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How to Become a Web Developer Without a Degree [Guide]

Lindsey Rogerson
Published: June 27, 2022

You can pursue your dream career as a web developer even without a college degree.

The world is rapidly changing post-pandemic, and everything we knew about traditional jobs is going out the window. With more of our day-to-day communication moving online, web development is becoming a skill that is high in demand. According to recent rankings, web development is the 6th best job in tech

Also, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there will be an 8% growth in employment in web development in the next decade. 

The truth is: You don’t need an official college degree to become a web developer. The main thing you need is a solid grasp of web development skills — and a yearning for growth.

Here’s what you’re about to learn:

  • What a web developer is
  • Types of web developer
  • Skills of a web developer
  • Tips on how to become a web developer without a degree
  • How long it takes to become a web developer. 

What is a Web Developer?

A web developer is a professional who builds functional and interactive websites and web applications. They ensure that these sites’ user interfaces (UI) are smooth and easy to navigate.

As web developers, they can come up with design layouts for websites. Some of them are skilled in handling the back-end logic and performance of the server to provide a good user experience (UX).

To simply put it, a website developer focuses on the development of websites and web applications.

Roles/Responsibilities of a Web Developer

Specific responsibilities come with being a web developer. They perform a host of website-related functions including: 

  • Reviewing and writing codes for website development
  • Designing appealing user interfaces and navigation menus
  • Integrating multimedia content into a website 
  • Troubleshooting website issues 
  • Monitoring site performance and maintaining a good user experience
  • Testing websites and web applications 
  • Ensuring responsiveness of the design 
  • Working with designers, other developers, and stakeholders.

Types of Web Developers

When it comes to web development, the developers responsible for this are of three types. These are:

  • Front-end developer
  • Back-end developer
  • Full-stack developer

Let’s take an in-depth look at what each of these web developers does. 

Front-End Web Developers

Front-end developers are professionals who work on building the part of the website visible to the users called the user interface.

In other words, front-end developers are responsible for client-side development. They build seamless, interactive web pages visitors see and interact with. 

Front-end web developers focus on creating colors, graphics, styles, and designs suitable for a site. They also ensure that a website or web application is responsive on various browsing interfaces — desktop, mobile, and tablet.

In the Treehouse Front-End Bootcamp and Tracks, you’ll find the courses and resources needed to become proficient in client-side development.

Back-End Web Developers

Back-end developers are professionals who structure the logical data of a website or web application to ensure that the front-end runs smoothly.

These web developers are responsible for server-side development to provide good user experiences. Back-end developers often use languages such as PHP, Python, and Ruby, however JavaScript (via NodeJS) is an increasingly popular choice.

As back-end web developers, they can create Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), databases, and other systems responsible for efficient website functioning.

This Treehouse Back-End Community Thread has a list of courses you need to become skilled at for server-side development.

Full-Stack Web Developers 

Full-stack developers are professionals who do a combination of both back-end and front-end web development. They are hybrid web developers.

These web developers have extensive knowledge of multiple programming languages and can independently build a fully functional website from scratch. 

Full-stack developers have a diverse understanding of front-end and back-end web development skills that help speed up the web creation process. They are a manageable and cost-effective solution for companies that need help with web development.

In the Treehouse Full-Stack Javascript Techdegree, you’ll learn about front-end, back-end, and a Javascript-focused approach to building fully-fledged websites and applications. 

Note that: The aspect of tech development you want to focus on will determine whether you use front-end vs back-end vs full-stack development. Each one has its own pros and cons. So, it’s important to consider what type of web development you’re interested in.

How Much Does A Web Developer Earn?

According to Glassdoor salary insights, web developers make anything from $61,000 to $161,000 per year. On average, this is calculated to be over $84,500 yearly.

Web developers make good earnings. However, their earnings largely depend on several factors such as:

  • Location
  • Company
  • Industry
  • Experience. 

Web developers who decide to become freelancers or self-employed professionals can set their rates on an hourly or per-project basis, depending on their preferences.

Web Developer Skills

As an aspiring or beginner web developer, it is important to acquire certain skills to become efficient at website development. These skills are categorized into technical and soft skills. 

Technical Skills

These are the sets of skills or knowledge web developers will need to perform practical tasks and web development functions. They include:

  • Understanding of front-end programming languages — HTML and CSS
  • Solid grasp of Javascript
  • Understanding of back-end programming languages such as Python, Java, PHP, and Ruby
  • Knowledge of front-end frameworks and libraries such as React.js, Vue.js, and Angular.js
  • Good handling of back-end frameworks and libraries such as Express.js, Django, and Flask
  •  Cross-site optimization
  • Technical search engine optimization (SEO) 
  • Version Control
  • Development of databases
  • Creation of APIs
  • Website structuring and design skills
  • Code testing and debugging

Soft Skills

These are the core non-tech skills and attributes that web developers need to succeed in their careers and workplaces. They include:

  • Good communication
  • Customer service
  • Attention to details
  • Attributes of a team player
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Time Management
  • Work Ethic

Tips for Becoming a Web Developer Without a Degree

Becoming a web developer without a degree may seem nerve-wracking, but with drive and curiosity, you can get there!

Here are the steps to take to become a proficient web developer without getting a college degree:

1. Complete Online Courses

You can learn web development efficiently without formal training by taking online courses and coding bootcamps. 

Treehouse Techdegrees are online coding bootcamp programs designed to help you acquire and master the relevant skills you need depending on the type of web developer you want to become. 

2. Build a Portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of projects you have done in the past that showcases your web development skills. Building a portfolio shows potential clients samples of what they can expect from you. 

Having a portfolio builds trust since they know the quality of your work. This is why Treehouse Techdegrees allow you to build well-rounded portfolios with real-life projects you can show potential employers.

3. Complete Certifications

Getting certified validates your skills as a web developer. When you complete courses that offer certifications, it shows potential employers that you have expert knowledge in your specialty area. This positions you for enhanced career opportunities.

This is why Treehouse Techdegrees offer certification to show how well you’ve learned your choice development program. 

4. Build Your Resume

Having a solid resume goes a long way to prove your skills as a web developer to recruiters. Ensure that your resume summarizes your web development experience and has similar projects a potential employer is on the hunt for. 

And here are some extra tips to build a good resume:

  • Be clear and concise
  • Mention relevant experiences
  • Highlight your strengths
  • Avoid grammatical errors.

4. Prep for Interviews

After applying for jobs with an impressive portfolio and resume, you should prepare for interviews. You could get notified for an interview at any time to prove your competence. 

The interview process usually involves different stages: from Screening > Technical Interview > Behavioral Interview > Final Interview. 

But, you can scale through these stages with adequate preparations. So, practice common interview questions based on the role you’re applying for and show up confident and knowledgeable.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Web Developer?

As an aspiring web developer without a prior foundation in coding, you can become adept in three to six months through online courses and coding boot camps. 

The least duration you can spend to learn web development skills is 3 months. However, if you have a tight schedule and can only learn on a part-time basis, this can take anywhere from six to 12 months before you finish a course.

We analyzed our students’ learning patterns and duration and can say that by committing three hours a day to Treehouse Techdegrees, students have been able to complete web development programs within four to five months.

This means that the duration it’ll take to become a web developer will depend on:

  • Your commitment
  • The type of web development course
  • Your availability.

Get Started With Treehouse

Becoming a web developer is a great career path and not having a college degree shouldn’t hold you back. As our guide has shown above, what you need to kickstart your web development career is the right skill set.

Ready to learn and get certified as a professional web developer? Try Treehouse Techdegrees for free today.