The best 11 courses and programs to become a web developer

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March 15, 2021
5 minute read

For those looking to become a professional web developer, there are several skills you’ll need to develop (pun intended). Beyond understanding popular programming languages, developers need to know how to creatively solve problems, how to Q/A new builds, and more.

So how do you learn all that? With the growth of the developer community, tons of online courses and programs have sprung up to help newbie developers learn how to go pro. Below, we share the top 11 resources you can use to become a rockstar web developer in a matter of weeks.

Do web developers need a formal education?

The short answer is: Nope.

While some web developers have a formal college degree in computer science, IT, or a related major, it isn’t necessary. In fact, Stack Overflow’s most recent Developer Survey found that fewer than half of the professional programmers they talked to have a Bachelor’s degree.

That’s largely because many companies hiring developers are much more concerned with what you can do—and freelance developers are judged on their work much more than any formal education or degree. Plus, the world of web development changes so rapidly that formal degree programs may struggle to keep up.

The skills web developers need to learn

When you think about the skills you’ll need to become a web developer, coding is probably the first one to pop into your head. And that’s true—it’s hard to be a developer without a working knowledge of programming languages and how to build with them.

But coding isn’t the only skill professional web developers need. There are several others aspiring programmers need to cultivate:

  • Creativity and the ability to solve problems
  • A detail-oriented outlook
  • Skill at testing, debugging, and iterating on your code
  • Curiosity and an insatiable love of learning to keep pace with the changing industry
  • And, of course, a deep knowledge of programming languages and which are best suited for different kinds of projects.

Top 7 web development courses to help

The courses below are some of the best options for new and aspiring web developers. They’re created and taught by prominent industry professionals and institutions, and they can help get your web development career off the ground in as a little as a few weeks.

Computer Programming by Khan Academy

Khan Academy’s
Computer Programming course is one of the best options for getting an overview of the industry and gaining familiarity with a number of programming languages and their uses. The course takes you through a beginner’s intro to JavaScript, HTML/CSS, and SQL—then it gets into more advanced skills and use cases for each, with challenges and projects along the way to help you apply what you learn.

Price: 100% free

Codecademy’s Web Development Career Path

Codecademy’s Career Paths are a great way to gain in-depth, practical knowledge that’s aimed at helping you kickstart your career. The Web Development Career Path will help you do more than learn code—the course promises to teach you how to “think like a programmer,” while you build real projects you can include on your portfolio.

Price: Included in Codecademy Pro membership, which starts at $19.99/month.

The Web Developer Bootcamp 2021

Created by Colt Steele and hosted on Udemy, The Web Developer Bootcamp is a comprehensive and frequently updated resource. Most recently updated in 2021, the course starts with the three most important programming languages for web developers—JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. The remainder of the program walks through practical use cases and introduces additional frameworks like SQL and Node.

Price: $74.99

HTML, CSS, and Javascript for Web Developers by Johns Hopkins University

The HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for Web Developers course is your opportunity to get a high-quality college education for a lot less than 4-year tuition. Offered by Johns Hopkins University and hosted on Coursera, the course covers the basics all web developers need to know, including (as the name implies) HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Price: You can get audit access to everything except graded work for free. Otherwise, purchase the certificate for $79 and get access to graded work plus a certificate of completion you can display on your LinkedIn, resume, or elsewhere.

The Complete Web Developer in 2021: Zero to Mastery

The Complete Web Developer in 2021: Zero to Mastery
course is one of the most extensive on our list. The course covers the same basics as other beginner level courses—then it goes on to cover additional frameworks like SQL, React, and NodeJS. Plus, this one offers practical learning about working as a freelance web developer and building a professional portfolio site.

Price: $59.99

The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0

Created by the founder behind Codestars, The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 takes a broader approach to turning you into a web developer. The course covers HTML and how to build websites and mobile apps, of course, but it also gets into topics like how to get a job as a junior web developer, how to bid for freelance projects, getting comfortable as a front-end developer, and more.

Price: $84.99

Programming Foundations with JavaScript, HTML and CSS

Created by Duke University and hosted on Coursera, Programming Foundations with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS offers hands-on modules to help you learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, along with broader lessons on algorithms and programming concepts. The 4-week course finishes with a mini-project and 3 practical exercises to show off your new skills during the final week.

Price: You can get audit access for free or join Coursera Plus for $49/month (after a 7-day free trial) to access the full specialization (along with 3,000 other courses) and earn the shareable course certificate.

Web development academies and programs

Individual courses are a great way to jumpstart your learning as a web developer. But for those looking to learn a little more, there are several prominent academies and longer-term programs that can help you continue to grow as a professional developer, and increase your freelance rates. Here are a few examples to check out:

  • Launch School: A structured, long-term approach to learning the fundamentals of software development from the ground up.
  • Techdegree: A bootcamp-tier program featuring a full curriculum that helps build up your portfolio and build out your network.
  • Created by Google Developers, offers a variety of targeted courses on topics like building progressive web apps, site accessibility, key frameworks like React and Angular.
  • LinkedIn Learning: Boasting over a thousand courses, LinkedIn Learning can help grow and expand your expertise with everything from beginner and essential training to more advanced and niche courses.

Learn to become a top web developer

Becoming a successful web developer doesn’t require a college degree, but it does require that you know your stuff and demonstrate your expertise. The courses and programs above will teach you how to do both of those things—and they can help send your career as a programmer off to the races.