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Online Colleges for Web Design

The web design field has become a critical component to today's technology workforce. Often working hand in hand with web developers, software engineers and other IT professionals, web designers focus on the more creative aspects of a web site's look and feel and often have stronger backgrounds in graphic design or multimedia art than their technical counterparts. Web designers often work under the pressure of production schedule deadlines and requirements for highly creative and innovative work.

In order to be successful they must possess an aptitude for creative, innovative thinking, effective communication, problem-solving and a strong familiarity with the technical aspects of web design. Fortunately, for those interested in web design careers, employers are seeking web designers in great demand as more and more organizations and companies are focusing their marketing, communication and advertising efforts on the internet. It's not enough for these organizations to have just a web site anymore - web sites must be easy to navigate, contain up-to-date and thorough information, and draw in customers' attention in an interactive way.

An Overview of Online Web Design Classes

In order to work in the web design field, a bachelor's degree is usually required but an associate degree can help lead to a web design career as well. Whereas someone with a bachelor's degree in web design could more easily advance to managerial positions, someone with an associate degree might start as an assistant web designer. Web design programs vary from an associate in graphic design to a bachelor's in fine arts or even a bachelor's in information technology, with a focus in web development. Online web design degrees often focus on both art and technical aspects of web site creation, including HTML, CSS and other web design computer languages, creating a visually appealing web layout, and how to incorporate color, style, graphics and animation. As part of a web design program, many students could create their own portfolios containing examples of their work to present to potential employers upon graduation.

When students graduate from traditional or online web design programs, they often go to work for specialized design services that are responsible for creating and publishing online advertising and marketing materials. Some will work specifically in communications, developing online communications strategies. Others will begin work as freelance web designers for small business and start-up companies, as a supplement to another full-time, salaried job. Because organizations in just about every industry have web sites, web design graduates can easily combine their expertise in web design with another passion, such as fashion or education.

Career Options for Web Designers

While most graduates of web design programs continue on in web design careers, career options as animators, game designers, motion picture or video designers, webmasters and web developers exist as well. While employment of graphic designers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, demand is especially high for those with web design experience, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of May 2010, there were 192,240 graphic designers working in the U.S. While general graphic designers earned mean annual wages of $48,140, those in the computer systems design and related services category earned higher salaries of $56,000.

Online Degrees vs. Certificates for Web Design - What's Better for You?

If you're considering a career in web design, you may be wondering whether you need to earn an online web design degree. After all, there are a variety of online web design certificates covering everything from web design fundamentals to specific programming languages. Whether or not you choose to earn a degree depends on your personal and career goals. If you're hoping to master the fundamentals of web design and add credence to your resume, earning an online web design degree could be beneficial. However, if you're already working in the industry, you may want to consider earning online web design certificates in order to sharpen your skills and stay up-to-date with current technology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, educational requirements for web designers and web developers can vary depending on their job responsibilities (BLS.gov/ooh, 2012).

If you're already working in the industry, your employer may be willing to pay for the completion of online web design certificates that make you more valuable. If you don't work in the industry, you could use your certificate training to gain employment as a web designer for small businesses, web design freelancer, or web design assistant. If you earn an online web design degree, you may be able to gain employment as a web designer, web developer, or website content manager. See  online IT colleges for more degree and career options.

Online Degree Programs in Web Design

Web designers use their skills and expertise to create functional and innovative website designs that meet the specifications of their clients. Online web design classes teach students to use a variety of design-related computer software programs including Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks. As a web design major, you'll learn the tools and technology needed to understand the language of web design as well as general career development skills that are relevant to this industry.

Online Associates in Web Design 

Students who take online web design classes in pursuit of an associate degree will first learn the fundamentals of web design. Online web design classes can help students understand the creative process as they learn the technical skills needed to create functional and attractive websites. Topics covered include HTML, page layout, content analysis, ecommerce, and online security.

The following table provides an in-depth look at concepts associate degree students will learn in online web design classes:

Photoshop

Gain an overview of Adobe Photoshop, a leading imaging program.

Digital Photography

Learn digital photography basics, such as lighting, camera angles, and perspective.

Color Theory

Study how digital color works, and how the proper use of digital color can bring websites to life.

Logo Design

Learn the history of logo usage and creation as well as proper logo creation techniques.

Typography

Examine the art and science of typography and how it can be applied to web design.

*Sessions College, Online Associate Degree Program in Web Design


Online Bachelor's in Web Development

Students working toward a bachelor's degree in web design may take advanced courses in programming languages such as HTML, JavaScript, CSS, PHP, HTTP and Actionscript. Top colleges for web design also offer courses in graphic communications, digital illustration, web content design, and digital publishing.

The following table provides an in-depth look at concepts bachelor's degree students will learn in online web design classes:

Networking Fundamentals

Study networking basics with an emphasis on local and wide area networks. Students will also learn about web servers, services, and network security.

Animation

Learn to incorporate graphics, motion, animation, and sound into website design.

Operating Systems

Gain a basic overview of operating systems including DOS, Windows 9x(95 and 98), Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Unix.

Computer Systems

Learn computer science basics and software engineering concepts.

Google Adwords

Learn how to harness the power of the world's largest search engine in order to maximize search engine traffic and website advertising potential.

*Champlain College, Website Design and Development Bachelor's Degree

 


Sources:

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition," Information Security Analysts, Web Developers, and Computer Network Architects, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts-web-developers-and-computer-network-architects.htm#tab-1
  2. Champlain College, Website Design and Development Bachelor's Degree, 2013, http://www.champlain.edu/computer-sciences/online-web-design-development-degree
  3. Sessions College, Online Associate Degree Program in Web Design, 2013, http://www.sessions.edu/degree-programs/web-design

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