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What is Web Development?

California is one of our most diverse and innovative states. While many of us first think of California as a big beach full of surfers and colorful characters roller skating on the boardwalk, it's much more. It's home to some of the most majestic mountains, vast deserts, and bustling urban centers. It's the home of Hollywood and the main hub of the tech industry: Silicon Valley.

It's such a popular state that its largest industry is real estate, which is also the #1 real estate industry in the nation. In fact, of California's top ten industries, only one is in the #2 spot nationally: finance and insurance. Interestingly, finance is only California's 7th largest economic sector. On top of that, the Central Valley produces food for the nation, yet agriculture doesn't appear in the state's top ten industries.

In such a diverse economy, one might be tempted to think of the state as hopelessly fragmented. However, there are common threads that tie the state together. One of them is the ubiquity of the Internet, its web developers. Every industry needs web developers to ensure that they can communicate and transact business on the global network.

A web developer is a sort of technology worker who specializes in websites and web technologies. They often get their start by coding in languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and advance their skills with PHP, Java, and Ruby. Generally speaking, web developers focus on the back end of websites.

They are often not as interested in how a site looks and leave the graphical user interface (GUI) to website designers. They meet their employer's goals by creating unique cookies that are compatible with consumer technology and which deliver the data the employer needs from their website. They can also create the small applications that run in a website, such as a dynamic form for consumer comments or complaints or an E-commerce portal to a payment platform. These things may be then utilized by the front-end developer so that they are user friendly and effective.

Web developers can work anywhere they can power up a laptop and access Wi-Fi. Thus, web developers sometimes work from coffee shops, remote-work facilities, or spots throughout the globe. These digital nomads are able to earn a California wage while enjoying the low cost of countries such as Thailand or Mexico, to name two.

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Online Web Development Education in California

To ensure that the state's companies and industries maintain their national dominance, California continually seeks to strengthen the web development and information technology degree programs in its colleges and universities. The legislature accomplishes this by ensuring that its state-funded institutions of higher learning are fully funded, with special funds sometimes allocated to STEM subjects, such as web development.

The faculty and staff of these web development degree programs use the funds to maintain and improve their resources, including attracting top talent to join the faculty. Faculty leaders seek out the very best PhDs who have completed vital, cutting-edge research in web development. They might look for experts in network security or web development who specialize in front-end development. They may also look for experts in certain, pertinent web languages such as JavaScript, PHP, or Ruby.

California's technology faculty also seeks to expand by taking on web developers from the local area. Local developers may bring students anecdotes from the local economy that inspire them with relatable material. They may even be able to provide students with tips on how and where to seek top web development jobs in California.

Online Associate Degree in Web Development (AS)

There are few better ways to launch a career, whether academic or professional, than with an associate web development degree from a California community college. In the two years it takes to complete this degree, students are exposed to the fundamentals of their field and much more.

In fact, an associate degree from a California community college requires that students complete the core, general education college liberal arts curriculum. Courses such as composition, college algebra, and lab sciences are covered in these two years. Not only do these courses provide students with the opportunity to hone their critical thinking and communication skills, but they are invaluable for those who later wish to advance onto a four-year California college or university.

Other students build on their web development and coding skills by earning industry certificates in specific languages or technologies. They can also launch a web development career with their associate web development degree. Another benefit of this approach is that California's community colleges charge far less per credit hour than any four-year college or university. An associate web development degree dramatically helps to bring down the net price of a college education.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Web Development (BS)

A four-year degree is perhaps the best foundation for a successful career in this field. Students in California's four-year web development degree programs can dive deeper into specific topics that can help steer their work for years to come. Bachelor’s web development degree programs also provide students the opportunity to complete large web development projects that they can add to their portfolios. Along the way, web development students meet fellow technology students who may become valuable contacts in later life.

Another benefit of a bachelor’s web development degree program is the opportunity to practice what's been learned. In particular, students in California's information technology degree programs are urged to pursue internship opportunities. When students spend a term working with seasoned web development professionals, they have a broader and more practical view of the field. Furthermore, they may start creating a portfolio that they can use in their job search. In fact, sometimes internships yield job offers, though that should not be an expectation.

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Online Master's Degree in Web Development (MS)

These days, a bachelor’s web development degree is becoming very common. With that in mind, undergraduate students are urged to start looking for the best master’s web development degree program for them. A graduate degree will help them stand out from the pack and land their dream job. Those who wait until later to earn their master’s web development degree can also benefit from the higher salaries and promotions that come from such a degree.

Yet another option for web developers is an MBA. This is a very versatile degree that will help developers take their career in new and exciting directions. During an MBA, students can gain more knowledge about how to start and run a business. Entrepreneurial website developers can then use this knowledge to start a firm of their own. For instance, one popular employment opportunity for a website developer is with an online marketing firm. An MBA will allow students to dive deep into general business topics while concentrating on digital marketing, for instance.

Online PhD Degree in Web Development (PhD)

The business community doesn't often seek out PhDs when they start a hiring phase. However, the rules are changing when it comes to high-tech workers. With the immense complexity in high technology, a PhD can be invaluable when it comes to landing a great job. This is particularly true in specialty areas such as cyber security and computer science generally. Website developers can broaden their horizons and achieve unimagined success after graduating with a doctorate degree.

In fact, when they reach the doctoral level, many website developers find that they are in the territory more often called computer science. They might take courses in topics such as artificial intelligence, cyber security, cryptography, or the mechanics of programming languages. Indeed, many doctoral dissertations focus on a new programming language the degree candidate has created. Sometimes these new languages can give developers an edge in the marketplace, as their language might be able to solve some issues that once seemed intractable.

Become a Web Development Professional in California

California is often thought to exist at the bleeding edge of innovation and all trends, generally. The entertainment, fashion, and even technology industries are all a testament to the disruptive creativity of the Californian spirit. In contemporary times, this means that the next wave of web technologies and web design trends are likely already in practice around Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. And there are many Californian students who are interested to learn how they can become a web developer in California.

The first step along the way to becoming a California web developer is to take a personal interest in web development and technologies. Most students these days have grown up with the internet and may have a strong sense of what sort of technologies work best. They may even have specific ideas of how to improve on existing tech.

To get started, high school students might first look to their school to see if there are computer courses available. Most high schools these days should have at least one computer course available. However, there are also charter schools that focus on STEM subjects, including computer technology and website technology. Outside of the classroom, students can start learning basic languages such as HTML using some combination of books and online resources. There are many web development courses available online that are either free or cheap. Many have no time restraints, so students can complete modules at their own pace. In fact, a motivated student might set a goal to complete one of these courses over the long winter and summer breaks.

These self-taught students can also build websites for themselves, small businesses, and their friends. These can then be used as portfolio pieces when they apply to a college-level website development degree program. California is sure to have many such programs available. Students can narrow down the best web development degree program for themselves by examining each program's course offerings. They should ensure that any program they consider has at least a CHEA-approved regional accreditation. They can also check to see if their desired program holds ABET accreditation. ABET is an agency that specializes in accrediting STEM programs including engineering, mathematics, and computer technologies.

Once fully trained and prepared, students can find an entry-level position with a firm. Alternately, many website developers start out as freelance workers who find their specific niche along the way. Nevertheless, it all starts with a desire, a dream, and a degree.

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Additional Careers for Web Development Graduates

  • Web Developer:
    This tech position focuses on creating and maintaining the back-end functionality of websites. Developers write code that links user inputs with databases and other behind-the-scenes tech. To succeed, developers need expertise with one or more programming languages such as Python, SQL, Java, or JavaScript, to name a few. Each employer is sure to have specific needs for their websites.
  • Web and Digital Designer:
    How a website or application looks is a vital part of its success in the marketplace. Not only do the colors and fonts matter, a site's overall design needs to be intuitive and easy for users to command. Web designers need to have a full mastery of coding languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript while also being expert at software packages like Photoshop and Illustrator, among others.
  • Web Content Manager:
    Every website needs not only a dynamite design, but also content to attract both web search engines and users. Web content managers are not unlike editors who strategize what sort of content needs to be included on a website, and even what content needs to be removed. They oversee the written content and ensure that videos are appropriate for their site's goals.
  • Game Developer:
    Many technology workers start their love of computing with a game controller in hand. Game developers on a large team may specialize in writing code for the game or creating the story behind a terrific adventure. Game developers may also be independent entrepreneurs who do it all, from conceiving the game to hand-drawing characters.
  • Software Tester:
    When applications developers create a game, they often have blind spots. They have a hard time conceiving how their work will be used in real-world applications. Thus, they employ professional software testers who can put the new software through a number of trials to see if it's an intuitive and robust in function. Sometimes a tester will break the program by using it in ways the development team never considered.
  • Information Security Analyst:
    Cyber security is increasingly important to computer users at every level. Companies are hiring information security analysts to continually monitor their systems and databases to make sure no hackers compromise their firm. Information security analysts (also known as Infosec analysts) look for vulnerabilities in a system and then report to their supervisors with ways to address any problems. They may also be conducting research so that their firm can implement the next cutting-edge cyber security protocols and software packages.
  • IT Project Manager:
    Every information technology team needs a project manager to help them stay on task and in compliance with their client's wishes. IT project management experts also seek out new business for consulting teams and in-house project managers look for new tasks for the team to tackle.

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