Technology has become a big part of modern life. Wherever we look, we find ourselves surrounded by the latest smartphones, tablets, and various other tech gadgets. We use apps and websites for almost everything. From setting our morning alarm and chatting with distant relatives, to ordering food and playing video games.

The convenience, speed, and accessibility of the Internet keep us coming back. It’s estimated that 60% of the global population are regularly active online. Businesses recognize this growing trend and put a great deal of effort into building their online presence. That's why the work that web developers do has become so valuable.

Web development is the process of planning, designing, building, and testing websites. Careers in the space provide excellent job prospects, job security, and lucrative compensation packages.

But is a degree in web development really worth it? This article will help you decide between pursuing a degree, or choosing an alternative path to a career.

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Types of Web Development Degrees

Web Development Bachelor’s Degrees

A BA in web development teaches a broad range of technical subjects related to websites and web applications. An undergraduate program will enable students to integrate and deploy what they have learned in their web development work.

Students will learn about the basics of web development, programming, database design, user interface design, server architecture, server optimization, and cloud-based development tools.

Web development is a complex process that involves many different skills. A bachelor’s degree can lead to specialization in one particular area. These more focused roles include front-end interactive design, back-end skeleton design, database development, and software development.

A student can also choose to become a full-stack developer. This role combines front-end and back-end skills to offer full web development services to clients.

Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Web Development Worth It?

You've probably already investigated how much a web developer makes. So you know your degree will lead you toward a high-income career.

A bachelor’s degree usually takes 4 years and can cost up to $40,000. It’ll pave the way for your future web development career. But with such a significant investment in both time and money, it’s important to ensure you’re fully committed to the course and it’s right for you.

A web development degree is great for learning a broad range of topics over a long period and certainly won’t hurt your career prospects. But isn’t always necessary as there are no fixed entry requirements to get started as a web developer.

In some cases, if you know exactly what you want to achieve, 4-year bachelor’s degrees can be too general and more focused web developer training programs might be more suitable.

Web Development Master’s Degrees

A master’s degree in web development involves learning various programming languages including HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. The course options are usually more relaxed and flexible than a traditional degree program.

It will prepare you for a fast-paced and challenging tech-driven career. As a highly skilled web developer, you’ll be able to monitor web traffic, troubleshoot issues, and build functional, stunning-looking websites from the ground up.

A master’s degree can take anywhere between 1 and 3 years and can be done either on-campus or online. A web development master’s degree gives you the chance to specialize in a particular aspect of web development.

Since a master’s degree is an advanced study program there are some entry requirements, but you don't need any previous experience in web development to graduate with flying colors.

Institutions require a minimum GPA of 3.0. Some institutions also require students to complete an introductory course in computer information systems before enrolling in their master’s program.

Can You Become a Web Developer Without a Degree?

It’s certainly possible, and is actually the preferred option for many aspiring web developers, to pursue a career without any formal degree in the subject.

There are plenty of courses online that teach coding. There are also free resources ranging from how-to videos, web development blogs, and online tutorials. Some even issue certificates upon completion.

You can also go down the old-school route of purchasing books on the subject and self-teaching. If you struggle on a particular subject, the Internet is always there to help clarify concepts. Books used in combination with online resources can be an extremely powerful learning approach. Self-learning allows you to skip over easier topics and devote more time to things that you find difficult to learn.

From the industry’s point of view, employers regularly hire web developers without a formal degree, provided they can prove they have the necessary skills, a solid portfolio, and a positive attitude.

Alternatives to a Degree in Web Development

Web Development Certifications

Certification courses in web development are fast track learning programs. They give students and professionals the opportunity to validate their development skills in a particular area. You can get certified in any aspect of web development including Adobe Certified Expert (ACE), Certified Web Development Professional, Zend Certified PHP Engineer, Microsoft Development Certifications (MTA and MCSD), Amazon Web Services (AWS Certified Developer), and PMP Agile Certified Practitioner (PMP-ACP).

When choosing a development course, it’s a good idea to go for a program that offers something unique. Not all certifications will give you an edge in a competitive job market. Check to make sure your program offers career support and personal mentorship to give you a leg up on your competition.

Before you decide to invest your time and money on a certification course, make sure that it will help you in your career development. Speak to people who are already in web development and read reviews of courses online to get an idea about the real value of a certification course.

Web Development Bootcamps

If you're short on time and money, don’t worry. You can opt for an alternative learning program that is more focused, more affordable, and more intensive.

A web developer bootcamp is specifically designed to get students hired in developer roles. Unlike a degree, which allows graduates to pursue many different career choices, a bootcamp focuses on one area. Therefore, if you’re set on a career in web development enrolling in a web developer bootcamp is the perfect way to get started.

A bootcamp is more intensive than a degree program. You’ll learn all the necessary skills in just a few months. Students are taught the most relevant career-ready tools required to start building professional sites. Even though the knowledge gained is not as broad as what’s learned through a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, it’s sufficient to kickstart your web development career.

According to a 2018 coding bootcamp industry report, over 65% of participants who completed bootcamps were able to find work within the first six months of graduation.

Some bootcamp programs offer unique payment options meaning you pay nothing for the course until you’re actually hired.

Your Next Step

If you’re serious about becoming a web developer and really want to kickstart your career, free online resources might not cut it.

Enroll in our web development bootcamp for a more structured approach to your learning. Our mentors will help you stay motivated as you study our laser-focused web development curriculum. You’ll build a professional portfolio that’ll help you land a highly-paid developer job. Get in touch with us to find out what’s the best course of action for you.

If you’re interested in reading more, check out our other blog post on: Everything You Need To Know About A Career In Web Development.

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