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What is Web Development?

Mississippi is one of our smaller states, but it's had a great impact on our national identity. It's home to some of the greatest Blues music, and Elvis, too. Its economy is primarily agriculturally based, with crop income valued at over $7 billion annually. The state still ranks 3rd for cotton production, 1st for catfishing, and still produces high volumes of poultry, eggs, and dairy. Today, Mississippi's top industrial sector is manufacturing.

A web developer is a technology professional whose job is to create the back-end technology solutions for their client's (or employer's) website. They are often distinguished from web designers who focus on the user-facing aspects of a website. Naturally, both designers and developers work together on the same projects and must collaborate so that there are no conflicts that impinge the user experience.

Developers write code in languages such as Python, PHP, and Java, among others. These languages are primarily used to support the items users find on the page. In fact, most developers focus on a set of languages that inform the work they do. For instance, a developer who is an expert in SQL may code a website's database connectivity. Other developers may focus on writing the code for the cookies that keep track of a user's account and other aspects of their interaction with the site.

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Online Web Development Education in Mississippi

Mississippi's manufacturing strengths date back to the Great Depression in the 20th century. Then, Mississippi pioneered government economic development plans when they lured northern industrial giants to the South. The state still has much promise for new manufacturing concerns, with its low cost of living, subsidies, and generous taxation packages.

The state's top industries also include real estate, which generates over $12 billion in annual revenues and is ranked 39th nationwide. Education, social services, and healthcare collectively form an economic super sector that generates $10 billion for the state, while retail trade brings in $9 billion, earning a national ranking of 34th largest industry of this kind in the US.

Rounding out the top five strongest industries in Mississippi is the super sector known as professional and business services. This area includes a range of services that include laboratory services, technical assistance, waste management, human resources consulting, and more.

Naturally, web development firms fall into the category of professional and business services. They provide all sorts of firms with the web solutions they need and can help large and small firms create ecommerce websites, design dynamite SEO websites for a variety of service-oriented businesses, and more. Web developers may even set up corporate intranets so that employees can communicate and post performance data without prying eyes taking a gander.

To help build and maintain Mississippi's overall economic strength, the state helps its colleges and universities with funds to support technology degrees, including the best web development degrees. When those funds assist web development degrees, the state benefits from the annual influx of highly skilled web professionals. These funds go to both four-year bachelor’s degree granting institutions, as well as community colleges that help many get a head start on their career.

Online Associate Degree in Web Development (AS)

Though there aren't any hard-and-fast academic requirements for a career in web development, it's a great idea to start with an associate web development degree. Not only does an associate web development degree prepare technology students with fundamental knowledge of the field, but every community college will also require that each student complete college general education curriculum. Those classes, and others, can provide the so-called soft skills that can make a huge difference in the job market.

On top of this, community colleges tend to charge far less for each credit hour than their four-year peers. Students can thus kick off a bachelor’s web development degree with two years of affordable courses at a local (or online) community college. This can bring their total net costs down significantly. Further, it can be more affordable to stick closer to home than to move away to take courses in a university across the state.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Web Development (BS)

A four-year bachelor’s web development degree is a terrific launchpad for a successful technology career. Students in a web development bachelor's degree program will be able to take courses that are focused on the sorts of technologies and issues that matter the most to them. For instance, students who are more interested in cyber security and web design can gain some expertise in information security. They can also broaden their scope by taking advantage of the other departments on campus, or they can earn a degree in computer science or software engineering, depending on their interests.

Bachelor's web development degree students might broaden their horizons with a minor concentration in related fields. Many choose to minor in statistics or mathematics, which may be of great help when developing web solutions for a financial firm. They might also take more courses in computer science that will look great on a job application or be useful in their career if they’re already working. Others might look to take courses in management or marketing to develop their business savvy.

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Online Master's Degree in Web Development (MS)

The superstars of web development tend to hold a master’s degree. These web development degrees offer students the ability to expand their knowledge of the field with intensive courses that focus on scholarly research and fundamental knowledge. Professionals with a master’s web development degree often build on their learning by earning professional certifications or other credentials. There is another option, however.

Web developers who want to climb the corporate ladder all the way to the C-suites may instead choose to earn an MBA degree rather than a straight web development degree. While this may seem a bit odd, it makes great sense because the first year focuses on general business concepts and topics, albeit at the graduate level. The second year then allows students to choose a concentration such as web development, information technology, or some other computer-focused field. This way, many web developers can more easily work their way up to become a CIO or even CEO.

Online PhD Degree in Web Development (PhD)

A PhD is not always at the top of a corporate recruiter's list of must-haves. However, technology fields might be changing that. Since tech solutions are becoming increasingly complex, web developers need to up their game and expand their training outside the usual web development degrees. This is particularly true for those who work with artificial intelligence, cyber security, and other emerging technologies, such as Web3.

Interestingly, many PhD candidates in fields such as mathematics decide to forgo a career in academia for a career in web development or some other tech field. Their upper-level training and specialized research is often used to create a firm of their own. Many choose to open consulting agencies that help corporations solve their web issues. Another option is to create a start-up business that seeks to disrupt the field with a technological breakthrough, in which case the best web development degrees come in handy to prove their expertise.

Become a Web Developer in Mississippi

Starting any career is often a daunting proposition. This may be especially true when it comes to a career such as web development, at least partially because there are so many ways to become a web developer. Some choose a strict academic approach by earning web development degrees, while others may cobble together skills and knowledge from books, YouTube videos, and online certification courses. Nevertheless, every web developer starts at pretty much the same spot.

They all begin their path to web development success with a fascination with technology and, often, the inner workings of the internet. Thus, many start their web development career in high school when they learn to create a website. Learning to write code in HTML, adding CSS, and making the whole thing interactive with JavaScript code is a terrific first step.

High school students who start creating websites can build on their knowledge and experience by finding likeminded friends. Many schools have computer classes and clubs where students can meet and form friendships forged in computer code. Once students gain a certain level of expertise, they may even turn their web development skills into a part-time job. After all, every small business is interested in having a useful website that helps build business.

Students can also start working on certifications. There are many online opportunities to learn web programming languages and earn credentials regardless of age or academic achievement. Students might start with entry level languages such as HTML and CSS before moving into JavaScript and beyond. Web development degrees are often created to support the earning of important web development certifications.

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During the third and fourth year of high school, budding web developers should start thinking about a college degree. They can look at local community colleges if they aren't ready to leave home, but a four-year degree may be more beneficial. This is because a four-year degree offers more learning opportunities including internships, minor concentrations, and special topics courses that can inspire how a student conducts their career.

Regardless of whether they choose a community college, four-year liberal arts experience, or a major Mississippi university, there's one element that any school should have: accreditation. At the least, any post-secondary school should have a CHEA-approved regional accreditation. However, if a student finds a web development degree with a program-specific accreditation from ABET, they should certainly apply. These web development programs are often considered among some of the very best, and students from an ABET approved web development program are likely to do well, no matter where they are in the country.

Potential Careers for Web Development Graduates

  • Web Developer
    These tech wizards are distinct from web designers in that they focus on the back end of a website. Their work is not what users see but it's what enables users to do things like complete purchases, search a database, and have a degree of security online. Web developers need to have focused expertise in one to three coding languages.
  • Web and Digital Designer
    This field is where art meets technology. To succeed in this field, it is necessary to have a strong command of software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Blender, to name a few. Professionals who focus on web design also need to know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • Web Content Manager
    Content is the stuff we all log onto the web for. Web content managers function much like an editor in the newspaper days. They decide what sort of articles, videos, and animations a site needs. They also focus on the SEO aspects of their site and choose the content that will best reflect their site, and which will attract the most clicks and views.
  • Full-stack Developers
    These web developers take on both sides of the project. Full-stack developers create both the front- and back-end of a website. A full-stack developer could work independently as a contractor who helps various businesses or individuals, or they might work on a team. To succeed in this field, it will be necessary to learn up to six languages that cover both sides of a website.
  • Front-end Developers
    Front-end developers are also known as website designers because their work is what users interact with. Front-end developers choose the colors, fonts, and layouts for the site. They also choose where to put the search bars and other elements that connect to the back-end of the site, including databases.
  • Information Security Analyst
    Cyber security is a vital element of any firm's technology picture. Information security analysts keep an eye on their firm's (or client's) information security technology and protocols. They ensure that the system has not been compromised and constantly look for new technological solutions that may help keep their system airtight.
  • Software Tester
    Before any piece of software is rolled out for its intended end users, it must be tested thoroughly. Software testers are often experts in whatever field the software addresses. For instance, graphic designers may function as software testers for new versions of Photoshop. These testers look for various bugs or limitations the software may have. Their work can result in big changes that help the software succeed in the marketplace.
  • Network Architect
    When firms decide to create a new computer network, they seek a computer network architect. These tech experts assess the firm's needs, projected volume of use, and long-term goals before starting their work. Network architects then design the network to meet the needs of their client or employers. Network architects tend to focus on cyber security as a large part of their work, though they may work with another security architect who has that sort of specialized knowledge.

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