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What is Web Development?
Web development and other similar areas of study are popular among individuals interested in learning how to plan, design, and maintain websites. Those enrolled can expect to gain the knowledge and skills needed to create digital content for their employers or themselves.
Degrees in this field can lead to numerous job opportunities in Missouri and throughout the nation. The knowledge and skills attained from these academic programs are also often transferrable, making it relatively easy to find work in other professions, as well. Employment is generally readily available with private, non-profit, and government entities.
Web developer positions vary, with professionals working for companies and organizations across numerous industries or for themselves as independent contractors. Responsibilities can also differ drastically from one job to another, but most are paid to create and maintain websites of some kind. While employment opportunities can be found in most sectors, the majority of web developer occupations exist in computer systems design, education services, advertising, and/or public relations.
Job scope can also vary significantly for web developers. Some professionals are tasked with managing all aspects of website construction, whereas others may be expected to focus on a single aspect of the process. Additionally, it’s also common for experts in this field to specialize in a particular type of website creation such as E-commerce, news, and gaming.
To generate quality websites, web developers must be able to select and/or make images and content that are appropriate to be viewed by target audiences online. In some cases, these professionals may also be responsible for overseeing various technical aspects associated with their creations, such as performance and capacity. Additional expectations common in this profession include making and testing applications, building prototypes, writing code, administering traffic, and designing graphics. Meetings with clients and/or management to discuss website needs, design ideas, functionality, and content are also a necessity.
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Online Web Development Education in Missouri
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for web developers and digital designers is projected to grow 23% from 2021 to 2031. This is much faster than the average for all occupations and will result in an increase of about 21,800 job openings each year. The primary reason for this increase is the continued expansion of E-commerce. As retail firms offer more and more products online, greater demand for web developers is anticipated. The need for experts capable of creating websites and interfaces that work on mobile devices with many different screen sizes is also expected to increase.
While web developers can work in almost any industry, two sectors that commonly seek out and employ experts in this field are professional and business services, as well as information and technology. Professional and business services is the largest industry in Missouri. It accounts for $42.3 billion in revenue each year. Information is also the ninth largest industry in the state, accounting for another $12.9 of the state’s revenue each year.
Based on data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Missouri employed 1,970 web developers in May 2022. The annual mean wage for these professionals was $82,130, which is higher than the state’s reported annual mean wage of $54,520 for all occupations. The state also employed 720 web and digital interface designers, with an annual mean wage of $69,970.
There are several colleges and universities located in Missouri, some of which do offer higher education degrees in web development and other related topics. This subject is also particularly popular among online learners, as the coursework tends to translate well into a remote format. While distance learning programs make it easy to study from anywhere with reliable internet access, prospective students planning to seek employment in Missouri may benefit from enrolling locally. Academic institutions within the state will provide the most geographically relevant instruction. This ensures graduates possess the knowledge and skills most important to employers in the area.
Prospective students in Missouri should have little difficulty finding colleges and universities offering web development degree programs. Options are typically available at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Some academic institutions may also offer professional certificate programs. In both cases, in-person and online learning options are usually available.
Notably, education requirements for web developers can vary wildly. While many professionals in the field seek bachelor’s degrees, it is possible to obtain jobs with nothing more than a high school diploma or GED. This is because employers seek candidates with the correct knowledge and skills, which can be self-taught or learned without earning a degree. However, employment opportunities with the highest pay are often held by those with more extensive higher education. Occupations with supervisory components, in particular, tend to require graduate degrees.
Because qualifications can differ significantly, even between positions with the same titles, you should always research potential job opportunities thoroughly prior to submitting applications.
Online Associate Degree in Web Development (AS)
These programs are often ideal for individuals seeking employment quickly and without significant financial expense. Graduates with associate degrees typically qualify for work as web developers, user interface designers, web designers, and computer support specialists. They may also have success pursuing many other information technology careers.
Additionally, many graduates also possess strong academic foundations for further learning. As a result, it’s common for them to enroll in bachelor’s degree programs, which can increase job prospects.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Web Development (BS)
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most web development and digital design professionals possess bachelor’s degrees. Graduates may also be qualified to pursue careers as software developers, graphic designers, computer programmers, computer systems analysts, and information systems managers. Additionally, many of the knowledge and skills gained are highly transferrable and can be applied to occupations in other fields. Companies and organizations in almost every industry hire professionals with expertise in information and technology. This is particularly true for individuals with extensive experience with computers, networks, coding, and multimedia.
Graduates may also choose to continue their education by enrolling in master’s degree programs. While not always necessary, it can significantly improve overall job prospects and lead to higher-paying employment. Prospective graduate students should be prepared to meet minimum grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) score requirements set by their chosen institution.
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Online Master's Degree in Web Development (MS)
Master’s degrees in web development generally range from 30 to 45 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately two to three years to complete. As graduate programs, general liberal arts classes are no longer required. Some colleges and universities do, however, have established prerequisites that must be met prior to enrollment.
It’s important for prospective students to realize that not all colleges and universities offer this type of degree. As a result, it may be necessary to enroll in other related subjects with similar and easily transferrable concepts. Two of the most common alternative majors include information technology and computer science. Some academic institutions may also offer web development as a minor area of study and/or degree concentration.
While curriculums vary, most focus exclusively on subject matter pertinent to the field. Common areas of study include full-stack development, mobile application development, web design, software practices, and computer programming. Students can also expect to receive instruction in various other user-centered web design and development topics. Additionally, web development courses on various programming languages, libraries, frameworks, and development techniques are regularly available.
Graduates with master’s degrees in web development are typically prepared for careers as computer and information systems managers, information research scientists, and software developers. These occupations are considered upper-level management and tend to be more competitive but often provide higher salaries. Additionally, those who complete academic programs at this level may also qualify for other more specialized roles in computer and information technology.
Online PhD Degree in Web Development (PhD)
A PhD or doctorate in web development generally varies in length between 60 and 120 credit hours that can take full-time students up to seven years to complete. Few colleges and universities offer these programs, however. As a result, it’s more common for professionals in this field to pursue doctoral degrees in computer science, computer engineering, machine learning, language processing, or biological engineering.
Curriculums can vary significantly, depending on the area of study selected. While the first few years of enrollment are likely to be spent in traditional classroom settings, students can expect to perform more independent study, research, and writing as they progress. They are also likely to study both qualitative and quantitative research methods, which can be useful when preparing dissertations prior to graduation.
Prospective students should be aware that very few careers in web development actually require doctoral degrees. With few research positions available, they are typically most appropriate for individuals seeking employment as higher education professors.
Become a Web Developer in Missouri
The first step to becoming a web developer in Missouri is identifying your ultimate career goals. There are many different jobs available in this field. Taking steps early to determine your preferred occupation will ensure you stay on the right course. Not only will this assist you in selecting the necessary degree level and web development courses, but it will help you pick the most appropriate major, minor, elective classes, extracurricular activities, internship opportunities, and eventual certificate program.
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In addition to academic degrees, there are several certifications that may prove helpful for web developers to pursue. There are many options to choose from. While there is no single most important credential for individuals in this field, professionals typically base their selections on the type of work they perform and/or personal interest. The most important factors to consider when picking certification(s) are price, provider, required skill level, and candidate expectations.
Some common credentials sought by web development specialists include:
- Google UX Design Certification
- World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Front-End Web Developer Certification
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Full Stack Development Certification
- Springboard Software Engineering Certification
- CareerFoundry Full-Stack Web Development Certification
- Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) Certified Web Application Defender Credential
- Adobe Digital Learning Services Adobe Certified Expert (ACE)
- Oracle University Java Enterprise Oracle Certified Expert Credential
The majority of certifications are offered by academic institutions, professional organizations, and reputable companies. However, some options may carry more weight than others. As a result, it’s recommended that you always verify provider credibility prior to beginning the application process.
Another common recourse for web developers is to join professional organizations and associations. These groups often offer many benefits to their members including access to developmental activities, relevant academic journals, networking events, discounts, and other helpful resources.
Some of the most appropriate examples include:
- International Web Association (IWA)
- American Webmasters Association (AWA)
- Higher Education Web Professionals Association (HighEdWeb)
- Web Professionals (WOW)
Potential Careers for Web Development Graduates
- Computer Systems Analyst
Computer systems analysts take steps to automate various distribution, manufacturing, and sales functions for their employers. Using computers and related systems, they adjust procedures to better meet employer needs and work to identify the most accurate and efficient processes available. Additionally, they are commonly expected to recommend, install, configure, maintain, and upgrade computer and networking software for the companies and organizations they work for. According to PayScale, computer systems analysts make an average base salary of $73,224 per year.
- Front-End Developer
Front-end developers work for companies and organizations, overseeing and managing complex project details, as well as analyzing the associated design requirements. They spend a lot of time interpreting and designing plans based on their employer’s goals and guidelines. Their work ensures projects are scalable, maintainable, and efficient, and they are commonly expected to identify problems that arise and recommend corresponding technical solutions. According to PayScale, front-end developers make an average base salary of $78,420 per year.
- Graphic Designer
Graphic designers use technology like Adobe Illustrator and InDesign software to create captivating imagery, color schemes, illustrations, and fonts. They are often hired by companies and organizations to help portray specific messages or advertise products and services offered. Some projects commonly assigned include business logos, item packaging, print materials, and websites. While these professionals are frequently employed full time, some choose to work for themselves or take jobs as independent contractors. According to PayScale, graphic designers make an average base salary of $48,052 per year.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist
SEO specialists take steps to ensure that text, images, and videos are easy to find across numerous search engines. Using a variety of strategies, they cause information to appear early among online search results when people search for certain keywords. It’s also common for them to check and verify content created by others meets various optimization standards before being posted. While they often work for companies and organizations across numerous industries, many are self-employed. According to PayScale, search engine optimization (SEO) specialists make an average base salary of $49,062 per year.
- UX Researcher
UX researchers use comprehensive qualitative and quantitative examinations to assess user needs and wants in relation to services and/or products. They are typically hired by companies with the expectation that they will enhance the items, services, and/or software provided. They may also be tasked with organizing and presenting pertinent findings to other team members and stakeholders, as well as writing screener questionnaires, recruiting targeted users, implementing surveys, and conducting interviews. According to PayScale, UX researchers make an average base salary of $88,859 per year.
- Web Content Manager
Web content managers establish and maintain successful publication strategies. They often work for companies in overseeing the various content standards and policies associated with publishing digital products. They may also be tasked with ensuring that digital campaigns are cost-effective and productive. According to PayScale, web content managers make an average base salary of $60,637 per year.
- Marketing Manager