Web Development and Web Design Degrees

Degrees in Web Development - Emerging Trends for 2014Although the terms “web development” and “web design” are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same, nor are their degree programs the same.

Web Development versus Graphic Design

In the corporate world, a graphic designer (also known as a web designer or graphic artist) is not assumed to be an Information Technologist. A designer may have enough graphics software skill to create mockups or present a “look” to a website. But Web developers are software engineers, and must be fluent in programming languages, specifically for the internet. Many brick and mortar schools offer web development classes, but because the industry continues to evolve so quickly, it’s very difficult for a traditional school to keep up with all of the curriculum changes and technology advances from year to year. Some school advisors not only recommend, but encourage students to take online technical training in this field – a field which, by the way, is expected to grow in job demand over 22% over the next 10 years.

Hammer and Nails

Web developers create the actual web pages of websites for companies and businesses. If a web developer works for a very small company, he or she may be asked – or even required to – create content, in addition to acting as website administrator, and even web marketer. But normally, developers are needed so constantly for their technical speed and fluency that they’re too busy to be writing content or coming up with fancy designs. To the extent that they are creative, their creativity is more likely directed at the user experience on the site, the site flow, and the speed and efficiency of the site – not the so called “look and feel.”

Web Development College Courses

Courses towards a web developer degree often include and cover the following:

  • Working knowledge of website development languages, such as HTML5, XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ajax, PHP, and scripting languages.
  • Building dynamic, database-driven web applications, such as use of a LAMP framework (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) and JavaScript (+ Ajax) among others to develop online programs.
  • Designing, coding, publishing, marketing, and monetization of mobile apps and games using cross-platform tools.
  • Core concepts of information management, such as data models, database management systems, unstructured and semi-structured data management, or parallel and distributed databases.

Web Developers often jump right into a new job after earning an Associate degree, with a $30 per hour starting wage. (In some cases, “junior” developers may be able to skip the Associate degree and start work after taking just a few online technical courses, or earning a 10-month certification rather than a typical academic degree.) If a company is in serious need of a web developer (and many are!), companies will often pay to have their employee technically certified, while allowing them to work for the company simultaneously.

Job Demand Is High for Web Developers

In other words, these individuals enjoy an education paid for by their employer, while at the same time continuing to work and get paid as usual at their “day job.” As in so many other web professions, the level of education reached is not as important as the quality of work – so in this field the application of skill is what will help increase your earning potential. It’s 100% hands-on, so having an education, but no true skills is not going to get you very far. Conversely, if you have the skills and talent, then getting the additional education is now easier and more convenient than ever.