Web developers are responsible for building, maintaining and enhancing a website’s functionality. It’s important to note that web developers are different from web designers: web designers design the graphics and layout of a website, whereas web developers develop the code that creates and runs the website in the first place.
Prospective students looking to begin or expand upon their education in web development at an online college have a couple of options: they can enroll in an associate program, where they can learn about tools, technologies and practices at an introductory level, or a bachelor’s degree program, where they can receive more comprehensive instruction on multiple topics related to the industry. Both options have distinct advantages and may aid individuals in achieving their professional goals.
To help online and nontraditional students interested in web development find the school that can best suit their needs, OnlineColleges.com has put together this ranking of the 10 best online colleges for web development. We used data from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), analyzing data points such as acceptance rate and in-state tuition costs with our proprietary methodology.
To do their jobs properly, a web developer must have working knowledge of both the aesthetic and technical aspects of a website, as well as a strong grasp of programming and graphic design. Formal education through online programs for web development can help them get there, but how? This section will detail some of the oft-seen courses found in online web development programs, as well as the skills those courses may help to nurture in their students.
Though there are some certificates available in web development that can provide a starting point for a career, most aspiring professionals must have an associate degree in order to begin entry-level work in web development. An associate degree program can take up to two years, though accelerated programs might allow a hard-working student to finish their studies in 18 months. Students who embark on an associate degree program for web development may see some of the following courses:
Students who want to move into the workforce immediately can opt for an applied associate degree, which focuses on the courses students will need to start hands-on work. On the other hand, those aiming for a bachelor's degree may instead want to find an associate degree in web development that allows them to transfer their credits to a bachelor's program.
Online bachelor's degree programs in web development usually take up to four years to complete. These programs are expected to go in-depth with various aspects of web development, including a strong overview of programming languages and demanding graphic design courses. Courses encountered at this level might include:
Students should graduate from their online program with a substantial portfolio of work, serving as a representation of the work they can do as a web developer. Employers can base their hiring decisions on a variety of factors, but the portfolio is usually a prominent one, so students can expect several courses that focus on building that portfolio to be a competitive presentation of work.
Those who pursue online education in web development can look forward to honing a number of skills that will hold them in good stead during their career. Developing the ability to concentrate for long periods of time while upholding intense attention to detail is definitely required of web developers, as it can take many hours of careful work to write detailed code. That attention to detail is vitally important, as one tiny mistake in the midst of all those long lines of code can be enough to prevent an entire website from working properly.
Creativity is also vitally important, especially in a world where so many websites are competing to get attention online. Though web development is not graphic design and a corporation will often have creative designers to take point on this aspect, creativity can lead to a better portfolio and thus better hiring opportunities — and of course, a web developer working for a small company or as a freelancer will need to handle the creative and marketing aspects themselves. A freelance web developer will also need to develop customer service skills, as they will find themselves working directly with clients to varying degrees in order to make their vision for a website come to life.
As people figure out more ways for technology to be of use to companies and employers, more and more people are needed to use and handle that technology. Web development careers will likely continue to be solid pursuits for quite some time considering the rate at which they are growing, making a web development degree a valuable goal.
If you love technology but also enjoy being creative, web development might be the perfect field to pursue. Web developers deal with the technical and creative aspects of building a website. Not only do they create the look and feel of websites used by individuals and businesses, but they deal with technical details like performance, capacity and website speed, giving the web developer creative control over both aspects.
Earning an associate degree in web development is the most common way to begin this lucrative and exciting career. However, it is not the only path to this career: some entry-level positions may be achievable with a high school diploma and plenty of on-the-job experience, while conversely, some particularly technical employers may require a bachelor's degree.
When you have several departments made up of several people who are all performing several tasks on different computers within different networks, you need somebody who can organize all of that technology. These experts plan, coordinate and direct computer-related activities for their employer or organization in multiple ways:
Computer network support specialists provide back-end support to a variety of workers in various office settings. This role is vital to many organizations; it's no exaggeration to call these professionals the backbone of their organizations. They troubleshoot problems that occur with websites and computer networks; provide technical support to their colleagues; and perform regular network maintenance to ensure computer networks are running smoothly and efficiently.
Because this career can involve supporting such a wide variety of programs and machines, many educational paths can lead here. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some computer network support specialist careers begin with a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field, while others start with an associate's degree or some postsecondary education.