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What is Web Development?
Alaska is perhaps the United States’ last great wilderness. People still seek out Alaska for truly untamed adventures. Some also look to our northernmost state for economic opportunities. While Alaska may be one of the most sparsely populated states, it's also a powerhouse in the oil/gas sector and ranking high for other geological resources.
The Alaskan economy relies heavily on sectors such as transportation and shipping, tourism, real estate, and more. In fact, Alaska's fifth largest industry is business services which includes workers from across the IT spectrum, including web designers and web developers. Given Alaska's remote location relative to the rest of the United States, it needs to maintain a strong web presence to ensure that its businesses are able to transact with the rest of the nation and world. The web developers implement their skills to ensure that their employers' websites are fully optimized for the most current hardware and software.
A web developer is a vital part of any website creation or maintenance project. They are the tech whizzes who code the back end of a website to ensure that it functions properly. They may also be involved with writing code for things like cookies, search functions, hardware compatibility, and more. Web developers are more likely to use coding languages such as XML, Python, PHP, and SQL rather than HTML or CSS.
Not only do web developers ensure that their websites are optimized for all hardware and software packages, but that they also play nice with search engines. Search engine optimization is concerned with both the content on a website but also the structure of the site itself. Web developers understand what Google's algorithm rewards, and they adjust their code accordingly.
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Online Web Development Education in Alaska
Online Associate Degree in Web Development (AS)
A two-year associate web development degree from an Alaskan community college is a terrific way to launch a career. Students in a web development program will learn the fundamentals of computer coding while also learning more about what makes a successful website. An associate degree may be exactly what's needed to launch a career in web development, though most will want to seek additional certifications in specific languages or technologies, as well.
An associate web development degree also includes the core college curriculum required by all of Alaska's colleges and universities, also known as general education courses. For this, students take courses that cover topics such as composition, social science, and mathematics which help build both soft and hard skills. Since these courses are far cheaper at a community college, students can do themselves a tremendous favor by starting their college careers at a community college. They can then build on their learning with certificate courses or enrollment in a four-year web development degree program.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Web Development (BS)
A full four-year bachelor's web development degree is perhaps the best way to launch a career. Employers tend to prefer a four-year degree and those extra years will help build a stronger base of knowledge and skill. Students can also augment their web development courses with related courses that will help enhance their knowledge and skill sets. For instance, a web developer who has taken statistics and other mathematics courses will have more to offer in terms of data science. Even courses in economics and psychology can be helpful when trying to target a website for specific audiences.
With a bachelor's web development degree, students may also find it easier to earn certificates in specific coding languages. Their coding courses will provide them with the fundamentals they need to master new programming languages. The degree itself can allow you to earn some professional certifications that require a bachelor's degree. And those who are interested in advanced degrees must, of course, have their bachelor's degree before they even think of applying to graduate school.
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Online Master's Degree in Web Development (MS)
A master’s degree is increasingly required for jobs in the tech sector. And a masters web development degree is highly valued by employers, especially when they're hiring for supervisory positions. Firms also like to see a master’s degree when they seek out consultants to build or rebuild their websites or internal intranets. The curriculum in a master’s web development degree program will go even deeper than any undergraduate program, giving you more insights into how the skills you’ve already learned can be leveraged in the industry.
Master’s level courses may also go deeper into subjects like cyber security and database integration. Both of these topics are vital to long-term success in the field and can give you access to employment opportunities in government agencies and E-commerce sites alike.
Some web developers may also be interested in advancing their careers with an MBA. When a web developer has an MBA with a concentration in web technologies or computer science, they are indeed a hot commodity in the job market. These students may decide to build their own new web business or consult with those who are considering this for their firms.
Online PhD Degree in Web Development (PhD)
A PhD is often not highly valued in the business community, but things work a bit differently in the world of high-tech business. While there may not be a specific PhD for web development, students can seek a doctorate degree in computer science or data science. There is also the possibility to study cryptography or other cyber security topics for one's doctorate work. Web developers might even be able to do doctoral research that focuses on how their core topic, such as cryptography, applies to web development.
Once they've completed a PhD, web developers can move on to exciting new chapters in their career, such as creating their own start-up or consulting firm. Naturally they could also join such organizations as employees. If they get in early enough, a PhD may be able to negotiate for an ownership share.
Become a Web Developer in Alaska
The internet is everywhere, even in Alaska. Virtually every bit of business we conduct is connected in some way to one or more websites. Though there are free and affordable web development services and kits that ordinary people can use for their businesses, there is still a huge demand for professionals who are trained in web development, even for building a website on one of those inexpensive sites so that there is less maintenance cost. Thus, many people are eager to learn how to become a web developer in Alaska.
The first step towards success in web development is to have a passion for technology. Not only for using websites, but for wanting to understand the code and technologies that go into producing a reliable, functional website. Many will first be drawn to the look and feel of websites. For this aspect of web development, often called web design, students can dive into learning HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).
These languages are relatively easy to learn and many pick them up by taking free or affordable online courses. Resources such as Udemy or Coursera often offer web design bootcamps where students can begin their journey to becoming full-fledged web developers. In fact, even high school students who are competent in these languages might be able to work on projects for small businesses or individuals who need a website for various reasons.
To take their skill to the next level, aspiring web developers often enroll in a community college web development degree or certificate program. A formal academic environment often helps people by offering structure and a focused plan of study. It also results in credentials that employers are eager to see in their employees.
Some may end, or pause, their academic careers after earning an associate web development degree program. Their skills may be sufficient to start work in an entry-level position, if not as a freelance developer. However, most will want to earn additional credentials in specific programming languages such as Java, Python, Ruby, or Perl, among many other options. When they see a two-year degree and appropriate certificates, many employers will be eager to sign an employment contract. Developers will only find that they are increasingly in-demand as they add a bachelor's degree and even a graduate web developer degree.
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Careers for Web Development Graduates
- Web Developer:
- Web and Digital Designer:
- Web Content Manager:
This job is very much an editorial position that may require a good working knowledge of how websites work. In particular, web content managers may need to have a working knowledge of HTML and CSS. They also need to be savvy regarding design so that their content displays well on smaller screens, especially mobile devices.
- Front-end Developers:
- Full-stack Developers:
- Database Administrator:
Most every contemporary business relies on a database. Thus, they all need someone to administer the data. A database administrator maintains the database and helps with administrative tasks related to it. They may oversee user permissions to access all or parts of the database or may review the database to ensure that it has not been compromised by hackers. Database administrators who have cyber security skills are in very high demand.
- Information Security Analyst:
Cyber security is a hot issue and an even hotter employment sector. InfoSec analysts keep a diligent watch over their firm's computer networks and databases to keep them current with the latest in security software and hardware. InfoSec experts may also conduct trainings with employees on how to keep their passwords secure and how to recognize when someone is trying to con them out of access to sensitive data. Analysts may also oversee new security software installations while continuing to keep an eye out for the latest upgrades, if not whole new packages.