As you look into the Web Developer career path, you may wonder whether you need to get a certification or certificate to prove to potential employers that you have mastered web development. Getting a certificate or certification is not strictly necessary for web development, but it can be advantageous for your job search.

Although your portfolio is the most direct and comprehensive way of demonstrating the skills you’ve built, earning a certificate or certification in web development or a particular specialization can also help you prove your range of skills to a prospective employer. A certificate and a certification are two different things, however. When you complete a certificate program at a school, you earn the certificate based on your completion of that program, and it shows that you have mastered the required skills to the satisfaction of your instructors. A certification is an external credential typically considered more meaningful because it requires passing a third-party exam that tests the skills you have developed in your studies.

What is a Web Developer?

A Web Developer builds websites and web applications for companies or clients who hire them to create a product that serves a specific purpose. They are responsible for meeting the project objectives while providing a positive experience for the end user. Web Developers write and test the product’s code and are often responsible for maintaining performance and capacity. 

Various specializations fall under the Web Development umbrella. A front end developer focuses on the visual elements of a website or application—that is, the interface that the end user sees and interacts with. A back end developer designs and creates the site’s behind-the-scenes structure and functionality. However, the type of web developer most desirable to employers is a full stack developer with front-end and back-end development skills.

Web developers may work solo or as part of a team, often depending on whether they are freelance or work full-time for a particular company. Almost any business in any industry needs a web developer, but whether they have a web development team or hire a freelance developer will depend on their circumstances. Businesses need web developers because having an online presence increases their client base. Many businesses also need web developers because they want to connect with potential customers through their own web applications. 

Read more about what a Web Developer does.

Do I Need a Degree to Become a Web Developer?

If you don’t have a college degree, or you do have one, but it is not in a field directly relevant to web development, don’t worry! To become a Web Developer, you don’t need a computer science or IT degree. A two-year or four-year computer science degree is just one way to become a Web Developer, but you can take many other paths. A bootcamp is an effective way for aspiring Web Developers to learn coding and other necessary skills.

 Additionally, even if you don’t have a degree, you may have already acquired crucial soft skills, such as communication and teamwork, in your current position, especially if your job involves customer service or mastery of technical procedures. Or perhaps you do have a college degree but fear it may be irrelevant to your web development aspirations. You may be surprised to find that just about any college degree can contribute something to your qualifications. College teaches study skills applicable across fields. 

Read more about if you need a degree to become a Web Developer.

Do Certifications Matter for Web Developers?

You do not need a certification to get hired as a Web Developer. Indeed, there is no standard certification exam for web development, unlike with certain programming languages or softwares. The International Web Association does offer Certified Web Professional certifications in particular specializations, attained by passing an exam after gaining a required minimum number of years of experience. Gaining a CWP certification can help your resume stand out and show that you have achieved mastery as measured by a third party. However, this is not a required or expected credential for a Web Developer.

Certifications vs. Certificates: What’s the Difference?

A certification is a credential that serves as evidence of your mastery in a skill. While schools award certificates on the basis of completion, to get a certification you must pass an exam administered by a third party. For this reason, certifications are considered a more meaningful credential than a certificate, since it is in a school’s best interest to give certificates to students who complete their programs.

How to Get Certified as a Web Developer

If you want to become a Certified Web Professional, you must become a member of the International Web Association. You must also work a certain number of years in the specialization you are certifying in—2 years for a Specialist certification, 5 years for a Master Specialist. Then you must pass an exam demonstrating your abilities. This certification, administered by a third party, will allow you to show objective evidence of your skills beyond what is represented in your portfolio. 

Top Certifications & Certificates for Web Developer

In addition to the CWP certification discussed above, you could also certify in a particular language. For example, you could become a JavaScript Development Certified Professional through the International JavaScript Institute. However, no certification is necessary, and a certificate may be a better fit for you if you do not have prior knowledge of web development.

In a certificate program, you will learn web development skills rather than merely being tested on them. Noble Desktop has multiple certificate programs in web development, which can help you become qualified in the field, give prospective employers concrete evidence of your skills, and support you throughout the job search process. Those primarily interested in front end development could do the Front End Web Development Certificate or the Certificate in Javascript Development. If you’re more interested in the back end, you could go for the Certificate in Python Development. Ambitious students who want to do both might opt for the Full Stack Development Certificate. Or, if you want to demonstrate qualifications that go beyond developing for the web alone, you might benefit from doing the Software Engineering Certificate.

Key Takeaways