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Breaking into Web Development Without a Degree

February 23, 2023 · 5 min read

Web development is a rapidly growing field that offers a wide range of opportunities for individuals who have a passion for technology and design. A web developer is a professional who creates, maintains, and updates websites and web applications, and is responsible for ensuring that these digital products are functional, user-friendly, and visually appealing.



Did you know that the term "weblog" was first coined in 1997 by Jorn Barger? The word "weblog" was a combination of "web" and "log", and was used to describe a website that contained a continuous stream of posts or entries. This term was later shortened to "blog", and blogging became a popular way for individuals to share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences online. Today, blogs continue to be an important part of the web, and many web developers specialize in creating and customizing blog platforms for their clients.


Required Skills


The following are the key skills required for a web developer:

  • Programming languages: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and one or more back-end languages such as PHP, Ruby, Python, and Java.
  • Web technologies: Knowledge of web protocols and technologies such as HTTP, HTTPS, REST, and SOAP.
  • Frameworks and libraries: Familiarity with front-end frameworks such as Angular, React, and Vue, as well as back-end frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Django.
  • Database management: Knowledge of relational databases (e.g. MySQL, PostgreSQL) and non-relational databases (e.g. MongoDB, Cassandra).
  • Version control: Familiarity with version control systems such as Git, and ability to work in a collaborative development environment.
  • Design and User Experience (UX): Understanding of design principles, color theory, typography, and user-centered design.
  • Project management: Ability to manage multiple projects, prioritize tasks, and meet deadlines.
  • Communication: Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to explain complex technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders.
  • Adaptability: Ability to adapt to new technologies, programming languages, and development practices as the field evolves.
  • Problem-solving: Strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills, along with the ability to find creative solutions to complex technical problems.
  • Attention to detail: Careful attention to detail, with a focus on creating high-quality, well-documented code.
  • Teamwork: Collaboration skills, including the ability to work effectively in a team environment and communicate with team members and stakeholders.

A formal education is not always a requirement to become a web developer, and many successful developers have learned their skills through other means. 


Steps to Become a Web Developer Without a Degree


1. Learn the basics

Start by learning the fundamentals of web development, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. You can find many online resources for learning these technologies, such as Codecademy, FreeCodeCamp, and Udemy. These resources will help you gain a solid understanding of the basics and build a foundation for further learning.

2. Gain practical experience

Once you have a solid understanding of the basics, it's time to start building websites. Choose a project that you're passionate about and build it. This will give you hands-on experience and help you to put your knowledge into practice.

3. Build a portfolio

Create a portfolio of your work to demonstrate your skills and showcase your abilities to potential employers. Your portfolio should include examples of websites or web applications you have built, along with descriptions of the technologies you used and the challenges you faced. Consider using portfolio-building platforms, such as Wix, Squarespace, and Behance, to create a professional-looking portfolio.

4. Network with other developers

Join online forums, attend meetups, and connect with other web developers to build your network and learn from others in the field. Consider joining communities on sites such as Reddit, Stack Overflow, and GitHub to connect with other web developers and learn from their experiences.

5. Participate in open source projects

Contribute to open source projects on sites like GitHub to gain practical experience and showcase your skills to others. Contributing to open source projects will help you develop a deeper understanding of web development, collaborate with others, and demonstrate your skills to potential employers.

6. Keep up with the latest technologies

Web development is a rapidly evolving field, and it's important to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and best practices. Read blogs, attend conferences, and participate in online courses to continue your learning. Consider learning frameworks such as React, Vue, or Angular, as well as back-end technologies like Ruby on Rails or Node.js.

You can following sites such as CSS-Tricks, Smashing Magazine, and the MDN Web Docs to stay informed about the latest trends and advancements in the field.

7. Apply for web development jobs

Look for web development job opportunities, even if they don't require a formal degree. Be prepared to showcase your skills and demonstrate your commitment to web development through your portfolio and network. Look for web development job opportunities, even if they don't require a formal degree. Be prepared to showcase your skills and demonstrate your commitment to web development through your portfolio and network. Consider using job search sites, such as LinkedIn, to find web development job opportunities.

8. Consider certifications

Consider obtaining certifications, such as those offered by Oracle or Microsoft, to demonstrate your expertise and increase your chances of getting hired.

By following these steps, you can develop the skills and experience necessary to become a successful web developer without a formal education. However, keep in mind that many employers prefer to hire developers with a formal education and relevant work experience, so it may take some time to break into the field without a degree.


Is it possible to break into web development without a degree?

Yes, it is possible to break into web development without a degree. Many successful web developers are self-taught or have taken non-traditional paths into the field.

What are some resources for learning web development?

There are many resources available for learning web development, including online tutorials, courses, and bootcamps. Some popular websites for learning web development include Codecademy, Udemy, FreeCodeCamp, and Coursera.

What is a web development bootcamp?

A web development bootcamp is a short-term intensive training program that provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to become a web developer. Bootcamps typically focus on practical, hands-on learning and provide students with real-world experience working on projects and collaborating with other developers.

How can I gain experience as a web developer?

To gain experience as a web developer, you can build your own projects, contribute to open-source projects, and participate in coding challenges and hackathons. You can also seek out freelance or contract work to build your portfolio and gain practical experience.

What can I expect in a web development interview?

In a web development interview, you can expect to be asked technical questions about coding languages and frameworks, as well as questions about your experience and problem-solving abilities. You may also be asked to complete a coding challenge or present a portfolio of your work.

Are web development bootcamps worth it?

Whether or not a web development bootcamp is worth it depends on the individual and their goals. Bootcamps can provide a fast track into the industry and often offer job placement assistance, but they can also be expensive and require a significant time commitment.

by Yevheniia Osmakova

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