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What is Web Development?
Individuals interested in learning how to plan, design, and maintain websites should strongly consider pursuing higher education degrees in web development. Offered by colleges and universities throughout the nation, this major helps students gain the knowledge and skills needed to create digital content. This expertise can lead to numerous job opportunities in Nevada and beyond and it is easily transferrable to other fields, which can help graduates qualify for even more occupations. Positions may be found with private, non-profit, and government entities.
Few web development positions are exactly the same. This is because organizations across almost every industry could seek to hire professionals in this field. Opportunities are most prevalent in computer systems design, education services, advertising, and public relations, however. Because jobs are available in so many different sectors, position parameters can vary significantly. Additionally, some web developers choose to work for themselves or as independent contractors, which can further impact the duties performed. Further, it’s common for experts in this field to specialize in a particular type of website creation such as E-commerce, news, or gaming.
In most cases, web developers make money by creating and maintaining websites. While some professionals manage all aspects of website construction, others may focus on a single aspect of the process. In some cases, they are also responsible for overseeing various technical aspects associated with their products, such as performance and capacity. Meetings with clients and/or management to discuss needs, design ideas, functionality, and content are also common.
Notably, generating quality websites typically requires the ability to select and/or make images and content that is appropriate to be viewed by target audiences online. Prospective employers also look for candidates capable of making and testing applications, building prototypes, writing code, administering traffic, and designing graphics.
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Online Web Development Education in Nevada
According to the US 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.
While web developers can work in almost any industry, they are commonly employed by companies offering professional and business services. This is the third largest industry in Nevada, accounting for $19 billion in revenue each year. Based on data provided by the BLS, Nevada employed 360 web developers in May 2022. The annual mean wage for these professionals was $65,780, which is higher than the state’s reported annual mean wage of $55,490 for all occupations. The state also employed 840 web and digital interface designers with an annual mean wage of $89,400.
Nevada is home to many academic institutions offering degrees in web development. Learning opportunities are generally available in-person and online. While remote enrollment allows for more flexibility, prospective students should keep school location in mind. Those who intend to reside and work in Nevada may benefit from attending colleges and universities located in the state. These institutions will provide the most geographically appropriate curriculums, designed to help develop the knowledge and skills that employers in the region expect.
Colleges and universities in Nevada, and throughout the nation, offer degrees in web development and other related subjects. Prospective students can often choose from programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, with in-person and online enrollment available depending on the institution. Some schools may also offer professional certificate programs for undergraduate and graduate students.
It's important to realize that education requirements can vary wildly for web developers. While most professionals in the field seek bachelor’s degrees, entry-level employment is sometimes available to those possessing nothing more than high school diplomas or GEDs. Although significant, higher education sometimes carries less weight for employers than candidate knowledge and skills. As these things can be self-taught or gained through professional experience, degrees are not strictly required.
That said, employment opportunities with the highest pay are often reserved for professionals with more formal education. Occupations with supervisory components in particular, tend to require graduate degrees.
Online Associate Degree in Web Development (AS)
Graduates with associate degrees typically qualify for work as web developers, user interface designers, web designers, and computer support specialists. Entry-level employment for web development specialists may also be available in other information technology sectors.
Alternatively, graduates can choose to continue their education by enrolling in bachelor’s degrees. Individuals who have completed associate programs in web development can often transfer the credits they earned previously and apply them toward their new degrees. Most colleges and universities accept 60 to 90 hours of coursework from other accredited institutions, which is usually equal to two years of higher education or approximately half of a four-year degree.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Web Development (BS)
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, most web development and digital design professionals possess bachelor’s degrees. Software development and web development degrees may also prepare students for careers as software developers, graphic designers, computer programmers, computer systems analysts, and information systems managers.
Alternatively, graduates can choose to continue their education by enrolling in master’s degree programs. While not always necessary to gain employment, advanced degrees can significantly improve overall job prospects and lead to higher-pay. Prospective graduate students should be prepared to meet minimum grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) score requirements set by their chosen school.
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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, they no longer incorporate general liberal arts classes. In some cases, however, prospective students may need to have taken certain undergraduate prerequisite courses prior to enrollment. This ensures they have the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in upper-level courses.
Not all colleges and universities offer master’s degrees in web development specifically. Depending on availability, it may be necessary to major in a related subject. The most common alternative enrollment options are information technology and computer science. It may also be possible to select web development as a minor or concentration.
Curriculums in these various areas of study tend to differ depending on the college or university selected. Students can, however, expect to take classes that focus exclusively on subject matter pertinent to the field. Some potential instructional topics include full-stack development, mobile application development, web design, software practices, and computer programming. It’s also common for those enrolled to learn about user-centered web design and other important development topics. Courses in programming languages, libraries, frameworks, and development techniques are also common.
Graduates often qualify for careers as computer and information systems managers, information research scientists, and software developers. As upper-level management positions, these are some of the most sought-after and highest-paying jobs available in the field.
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. These are relatively uncommon programs, however. Instead, students at this level tend to pursue 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 typically dedicated to traditional classroom learning, students often spend their later years conducting independent study and research. These efforts typically culminate in the creation and presentation of dissertations before a board of professors.
It’s important to realize that very few web development careers require candidates to possess doctoral degrees. Graduates predominantly seek this level of education in preparation for jobs as academic professors.
Become a Web Developer in Nevada
Becoming a web developer in Nevada generally begins by obtaining the necessary knowledge and skills. The information technology field is incredibly expansive, however, so it’s also important to determine exactly what kind of work you intend to perform. Identifying your ultimate career goals will make it easier plot the most direct course to success.
Every occupation is unique, with different expectations and standards. Once you determine your preferred occupation, it’s vital that you research the associated hiring qualifications. This is particularly important when it comes to education and professional experience requirements. Ideally, the degree program(s) you choose should directly correlate with these details. This information can also greatly impact which minor areas of study, elective classes, extracurricular activities, and/or internship opportunities you pursue.
Notably, not all professionals in this field obtain degrees in web development. While this major is generally acceptable for individuals interested in creating websites and performing other digital design work, there are several other related subjects that may be equally acceptable. Depending on your intended profession, you may also want to consider pursuing an education in computer science or programming.
After meeting education requirements, many web development professionals choose to pursue one or more relevant certifications. This can demonstrate your dedication to the field, as well as highlighting expertise in certain sub-fields. These factors can help differentiate you from other candidates when applying for jobs.
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There is no single most important credential for web developers in Nevada. Instead, you are free to pursue certifications based on personal and professional interest.
There are many options to choose from, but some of the most commonly sought credentials 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
Most certifications relevant to web development are offered by academic institutions, professional organizations, and reputable companies. Some options carry more weight than others, however. As a result, you should always verify provider credibility prior to beginning the application process. Other factors to consider when picking which credential(s) to pursue are price, provider, required skill level, and candidate expectations.
Additionally, it may be worth joining professional associations and organizations. Again, there are many relevant options for web developers and digital design experts. Becoming a member of one or more of these groups can offer many great benefits. While the perks offered differ, it’s common for members to gain access to developmental activities, relevant academic journals, networking events, discounts, and other helpful resources.
Some popular 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
- Application Developer
Application developers are responsible for creating, developing, managing, and maintaining new programs and software for use on smartphones, computers, tablets, and more. Their efforts are predominantly intended to help the companies they work for remain familiar with the latest technologies and web developments. They also spend a significant amount of time collaborating with other web and information technology professionals on projects. While they often work for businesses in various industries, self-employment and contract work is also possible. According to PayScale, application developers make an average base salary of $72,463 per year.
- Computer Technical Support Specialist
Computer technical support specialists perform a wide variety of services for their organizations. Typically functioning as part of IT departments, they are responsible for hardware and software diagnostics and troubleshooting. They often help customers install and operate new purchases, and they help fellow employees when computer issues arise. According to PayScale, computer technical support specialists make an average base salary of $53,224 per year.
- Graphic Designer
Graphic designers create captivating imagery, color schemes, illustrations, and fonts using software technology like Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. They often portray specific messages and/or advertising for products and services. Other projects may include generating business logos, item packaging, print materials, and websites. They sometimes work for themselves or accept individual 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 use a variety of strategies to make sure certain information appears early among online search results. This applies to articles, images, or videos. Their primary goal is to ensure these materials can be easily found across numerous search engines. They may also be tasked with checking and verifying that the content created by others also optimization standards before it is posted. They can work for themselves or function as part of a team hired by companies across numerous industries. According to PayScale, SEO specialists make an average base salary of $49,062 per year.
- Software Developer/Engineer
Software developers work to create computer application products that help users perform specific tasks more efficiently when using various electronic devices. They use various computer languages such as C++, Python, and Java, as well as different operating systems such as Linux, Solaris, and HPUX. They may work for themselves or as independent contractors. According to PayScale, software developers make an average base salary of $74,229 per year.
- UX Researcher
UX researchers are hired to assess user needs and wants in relation to services or products offered by organizations. Using comprehensive qualitative and quantitative examinations, they enhance items, services, or software. They may also be expected to compile and present their findings to other team members and stakeholders. Other commonly assigned tasks include writing screener questionnaires, recruiting targeted users, implementing surveys, and conducting interviews. According to PayScale, they make an average base salary of $88,859 per year.
- Web Content Manager
Web content managers oversee various standards and policies regarding materials published online. They are also responsible for verifying the quality and accuracy of digital products prior to publication. In some cases, they may also ensure that digital campaigns are cost-effective and productive. According to PayScale, web content managers make an average base salary of $60,637 per year.
- Computer Science Professional