Can You Get a Degree in Web Development?

Web DevelopmentWhen it comes to getting a degree in Web development, you have a choice between a two-year degree and a bachelor’s degree in computer science. If you choose an associate’s degree in Web development, you will be qualified to do most Web programming jobs and all design jobs. However, your ability to be employed in the area of design is largely determined by your portfolio, past work and the school from which you graduated. If you want to focus on the design side of website creation, you should choose a good school and spend some time working on your portfolio. A good design school will cost more than a community college, and these schools typically don’t offer the computer science courses available at junior colleges and universities.

The Two Sides of Web Development

If you want to focus on the software development side of website building, you should at least get an associate’s degree in Web design from a two- or four-year college that offers computer science electives, and then you should take the relevant elective courses while getting your degree. Web development involves basic to intermediate programming skills and intimate knowledge of one or more Web frameworks, such as Django, Laravel or WebGL. If you want to do more advanced Web programming, you’ll need a computer science degree, which gives you training in algorithm design, data structures, data mining and object-oriented programming. Even if you choose to keep your student loan debt low by getting an associate’s degree, you should still understand the basics of data structures and algorithms, because part of your job as a Web programmer will be making your code as efficient as possible.

Efficient programming is even more important in the area of mobile application design. While Web developers can expect about 20 percent job growth over the next ten years, much of this growth is going to be due to the higher demand for mobile application development, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Writing mobile apps is a little different from writing Web apps, because smartphones run on batteries and use different memory management techniques at the operating system level. For example, the Android OS is based on Linux and the Java Virtual Machine, but programming for Android is somewhat different than general Linux or Java programming in that certain data types are very inefficient on Android and waste users’ batteries. When you’re writing Web apps, similar constraints apply, and your clients will be displeased if their bounce rates go up due to slow page-loading times, according to Kissmetrics.

Starting a Career in Web Design

It’s not necessary to be an expert programmer to work in Web design, and instead, you can focus on user interface (UI) design, user experience (UX) design, visual design, composition and color theory. To compete with other designers making websites for major clients, you will need a degree from a good school, an impressive portfolio and an excellent track record. Design school isn’t just a name on your résumé; it makes you a better designer by exposing you to other artists and providing feedback from teachers who are also artists.

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The field of Web development is wide open, and it only takes a two-year degree to get started designing Web interfaces and programming applications. If you love the feeling that comes from completing a well-crafted project, consider getting a degree in Web development.