Taking an online course in web design can give you the tools and confidence to change the world because, let’s face it, our world is dominated by the web!
There are many aspects of web design sure to entice anyone looking for a creative outlet that allows them to build something that is used by thousands, if not millions, of people around the world. Choose one of the best online courses in web design that allows you to control your own destiny both financially and professionally. The internet is a daily part of almost everyone’s life, and the people who build these interfaces have a great responsibility.
- Basics of Web Design and Coding
- Professional Certificate in Computer Science
- Front End Web Development
- Responsive Web Design
Disclaimer: Some courses may include an affiliate link. Courses were chosen first based on the methodology with affiliate links only added after the ranking was complete.
Job Security for Web Designers
If we want to talk about a field with job security, the web design field has to be at the top of the list. Can we even imagine a world in which the web is no longer available? Probably not, because people are plugged in from the moment they wake in the morning until they fall asleep at night. This is good news for anyone looking to go into web design as you can be sure your services will be needed in the future.
The Job of a Web Designer
We just talked about how in-demand web designers are, and with the increased demand comes increased earning potential. Web developers can expect to bring home an annual salary of around $70,000 per year. If you decide to further your education and knowledge base and become a web administrator, your salary will likely be increased, on average, another $20,000 per year. The great news is that web design can be the end of the road if that is what you want, or it can be a stepping stone into the tech world for higher salaries and more specialized focus. It’s ultimately up to you!
Getting an education or going back for more education can be a costly endeavor, sometimes with hit or miss results. That is why we at Online Course Report take our jobs seriously and provide you with a ranking of the best online web design courses based on weighted factors. With the amount of time and money you will be investing in these courses, we want to be as transparent as possible about the criteria in which we ranked our courses. Some of the criteria and questions we asked ourselves when formulating our ranking include:
- Price: Is the course reasonably priced for the amount of content taught?
- Content: Is the content of the highest quality and conveyed in an easy to understand way?
- Proven Track Record: Does the course have a proven track record of producing competent students?
- Learner Satisfaction: Are the students that take this course satisfied with the type of education they received?
- Jobs After Completion: Are students able to land a web design job after completing the course?
What Are the Best Online Web Design Courses?
Most of us have heard about the learning platform called Coursera, which provides educational courses at a fraction of the usual price. The University of Michigan has teamed up with Coursera to offer a web development course for even the most coding-naive learner. The course starts with the basics and progressively builds on previously taught information.
Upon completion of the capstone project, students will receive a certificate of completion that can be shown to prospective employers and posted on your LinkedIn page.
Pluralsight promotes learning a little differently than many other programs. The coding school has a monthly subscription program that costs just over $30 per month and is great for those just interested in having access to the knowledge without participating in an interactive course. The interactive courses with tests and other assessments, on the other hand, will cost a reasonable $450 per year.
The skills you’ll learn through this web development course are periodically checked with short assessments that ensure you are retaining the knowledge learned. The coding school gives you the freedom to choose how quickly you progress through the program since the program is paid for, either through monthly installments or annually. With the subscription, you will have access to the school’s thousands of web and coding classes; that’s a pretty good deal for those who are just looking for knowledge without actual certification. If you want certification, you will have to pay the $450 annual price.
The Webmaking 101 class by P2PU softly launches you into the web design world by teaching you the framework of any website: HTML. The course teaches you HTML by guiding you through the process of making your first real website. There are also seven challenges to this course, which include:
- Introduce Yourself
- Writing HTML by Hand
- Choose Your Weapon
- HTML Hunting in the World Around You
- Your Domain
- Your Hosting
- You’re Live
With just under 5,000 participants, the course is a popular way to learn the basics of web design. Throughout the course, you can earn 18 badges that will encourage you to keep progressing through the course and not give up if the going gets tough. P2PU also provides courses in many other subjects that you may want to consider after working through the Webmaking 101 course.
If you read the title of this program and are now asking yourself if this program is taught by THE Harvard University, we are here to tell you it is. You can be sure that you will be getting a top-notch web development education taught by real Harvard professors. The program consists of technically two courses, which are designed to be completed in six months, and you can expect to spend anywhere from 8-14 hours per week on these studies.
#5. Professional Certificate in Computer Science Essentials for Software Development by the University of Pennsylvania
This is another Ivy League education at an incredibly affordable price of just over $500. The University of Pennsylvania has produced some of the best web developers, and now the same education is at your fingertips with this set of courses. There are a total of four skill-building courses included with this certificate program that is designed to take only four months to complete. The four courses include:
- Software Development Fundamentals
- Data Structures and Software Design
- Algorithm Design and Analysis
With this program, you will not only learn the essential web design languages but will also obtain software development knowledge. Therefore, you’re getting two marketable skills for an extremely low price from an educational institution known for producing the best.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international organization that is dedicated to the development of web standards. If you think that an organization driven to develop web standards would have a pretty good idea of what best web development practices are and how to teach them, then you’re right. The Professional Certificate in Front-End Web Developer from W3C teaches the foundational skills in making websites look beautiful.
The certificate program is not designed to teach back-end web development that focuses on the structure of websites. This certificate consists of five skill-building courses that will take you roughly seven months to complete. The five courses include:
- CSS Basics
- HTML5 and CSS Fundamentals
- HTML5 Coding Essentials and Best Practices
- HTML5 Apps and Games
The University of California Davis is a school known for its science and computer science programs. If you’re looking for a course that gives you the essential knowledge in an easy-to-understand format, this is definitely one you should give serious consideration. One of the primary goals of this course is to teach students to design an appealing, interactive website for their business or for others.
With millions of University of London alumni around the world, it won’t be hard to find a friendly face after completing this program. This is the third-oldest university in England and is known for its rigorous education and competent graduates. This specialization program is designed for those new to web design. The program teaches you everything you need to know about building, designing, and maintaining websites.
The program is designed with flexibility in mind and can be completed on your own schedule. If you dedicate at least five hours of study per week toward coursework, the program can be completed in around six months. Six courses makeup this specialization, which includes:
- Responsive Web Design
- Introduction to Meteor.js Development
- Responsive Website Tutorial and Examples
- Responsive Website Development and Design Capstone
Thinkful offers the complete package for someone who knows little to nothing about web design and wants to become a master of the subject. The students who have graduated from this program have gone on to work at IBM, Google, and other big-name tech companies. Thinkful is a boot camp for people who are serious about becoming web designers.
The boot camp is a little pricey compared to others on this list, costing over $8,500, but the program does offer a money-back guarantee for its students if they don’t get a job within six months of graduation. The program offers one-on-one mentorship and career service that helps you land that first job after graduation.
Cornell University’s computer science college was founded in 1999, and since that time it has been producing graduates skilled in computing. Much like HarvardX or MIT’s OpenCourseWare, eCornell is this Ivy League school’s online education platform. What’s more, real Cornell University professors teach you, so you know you’ll be getting an excellent education.
The Web Design and Development Certificate offered by Cornell University was created to teach its students the ins and outs of front-end web development. There are six courses included in this program that can be completed entirely online at the student’s convenience. The six courses of this program include:
- Framing Front-End Web Development
- Structuring Content and HTML
- Styling Web Content with CSS
- Composition and Responsive Design
- Improving User Experience with Interactivity
- Collecting Data with Forms
Good web design is about making sure the user is engaged with the page for the most amount of time. This is why analyzing and optimizing user experience is of great importance to companies with websites. The people at BrainStation know just how important the user experience is, which is why they have created a course designed to teach future web designers how to engage their audience optimally.
So, what are you really going to learn in this course? You will learn how to design website layouts that solve specific problems that may occur on your clients’ websites. You’ll also learn how to define and identify user experience problems that are affecting the performance of a website. At the successful completion of the program, you will receive a BrainStation certificate.
If you’re wanting to join an active community of learners trying to gain web design skills, then look no farther than the UX Design Techdegree by Treehouse. Treehouse has created a unique program that costs about $200 per month and allows you access to quality courses. The courses were created to be completed in around three months. During these three months, you will complete projects that will build your portfolio that you can show to potential employers to land your first job.
The UX Design Techdegree was created in partnership with Adobe to prepare students to enter an entry-level job as a UX Designer. Treehouse gives you a roadmap of how to complete this program and then allows you to complete it at your own pace, all while surrounding you with a supportive community that will encourage you along the way and celebrate your triumphs.
Bloc is a company that designs its programs for complete beginners and focuses on outcomes, namely its students landing jobs after graduation. This is why Bloc offers a money-back guarantee to its students if they are unable to find a job six months after graduation. Frankly, this is what we would expect for a program that costs $8,500.
The first step in the process of working with Bloc is talking with one of its staff members to identify your goals and then develop a program specifically designed for where you want to go. The company has two primary courses of study: a web developer track and a designer track. Graduates of this program have landed jobs at large companies such as Facebook, Google, and Dropbox, among many others.
SkillShare is an online platform that hosts thousands of courses designed to teach students the most cutting edge information at an unbeatable price. SkillShare is similar to Udacity, Coursera, and others in offering individual courses at a flat rate price. The website seems to distinguish itself from its competition in that the classes tend to be tech-focused. In some of the web design courses, you will be taught web design by experienced professionals who can walk the talk and are excellent teachers, as some receive awards for their pedagogy.
Students are taught on this site through the use of videos and print material. With the Web Design Essentials course, students will design four websites that they can add to their portfolio. Interactive forums are available in each class, which allows you to work through challenging problems alongside your instructor and classmates and build valuable networks for the future.
If you haven’t heard about the site Alison, maybe you should take some time to check it out! Alison is a digital workforce training tool that provides free courses, certificates, and diplomas in topics ranging from IT to languages and lifestyle topics. Yep, you read that correctly: most of the courses offered through this website are free and, when completed, can be added to your LinkedIn profile.
When getting into web design, one of the most daunting tasks is completing your first website, which is what the Alison course titled How to Create Your First Website is all about. Five modules are included in this course, with an additional assessment to evaluate your skills after the completion of the modules. The five modules in this course are:
- Domain Names and Hosting Account Explained
- Creating Web Pages
- Links, Images, and Formatting
- Publishing a Web Page
Webflow is a company that hosts and launches websites, but it has also developed the Webflow University, which gives people all the information needed to design and build their website in small, easy-to-digest videos. The course is free to anyone who signed up through the website and gives you access to over 118 videos and more than five hours of video content.
This is an overview course meant for those unfamiliar with even some of the most basic tech terms and concepts. They are all explained here in videos that are two to five minutes in length. The site has a community forum that can be used to connect with others working their way through the course. After the completion of this course, Webflow University suggests other courses that may be beneficial to your continued learning and growth in web design.
Completely online and able to be completed in as little as ten weeks – what more could you want from a web design course? General Assembly has made it easy for beginners to learn everything they need to know in one course to start a new career as a web designer. Like the title of this course suggests, you will gain in-depth knowledge of the HTML and CSS languages. You will also learn about what makes a website visually appealing and how to create a web page that grabs people’s attention.
One of the aspects that distinguishes this course from others is that you are paired with a mentor from day one when enrolling. This mentor will guide you through struggles and give useful feedback on your projects, pushing you to be the best you can be. The class costs $1,250 and lasts around ten weeks.
The courses and diplomas from Shaw Academy are internationally recognized for their quality. Shaw Academy has partnered with companies such as Adobe, GoDaddy, and T-Mobile, to name only a few. Shaw Academy offers over 50 online courses with millions of satisfied students. They have been providing quality education for over seven years, so you can be sure that they know how to deliver engaging courses that keep students tuned in and learning.
- Introduction to Web Design
- Web Design Foundations
- Planning A Website
- Digital CV Part 1
The Web Design I course by Sessionscollege is offered by an accredited educational institution and gives you the option to take the course with or without college credits. The college-credit option will set you back another $700 but may be worth it if you’re already working toward an undergraduate degree.
This course aims to teach its students a systematic way to approach website design. You’ll learn programming languages such as HTML and CSS while completing four portfolio projects. The credit-earning option will take you about four months to complete, while the non-credit option gives you access to the information for three months. You can register for the college-credit option entirely online, and all the courses are taught by professionals with years of web design experience.
Gymnasium’s aim is to “[bridge] the gap between education and opportunity with free online courses.” When it comes to offering a course that teaches the fundamentals of front-end web design, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better course than Modern Web Design. Gymnasium is also affiliated with Aquent, which is one of the largest employment agencies in the nation.
The Modern Web Design course is composed of six lessons taught by an experienced web developer, Aaron Gustafson, who has more than two decades of experience. The only prerequisite for taking this course is familiarity with the web and experience with a text editor. The six lessons in this course include:
- Getting Your Bearings
- An Introduction to HTML
- Structuring HTML Content
- Getting Started with CSS
- CSS as a Design Tool
Upskill has more than 70,000 students that take advantage of its free coursework (though not all courses offered are free). With the Essential Web Developer course, you will learn in-depth, full-stack web development. The program starts by guiding you through how to build your own web blog, which will give you the foundational concepts necessary for building and designing a website. In the process of building your blogging site, you will learn popular programming languages such as HTML5 and CSS3.
The capstone project in this course involves building a mock start-up business website. The instructor of this course has developed applications for companies such as Coca-Cola and Toyota, among others, which is pretty impressive. If you want access to the site’s other courses, you can gain it by paying $19 per month.
Don’t Fear the Internet has created a web design course specifically for the layman and the non-tech savvy. The site aims to help those already in the design or art field to create a stunning website that showcases the work that they perform daily. The creators of this site are two experienced web designers who want to make a difference in the world by opening up web design for everyone.
There are eight lessons in total that will walk you through the ins and outs of web design. The site also provides a list of resources with which learners can gain more in-depth knowledge of web design if they take the initiative. It has a few wallpapers for your computer screen, too, available for download, which may keep you inspired to continue learning when the going gets tough.
It’s hard to find a better set of experts than the one that runs the Channel 9 site to teach you web design, as the creators are a group of developers who work for Microsoft. You can bet that they know what they are doing when it comes to developing an awe-inspiring website. The HTML5 & CSS3 Fundamentals course consists of 21 episodes that will guide you through the essentials of web design while avoiding the common pitfalls.
The courses by Channel 9 are entirely free to their users, and there are forums for conversation on this site for those having difficulty with a particular subject. This learning platform has been raved about by many other tech-review sites, which shows – Channel 9 offers clear and simple explanations to seemingly complex topics.
If you want to learn the basics of HTML and CSS based web design, consider this thorough online course taught by James Williamson. When you complete the 11 courses you will not just know and understand the basics of web design, but be able to creatively put them into practice.
To take advantage of all the information on the site, LinkedIn offers a monthly subscription plan costing about $30, or you can pay annually, with each month costing $19.99. LinkedIn does offer a free month trial on the site, so you can feel more at ease taking the financial plunge. Try Linkedin Learning for free.
Envato is a site that was originally created as a marketplace for both creators and buyers of multimedia. Envatotuts+ is Envato’s online learning platform and is offered as a bonus feature when you purchase a subscription to Envato Elements, which will only set you back $16.50 per month. When you learn about all that’s included in the two sites, you will find that this is an incredible deal. The great part about having access to Envato Elements is that you can utilize some media from this site to use in your web development endeavors.
The 30 Days to Learn HTML & CSS course is designed to give you the back-end design of web pages by teaching you to code in these two essential languages. The course was created to be completed in one month’s time and includes a final project in which you launch a website.
Udemy is another educational platform that has made waves recently because of its ability to offer premium content and individually priced courses at an affordable price. This specific course has over 61,000 students enrolled and costs you only $18.99 for all the content. Once you purchase this course, it’s yours forever; this is not a subscription that will expire at a specific date. The instructor also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the content, which is pretty impressive for a course that’s under $20.
This course is truly the ultimate in web design, as the instructor holds your hand while he walks you through each topic and shows you how to apply the concept in the real world. At the completion of this course, the instructor issues a certificate of completion that proves you have been trained in web design.
Free Code Camp is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching people to code for free. Graduates of this program have landed jobs at Apple, Google, Amazon, and more, which is extremely impressive for a free program! This is a unique program in that the content is entirely free, and the certification in full-stack development is rigorous.
There are six certification courses that Free Code Camp requires its learners to take before receiving their full-stack development certification. Projects are part of each of the individual certifications and must be completed before moving on to the next certification. The six certifications include those in:
- Responsive Web Design
- Algorithms and Data Structures
- Front End Libraries
- Data Visualization
- APIs and Microservices
- Information Security and Quality Assurance
The prestigious Stanford University is located in the heart of Silicon Valley, a location known for the making of tech and web moguls. It goes without saying that Stanford produces some of the brightest web developers the US has to offer, but behind every great thinker is a set of great teachers. The Web Applications course by Stanford allows you to get the same information taught by award-winning professors on campus.
All the lecture information and projects required of on-campus Stanford students are available on the school’s website for viewing. The class is ten weeks in duration and will provide you the foundational knowledge of web design completely free of charge. Powerpoint slides are posted on the day of the in-person class, so it may be helpful to download the class calendar provided on Stanford’s site.
The University of California Irvine has created a web design program specifically for those people looking for a transition from their career to web design. The course is the real deal when it comes to the information on web design that is taught in major universities. The program consists of six classes in total that can be completed in three to 12 months.
The six classes that lead to this certificate consist of four core classes and two classes of electives. The six classes will give you around 120 hours of instruction, and you must maintain at least a C in all classes to be eligible for the certificate. The four core classes include:
- Intro to UX for Web Design
- Visual Prototyping
- Web Design Portfolio Project
Will I be able to get a web design job after taking a course?
This is the question that everyone wants to be answered, and many students invest large amounts of money banking on the answer being “yes.” The short answer is maybe. Sometimes the first web design job is hard to get because you don’t have a lot of experience in the field, but this is where building a portfolio of your work during your course of study comes in handy.
Often you can expect to work a few jobs with minimal pay before landing steady work with a company. These first few jobs allow you to learn the skills needed for particular projects while also gaining experience working for companies. You can choose a program that provides a guarantee of obtaining a job following course completion, but you can expect to pay significantly more for such a program.
Those who start their own business may land their first job more quickly as the amount of work they get depends mainly on their networking abilities. The downside to this approach is that often the work is unsteady for the first couple of years until the business has gained enough traction. The advantage of launching your own business is that once the business has built a steady clientele, it’s much easier to get more business.
Is my learning done once I complete an online course in web design?
This is an excellent question worth thinking about before enrolling in an online course in web design and pursuing a new career. The answer to this question is a resounding no. This is because web development, like technology fields in general, is a fast-moving and developing industry that requires constant learning. New technology and programming languages are continually being released, which means that to stay up to date, you should be investigating each new development.
The purpose of most of the web development courses reviewed in this list is to give the user a jumping-off point into the complex subject of web development. Once you have completed a web design course and have obtained a foundational understanding of the subject, you will have the knowledge base to explore other subjects and specializations within web design.
Do I need a college degree to become a web designer?
If you think you need a college degree to become a web designer, you’re not alone, as this is a common misconception. Web design is a job that needs specific training, but how this training is obtained is entirely up to the learner. A college degree in web design may open up doors to the degree holder earlier than those who decide to learn web design on their own, but there are many examples of web designers who have not received a formal degree in the subject.
Taking online courses is one way to obtain foundational knowledge to work as a web designer. If you choose the route of taking individual courses, you need to be self-motivated, as many of the online courses are designed to be completed at your own pace. While this may be perfect for some individuals, others need the motivation of classroom teachers to propel them toward their goals. There is no shame in needing an on-campus class; it’s just another way of learning.
Where do I find my first web design job?
After completing your web design course, you may be wondering how to get your first web design job. The good news is that there are many ways to land that first job experience. There are many freelance job sites on which employers are looking for web designers to create and launch their site. A quick Google search of web design freelance jobs will point you in the right direction.
Those motivated to start their own business may want to consider local networking events, as the businessmen and businesswomen who attend are frequently looking to overhaul their own websites. Going around to local companies may be another good way to get a web design job, because some businesses haven’t revamped their websites in years.
If you’re interested in pursuing other kinds of online education, then you should check out Online Courses and Degrees for Counseling and Psychology and Online Courses and Degrees for Computing and Technology!
List of Courses:
- Basics of Web Development and Coding Specialization by University of Michigan
- Code School by Pluralsight
- Webmaking 101 by P2PU
- Professional Certificate in Computer Science for Web Programming by Harvard University
- Professional Certificate in Computer Science Essentials for Software Development by University of Pennsylvania
- Professional Certificate in Front-End Web Developer by W3C
- Introduction to Web Development by the University of California Davis
- Responsive Website Development and Design Specialization by the University of London
- UX / UI Design Flex by Thinkful
- Web Design and Development Certificate from Cornell University
- User Experience Design Online Certificate Course by BrainStation
- UX Design Techdegree by Treehouse
- Web Developer Course by Bloc
- Web Design Essentials by SkillShare
- How to Create Your First Website by Alison
- Ultimate Web Design Course by Webflow University
- HTML, CSS & WEB DESIGN CIRCUIT by General Assembly
- Online Diploma in Web Design by Shaw Academy
- Web Design I by Sessionscollege
- MODERN WEB DESIGN by Gymnasium
- The Essential Web Developer Course by Upskill
- DON’T FEAR the INTERNET: BASIC HTML & CSS for NON-WEB DESIGNERS
- HTML5 & CSS3 Fundamentals: Development for Absolute Beginners by Channel 9
- Web Design by Lynda.com
- 30 Days to Learn HTML & CSS on Envatotuts+
- Ultimate Web Designer & Developer Course: Build 23 Projects! on Udemy
- Free Code Camp Full Stack Development Certification
- Web Applications Course by Stanford University
- Web Design by The University of California Irvine