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An online web development degree can be a great choice for students interested in technology, computer programming, and design, but the degree is not for everyone. On this page, you can explore web design degrees in more detail and ultimately decide if the field fits your interests and career goals. This guide can help steer your search for high-quality, affordable web design programs.
This guide offers an overview of the field and explains the many jobs and industries that students can pursue after earning their web design and development degree online. Below, you can also learn about web design curricula along with salary expectations for graduates.
What is Web Design?
Web design involves the development, creation, and maintenance of web pages. Web designers, sometimes called web developers or webmasters, create a website's outward appearance and write the underlying code that makes the site function. Some web developers work in-house at companies. These developers work on a particular website or set of websites, building new pages and updating the site as necessary. Other web designers work for businesses that build websites for a variety of different clients. Additionally, many web designers work independently to develop and administer websites for their customers.
Online web development degree programs appeal to many students because they offer a great deal of career flexibility. While many web design graduates go on to build websites for a living, they may do so for a variety of organizations and industries. Today, most organizations boast a web presence, meaning that most businesses employ web developers in some way. For example, students particularly passionate about cars may find a web development job at a dealership, automotive parts manufacturer, or car company.
In addition, web development programs may allow students to pursue specialized careers in the web design field. Students trained in coding can become back-end web developers who build the underlying structure of a site. On the other hand, visually creative learners might decide to work as a front-end developer and design a site's appearance.
Web development programs also ready graduates for technology fields outside of web design, such as computer programming and software development.
What Can I Do with an Online Web Design Bachelor's Degree?
While each web design bachelor's degree boasts slightly different courses, projects, and focus areas, many programs cover essentially the same topics. Web design students build the technical skills they need to create websites and also learn about broader concepts in information technology and software development. The following sections explore the skills that web design students develop along with the jobs that graduates pursue.
Skills and Knowledge Gained
Web development degree programs online explore web design and many other IT-related subjects. Through more general information technology courses, students examine database management, fundamentals of computer networks, and operating systems.
Additionally, accredited web development programs often include a substantial graphic design component. Through introductory graphic design classes, students learn to design common web images like buttons and backgrounds. Students also practice with popular photo editing software. Advanced graphic design courses teach students to communicate ideas through visual methods.
Web design students may also learn about the business side of web development. Courses on retail internet business explore e-commerce enterprises and teach students to build retail-focused websites.
Since web development degrees provide graduates with a skill set that they can apply to many jobs and industries, students should consider focusing their studies on the career they are most passionate about. For example, learners interested in cybersecurity might decide to take electives on systems security, information assurance, or ethical hacking. Students considering a career in software development may opt for additional classes in mobile application development, software engineering , or advanced programming languages.
Alternatively, students interested in a broader career in IT can choose an information technology degree that offers a web design specialization. Students should also keep in mind that they can build job skills through summer internships, clubs, and extracurricular activities.
Careers and Salary Potential
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information technology positions are projected to increase by 13% between 2016 and 2026, leading to over 550,000 new jobs. The best online web development degrees enable students to take advantage of this rapid growth and find a job in many industries. The list below details some common fields for web design graduates.
- Computer Systems Design and Related Services: Companies in this field develop and maintain custom computer systems for their clients. Web design and development online degree-holders possess the skills to program these systems and create internal web portals.
- Marketing, Advertisement, and Public Relations: Marketing and advertising companies promote products, while public relations firms manage a company's image. Web developers in this field may build web pages as part of an advertising or PR campaign.
- News, Media, and Other Publishing Industries: Magazines, newspapers, and other media outlets regularly publish their content to the web. Developers who work in the publishing industry may manage a publication's website and upload new articles.
- Nonprofit: Nonprofit organizations work to advance a cause rather than generate revenue. They raise money, host events, and award grants. Web developers may administer sites that promote the organization's viewpoint and provide information on its activities.
- Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services: Consulting firms advise businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies in a variety of areas. They need web developers who can build websites to promote their services.
Annual Median Salary : $69,430
Web developers use programming languages to build the back end of a site and design its appearance. They consult with clients to learn about their vision for the site along with any special capabilities the site needs.
Annual Median Salary : $84,280
These professionals take directions from software developers and write programs using languages like C++ and Java. They test programs to find bugs, fix mistakes, and update codes.
Annual Median Salary : $105,590
Software developers design operating systems and computer applications, such as games and databases. They may write code themselves or give instructions to computer programmers.
Graphic Designer, Web
Annual Median Salary : $47,406
Web graphic designers help web developers plan the look of a website. They manipulate words, videos, images, and other visual elements to create attractive web pages that convey an organization's message.
User Experience Designer
Annual Median Salary : $73,579
These professionals make sure that end users can easily navigate a software application or operating system. They work with developers to ensure that programs are simple, visually pleasing, and functional.
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