What Does a Career in Web Design and Development Entail?
Web developers work as independent contractors, consultants, and regular employees. They can be business owners and operate firms that specialize in websites and presenting information in its most accessible, reliable, and useful forms.Read More
Web Development education is grounded in computer science or a related field. The typical entry into the profession is started through a college degree, either in web development or a related field of studies like programming, computer science, or digital content. Depending on the business sector, web developers can combine management knowledge and experience to become top executives. You may be able to skip this step, but it will be a long slog to the top in terms of experience without education in web design and development and your career opportunities would be stunted without the vital knowledge and skills programs in web design can provide to prospective students.
Components of A Successful Career In Web Design and Development
A successful career as a web developer or web designer, as with most careers, requires an optimal combination of personal traits and formal training; in this case, a web design and development program or bachelor's degree in information technology or information systems with a web design and development concentration.
Attention to Detail
Web developers must master the art of managing details. Web design requires precision and an ability to track changes and make corrections on the fly based on their existing knowledge. They must work with a team or in concert with other departments and the needs of their company.
This is another key to success as a web developer. Critical and creative thinking enable problem-solving. Many of the essential tasks of web development involve identifying and removing barriers to the smooth flow of information across web platforms and the Internet more generally.
Web developers must be able to do basic application development in object-oriented programming languages in order to support cloud-based programs and E-commerce, among others. Today, for example, popular languages include Ruby, Python, and PHP. Web developers must master these skills and apply them to a wide variety of situations.
The work environments for web developers can be fast-paced and filled with urgent requests and time-sensitive demands. The technology changes and best practices evolve on a continuous basis. A successful web developer must adapt easily and be responsive to change when building or creating a layout for programs and companies big and small.
A web developer or web designer must have experience in a variety of information technology concepts including the following. Knowledge and skills listed here can easily be gained from a Bachelor of Science web design and development program or from extensive experience in web-based applications or information technology positions.
- Graphic Design
- Digital Media
- Web Page Creation
- Databases and Database Design
- E-Commerce Graphic Design and Web Pages
- Web and Mobile Design Concepts and Programming Languages
- Software Development
- Application Design and Application Development
- Interactive Design
- Systems Analysis
- Project Management
- And Other Technical Skills
How to Earn a Degree in Web Design and Development
- Students must decide which area, associate, or bachelor's degree programs in web development or design appeals to them
- The next step is to review degree options and decide whether an associate or bachelor’s degree is best
- Review the options for online, on-campus, or mixed attendance for time and costs commitment
- Review the costs for each university or online learning program you're considering; select a degree that best meets financial and other needs
- Review accredited schools for the right major, rank, and opportunities
- Select an accredited school and web design and development program
- Apply for admission, scholarships, and financial aid
Typical Web Design & Development Degree Requirements
The Associate Degree is a two to three-year degree that requires about 60 credit hours. Students study general education, computer science fields, and the basics of programming, web design, and website construction. Students need hands-on lab work and supervised projects to gain experience.
The Bachelor’s Degree is a four-year degree that requires about 120 semester hours for completion. The bachelor’s degree is the widely accepted entry degree for junior to mid-level web development positions.
The Master’s Degree is a two to three-year degree that requires a bachelor’s degree. The master’s degree in web development establishes advanced skills, leadership, and expertise. The master’s is a qualifying degree for educators in the field of web design and development.
Typical Web Design and Development Certifications Needed
Web design and development positions do not require an overarching certification. Certifications are quite useful in this field because they establish proof of capability and learning. In the web industry, there are many private systems in general use. These are privately owned and developed computer software systems that require specific on-the-job training. For example, Microsoft and Oracle have popular developer tools. Developers can get certifications in various types of Microsoft and Oracle development systems. These credentials increase their skills and add opportunities for developers.
Academic Standards for a Web Design and Development Degree
Web development involves using computers and computer software to design and build internet websites. Web developers must use creativity and imagination to make the site effective for the owners and the intended audiences. The education required must include computer programming, database management, math, network designs, and website design studies. Students can gain expertise in various areas of web development, and graphic design is a specialized sub-field. Interface development is another key area for specialization.
Because many of the widely-used tools and systems for web design belong to private enterprises, successful web development career paths include certifications as optional but important parts of the applicable educational standards. Global organizations such as Microsoft, Oracle, the World Organization of Webmasters offer training, education, and professional certifications.
Exams and Experience Needed for a Web Design & Development Degree
There is no single exam for the wide range of occupations and fields that comprise the study of web development. However, experience is a valuable asset for web developers. Students benefit from internships and projects that require hands-on application of classroom lessons. When applying for high-paying, competitive positions, entry-level web professionals must have a significant portfolio of projects on their resumes
The field of Web Design & Development typically requires formal education. The options range from a high school diploma or GED with a certificate course to a master’s degree. The online or on-campus degrees that will help students enter the Web Design & Development field are the associate degree, the bachelor’s degree, and the master’s degree. Some certifications can qualify for entry-level positions that in turn can provide on-the-job learning and advancement.
Associate Degree in Web Design & Development
The two-year degree is available from community colleges, specialized schools, and four-year colleges and universities. The 60 to 65-hour requirement consists of general education, basic computer science, math, and physical sciences. The Web Design & Development coursework also uses hands-on training. Applied training is an important part of the associate degree course of study. Students must learn to use tools, systems, and digital formats. Some programs have internship degree requirements; practical experience makes the Associate degree in Web Design & Development stronger for entry-level positions.
- Designing Digital Images for the Web
- Web Site Design
- Introduction to Computer Systems
- Server-Side Scripting - PHP
Bachelor’s Degree in Web Design & Development
The bachelor’s level advances the student’s understanding of web page and web development hardware and software. Students must gain confidence and familiarity with major software systems and computer systems used for the collection of data analytics. An internship is a key element of the bachelor’s course of study. Students take extensive coursework in design, operating systems, and retail business online.
- Internship and Capstone Projects
- Writing for the Web
- Web Page Development
- Essentials of Project Management
- Web Media Relational Database Design and SQL Servers
Cybersecurity, Homeland Security, Fire Science, and Public Safety Leadership.
Internet and Web Architecture, Networking, Internet Business Relationships
Master’s Degree in Web Design & Development
The master’s degree prepares graduates for leadership and senior executive positions. They will learn to design and develop websites using best practices in information architecture and user experience routines. They will leverage the current languages and incorporate user-centric designs. Students can complete the master’s online or on-campus; some online programs may still require some on-campus work, which you should be ready for in case you need to make accomodations for other things in your life. The 30-35 hour course of study usually ends with a capstone project or dissertation with an oral presentation and defense of a Web Design & Development dissertation or project.
- Advanced Design Skills
- Advanced Web Design
- Enterprise Architecture
Web-enabled Information Systems, and Website design and management
Costs of Web Design & Development Degrees
The largest costs involved in college education are tuition and living expenses. Each school sets the tuition rates and public schools vary rates for in-state and out-of-state students. The below-listed items describe total cost ranges for Web Design & Development.
- Public schools - $14,000
- Private schools - $25,000
- Public schools, in state - $21,000
- Public schools, out-of-state rates - $37,400
- Private schools all students - $48,000
- Public schools - about $18,690
- Private schools all students - approximately $42,500
Education levels and career experience levels raise the median salary ranges for employees. Salaries rise substantially as employees show higher levels of formal education. A similar effect comes with experience as mid-level and late-career salaries are much higher than entry-level wages.
Fields of Study
- Web Design is the study of website arrangements that promote maximum benefits to the user and owners. Web design determines the features and website interactions that affect every internet user.
- IT is Internet Technology. This is the field of study that enables computers, networks, and similar devices to store, use, and exchange all types of electronic data.
- Computer science is the field of study that advances the use of computers for the functions and processes of business and government. The fields include cybersecurity, information systems, and computer engineering.
- Programming is the study of computers and ways to instruct them to perform simple and complex tasks. Programming involves the application and development of major types of computer languages.
- Database Management is the study of systems for the storage, security, and retrieval of digital information.
Field of Study Average Salary by Degree Level
|Field of Study||Associates||Bachelors||Masters|
Salary and Occupation
The range of salaries varies by occupation. Shortages, demands, and other economic factors can account for differences. Location is another factor that affects occupational salaries. The below-listed items describe some prominent occupations in the Web Design & Development field.
Web Design & Development Occupations:
- Web Designers have a wide range of important skills and contributions. They must use knowledge of design and computer programming to produce results. Designers produce and maintain websites including authoring, graphic designs, interface design, and establishing the user experience. They have responsibilities for site updates and responsiveness to changing conditions.
- Mobile web developers have the growing task of making websites useful for people that access the Internet through mobile devices. Across the globe, the rise of the use of mobile devices has changed the way people connect. Mobile development is an essential part of nearly every type of website presentation. Mobile users require design, interface, and interactive features made for their devices and platforms.
- Database Administrators use specialized software to organize, store and protect data. These critical roles include system administrators that keep operations moving smoothly, database architects that build infrastructure, database protection persons that make sure of backups and loss protection, and cybersecurity that prevent loss and provide recovery strategies.
- IT Analysts use analytic and design techniques to solve problems and remove barriers to maximum efficiency. In the age of technology and innovation, IT analysts often work in change and change management as systems require frequent updating to stay consistent with connected systems and meet growing needs for efficiency and security.
- Computer Scientists master knowledge about computer theory, information, computation, and fundamental applications. Computer scientists have many roles that use their in-depth knowledge of computers and computer networks. They can be database administrators, IT consultants that solve issues and problems, and they can manage large and complex systems.
- Software Engineers apply the principles of computer science, engineering, and mathematical analysis. They combine these important theories and techniques to design, develop, and test computers and computer systems. The result is that computer systems can reliably and accurately perform multiple layers of functions.
- Programmers make the critical connections of computer code that translate ideas and other content into usable images and points of interaction.
Annual Salary Range by Occupation
|Mobile Web Developer||-||-||-|
Important Questions to Ask (FAQ)
How long does it take to earn a Web Design & Development bachelor's degree online?
The typical online bachelor’s degree in web development takes about four years of full-time study. The typical range of completion of full web design and development degree programs is four to six years. Online students may approach the degree on a part-time basis, taking one course, or a few, at a time so as to continue working or handling other life obligations. Many schools set limits for completion in the range of six to eight years overall and this can increase students costs.
How much does a Web Design & Development bachelor’s degree cost?
The overall costs of tuition and living expenses can vary with the type of school and the residence status (in-state or out-of-state). The range of costs for a four-year degree from a private school is about $190,000. A four-year degree at a public school is about $85,000 for an in-state resident. The price rises to $145,000 for an out-of-state resident at a public school.
Does the school have the major(s) you’re considering?
University HQ strongly recommends aligning the degree and major field with the student’s career goals. The choice of school, degree program, and major should line up with future job and career goals. Not every college or university will have every major, so you need to check catalogs or call the department in question to ask about your preferred major, minor, or specialization.
How many students graduate “on time,” in four years?
The national trend in graduation is towards the five to six-year completion range. The current data show that private schools have a 53% on-time, graduation range and about 35% of public-school students complete in four years. At the six-year mark, the totals are 65% of private school students and 59% of public-school students.
What kind of accreditation does the program hold? How is it regarded in the field?
Regional accreditation is often considered the best and it has wide acceptance among employers and educators. Employers and schools nearly everywhere will accept regionally accredited degrees and credits. Accreditation is important for students, and University HQ recommends that students select schools with regional accreditation of the entire institution or the Web Design & Development program. Schools that do not have accreditation are not eligible for federal loan programs. Students must carefully select CHEA or DOE recognized accreditation.
Web Design & Development Scholarships
The Electronic Document Systems Foundation
Amount: Up to $5,000
Deadline: May 1
The EDSF scholarship program has assisted students since 1999. It supports the next generation of web designers and developers in the document management and graphic communication industry. This field encompasses every part of print and electronic document production. In addition to the foundation awards, the EDSF administers scholarships for Alliance Franchise Brands, Crawford Technologies, Franchise Services, Gimbel Advantage Preferred Group Publishing, HP, InfoTrends, The Hoods Memorial Fund, Konica Minolta Business Solutions, and OutputLinks Communications Group. Students may be able to apply for one or more scholarships with a single application. The application button is on the information link page.
The AIGA Worldwide Studio Scholarships
Deadline: April 16
The AIGA scholarship program supports minority students studying design disciplines in US colleges and universities. The goal of the program is to increase diversity in the creative professions. The program promotes environmental and social responsibility. Artists selected must demonstrate community activity and a willingness to give back to their respective communities. The program has a priority for economically disadvantaged applicants. A button on the application link page provides details on the application process and forms.
Out to Innovate Scholarships for LGBTQ+STEM Students
Amount: Up to $5,000 (2 Awards)
Deadline: June 3
The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals offers scholarships intended for academic support and encouragement of members of the LGTBQ community and people involved with promoting the welfare of that community. Eligible applicants include undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) programs who are either lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or -in some demonstrated sense- an active ally of the LGBTQ+ community.
Beyoncé Formation Scholars Scholarship Program
Amount:$25,000 (3 Awards)
The Lomonade program expands to include creative women students in creative studies. This can include design and graphics. The goal is to encourage bold thinking and aggressive pursuit of creative ideals and goals. The schools selected for participation are Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design and Spelman College. Interested applicants should get forms, applications, deadlines and other details from the participating schools directly.
DEED Technical Design Projects
Amount: Up to $5,000
This program offers scholarships and other types of aid including grants, research opportunities, and internships. The projects are technical design projects that provide mentored experience and professional achievement. Applicants must be full-time students at accredited colleges or universities in the US. The two annual application deadlines are in the spring and fall.
The ESA Foundation Scholarship Program
Amount: Up to $3,000
Deadline: December 15
The ESA Foundation supports students pursuing careers in Computer and Video Game Arts. This application of website development and design also uses graphic arts. The 2018-2019 program awarded 15 scholarships to graduating seniors and 15 scholarships to undergraduates. Applicants must be graduating seniors or enrolled in full-time undergraduate study. Applicants must also have a 2.75 GPA or higher and be enrolled in a four-year accredited college or university.
Professional Web Design & Development Organizations
American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA)
The AIGA has more than 70 active chapters and 25,000 members. It is the leading organization for advocacy and promotion of the graphic arts industry. The membership includes large professional concerns to individual hobbyists and enthusiasts. Everyone can participate in the education and learning resources of this global organization. This broad and diverse group has a student branch that offers educational resources, trends and industry information, and many opportunities for internships, projects, and networking.
Also known as the World Organization of Webmasters, this is a non-profit association supporting individuals and organizations engaged in creating or managing websites or marketing through websites. Students can benefit from the educational resources and industry movements. The advocacy programs seek better professional standards and communications among web professionals.
This is an association dedicated to promoting women participation in the web management and web creation industry. The association promotes professional development, employment, and entrepreneurship among women web professionals. Technology changes rapidly, and WEBgrrls provides up to date information for its membership. Students can benefit from networking and educational resources offered by this group.
Graphic Artist Guild
This is a dynamic organization for graphic designers and Web designers that seek to stay abreast of industry events and developments. The active advocacy positions cover public policy of concern to graphic artists in both business and civic roles such as health insurance for self-employed artists. Students can enjoy member benefits, publications, and more educational resources.
International Webmasters Association
International Webmasters Association is an advocacy and education group that promotes the webmaster profession and web professionals more generally. The group promotes improved professional standards and international cooperation. The IWA provided certifications for webmasters that add to salary and prestige for web professionals. The IWA welcomes students and offers access to valuable educational information and networking for aspiring web professionals.
Choosing an Accredited College
Accreditation is an independent review by an agency authorized by the US Department of Education. Accreditation looks at the faculty, resources, and quality of instruction. It is an assurance to the students, employers, and other educational institutions of educational quality and consistency. Accreditation has enormous consequences. For example, schools must be accredited by a Department of Education authorized agency to participate in the Federal Student Loan Program.
There are two major types; national accreditation and regional accreditation. The federal government and nearly every employer and school accept degrees, coursework, and college credits from regionally accredited schools. National accreditation works well, particularly for vocational schools. Regional accreditation is still the strongest type and it has two varieties.
Regional accreditation can assess and rate the entire institution (institutional accreditation), or it can rate a single department or program (programmatic accreditation). In the field of web design, schools with institutional and program accreditation offer the best combination.
Online vs. On-Campus vs. Hybrid
Today, students can choose the type of education that meets their needs, suits their resources, and agrees with their priorities. They can choose to attend full-time or part-time, select online or on-campus, and they can blend all the options for a customized program.
Online education makes a web development degree reachable for people that cannot live on or near a college campus. Online is perfect for people with jobs, businesses, or other obligations that they prefer to keep while obtaining a degree.
On-campus learning is the traditional approach, and it offers synchronous learning in which students gather at the same place and time to participate in coursework.
Does the College Have Post-Graduate Job Placement Help & Assistance?
Post-graduate job placement assistance is an important feature of a web development degree program. University HQ suggests strongly that students think through their educational experience and early career. The school that grants your degree is in an ideal position to provide job placement and career counseling.
Many schools offer extensive aid to graduating seniors and recent graduates. They include outreach to potential employers, job boards, scheduled interview sessions, interview prep, and career advisors to hone-in on interests and opportunities.
A school, college, or university can offer a wide range of resources to assist graduates in jobs and careers. The institution consists of a community of alumni, business sponsors, corporate partners, and a network of local and regional affiliations. When turned to help students, these resources can lead to valuable opportunities for internships, referrals, interviews, and hires.
Why You Need to Consider the Overall National Rankings of the College and The Effects on Your Career or Salary
University HQ recommends consideration of the school, college, and university rankings when selecting a web development degree program. College rankings can use various factors, but nearly all of them include the graduation rate, retention rate, and median salary of graduates. These factors paint an important picture of each student’s potential future. A school that supports its students well would have a high retention rate, that is to say, few dropouts, a high graduation rate because courses are available and well instructed, and an average salary figure that shows that the job market likes their product.
The impact on a career can be remarkable because the first job can set a tone for the early years of a career. The leading schools in nearly any category show a significant difference in salary over the national averages. Careers are long journeys, but a good beginning can be a difference maker.
The impact of rankings on salary can be impressive. Graduates from highly respected programs can have high demand in the business community. Rankings use factors like the awards and recognition earned by graduates, the job and success rates of graduates, and the retention and graduation rates within the school or program. In fields like Web Design which are relatively new and still emerging, the experience of the faculty can influence reputation. Web design is a hands-on type of profession and trends and innovation matter. Graduates from programs known for creativity and innovation can inspire a wider market for jobs, employment, and careers than those with more traditional approaches.
Computer Science & Career Paths