In recent years, the Internet has become a big part of our lives. People are spending more time online than ever before. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by savvy companies as they look to build their digital presence and promote their products online.
This highly connected world has created huge demand for websites and made web development a sought-after skill.
Web development is the process of building and maintaining websites. Professionals working in this field are typically called developers (or software engineers, coders or programmers, depending on your level of expertise). The role is generally divided into three specializations: front-end web development, back-end web development, and full-stack development.
If you’re drawn to the art of building beautiful, engaging websites and ready for a career change, then it might be time to tap into your inner front-end developer. We’ll introduce what it means to specialize in the front end, and which certificates could help you get hired.
What’s The Difference Between Front-End and Back-End Development?
Back-end (or server-side) development is concerned with the behind-the-scenes workings of a website. Data is stored, read, and optimized on the back end, which comprises of:
- The server that hosts the website
- An application that runs the server
- A database that contains the data
Back-end developers ensure that these three components run together smoothly. They analyze the needs of the company and provide effective programming solutions.
Front-end (also known as client-side or user-side) development is all about how users interact with a site. It’s concerned with visuals and includes elements like the text, fonts, sliders, and drop-down menus.
The role of a front-end developer is to structure these elements and bind them together so the site looks visually appealing. They must build a positive user experience and make navigation and interaction easy.
A front-end developer should be:
- Familiar with frameworks that ensure visually pleasing content irrespective of the device. For example Bootstrap, Foundation, Backbone, AngularJS, and EmberJS.
- Familiar with libraries like jQuery and LESS.
Front-End Developer Certificates
Demand for front-end developers is rising every year. If you have the right skills you can expect excellent job prospects and a rewarding compensation package. One way to validate yourself is to obtain certification. These help your resume stand out to prospective employers and give you an edge in the competitive job market.
Some popular front-end developer certifications include:
Thinkful: Software Engineering Bootcamp
This course will cover all the skills and programming languages you need to become a front-end developer. You'll build a strong foundation in both front-end and back-end programming, all in the company of a one-on-one mentor. You'll finish up the course with professional career coaching to help you polish up your resume and portfolio, and prep for interviews.
A bootcamp results in much more than a specific certification: you'll complete projects hands-on, partner with other students in your cohort, and ultimately graduate with the complete range of hard and soft skills that will get you hired.
W3C: Professional Certificate in Front-End Web Development
This certificate covers essential techniques that are needed to build responsive and interactive user experiences online.
About the exam:
- The course will guide you through three levels of difficulty: basic, intermediate, and advanced.
- You’ll need to demonstrate an understanding of the latest web standards.
- The assignments are designed in a clear and concise way.
- Learn how to code using modern HTML5 tags.
- Experiment with animation graphics, audio, and video.
- Apply elements of interactivity in the applications that you build and learn why accessibility and internationalization are important.
- CSS Basics: This course covers fundamental CSS selectors, relative positioning through CSS, and best practices in web design. It lasts for 5 weeks.
- HTML5 & CSS Fundamentals: This course covers HTML5, Page Layout, and Flexbox. It lasts for 6 weeks.
- HTML5 Coding Essentials & Best Practices: This course includes basic HTML5 tags, graphics, animation, and tests API usage for web storage. You’ll have the chance to practice your coding through interactive exercises. It lasts for 6 weeks.
- HTML5 Apps & Games: This course covers HTML5 game development techniques, APIs like service workers, and persistent techniques for data storage. It lasts for 4 weeks.
The course is self-paced.
Total duration: 2-4 months.
Microsoft: Professional Certification in Front-End Web Development
Created by Microsoft, this program focuses on front-end development fundamentals. You’ll be introduced to popular tools and must demonstrate you understand how to use these techniques. At the end of the certification process, there is a final project that will test your knowledge.
There is a series of 11 courses that you will have to complete to earn this certification.
About the course:
- This program will help you build your first website from scratch.
- It includes interactive exercises and quizzes to help you digest the material.
- You’ll build dynamic apps with powerful user interfaces.
- You’ll learn about best practices, to prepare you for your future career.
- You’ll learn how to handle application management and scalability while working with cloud services and DevOps.
- You’ll learn from industry and domain experts.
The University of Michigan: Web Design for Everybody
The certification is ideal for beginners. The courses are:
- Introduction to HTML5: This course will introduce you to the basics of HTML5, covering both theoretical and practical aspects. It lasts 10 hours.
- Introduction to CSS3: This course will introduce you to CSS3 and will teach you how to write and test code. Its duration is 18 hours.
- Advanced Styling with Responsive Design: This course introduces frameworks like Bootstrap. You’ll learn how to create responsive sites that display perfectly on a range of different devices. Its duration is 10 hours.
- Web Design for Everybody Capstone: This front-end development course ties everything together by building a professional-looking portfolio. Its duration is 11 hours.
About the course:
- The program is online and self-paced.
- Upon completion, you will receive a certificate.
- The program is well suited for beginners.
TemplateMonster: HTML5 and CSS Certification
As the name suggests, this free certification program focuses on HTML5 and CSS. These key technologies allow front-end developers to display formatted and styled content on the Internet.
The program has been developed to improve your portfolio, bulk out your resume, validate your HTML5 skills, and ultimately boost your chances of getting hired.
Professionals responsible for the following tasks should benefit from this certificate:
- Creating and developing websites.
- Designing website templates.
- Teaching HTML and CSS.
The certificate is free and can be passed online.
Provided by Washington University, this program allows you to demonstrate your skills in creating responsive websites that work on both desktop and mobile devices. The course is ideal for complete beginners, or professionals looking to expand into front-end web development.
You’ll learn the following front-end skills:
- HTML coding techniques to create websites from scratch.
- CSS to style your content across multiple pages.
- How to make responsive designs.
The course can be completed online or in Seattle.
UC San Diego: Front-End Development Certificate
The main learning objectives include:
- Use front-end development technologies to build responsive sites.
- Understand project management concepts that apply to web development.
- Build a portfolio to demonstrate your skills.
- Ensure your code follows development best practices.
Take Your Career to the Next Level
A certificate can’t hurt in a competitive job market, but it won’t make you a full-fledged software engineer. If you’d like to gain a broader skill set and further boost your chances of success, enroll in our full-stack developer bootcamp. This online course teaches you both front-end and back-end skills. It’s designed by industry experts to help you achieve your goals and become a highly-paid full-stack developer.
To learn more about the different types of web development, check out our other blog post: Front-End Developer vs Back-End Developer.