In the modern world, websites are a crucial part of any business or organization. As our use of technology increases and the internet penetrates further into even the remotest parts of the world, businesses across all industries need to have an online presence.
That means job opportunities abound for web developers. There’s always high demand for web development skills, and that demand is growing fast. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 15% growth in web developer jobs by 2026.
If you’re hoping to leverage your coding knowledge and become a professional web developer, now is the perfect time. We’ve collected a list of some of the most popular web development certificates so you can decide which ones best support your career goals. But first, let’s define what the field of web development really means.
What Is Web Development?
To become a web developer, you can take the traditional route of pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in computer science. But a degree is not a necessity for landing your first job or even excelling in your career. Another path to career-ready qualifications is through earning web development certificates.
Web Development Certificates
Certificates are practical skill-based programs curated by industry experts and professionals to provide students with the basic technical aptitude required to become a web developer. Students can earn certification in a range of web development specializations, as well as for particular tools and programs used in the industry. Below is a quick guide to the popular certificates available for aspiring and practicing web developers.
Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) – Adobe is a leading vendor of design, graphics, video, and interactive web development tools. It offers the Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) credential in support of its tools and platforms. ACE covers various online content areas, and there are two ways you can get certified:
- For a single Adobe Creative Cloud product like Dreamweaver or Photoshop
- For a complete Adobe Digital Marketing Suite product like Adobe Experience Manager or Adobe Campaign
Prerequisites: Usually ACE certification does not require any prerequisites, however the candidates are expected to have thorough experience in the topics of the exam.
Cost: $180 per exam
Study material: Multiple resources for the preparation of the exam are provided by Adobe.
Zend Certified PHP Engineer – Zend Certified PHP Engineer is a standard widely accepted in the industry. The certification recognises PHP expertise and is used as a measure to evaluate potential employees. PHP is a scripting language that helps web developers design industry-level websites. The exam covers topics like programming, input/output, syntax, data types, and object-oriented programming, among other topics. This certification will help your resume stand out from other applicants.
Exam format: The PHP exam has 75 questions. The Zend Framework exam has 70 questions, with a time limit of 90 minutes. The questions are either multiple choice with one correct answer, or multiple-choice questions with multiple correct answers. Some questions are open ended, meaning the answers must be typed in.
Prerequisites: Candidates need to know the technologies used by PHP developers in their filed
Microsoft Technology Associate – When it comes to learning about new software development, Microsoft offers great opportunities. You can choose an appropriate certificate depending on your skills and which level of software development you’re at. The Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification provides the basic knowledge that’s required to pursue the higher level Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) or Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) certifications. If you’re new to IT and want to jumpstart your career, the MTA certification could make a great entry point for you. The MTA certification is ideal for high school/college students or anyone new to web development. Topics for certification include software development, Windows development, mobile development, and game development.
Exam format: There are multiple exams for each topic. The questions are in multiple choice format
Validity: MTA certifications do not expire
Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) – If you’re already well versed in Microsoft technologies and have hands-on experience, then you can head straight to a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) or Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification. This will give you certification in the website application lifecycle management, Windows Store Apps, web applications, and SharePoint Applications. This credential will help make you stand out from other web developers on the job hunt.
Cost: $115 per exam
AWS Certified Developer – This exam is for people who have more than one year of experience in developing and maintaining an Amazon Web Service or AWS-based application and have performed web development roles. This certification validates your understanding of core AWS services, uses, and basic AWS architecture best practice, along with your proficiency in developing, deploying, and debugging cloud-based applications using AWS.Prerequisites of the program include:
- Detailed knowledge of at least one high-level programming language
- Knowledge of core AWS services, uses, and basic AWS architecture best practices
- Ability to use the AWS service APIs, AWS CLI, and SDKs to write applications
- Ability to apply a basic understanding of cloud-native applications to write code
- Ability to write code using AWS security best practices (e.g., not using secret and access keys in the code, instead of using IAM roles)
Exam format: The exam lasts for 130 minutes and questions are in multiple choice format. The exam is available in English, Japanese, Korean, and Simplified Chinese
Cost: $150. For an extra $20, you can also take a practice exam
PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) – Agile Certified Practitioner certification is a combination of training in Agile projects and analyzing Agile fundamentals and tools. This certification is universally recognized in the web development world. Agile is a repetitive project management method of delivering software collectively from the beginning of the project instead of delivering the whole project at the end. The PMI-ACP certification recognizes your skills in Agile principles and is best suited to those pursuing a career in project management.
Exam format: The exam lasts for 3 hours and is comprised of 120 multiple choice questions, 20 of which are pre-test questions that do not count toward the final score.
Cost: Determined by your selected exam’s delivery mode and PMI membership status. For Computer-based testing (CBT), the cost for PMI members is $435 and $495 for non-members. For Paper-based testing (PBT), the cost for PMI members is $385 and $445 for non-members.
W3 HTML5 Developer Certificate – This web development certificate confirms your ability to write HTML5, XHTML, and CSS. It’s recognized internationally and is used by web design specialists as a key certification to validate their foundational knowledge. This can then be used to proceed to further specialized fields of web design.
Exam format: The exam lasts for 70 minutes and is comprises of 70 multiple choice questions, with a mandatory passing score of 70%.
Do You Need A Certification to Become A Web Developer?
Below is a brief list of common job titles in the web development industry along with the likely impact of earning a certification.
- Web Developer - Earning a certification could help you stand out when you’re applying for junior developer positions.
- Web Designer - A course or certification will help you gain more technical skills in coding.
- Front-End Developer or Engineer - Choose a specialized front-end developer certificate to hone your skills.
- Software developer - A certification isn’t required for most software engineering and advanced developer positions. Employers will be more interested in hiring someone with the right skills and portfolio.
Earning a relevant certificate can give you an edge in the job market, and ensures you learn the technical skills employers need most. But before investing time and money in any certification, it’s important to do your research and talk to professionals who are already working in the field to help you decide which certifications will be most beneficial for you.
If you’re after a more comprehensive education to launch you into a full-fledged web development career, take a look at Thinkful’s web development bootcamp. You can also read more about career outcomes before you decide on the path that’s right for you.