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How to Become a Web Developer

Do You Need a Degree to be a Web Developer?

Ready to start your career in Development? Find out more about BrainStation's Web Development Bootcamp

No, you do not need a degree to find work as a Web Developer, and in fact, there is no specific college or university degree for a career in web development. A bachelor’s degree in computer science has traditionally been the starting point for many aspiring Web Developers, with the most common minimum educational requirement, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, being an associate degree.

That said, there is increasing evidence that both employers and professionals alike are no longer seeing the return on investment in a four-year college degree. According to Stack Overflow, less than half of all Developers have a degree in computer science or a related field. In fact, almost 70 percent of all Developers are at least partly self-taught, with 13 percent of respondents saying they are exclusively self-taught.

Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?

Yes, coding bootcamps are an increasingly worthwhile investment for aspiring Web Developers. The coding bootcamp sector in the US increased to over 35 thousand students in 2019, which was a 4.5 percent increase from the year before (and nearly a 2000 percent increase from 2012). There are good reasons for this growth.

First, employers are increasingly valuing skills and experience over education, which has made it harder to justify prioritizing inexperienced Developers with a college degree. Coding bootcamps have thrived because they are short, immersive, and focused on outcomes and employment – their goal is to develop job-ready skills. By all accounts, they’re succeeding. In Course Report’s Outcomes Report, 83 percent of respondents say they've worked in a job requiring the technical skills they learned in the bootcamp. What’s more, over 90 percent of BrainStation graduates have found work within six months of graduation.

There is, of course, also an important financial component involved, and here too coding bootcamps come out on top. According to Course Report, the average tuition for a four-year computer science program is over $163,000, with bachelor’s degree holders earning an average of $59,124. Coding bootcamps, on the other hand, are 12-14 weeks long and $11-15,000 in tuition, with the average coding bootcamp graduate earning $70,698.

Certainly, there are plenty of great reasons to pursue a college education. But getting a degree to land a job in web development is not one.

It’s important to note that development is a highly technical field, and no matter what educational path you choose, a command of relevant programming languages is required. In fact, professionals in this field – more than many other fields – must be committed to ongoing learning to stay on top of changes and updates to languages, tools, and trends.

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