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What is Web Development?

Arkansas is a diverse and growing economy that is partly southern, partly midwestern, and all business. The industrial landscape in Arkansas is dominated by manufacturing and the state ranks #32 nationwide in this sector. In fact, over 12% of Arkansas residents work in manufacturing, two points above the national average. While the state manufactures a wide array of goods, Arkansas' top export is aerospace products, which generates nearly $2 billion in annual revenue for the state. Manufacturing is such a vital part of economic activity that this should bode well for Arkansas in years to come.

However, Arkansas is more than assembly lines and factories. Their #2 industry is professional and business services, which brings the state nearly $14 billion and is #33 nationwide. Real estate in Arkansas is also strong with over $13 billion in annual revenue and a solid national ranking of #35. The top five industries in Arkansas are rounded out with social services including education, healthcare, and social assistance and wholesale trade.

A web developer is a high-tech professional who specializes in the languages and technologies that drive internet technology. On a fundamental level, each web developer is versed in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but each developer is sure to add more skills to their toolkit depending on their industry focus. A developer who is working for retailers, for instance, would need to create back-end web apps that track inventories, process payments, and present goods in ways that appeal to consumers.

As for the day-to-day work of a web developer, they spend the lion's share of their time on computers. Many work for technology companies that may focus on online marketing and SEO, while others work in Arkansas' aerospace sector, where they may need to build strong cyber security systems so that customers can receive sensitive information without fear of hackers. These days, many web developers work from remote locations, but sometimes security or other concerns require that they work in the office.

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Online Web Development Education in Arkansas

One thing that every sector in the Arkansas economy has in common is a reliance on high technology. In particular, every company and industry these days relies on a strong website to not only communicate with consumers but also to facilitate communication within each firm. These days most large firms not only have a robust public web presence, but they also have intranets which are only available to employees.

These websites can be little more than online brochures, or they can be richly detailed, dynamic sources of information and conduits of commerce. The state's fifth largest industry, wholesale trade, can use web technology to process payments, arrange shipments, and alert customers to the arrival or departure of products.

Arkansas' legislature is aware of how vital web development is to both government and industry, so they seek to maintain the state's strength in this area. To achieve this, Arkansas funds its colleges and universities in areas such as information technology and computer science. Higher education also receives ample funds to educate students in art and design, which are a vital part of web development.

Online Associate Degree in Web Development (AS)

Arkansas students who are eager to get started as web developers may want to consider an associate web development degree program. These two-year degrees provide solid instruction on the fundamentals of web development technologies and concepts. Students are sure to graduate with a firm grasp of the core languages needed to succeed as well as a good idea of what makes for sound web design. You can choose a traditional classroom experience, with a scheduled class time, or you can attend a program offered online; admission requirements are usually the same for both.

An associate web development program can help students start working as entry-level workers for firms or to attract work for their freelance business. However, most web developers will need to continue to develop their skills. An associate degree provides a strong foundation on which students can build with non-academic certificates or other learning.

Arkansas community colleges further support students in that they require that all associate's degree students complete the general education courses. This will help students with supportive skills such as written communication, mathematics, and scientific reasoning, as well as giving them a solid grouping of academic credit hours that they can transfer to a bachelor’s degree if they choose.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Web Development (BS)

A bachelors web development program is probably the best choice for most students. In four years, students can explore deeper topics in web development and will have the opportunity to expand on their knowledge with courses related to their field and long-term career objectives. Employers also like to see a bachelor’s degree more than an associate degree, especially when students have expanded their knowledge and experience during their undergraduate years.

Students of web development bachelor's degree programs can consider enhancing their degrees with additional courses in subjects like computer science, database management, and cyber security. Courses in those subject areas will expand the potential scope of their career, as each directly impacts web development. Undergraduate web development degree programs enable students to earn a minor concentration or a double major in one of these related fields.

Undergraduate degree students can also seek out internship opportunities. Since web development careers often depend on one's resume, an internship can give you the chance to work on some exciting projects. While many web development students pick up side gigs for small businesses or individuals, when they work on a larger more complex project with a tech firm, they can expand their horizons immeasurably.

Online Master's Degree in Web Development (MS)

Web developers may not think it necessary to pursue a graduate degree program, but an advanced degree can only help. However, most web developers may want to specialize in areas that will further focus their work. For instance, a web developer may want to dive deeper into a topic such as cryptography, database management, cyber security, or computer science. Either of those fields will bring their career to the next level.

A web developer may also want a master’s degree that will expand their career into management roles. These ambitious developers may consider an MS in Management or an MBA with a concentration in information technology or a related tech field. For those who have three years to devote to school, a dual MBA may be the right choice. These programs allow students to earn a master’s in something like computer science while also completing an MBA, all in a mere three years.

Online PhD Degree in Web Development (PhD)

A PhD degree is the peak academic credential in any field. Though there may not be a specific web development doctorate degree program available, there are certainly related fields. Students who are working towards a PhD in information security, for instance, might focus on website development as part of their doctoral thesis research. The same can be said of PhD students in computer science. After all, websites and web technologies are an integral part of most any software package.

While a PhD may not be highly valued in the job market for website developers, it does have a career application in academia. In fact, a PhD graduate who integrated web development concepts into their doctoral thesis research may be highly sought by many university tech degree programs. A doctorate can qualify them for a tenure-track position in a prestigious Arkansas college or university.

Become a Web Developer in Alabama

Everyone these days spends most of their time in some relation to technology. Even when we exercise, smart watches or other devices measure our vital signs and physical performance. Youngsters are often unaware that there was ever a world before such ubiquitous technology. These days, they are also more commonly looking toward career opportunities in technology fields, such as web development.

Those who are fascinated with web development can start by first experimenting at home. There are loads of affordable, even free, online resources for website developers. While still in high school, students can start learning HTML and CSS and experiment with writing code and seeing the results. Some may go farther and begin working with JavaScript, PHP, or other coding languages. While many of these courses may be free, sometimes it's possible to pay a bit for a certificate to verify their accomplishment.

High schools themselves may also be of great help. There are many STEM focused high schools where tech-savvy learners can focus on the subjects that matter the most to them. Even if a STEM high school does not specifically offer web development as a course offering, students who learn coding and higher math will surely benefit in the long-term. Colleges, in particular, will be happy to see such focused and accomplished students.

Students in their third or fourth year of high school should start looking at the best web development degree program for them. They should seek out degree programs that offer courses and experiential learning opportunities that make the most sense to them. Some students may even prefer to start their academic careers in an Arkansas community college that features a web development degree program. They can then start their careers in a mere two years, gain valuable experience and specialized knowledge, and then return to complete their bachelor’s degree program, if they so choose.

Since website developers rely on their portfolios more than their academic credentials, students can think about augmenting their schoolwork with paid work. These days, it's possible to work on smaller web development projects while still in school. Some web development students even have steady clients who need them on a part-time, freelance basis. In this way, students can build their portfolios while also earning a bit of cash to spend on the weekend.

Careers for Web Development Graduates

  • Web Developer
    This career path requires a strong portfolio and resume. Most developers will need to know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, as well as other languages. Employers will typically require certificates to verify one's skill with the various languages they require. Most web development languages can be learned via affordable online courses, as well as through Arkansas colleges.
  • Web and Digital Designer
    The world of art and design has been overtaken by digital tools that enable visual feats never before known. Digital designers who have strong portfolios using graphic design tools such as Photoshop, InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator are in high demand by marketing and design firms. Even in the era of increasing artificial intelligence, nothing can replace a creative human brain.
  • Web Content Manager
    On the internet, content is king. The content manager is thus a very important person whose decisions can have a dramatic impact on a firm's visibility, or even their profit margin. Web content managers need to have a strong knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO), editing skills, and even video editing capabilities. Web content managers may start as web content creators and work their way up into management.
  • Front-end Developers
    These website experts focus on creating attractive, functional websites that users love to use. Front-end developers need to have strong skills in digital design tools, as well as coding languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They should also have familiarity with other languages and technologies that may be employed by the back-end developers. A portfolio of good-looking, contemporary websites will help a developer go far.
  • Game Developer
    Video games are a multi-billion-dollar industry, and those who have strong skills in the field can go very far. Game developers need to have skills in areas including design, art, game design, coding, narrative fiction, and networking. Most game developers these days will focus on specific genres of game where they can specialize.
  • Database Administrator
    Computers are nothing but dumb calculators until someone provides them with data. A database administrator's career is thus very important to the long-term success of most firms. To excel in this position, tech-savvy workers may need to know SQL and multiple variants thereof, principles of cyber security, and perhaps encryption.
  • IT Project Manager
    Every information technology team needs a manager to keep them focused and on track. An IT project manager may work in a consulting firm where they coordinate teams of IT professionals in their efforts to improve a client's technology infrastructure. Project managers may not need to know all the code and technology their teams work with, but strong familiarity with the core concepts is imperative.
  • Applications Developer
    Software development is a very hot field and tech workers who create the next hot app can do very well indeed. Applications developers may focus on specific platforms, such as MacOS or mobile devices, while also being able to convert their apps over to another platform.

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