Build a Web Development Portfolio

As a web developer seeking a new job you will primarily be judged by the websites and code samples you have created or worked on. This is referred to as your portfolio.

You should host your portfolio online, preferably on a website you created on a domain you own.

Before you go out to find your first web development job you should have at least 3 good websites in your portfolio which showcase your focus.

If you plan to be a front-end web developer, you should have sites with good CSS and moderate JavaScript usage.

If you plan to be a back-end web developer you should showcase your site architecture, Back-end developers should also have code samples in your portfolio to showcase any good or complex code you wrote for your sites.

Your portfolio will look very strong if you can showcase real site s you created for real clients. To get those clients at first we suggest you Build Sites for Free.

Build Sites for Free

As you are learning how to be a web developer, you need to challenge yourself with real clients and real tasks.

But you are not skilled enough yet to charge for your services, and you do not want to be rushed by a client who wants what they paid for.

We suggest you build 3 websites for free during your learning phase and use those sites as the basis for your portfolio.

A great way to start is to reach out to local non-profit organizations like churches, youth organizations, or charities. See if they need a website, or if they would like to replace their old site.

If you cannot find a non-profit, there are surely businesses which need sites built and would love to get one for free.

No matter who you choose, make sure you let them know up front that you are still learning. They should know there are limits to what you can do, and how fast you can do it.

Do not get into the habit of working for free. You’re learning a very valuable skill.

Earn IT Certifications for Web Development

IT Certifications are granted to you by organizations once you get a passing score on their certification test.

Certifications prove to potential employers that you have trained as a web developer and that you can pass a well-rounded exam on web development.

Here are some certifications we have worked with which have good standing in the industry.

CIW Certifications

CIW (Certified Internet Web Professional) is an organization which grants a variety of certifications for web development and web design. You can schedule one of their exams at testing centers all across the world.

CIW offers a number of certifications which can boost your career. We suggest you study for and earn their Site Development Associate Certification before you begin your job search.

Some schools and training centers will charge you thousands of dollars for courses to pass certifications. Please do not use their services.

The Site Development Associate exam costs $150 to take and consists of 30 questions. You have to get 19 questions correct to pass the exam. You should not pay thousands of dollars to get 19 questions right.

To study for the exam you should use an online preparation course like the one offered here: Certify Guide Certification Preparation. That course is $39. You can also use Google to find practice tests for the exam for free.

So for $189 you can earn a respected certification which will be a great boost to your resume.

Microsoft Certification

Microsoft offers a certification which is also good for entry level web developers:
Microsoft Certified Professional: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3 Specialist

This certification is also $150 and must be taken at a testing center.

We suggest passing the CIW Site Development Associate Certification before attempting the Microsoft Certification. The CIW Certification is not as challenging, and having one certification is better than having zero.

Earn a Web Development Certificate Through a College Program Online

Many premier colleges offer online certificates in web development. A certificate is awarded is awarded after the completion of 3-6 college credit courses and often takes 2-3 semesters of online learning.

Certificates are more expensive and take longer than certifications, but they pay off on your resume.

We suggest you begin a certificate program soon after deciding to become a web developer, but do not wait to finish the program if you feel you are ready to start interviewing for jobs.

Colleges offering online certifications:

Earn a College Degree Related to Web Development

Many prestigious colleges offer Associate and Bachelor degrees in fields related to web development.

If you plan to make a career as a web developer we suggest you begin a degree program as soon as you feel comfortable.

A degree is not needed to begin or maintain your career. The degree is helpful when you start looking for higher paying roles with more responsibility.

The site is a great resource for finding online degree programs.

You may also find your local university or junior college offers online or hybrid programs which help you get your degree faster.

Be sure to select a college which is non-profit and regionally accredited. That is the only way you can ensure your diploma is valid and not from a degree mill.

A Non-Traditional Degree Path

At the surface Thomas Edison State University (TESC) looks like any other college, and it is an accredited State University in New Jersey. (Wikipedia entry for Thomas Edison State University)

What makes it special is that is accepts almost unlimited transfer hours, and it allows you to test out of many classes.

There are a variety of options to build credit towards your degree with Thomas Edison State University at your own pace. Some people have been able to start and finish in less than a year.

Our suggestion is to start with an Associates and then get your Bachelors. That way you’ll have something to show faster.

Start with this prgram : The Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Multidisciplinary Technology.

Then complete this program after your Associate degree: The Bachelor Science in Applied Science and Technology in Technical Studies.

We suggest you pursue the more generic degree majors like Multidisciplinary Technology & Technical Studies. Those classes allow for more classes which can be tested out of, or done at your own pace online.

Complete the classes you want to test out of before you apply. Go down the requirements for the degree and match that will classes you can do on your own.

Once you do all those tests or online classes on your own time, then apply and send your work in for credit. That saves you from spending money on school fees before you need to.