Get Matched With Web Development Colleges

Web development is a field that was born along with the world wide web, now simply known as the internet. Web developers are high tech professionals who work on the back-end code of a website. They ensure that their sites are connected to databases, that they are encrypted for security, and that they simply work. Web developers are typically distinguished from web designers, who are more concerned with the aesthetics of a site, a field that often falls under the banner of user experience.

To succeed as a web developer, professionals need to be fluent in one or two coding languages and have proficiency in many more. While languages such as HTML and CSS are generally the domain of designers, developers should also know them. Other important computer programming languages include PHP, Python, JavaScript, and SQL, though there are many more, with variations arising all the time.

Web development is a field that deals with the creation and maintenance of websites, both for the broader internet and internal corporate intranets. While the term web developer can indicate both front-end and back-end specialists, we generally mean a back-end specialist when using the term. Front-end specialists are more often referred to as web designers.

Web developers work with a wide range of clients. Since nearly every business these days needs a website, a developer's work can include firms including financial institutions, retail shops, entertainment media companies, and educational institutions. Though many web developers work as independent contractors, they are also  found working for digital marketing firms or any other employer.

The skills of any two web developers are often as diverse as their employment opportunities. While most web developers should have strong coding skills in core internet languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, there are many more to choose from that will differentiate one developer from the next. Some may specialize in E-commerce solutions and will have strong skills in SQL for database integration, while also having a mastery of Ruby, Java, or C++, to name just a few.

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Is an Associate Degree in Web Development Worth It?

Education doesn't come with any guarantees of a job or salary. However, a degree in web development is one thing that nobody can take away. It's an academic foundation that students can build on along the way to a bachelor's degree, an advanced certificate, or a career. Though some may be wary of the emphasis on the core college curriculum, those courses broaden one's intellectual scope and can open students up to possibilities they hadn't previously considered.

Some may wonder about the financial investment required by an associate degree. Students who choose a public, community college will find that their credits are rather inexpensive. And, while choosing an out-of-state community college may mean higher costs, that's not always the case. Some community colleges charge even less for their online web development associate degree programs. However, it's vital to investigate costs, even if two online associate degree programs are offered in the same state.

Another argument against an online associate web development degree is the fact that students will still have to earn a certificate to verify their coding capabilities. While this is a valid concern, it also applies to those with a bachelor's or master's degree. What makes an associate degree valuable is that students are required to tackle many different sorts of topics and challenges, often at once. Their minds are thus trained to be flexible and open to new ideas. This in itself is a very valuable skill to acquire.

Certificate vs. Associate's

Online associate web development programs are a great way to launch a career in this field. This two-year degree will be largely concerned with completing general education courses, which will easily transfer to a bachelor's degree, but students will also focus on web development courses to earn their diploma. Those courses will introduce students to the core technologies required to conduct a successful career as a web developer. Courses might cover topics such as website design, database connectivity, and cyber security.

Upon graduation, most web development students seek entry-level positions with firms in their area. However, many web development students strike out on their own and find freelance work for a variety of clients. Regardless, web developers should continue their education by earning certificates that attest to their knowledge of their favorite coding languages. They should also seek any opportunity to build a portfolio of websites that reflect their skills.

Online associate web development degree students have an advantage when it comes to launching a career. Not only can they find the very best online web development degree program from schools nationwide, but they can continue to work while they study. They may be able to start applying their new web development skills on the job. Their firm may need updates to its website, or they may need a whole new site.

Students will take upwards of 13 courses in their web development concentration to complete an associate degree. The specific course offerings will vary from program to program, but most associate degree programs will focus on introducing the core concepts and programming languages necessary to launch a successful web development career. Generally speaking, most associate web development degree programs will focus on JavaScript and SQL, but some programs may delve into PHP or Python. Students should also look for an associate degree program that includes an internship opportunity. Here are some courses you might see when you go looking for an associate degree in this field.

  • Essentials of Web Technologies:
    This course will introduce students to fundamental technologies on the internet. Topics can include IP addresses, URLs, web browsers, and an introduction to languages such as HTML and CSS. Students may also learn about the history of the internet, the evolution of modems, and even the importance of America Online to modern web development.
  • Introduction to Computer Programming:
    While each programming language is unique and has its own syntax and rules, they all share commonalities. This course will provide students with the fundamental skills needed to tackle any new language. Many programs will require or suggest that students complete at least College Algebra prior to enrolling.
  • SQL Database Programming & Design:
    SQL is perhaps the primary language used to create and develop databases. This is fundamental to becoming an effective web developer because so many websites rely on database interface to deliver a satisfactory user experience. This course teaches the core SQL language and students use it to create databases.
  • Server-Side JavaScript:
    Much of what goes on with a website happens on the server side. This means that user input is processed by applications on the server rather than in a user's browser. This course teaches students to use JavaScript to create useful applications that can be deployed behind the scenes of a website.
  • Introduction to Linux/Unix Operating Environment:
    Unix was an early operating system that far predates Windows or the MacOS. Linux was later born as an open-source offshoot that is now a major part of the major operating systems. This course will introduce students to the command line interface required by these operating systems.

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College Admission Requirements for Future Web Developers

College admissions is a big deal. Because of this, students sometimes hire special consultants to help them craft the most effective application package they can. However, most community colleges operate with an open enrollment policy. This means that anyone with a high school diploma, or an equivalency degree, can enroll in classes. Some students may not yet be ready for the rigor of college coursework; however, many community colleges offer testing to determine where students should start their college career. On the other hand, some students enter a community college having passed advanced placement exams while in high school. These scores can help them leapfrog some core courses or general education courses.

  • Prerequisites:
    Each web development degree program will have its own prerequisites. Some highly valued courses include College Algebra, but some programs may accept Formal Logic as a substitute. However, it's more likely that a course will make course recommendations rather than requiring specific courses.
  • Application:
    Though unusual at the associate degree level, some programs will require students to apply for admittance to a web development degree program. The application may be reviewed for SAT or ACT scores, relevant courses completed, or relevant practical experience.
  • Test Scores:
    Most online associate degree programs don't require college entrance exam scores. However, students who have taken a test such as the SAT or ACT may still submit their scores as part of their entrance application. Sometimes, test scores can help students exempt themselves from introductory courses that they may already be too advanced for.
  • Official Transcripts:
    While many, if not most, community colleges have an open enrollment policy, they may still want to see official transcripts for admission. Official transcripts are most likely to be helpful when a student has already taken courses at another college or community college.
  • Letters of Recommendation:Community colleges may not often require letters of recommendation, but they never hurt. However, some students who've had personal or legal difficulties prior to enrolling may need to submit letters of recommendation to help ease their enrollment process. Letters often come from prominent community members such as employers, past teachers, or even clergy who are familiar with the student.
  • Essays:
    Entrance essays are a big part of most college applications. Though not always a part of a community college's admission process, students should anticipate this aspect of admission.

What Can You Do with an Associate in Web Development?

A two-year web development degree can help students launch a career in the tech field. This can take many different forms. Some take their coding knowledge and build on that as programmers. Then there's the possibility of moving into an IT position where they work with hardware and software but do very little computer programming.

An associate web development degree imparts a strong foundational knowledge base that students can build on in a number of ways. Students learn about coding, databases, and the fundamentals of the internet. From there, they can pursue certificates that focus and specialize their knowledge in particular technologies.

Naturally, one of the primary uses of an associate web development degree is to enroll in a four-year degree program. Students who have completed their core college curriculum in a community college have fewer financial burdens and a strong knowledge base. Some will take a few years between a two-year and four-year degree in which they work and gain experience. Thus, they can apply the knowledge they've gained in their first two years and then make a more-informed decision as to where they want to take their academic, and professional, careers next.

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Potential Careers in Web Development with an Associates

  • Software Developer:
    These tech workers are the driving force behind all the new software we enjoy so much. Software developers conceive of the next killer apps that we use on our laptops and phones. It's not all glitz and glamour though as many developers work on software that resides on servers or mainframes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median salary for software developers as over $100,000.
  • Graphic Designer:
    This field has become the domain of tech lovers who also like to create art. To succeed in this field, graphic designers must master programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and the entire Adobe Creative Suite. Graphic designers create images and designs for both print and digital media. Graphic designers' median salary is $50,000.
  • Computer Programmer:
    These tech workers form the backbone of many software development teams. They write, test, and modify computer code for any sort of software available. Programmers typically specialize in specific languages and may focus on specific sorts of software. Programmers earn a median salary of $93,000.
  • Computer Systems Analyst:
    Firms rely on computer systems analysts to find ways of improving efficiency. They routinely run tests to verify how well their firm's systems are running and continually research new software solutions that might work better. Computer systems analysts earn a median salary of $99,000.
  • UX Designer:
    User experience designers create the ways in which consumers, or users, interact with products. Typically, the term refers to software products. This can be anything from a complex graphics package like Photoshop to a simple web page. The median salary for a UX designer is $78,000.
  • UI Designer:
    User interface designers are the people we praise and curse every day when using our digital devices. Their designs place the save buttons, search bars, and menus for our digital interactions. The median salary for a UI designer is $78,000.
  • Full Stack Web Developer:
    Where most web developers work on either the front-end interface or the back-end mechanics of a website, full stack web developers work on both sides. Thus, a full stack web developer may need to know languages such as HTML and CSS, which create a website's interface as well as knowing SQL, Python, Java, and other languages that typically govern the back-end functionality. Full stack web developers earn a median wage of $78,000.

Additional Online Education for Career Advancement

The internet is constantly evolving. From the bare-bones HTML sites of the mid-90s to the Flash-generated sites of the aughts to now, how we interact online constantly changes. That is why web developers need to continually learn new skills. The foundation of their learning can be an associate degree in web development, but their careers will advance farther and faster when they dedicate themselves to continuing education.

Each web developer can pursue continuing web development education in their own way. Some may focus exclusively on advancing their academic credentials, while others may prefer adding and maintaining a series of certificates. Given that either route can be pursued online or in traditional classrooms, professional web developers have an abundance of opportunities for career advancement.

Online Bachelor’s in Web Development

A bachelor's web development degree is a solid foundation for success. Four-year degrees are typically preferred by employers. Along the way to a bachelor's web development degree, students can investigate a variety of specialty areas so that they know exactly what they want their careers to look like upon graduation. Students can also pursue minor concentrations such as statistics, graphic art, or marketing to help them customize their careers for the long-haul.

Online Bachelor’s in Computer Science

Computer science is an increasingly popular and challenging degree to earn. Computer science degree programs focus students on the fundamental issues pertinent to the computing community. CS students can focus on areas such as algorithm creation, artificial intelligence, or computer languages. This degree field is less focused on a specific career field, such as web development, but the curriculum will produce success for anyone entering the tech world.

Online Masters in Web Development

A master's degree is increasingly valued in the working world. A master's in web development will help students rise in their field faster than experience alone. Depending on the degree program, students can focus their academic work and graduate as experts in their specialty field. Thankfully, there are many online master's web development degree programs, so students can study at their first-choice web development degree program without any interruption to their work life.

Online Web Development Certifications

Certifications are nearly a requirement for most web developers. They provide proof that the holder has up to date training in the technology. This is because all certification programs require continuing education to maintain the credential. Web developers may cycle through numerous certifications over the course of their career. Some credentials can lapse when a certain programming language is no longer needed, and they can then take courses and earn certificates in more appropriate coding languages.

While some certification programs require a certain academic degree level, many do not. They only require that you know the technology in question and can pass an exam to prove it. Some high school students even earn coding certifications in their favorite web development languages and start creating web solutions as a part-time job.

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How Do I Choose an Online Associate's in Web Development?

  • Cost:
    Online associates web development degree programs are generally very affordable. Community colleges charge far less per credit than a four-year institution. Plus, the level of instruction is often competitive with the best universities. Finally, community colleges tend to have very favorable student-to-faculty ratios, meaning that students have easy access to their instructors.
  • Graduation Rate:
    The graduation rate for an online associate web development degree program is likely lower than for a traditional campus degree program. However, motivated students who find an associate web development degree program with top accreditation credentials are also sure to find everything they need to get them through the program.
  • Admission Competitiveness:
    Community colleges typically have an open enrollment policy. This means that any student with a high school diploma or an equivalency degree can enroll. Those who still need to sharpen their skills will be able to take refresher courses and others can dive into their studies.
  • Financial Aid Options:
    Community college students have all the same financial aid options available to them as their four-year counterparts. Provided that the program is fully accredited, there should be no problem receiving assistance for tuition.
  • Location:
    Associate degrees generally are easier to access, physically, than four-year degrees. This is because most states have community colleges located throughout the state. Even the smallest towns are likely to support community colleges. Online associate degrees are even easier to access, provided that students have easy access to the internet.
  • Accreditation:
    Students should only enroll in an accredited online associate degree program. Most state-supported associate degree programs should have at least regional accreditation, but some also have program-specific credentials. Web development associate degree programs may have ABET credentials, meaning that the program is among the best.
  • Student Support:
    This is a key aspect of any degree program and most online associate degree programs offer students support with their studies. Tutoring and writing centers are vital to many student success stories, and many online associate degree programs will offer these services at no additional charge.
  • Job Placement Assistance:
    Students who are interested in a high return on their academic investment should find associate degree programs with job placement and career guidance services. Web development students should also check to see that their program offers an internship program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are web development majors in demand?

Yes. Every company out there relies on their websites to compete in their field. They need highly skilled web developers who can build and maintain cutting-edge websites that are secure, robust, and attractive to consumers. Furthermore, web development degree students can take positions in an IT department, where they can build on their knowledge with new skills and abilities.

How much money can I make with an associate in web development?

Earnings depend on many factors. Some start their own web development firms and see the sky as the only limit to their earnings. Others take entry-level positions with existing firms. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the median income for the field is over $78,000. The BLS also shows that the field is expanding much faster than average.

How long does it take to earn a web design and development associates?

Every associate degree program is designed to take two years for those who attend full-time. Students are urged to aim to complete their associate degree program in two years or less, if possible. This will help them contain costs and get to work as soon as possible.

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