

However, it is important to note that intermediate knowledge in Java is a prerequisite of the certification, so if you have not practiced with Java in the past, you might want to opt for one of Udacity’s other certifications that will teach you everything you need to know in order to be prepared for this program.

Once enrolled, instructors Kesha Williams, Sareeta Panda, Peter Zastoupil, and Alex Pritchard with cover relevant topics, such as:

  • Spring Boot basics
  • Web services and APIs
  • Data stores and persistence
  • Security and DevOps

This certification program has the same rates as others offered by Udacity: $399 monthly or $1356 for four months.

3. University of Michigan: Web Design for Everybody- Basics of Web Development & Coding Specialization

If you’re not a fan of Udacity’s set up or you’re currently enrolled/intend to be enrolled in a collegiate program, then you might find it more beneficial to obtain a web development certification from an accredited college. One we would highly recommend is this particular certification offered by University of Michigan.

This certification program is a superb crash course for beginners, as it covers essential skills and topics such as:

  • The basics of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS3), HTML 5, and JavaScript
  • How to add interactivity to web pages in JavaScript
  • How to use the Document Object Model (DOM) to modify pages
  • How to apply responsive design to enable pages to be viewed by various devices

All content in this course is taught in a beginner-friendly but detailed manner by the two instructors, Collen van Lent, Ph.D. and Charles Russell Severance.

One of the biggest advantages of this particular certification program is that students have the option to enroll in as many or as few of the courses in whatever order they prefer. So, if you’re familiar with HTML5, you could skip course one and go straight to course 2 on CSS3.

The program is structured to be entirely self-paced, with most students completing all four courses within six months assuming they complete three hours of work per week. Of course, this is entirely dependent on the individual.

4. Udacity: Become an iOS Developer Nanodegree Program

Another supplemental or alternative web development certificate you might want to consider is the “Become an iOS Developer” nanodegree program.

This is arguably a more specialized certificate in that it focuses, not on coding, programming languages, or other common basics, but instead on the basics of iOS app development using the Swift programming language and Xcode (Apple’s development environment).

First, instructors Jarrod Parkes, Gabrielle Miller-Messner, Kate Rotondo, and Owen LaRosa will cover the fundamentals of programming in Swift, downloading Xcode. Next, they will teach you how to build your first app with Swift and Xcode, as well as how to:

  • use AutoLayout, UIButtons, and UILabels to create an interface
  • react to touch events in an app using ViewController and multiple views
  • set up audio recording and playback in a voice recording app
  • develop an app with UIKit
  • incorporate networking into your apps
  • utilize APIs to display images and retrieve data
  • use Apple’s Grand Central Dispatch, or GCD, framework to create asynchronous apps

Towards the end of the program, students will learn the fundamentals of simple persistence, the iOS File System, and the “sandbox,” before putting everything they’ve learned to the test in a final project where they’ll design, build, and present their own iOS app.

Overall, if you are intent on obtaining and honing skills related to iOS development, then this is the certificate for you.

This certification program has the same rates as others offered by Udacity: $399 monthly or $1356 for four months.

5. Johns Hopkins University: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for Web Developers

Another viable beginner course offered by a college through Coursera is this certification instructed by Johns Hopkins University’s Yaakov Chaikin.

In essence, this program shares a lot with the one previously recommended by the University of Michigan. The overarching differences is that this program is split into five courses instead of four which cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to HTML5
  • Introduction to CSS3
  • Coding the Static Restaurant Site
  • Introduction to JavaScript
  • Using JavaScript to Build Web Applications

As you can see, Chaikin dedicates an entire course to giving students a hands-on experience with the “Coding Static Restaurant Site” course where they learn the basics of interacting with a client when managing a web site project.

Not only do students obtain crucial communication and customer service skills (such as determining the clients needs for a site), but students also interact with and visit a real client and then spend the remaining course building a website that matches their needs.

Comparatively, the certification program by University of Michigan is more detailed in certain skills, but this certificate excels in learning and applying those skills in real life scenarios. So determining which is best will depend on your learning preferences and needs.

6. Udacity: Become a C++ Developer Nanodegree Program

This is our last online web development certification recommendation and, of course, it is another Udacity Nanodegree Program.

The “Become a C++ Developer” certification is intended for individuals with intermediate programming knowledge and skills. Here, students will obtain hands-on experience by coding five real-world projects, allowing them to learn new skills, expand on what they know, and increase their portfolio.

Instructors David Silver, Stephen Welch, and Andreas Haja will teach skills and topics, including:

  • building a route planner using OpenStreetMap data
  • writing a process monitor for your computer
  • implementing your own smart pointers
  • building a multithreaded traffic simulator
  • coding your own C++ application
  • learning the fundamentals and complexities of C++ Foundations and Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)

This certification program has the same rates as others offered by Udacity: $399 monthly or $1356 for four months.

Final Thoughts On Certifications In Web Development

Online web development certifications might not be required to pursue a path as a professional web developer, but they are a budget-friendly, comprehensive, and insightful way to learn and expand on the skills required to succeed in this field. Similar to pursuing a certification in computer science, obtaining one from any of the previously recommended sources will also boost your credibility and give you a competitive edge for future web development jobs.