“A few years ago they needed to know Flash,” said James Bessen in the Harvard Business Review about web developers. “Now they need to know HTML5 instead.”

According to Melinda Barlow of Recruiter.com, technology as an industry “suffers from a huge gap in basic education.”

It’s no secret that technology is advancing at warp speed, and every time it changes, it seems to require at least one skill set that isn’t taught in traditional schools and therefore isn’t readily available amongst job seekers.

And web developers are at the forefront of the changes.

But if you’re a go-getter and want do advance your career as a web developer, this education gap is hardly bad news—in fact, it’s incredibly easy to use it to your advantage.

It’s the perfect storm of opportunity to become quickly qualified to work on projects a lot of your peers can’t touch, boosting your value, opportunities, and salary.

All you’ve got to do is find an IT training course that focuses on one particular segment that’s lacking (like HTML5), take the course, add it to your resume, and start finding work.

4 Ways IT Web Development Training Puts You In Control of Your Career Destiny

1. Fill a skills gap companies are desperate for

Each company wants different skills for their “perfect” web developer, but as a rule of thumb, you can bet you’ll be able to find companies desperate to hire web developers who are familiar with:

  • Web design
    • You don’t need enough know-how to be a full-fledged designer, but knowing how design elements work together on a page can give you valuable problem-solving know-how when you run into problems on your projects.
  • Native mobile platform development
    • Lots of IT startups are preferring to go mobile-first, meaning they don’t actually bother with web development in the traditional sense… they need you to develop for a mobile screen first, maybe a computer screen later.
  • UX (User Experience)
    • Similar to understanding web design, companies love having developers who understand that just because something works doesn’t mean it works for a quality user experience. Studying intuitive user behavior and knowing how to cater to that while you’re making a website come to life is something companies appreciate the value of.

2. Boost your worth

Once you’ve finished a particular IT training, you can start asking for more responsibilities related to your current job role that integrate what you’ve learned.

As soon as you see yourself providing a tangible, worthwhile value to the company via your new IT-based skill set, you can ask for a raise or start looking for new jobs that pay more.

3. Stay ahead of the technology curve

What schools teach in IT degree programs goes out of date. (Sometimes even before a student graduates from a four-year program.)

By getting regular IT trainings in web development skills as they hit the market, you stay ahead of the technology curve and become the irreplaceable, go-to colleague for handling the newest, coolest (and better-paying) projects.

4. Create ongoing job security

No matter how bad the economy gets, businesses are always going to want the best websites to out-compete their competitors.

If you take IT training courses to make sure your knowledge in cutting-edge web development never goes out of date, then your job security won’t either.

What to do Next: Grab Your Career by the Horns & Start Earning More

If you’re currently working as a web developer, look at your company’s job listings for more senior positions and take note of the skills and know-how they have listed that you don’t have yet.

If you’re not working (or want to switch companies), check out the job listings of companies you’d die to work for send a kind message to your would-be manager on LinkedIn.

Want to know what skills your favorite companies want but can’t find their job openings online? Here’s a simple message you can send on LinkedIn to find out:

Hi [Name],

I’m a web developer that feels like it’s time to start expanding my career.

I’m a huge fan of your company, but I’m not asking you for a job… I just want to put some feelers out there to know which new certifications I should start looking at to get things moving in the right direction.

If you don’t mind me asking, what are some up-and-coming skill sets in web development that you think will be important to your company in the next few years?

Thanks so much!

[Your Name]

Once you find out which certifications you need, find an IT training or web development certification program that encompasses those skills and gives you hands-on practice.

When the program is finished, show your new certification to your boss and HR manager and ask if you’d be able to start working on projects with those skill sets. Ideally, they’d be able to ease you into those responsibilities by letting you shadow someone for a while.

If you don’t have a job in web development right now, use your new certifications to your advantage to help you land freelance projects that other freelancers can’t handle to build up an awesome portfolio before you start sending applications in to your dream-come-true companies.