Get Matched With Web Development Colleges

Web development is a subset of the wider tech market that is concerned with building and maintaining websites for a variety of clients and employers. Web developers are generally concerned with either the front-end design or the back-end functionality of a website. However, the general rule is that developers are considered to be those who work on a website's back-end.

This means that developers are thus more concerned with issues related to coding and functionality than aesthetics. While they need to work with the front-end designers to complete a website project, they mostly address matters such as database connectivity, search algorithms, cookie creation, and security. To accomplish this, they need to have focused skill in specific coding languages. Some of the languages that developers need to know to develop websites include PHP, Python, SQL, Ruby, Java, JavaScript, R, and HTML. Many coding languages also have variants that developers may learn as a specialty.

Web development and web design are a field that is a subset of the broader technology sector. Web developers are essentially software developers who specialize in internet technologies, websites particularly. Such specialization is common in the tech world, as some focus on software such as video games, financial software, or imaging applications, to name a few. In fact, many developers need to integrate their websites with software packages that aren't generally associated with web browsing, and many applications that used to be tethered to the desktop are now available via a web subscription only. Photoshop is a prominent example of such a package.

Since the economy has essentially shifted to the online universe, every business needs some sort of web presence. While small, local businesses may only need simple, do-it-yourself sites, larger E-commerce platforms need skilled web designers and developers who can help their businesses thrive. Thus, there is a strong demand for developers to build sites, optimize existing sites, and generally keep their clients and employers growing and competitive.

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Is a Master's Degree in Web Development Worth It?

Every student wonders whether or not they will see a worthwhile return on their educational investment. When it comes to web development, students may have even more questions than those in other professions. This is because the tech sector focuses so heavily on certifications. Despite this, an online master's degree in web development and/or web design is usually worth it.

An online master's degree in web development is worthwhile because it elevates one's credentials in a way that is permanent. While certifications are terrific, they all must be continually updated. A master's web development degree is evergreen and shows employers that a certain high level of scholarship has been obtained. Master's students don't merely regurgitate the most current versions of computer code but have conducted in-depth research and have independently developed projects during their education. Even if the technologies they used become outdated, students can always rely on their research methods and apply them to contemporary standards and technologies.

Employers recognize this fact and tend to reward a master's degree with higher salaries and promotions. In fact, students in many online master's web development programs receive a bonus or raise even before they complete their master's degree program.

The downside of an online master's web development degree program is that it does take a lot of time and energy, not to mention money. However, those who are full-time employees may find that their employer makes accommodations for them to study. Finally, though every employer is different, some offer tuition reimbursement.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Web Development Degree?

An online master's web development degree is one way to bolster a resume and take a career to the next level. For full-time students, these traditional or online programs take two academic years to complete. Some may even finish before that time, though without taking breaks and perhaps taking extra credits in a term or two.

Students can generally expect to complete as many as 72 credit hours, though the typical program runs between 30 and 60 hours. Thus, students are urged to investigate a number of different online master's web development degree programs prior to enrolling. They should evaluate each program's curriculum and evaluate how it will impact their long-term career objectives.

After all, each web developer has a specific focus for their career. Some may have made their career on developing next-level tracking cookies. Others may have focused on payment gateways or database connectivity. Their online web development master's degree program should reflect that and support their career with new knowledge in web design and development.

For those who choose an online web development degree program, there is more flexibility on a day-to-day basis. Web developers can even continue to work a full-time job while working on their master's degree. Web design and web development master's degrees do take a good deal of time management skill and dedication, but the online medium can be ideal for a web developer.

Each web development and web design course is like a puzzle piece. Students need to thus take a variety of courses to begin to see the larger picture of website development. With each course, certain coding languages will return though in new contexts. HTML, for instance, will be applied in nearly every course, as will CSS. However, as with any language, students will achieve greater and greater fluency with each course. Here are some courses you might take in a web design and web development degree program.

  • Web Enabled Information Systems:
    This course covers the best practices when it comes to developing applications for both cloud and web applications, as well as connecting computer information systems to the web. This course is often offered as an introductory course for first-term students.
  • Website Design and Management:
    This course dives deep into HTML and CSS. Students gain valuable practice in planning and executing effective website designs that focus on the user experience. From there, they learn to manage and develop their sites over time, addressing common issues that come with adapting to growth and new technologies.
  • Database Security:
    This course may be offered as an elective, but it can be vital to a student's growth as a website developer. It helps students learn the fundamentals of cyber security as it relates to database safety and integrity.
  • Web Application Development:
    This course builds on HTML, XHTML, and DHTML with CSS, Dynamic CSS, and JavaScript. Other languages such as XML, AJAX, and JSON are also integrated as the means of transmitting data from user to server.
  • Server-Side Web Development:
    Much of a website's functionality occurs on the server side of the equation. Students learn to build server-side web applications using languages such as PHP, SQL, and Node.js, among others.

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What Are the Prerequisites for a Master’s Degree in Web Development?

Naturally, one of the primary prerequisites for a master's in web development or web design degree is a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, or some other discipline. Since so many developers learn their trade on the job, graduate degree programs will usually look at one's resume and portfolio, as well as their transcripts. It may be possible to enroll in a master's in web development degree program without any previous academic work or web development courses in the subject. However, many programs may require one or two undergraduate level courses, such as introduction to programming or a math course beyond college algebra.

  • Prerequisites:
    Most graduate degree programs require certain courses prior to admission. For web development, master's programs may want to see academic experience with programming, if not specific web-developer courses. However, some departments may exempt these requirements in light of professional experience.
  • Application:
    Every academic program will require an application. This document is a core part of every student's file. It will ask students to list their previous academic experience, among other details. Most programs will require an admission fee, as well.
  • Test Scores:
    Many graduate degree departments require satisfactory scores on the GRE exam. Some departments may ask for scores from the general GRE and acceptable scores on a specialized test. This requirement is less and less common, however, so students should investigate their favorite website development program.
  • Official Transcripts:
    Every graduate degree program will want to see applicants' official transcripts. They likely will want transcripts from every single post-secondary school an applicant has attended. This means that even if a student only took one course from a school, they still need to have that transcript sent as part of every application.
  • Letters of Recommendation:
    Graduate programs need to see positive letters of recommendation from each candidate. These letters can give them an insight into a student's character and academic strengths. Most often, candidates should have letters sent from past professors and professional colleagues.
  • Essays:
    This aspect of a graduate admission packet can often be a tiebreaker, so students are urged to take their admission essay quite seriously. Many graduate web development departments will offer students a few topics to write on, which can take the pressure off when considering a thesis.

What Can You Do with a Master's in Web Development?

Master's level web development skills can lead to a wide variety of career, depending on one's focus. So many firms rely on their websites to function on a daily basis that this expertise can lead to work in development or even administration, as strong development knowledge can be a vital part of keeping an organization afloat. Master's in web development degrees can also enable a savvy businessperson to design and build a website that will provide a platform for their E-commerce ideas.

Since the field is rapidly expanding, the outlook for a master of website development is quite rosy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that experts in related fields will see their numbers rise by 25% through 2031. The BLS also shows that the median salary in the field is over $100,000 per year. Keep in mind that this salary includes many website developers who live in very expensive markets, such as the San Francisco Bay Area. Nevertheless, a website developer should be able to earn a healthy living.

Web development experts find that they are recruited into internet marketing firms or design houses that build sites for a variety of clients. Some focus on specific industries such as finance, online retail, a web-app service such as Airbnb, or a streaming media provider.

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Potential Careers for Web Development Graduates

  • Software Developer:
    Developers each have specific coding skills and can thus find development teams that focus on those skills. Web-specific coding languages, such as HTML or CSS, may be helpful when creating software solutions for mobile apps or software packages that are distributed online, such as Microsoft Office or Photoshop. According to the BLS, software developers earn a median salary that exceeds $100,000.
  • Graphic Designer:
    Design skills are always in high demand. Most website developers have some design skills in that they must have mastery of CSS an HTML, two design-focused languages. A keen sense of aesthetics, however, will also go very far in this field. It's worth noting that most web designers or developers need at least basic proficiency in Photoshop, if not other graphics packages. This field's median salary is currently $50,000.
  • Computer Programmer:
    Web development majors learn a variety of programming languages. While all developers are immersed in the fundamental languages of the web - such as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS - they may also learn popular languages such as Python, Java, and C++, among others. Thus, a web development student may end up as a programmer who barely works on web applications at all. Programmers are in high demand and their median salary is currently over $90,000, not including bonuses.
  • Computer Systems Analyst:
    Web development students often enter a firm as their computer systems analyst. A strong knowledge of computer technology paired with coding skills can be very helpful. Computer systems analysts also need strong communication skills and the ability to work with both the IT department and management. The median salary for this job sector exceeds $99,000.
  • UX Designer:
    User experience designers are vital to the success of many web applications. UX designers' work sets the tone for many online brand images and can help brands succeed. UX designers not only address matters that are specific to aesthetics but also to basic functionality. Depending on the market and their firm, UX designers can earn around $78,000.
  • UI Designer:
    User interfaces must be intuitive and easy for a site's target audience to master. UI designers often survey their audience to see what works best for them and craft their websites accordingly. Depending on the market and their firm, UI designers can earn around $78,000.
  • Full Stack Web Developer:
    These developers create a whole website, from the server-side applications to the front-end design. Thus, a full-stack developer must have a broad set of programming skills on top of a keen sense of design and aesthetics. Full-stack web developers can earn a median salary that exceeds $78,000.

Additional Online Education for Career Advancement

Web development, like many other fields, is a field that rewards advanced degrees. Professionals who have proven their mettle in academia are known to have a mastery of current technologies, while also being able to master new languages and tools. Students also know that school can mean more than learning new skills. Many are able to network with other tech professionals and then leverage those relationships into long-term success. This is particularly true of those who meet new friends in graduate school, though one may meet valuable connections nearly anywhere.

Online PhD in Web Development

Web professionals who have reached the doctorate level are often in high demand. Firms who need top-level security or database work look for PhDs to help them create and maintain the very best systems. PhD web developers may also lead the way as the world heads into Web 3.0 and beyond.

Online PhD in Computer Science

A PhD in computer science can take many forms, most of which are in high demand in the professional world. Firms are eager to hire PhDs who specialize in cryptography, artificial intelligence, and cyber security. Many workers at the doctorate level take positions that are not unlike academic researchers, except that their findings become the intellectual property of their employers.

Online Computer Science Certifications

Academic credentials are terrific, but employers these days also like to see web designers and developers who have earned certain certifications. These credentials can reflect expertise in coding languages or technologies that aren't necessarily addressed in the academic realm. Furthermore, certifications require that tech workers continually update their knowledge and skills in order to maintain their credentials.

For instance, there are certifications that verify workers as full-stack web developers, user experience professionals, or experts in database connectivity. These certifications can make the difference when it comes time to find a new position or to land a spot on a project.

While many web designers or developers focus on web-specific languages for their certifications, there are other options. Many tech workers decide to become certified in specific server technologies such as Linux, Microsoft, or Cisco servers. There are also certifications in cyber security technologies that directly apply to the work of many web developers.

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

Choosing the best online master's in web development degree program is an important first step in earning a graduate degree. One of the first things to consider is a program's accreditation. This credential attests to the program's strength and reputation, not only in academia but in the wider IT community. Each program a student applies to should have at least a regional accreditation. However, students should seek online master's web development programs that have program-specific credentials. In particular, an accreditation from ABET is highly valued. These web design or web development programs are often considered among the best.

  • Cost:
    Working professional students need to be able to afford their master's degree. Luckily, many online master's degree programs are priced at a discount relative to their traditional campus peers. When seeking the best master's degree program, students should keep in mind that out-of-state programs will likely cost more, as will most private universities. Working web developers may also inquire to see if their employers offer any tuition reimbursement.
  • Graduation Rate:
    Online degree programs often suffer from lower graduation rates. Students have a difficult time self-motivating and completing a program. Others may find that they have learned enough and decide to discontinue their work. Nevertheless, applicants should always investigate every program's graduation rate and seek to determine why it is as low or high as it is.
  • Admission Competitiveness:
    Highly competitive graduate degree programs tend to be this way for a reason. Students place a very high value on their diplomas and highly competitive degree programs tend to have very high rates of retention and graduation. This also means that applicants should put a great deal of effort into their admission packet.
  • Financial Aid Options:
    Online master's degree students should investigate each program's financial aid offerings. Most will offer student loans, but they may also have special grants or scholarships available. Unfortunately, online degree students are unlikely to find stipends for teaching positions. However, this may be changing as more and more programs move to the online medium.
  • Location:
    This is not such an issue for online-only degree programs. However, more and more graduate programs are integrating on-campus residencies as part of their online master's degree programs. Thus, location can be a big deal. Students should consider their potential travel expenses on top of the logistics of balancing work and family while away at school.
  • Accreditation:
    This is a vital feature of any online graduate degree program. Applicants should confirm that their prospective graduate degree program meets the minimum standard of a CHEA-approved accreditation from a regional agency. Those who seek a STEM graduate degree may also look for programs with ABET credentials. ABET is a program-specific accreditation agency whose approval is nationally recognized.
  • Student Support:
    Though this is often more applicable to undergraduate students, even graduate students need support. This can come in the form of psychological counseling to help students manage the stress of graduate school. It can also include a writing center to help students write the best thesis papers. A strong student support system is a very positive attribute of any academic degree program.
  • Job Placement Assistance:
    Though there is no guarantee that any graduate degree will result in job placement, it's helpful to have the support of one's department. For online degree students, this may come in the form of resume assistance, but it can also include some form of online job fair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are web development majors in demand?

Since nearly every business needs a web presence, web development majors are in high demand. Students should evaluate their own goals, as well as the demands of the marketplace and strive to make sure their skills match what is needed. Many web development students come to graduate school with experience under their belt, so they should have a clear idea of how to direct their studies in a way that builds the precise resume they need.

How much money can I make with a master's in web development?

This depends on many factors, including the standard market rates for website developers. However, many web designers and developers are able to make a handsome salary. Furthermore, a master of website development may be able to leverage their expertise and form their own web development firm. Once they venture into entrepreneurship, the sky is the limit.

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

Most master's degree programs take two years to complete. However, some take less time or allow students to expedite their studies by skipping summer breaks, etc. Graduate school may be prolonged in the case of a dual-MBA, for instance, which allows student to earn an MS in web development alongside an MBA in three years. These programs often will also not allow students to work while studying.

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