How to become a web developer and make money coding? That’s the question I get asked almost daily, so in this post I’m answering some of your questions on becoming a web developer from scratch.
It took me some time to find my path in web development and the best websites to learn coding from scratch in the beginning. And I can tell you I made some awful mistakes when I first started learning coding altogether. That’s why I’m sharing all the lessons I’ve learned in this post, so that you don’t have to repeat my mistakes.
By the time you finish reading this post, you’ll know how long it takes to become a web developer, what education you need to become a web developer, and how much web developers make.
Let’s jump right in!
Here are a couple or helpful articles you may want to read, too:
- How to Start Learning Coding? 6 Tips for Beginners
- 8 Things to Know Before Learning Programming
- 10 Common Misconceptions About Coding You Should Ignore
Please note: This post contains affiliate links to products I use and recommend. If you choose to purchase using these links, I may receive a small commission for referring you. But please, only buy products you believe will help you achieve your goals faster. Thank you for your support!
How to become a Web Developer step-by-step
These are the top questions I’ll tackle in this post:
- What education do you need to be a Web Developer?
- How long does it take to become a Web Developer?
- How do I get a Web Developer job with no experience?
- Are Web Developers in demand?
- How much does a Web Developer make?
- What should I learn to become a Web Developer?
- How to learn web development?
If you have a question at any point, just drop me a line in the comments section!
1: What education do you need to be a web developer?
There are two main ways of learning the skills you need. To become a web developer from scratch, you can:
- Get a college degree: Usually, you’d get a bachelor’s degree related to Computer Science of Software Engineering. This obviously takes several years and requires a significant financial investments.
- Learn the skills yourself: Alternatively, learn web development by yourself! This takes a lot more self-discipline and determination than the first option. But, it can help you become a web developer faster than getting a degree, because you can learn at your own pace.
True story: I never studied any tech skills at school or college. It never even occurred to me, to be honest.
When I started learning programming, it was just a total coincidence, really. There was a problem with a spreadsheet at work that could only be solved with a few lines of code.
So, I started learning coding and web development using online courses and books.
In just 6 months, I quit my job and became a Freelance Web Developer. And in 11 months, I officially became a full-time web design entrepreneur and building websites has paid my bills ever since.
And you know what? I still haven’t solved that spreadsheet issue.
2: How long does it take to become a web developer?
There’s not a universal answer here, really. It depends on how much time you’re able to put into learning and practicing.
But since you’re reading this, I assume you really want to achieve you goals fast, right?
If you can spend about 2-3 hours every day learning, you’ll can see results surprisingly quickly.
I know, it may sound like a lot. But, keep in mind that you’re learning an entirely new profession here.
To make it feel less scary, just compare this effort to getting a college degree. Instead of studying for years (learning more about theory than practice!), you can learn the requirements to be a web developer in just months.
To get you started, here’s a very rough timeline you could follow:
- Web development and coding basics (14 days):
Learn what web development and programming are all about.
- Choose a specialization, make a learning plan (7 days):
Do research on web developer career options, i.e. front-end vs back-end web development. Find out what you need to learn to be a web developer in the field you choose. Define a goal and make a plan for reaching it.
- Start learning web development and practice a lot (2 months):
Find the best web development courses to learn the skills you need. Build your own web projects while you’re at it.
- Build your first website (1 month):
Start by creating your web developer portfolio website using these recommended resources. It’s great practice and at the same time an essential tool for getting your first entry-level job in the future. Ideally, already start working on it while learning.
- Research job openings and build a portfolio (2 months):
Before you start any projects for your portfolio, browse through web developer job openings. Find interesting employers you’d like to work for. Then, find out what they are looking for. Every job opening is a sign of what “problems” need to be solved in a company. To get a job, all you need to do is show how you can solve those problems. That’s how you can deliver value to any employer. Start building projects for your portfolio based on your findings.
All in all, this would be the very minimum for becoming a junior web developer from scratch. It’s just a small indication of how long it takes to become a web developer.
Remember to count in the time you need for writing applications, going to interviews, and actually landing your first junior web developer job!
3: How do I get a web developer job with no experience?
Without any experience, you can still acquire the necessary skills to become a junior web developer from scratch on your own.
Junior web developers are people just starting their careers in web development.
There are lots of entry-level job opportunities and the starting salary is quite lucrative, too. According to Glassdoor, a Junior Web Developer makes an average of $72,424 a year.
So, how do you get a web developer job with no experience, then?
Here’s a list of to-dos to reach your goals:
- Learn the skills required
- Create a stellar portfolio website (and show employers how you can solve their problems!)
- Build freelance projects
- Connect with people in your target industry
- Follow industry news and trends (what skills are in demand?)
- Attend meet-ups and workshops
- Update your resume / CV
- Research job openings (what are companies looking for?)
- Start applying for junior developer jobs
- Nail your interview (practice problem-solving beforehand!)
- Never stop learning more!
Needless to say, getting a junior web developer job without any experience is not going to be easy. You need a lot of self-discipline and determination. And it’s not going to happen overnight.
Now don’t get me wrong – I want you to dream big and have aspirations! That’s what’s going to keep you motivated, after all.
But make sure you set yourself realistic expectations. If you have too ambitious goals, you can easily end up disappointed. And that’s what you want to avoid at all costs!
Just keep in mind that you will become a web developer some day. It may not be tomorrow, but it’ll happen soon.
Learning web development skills from scratch is so rewarding and empowering – especially when you get up one morning for your first day at your new job as a web developer!
4: Are web developers in demand?
The seemingly endless growth of the tech industry will only mean more jobs for skilled web developers in the future.
In fact, the growth rate of the number of web developer jobs from 2016 to 2026 is estimated at 15% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That’s much faster than the average of 7% for all industries together.
5: How much does a Web Developer make?
So, you want to learn web development to achieve a higher income?
Nothing wrong with that, kudos to you!
What is the average annual salary of a web developer, then?
Well, here’s a little fun fact to motivate you: according to Glassdoor, the average salary for a Junior/Entry-Level Web Developer is $72,424 per year in the US.
Of course, there’s some variation depending on your location and specialization.
For more details, check out my post about web developer salaries and how much web developers make depending on their role, experience level, and location.
Also, how much you can make as a web developer depends on whether you get a 9-5 job, become a full-time freelancer, or start your own business. For a more thorough article on this, check out my post on how to make money with coding as a developer.
6: What should I learn to become a web developer?
Web developer jobs are usually divided into two broad categories. So, you’ll need to choose what you wish to specialize in:
Front-end web development
Front-End Web Developers work with the visual parts of web projects.
They’re responsible for the look and feel of a website to its users. So, whatever you see on your browser is a result of front-end web development.
If you wish to specialize in Front-End Development, you need to learn the following:
- HTML (Find an HTML course)
- CSS (Start learning CSS)
Back-end web development
Back-End Web Developers are responsible for the “invisible” parts of a website to its users.
They write code that links the visible user interface of a website with a database, for example.
Thus, they build all the actual technical functionalities of a web project that require data processing. For instance, back-end developers take care of features like user profile creation or an on-site search engine.
To become a back-end web developer, you have to master these skills:
- Database management: SQL
- Server-side programming language of your choice: PHP, Python, Ruby, or Java, for example.
Again, these are the absolute minimum requirements for becoming a web developer from scratch. It takes a lot of practice and building projects by yourself to actually get your first web developer job.
For more details, check out my previous post about the differences between Front-end web development vs back-end development.
7: How to learn web development?
As I mentioned above, the skills you need to learn depend on what area of web development you wish to specialize in.
First of all, start with learning Coding 101 to understand the basics of web development:
- What Is Coding? What Is Web Development?
- Introduction to Programming Languages
- Back-End vs Front-End Development
- How Does the Internet Work?
- Workflow Tools for Learning Web Development
Secondly, you need to define yourself a clear goal of what you wish to do in the future. To help you out, I’ve written a post on how to start learning web development. Take a look, it’ll help you make a plan for your learning.
Thirdly, it’s time to choose your first programming language. That’s going to be your main tool for your work, so make sure you choose one that you really love!
For more helpful tips, checkout my article about the best languages to learn for web development!
Finally, you’re ready to start learning the required skills for becoming a professional web developer. I’ve gathered the best courses and resources for beginners to get you going:
Also, here are a couple of useful articles you may want to read, too:
So there’s quite a lot to learn, I know.
And if you’re anything like me, you’re probably feeling confused and overwhelmed by the amount of resources out there.
So, to help you out and to save you time, all of the resources above are ones I’ve hand-picked and tested out for you. Those very courses helped me switch careers and start my own web design business in just 11 months – so obviously I know they work.
Summing it up: How to become a Web Developer in 2020
I hope you found some answers to your questions about how to become a web developer above.
If there’s one more advice I would give to you, it’s this: the best time to start learning web development is NOW.
To get you going, here are a couple of related articles you may find interesting, too:
So, to sum it all up, here’s what you should do next:
- Figure out what you wish to achieve with web development
- Make yourself a solid plan for learning the skills you need
- Work towards your goal step by step
- Build awesome projects of your own as you go (Practicing is everything!)
- Research job openings to find out what companies are looking for
- Create a stellar web developer portfolio where you solve those problems for employers you want to work for
- Nail your interview with thorough preparation and by practicing your problem-solving skills
- Land your first web developer job!
Now, don’t think about it, just start doing it!
If you enjoyed reading this post on how to become a web developer, just drop me a line in the comments below!
Happy coding, everyone!
P.S. I’d really appreciate if you shared this post with others, so they can find it, too. Thanks so much! You’re awesome!