Online Web Development Courses A flexible path to becoming a web developer

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Tom
Dr. Tom Tierney Professor of the Practice and Director of the MS in…Read full bio

Web development encompasses several facets of the web page creation process. From front-end creation that deals with layout to back-end computer programming that will control how the page will function, web development covers many topics and skills. Generally speaking, a degree isn’t an absolute must for becoming a web developer; this is because working experience and up-to-date knowledge are paramount. Online web development courses can help aspiring web developers grow their knowledge and get them ready to handle more complex projects. Experienced web developers, current students and coding novices can find the courses they need to dive deeper into web development study.

Search Online Web Development Courses

While it’s clear that someone taking an online web development class wants to learn more about the field, a person’s specific motivations can be more nuanced. Some simply want the knowledge they can attain through the courses, and that’s the end goal. For others, academic credit is the goal, whether it is applied toward a certificate, community college or four-year institution. Some students are seeking a certificate of completion, which might be enough to score a promotion or higher pay. The chart below goes into detail on each of these options.

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Types of Online Web Development Classes

Although some schools offer online pre-nursing courses to the general public, such as classes in anatomy and physiology, in most cases, nursing classes are only available to those working toward a degree or those currently employed in the field. The table below breaks down types of online nursing courses and the people who generally enroll in them.

Certificate For-credit Informational
What is this type of course?
Classes that offer a certificate of completion are designed to provide not just knowledge, but evidence of what the student has learned. Advanced stand-alone courses that students may need for professional development will often have a certificate of completion option. For-credit courses provide academic credit that can be applied toward a degree requirement. An online course that provides course credit will usually be more rigorous, with higher academic standards that meet the requirements of colleges and universities. Informational classes are designed to provide knowledge and information about the subject. These classes are more likely to be free, with less academic rigor than classes that offer academic credit or a certificate of completion. Despite being informational, topics covered can range from rudimentary, such as basic HTML, to more advanced topics, like Python.
Who takes this type of course?
Students in certificate courses are typically professionals who want to increase their credentials. For example, a person with general coding experience may want to take on web coding responsibilities, but needs to show potential employers or clients proof of training in relevant areas. Students taking for-credit online classes are generally actively seeking a degree. Some students may choose to take for-credit online courses before enrolling in a traditional or online web development program to get a head start. The typical student who enrolls in an informational course is likely someone who wants to learn for the sake of learning. For example, the student might be interested in web development because they want to create their own website or improve their knowledge of the field.

On the Rise: Today’s Best Online Web Development Courses

There are literally thousands of online web development courses available, but they are not all created equal. The following list of 10 online web development courses provides a brief overview of some of the higher quality courses out there.

Intro to HTML and CSS
  • Offered by: Udacity
  • Price: Free
  • Length: Three weeks
  • Format: Instructor videos and exercises
  • Eligible for college credit?: Depends on the school

A basic level of instruction to create a foundation in web development, ideal for those just entering the field. However, the learning approach is focused on desired end results and not just learning coding syntax. The primary learning objective is to know how to code in HTML and CSS based on a given end-goal.

Intro to Relational Databases
  • Offered by: Udacity
  • Price: Free
  • Length: Four weeks
  • Format: Instructor videos and exercises
  • Eligible for college credit?: Depends on the school

An introductory course designed for individuals with coding experience, but who have no background in relational databases. Students will learn about Structured Query Language and how to program in Python. The objective of this course is to prepare students to be able to write code that will be used to effectively store information in a database.

Browser Rendering Optimization
  • Offered by: Udacity
  • Price: Free
  • Length: Four weeks
  • Format: Instructor videos and exercises
  • Eligible for college credit?: Depends on the school

This course focuses on tools and techniques web developers can use to create apps that run smoothly, without “jank”. Intended for advanced web developers with prior experience with CSS and JavaScript, the goal of this course is to help web developers design apps that have 60 frames per second performance.

Ruby on Rails: An Introduction
  • Offered by: Coursera
  • Price: $79.00
  • Length: Three weeks
  • Format: Video lectures, reading assignments and quizzes
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

An intermediate course for those with experience in coding and basic web development concepts and programming languages. Students will learn how to build a web application that is deployed through the cloud, as well as how to build web applications very quickly.

Introduction to HTML5
  • Offered by: Coursera
  • Price: $49.00
  • Length: Three weeks
  • Format: Video lectures and quizzes with an online textbook
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

An intermediate course focused on the Ionic software development tool for creating hybrid mobile apps. This course is intended for those with prior web development experience; familiarity with Javascript, HTML and CSS is essential. Upon completion, students will be able to create apps compatible with iOS and Android operating systems.

Ionic: From Web to Mobile
  • Offered by: Udemy
  • Price: $21.00
  • Length: 128 lectures, 9.5 hours
  • Format: Video and article lectures
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

An intermediate course focused on the Ionic software development tool for creating hybrid mobile apps. This course is intended for those with prior web development experience; familiarity with Javascript, HTML and CSS is essential. Upon completion, students will be able to create apps compatible with iOS and Android operating systems.

Introduction to Windows Server
  • Offered by: edX
  • Price: Free, additional fee for verified certificate
  • Length: Six weeks
  • Format: Videos, quizzes and labs
  • Eligible for college credit?: Depends on the school

This is an intermediate class that teaches students the basics of installing and administering Windows Server. Students should have a basic understanding of networking, Windows operating systems and server hardware; this class provides more advanced understanding.

Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Power BI
  • Offered by: edX
  • Price: Free, $49.00 for verified certificate
  • Length: Six weeks
  • Format: Videos, quizzes and labs
  • Eligible for college credit?: Depends on the school

This course focuses on Power BI, a cloud-based data system. After completing this course, students will be able to manipulate data to create business intelligence, reports, dashboards and natural language queries.

Introduction to Programming in Java
  • Offered by: MIT OpenCourseWare
  • Price: Free
  • Length: Self-paced, but generally four weeks
  • Format: Lecture and labs; notes and assignments are in PDF form, with course supporting materials in .java format.
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

This course covers the basics of the Java programming language and object oriented programming. Prior programming experience isn’t required, but is recommended. Students will be taught to create useful software using the Java programming language.

Software Engineering for Web Applications
  • Offered by: MIT OpenCourseWare
  • Price: Free
  • Length: Self-paced, but generally four weeks
  • Format: Lecture notes in PDF format, along with online assignments and textbooks. Final exams are also provided.
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

An intermediate to advanced course intended for students with some programming and software engineering experience. Students will learn how to address security problems, handle unreliable traffic and ensure a consistent user experience.

Top 3 Reasons to Take an Online Class in Web Development

Taking an online course in web development offers plenty of advantages. One of the biggest is the flexibility that an online course offers. Here are a few other reasons that make online web development courses a good idea.

1 The web development field is not degree centric

Unlike many other professions, web development is relatively open when it comes to formal educational qualifications for working within the field. Many employers may require a formal degree, but others will put more emphasis on ability, real-world experience and certifications rather than educational attainment.

2 Learning about web development online utilizes widely available knowledge and technology

Many popular online degrees and educational programs have a hands-on element built into the curriculum or require facilities and equipment that’s not easily obtained. Web development, on the other hand, is accessible to anyone with a capable computer and broadband connection.

3 Web development is at the forefront of today’s technology

Much of today’s technology is dependent on web developers. Apps for smartphones, cloud computing, e-commerce and the entire Internet all depend on what web developers do. By taking an online class in web development, the student is learning something with very practical applications.

Essential Apps & Podcasts for Web Developers

Apps

Web developers rely primarily on computers for their work. But when they’re mobile, there are apps to help web developers continue their productivity while on the go. The following list of apps is likely to be of interest to web development students and professionals.

iMockups

$6.99
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iMockups

iMockups allows web professionals to design wireframes and mockups. This app makes it easier for web designers and developers to brainstorm user interface ideas electronically instead of having to draw everything out on paper.

Codecademy: Hour of Code

Free
See Description
Codecademy: Hour of Code

This app teaches beginners the basics of coding. Those interested in web development, but who do not have any prior coding experience, can start with this app.

Learn HTML

Free
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Learn HTML

This app teaches users how to program in HTML. In addition to tutorials, users will engage in exercises and quizzes to ensure they are learning and getting enough practice.

Pixate

Free
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Pixate

The Pixate app is a companion piece of software web developers can use on their smartphone or tablet in order to interact with and test prototype interactive apps. Put another way, Pixate allows users to test their apps in prototype form.

Dropbox

Free
See Description
Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud based storage service that allows files to be accessible on any device. Web developers that need to share files quickly will find this seamless storage service very useful; gone are the days of sending emails with attachments when it is time to share something.

Podcasts

Podcasts related to web development and technology offer in-depth discussion of topics that interest experienced coders and new learners in the field. In addition to technical discussions, some podcasts address the business, economic and psychological aspects of web development in today’s society. The following list of podcasts offers a sampling of what’s available.

The Web Ahead is a weekly podcast that examines where the future of web technology is headed and what it means. The podcast has many guests throughout the show who discuss various web development topics.

As the name indicates, The Big Web Show talks about all things Internet, with a particular focus on web design and development. New podcasts are uploaded roughly every month and can take on many formats, such as interviews and discussions.

Developer Tea produces new podcasts every few days that are about 10 minutes in length, just short enough to be listened to during a coffee or tea break. Each podcast will focus on topics relevant to web developers, including non-technical challenges.

BizCraft Carl Smith and Gene Crawford Recent Episode to Try: Episode 58: Local Markets, Raising Rates, Pricing and Getting Along

BizCraft takes a look at web developing from the business perspective. Commonly encountered business issues in web development are discussed, as well as the occasional pop culture and professional goal topics.

Shop Talk Show Dave Rupert and Chris Coyier Recent Episode to Try: Episode 220: Rapidfire 61

Shop Talk Show is a weekly podcast which discusses various issues and questions within the web development and design industry. The podcast is presented in various formats, with plenty of guests and interviews.

Responsive Web Design Podcast Karen McGrane and Ethan Marcotte Recent Episode to Try: Episode 86: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

The Responsive Web Design Podcast focuses on responsive web design and discusses key developments news. Responsive web design is a web development philosophy that aims to create websites that can be viewed optimally on various platforms, with minimal adjustments needed by the user.

From the Expert: Benefits of Online Web Development Courses

Who is best suited for web development courses, especially those taken online?
tom Dr. Tom Tierney

People who have basic understanding/knowledge of web technologies including HTML, CSS, perhaps a little bit of JavaScript and have the basic understanding of web servers, are best suited for web development courses. Our courses at University College, for example, are ideal for web development professionals who want to advance their career in that area or managers who need to further their understanding of IT. It is equally suited for people who have learnt HTML, CSS either through a formal educational institute or through Coursera, TreeHouse, etc.

What can students expect when they begin a web development course?
tom Dr. Tom Tierney

Students can expect to learn about web development in detail and how it is applied in real life (work life). Most web development courses will cover topics that are very relevant to any modern day web site that we see in our everyday life, starting from basic web pages with personal information, blogs to creating online forms for ecommerce and other online transactions, web interfaces to databases for organizations, etc.

Anything else you might like to add about online web development courses?
tom Dr. Tom Tierney

With the advent and availability of smartphones, and tablets with internet browsing capabilities, more people are becoming genuinely interested in knowing the underlying technology and processes of web development. Even people who have not had any previous exposure to computational technologies or web development, they are now being very interested in learning about web development, so that they are somehow able to contribute to the vast world of web development and to share their views, thoughts and visions and to reflect these ideas in some aspect of web development.