Since nearly every business and organizations wants a thriving online presence, pursuing a bachelor's degree in web development may prove beneficial to those who enjoy design, technology, and troubleshooting.
The following page summarizes web development as a field, including themes and concepts covered in undergraduate programs, and it examines the difference between web development and closely related fields such as software development and web design. Read on to learn more about why a bachelor's degree might represent a good investment, which skills and knowledge you can acquire in web development programs, and how to select a program to help advance your career.
Web developers build, shape, and improve the visitor experience and performance of websites. While web design and web development require overlapping skill sets, these jobs are not synonymous. For the most part, developers employ analytical skills, and designers employ creative ones. Also, web developers produce the code that enables full functionality behind the front-facing work of web designers -- but keep in mind, there's more to web development than coding.
What's more, casual speakers may confuse web development with software development. While both software developers and web developers use programming languages to write code, software developers work on the programs used by computer systems, while web developers write code specifically for user-facing websites. Software developers typically study computer science and theory in depth; web development generally requires a more limited set of skills.
The sections below outline program outcomes and career prospects for graduates with an online web development degree. While each program highlights its own specialties and distinguishing characteristics, you can expect top ones to offer a similar set of fundamental skills and core competencies. The best universities and colleges provide aspiring web developers with an affordable and strong foundation for career success in a cluster of related occupations and fields.
Undergraduate programs in web development obviously teach technical skills, such as web design, programming, and debugging. But they also supply students with cross-functional and communication skills, like translating technical concepts for clients and non-technical team members, and interacting with content writers, graphic designers, and project managers.
Finally, a solid undergraduate education in web development equips learners with the research skills necessary to keep up with emerging technologies and tools. Indeed, since web development leaves little margin for error -- one misplaced bracket or semicolon in the code, for example, can disrupt the operation of an entire website -- success in the field requires ongoing autodidactic research for problem solving, as well as patience and attention to detail.
Experienced web developers may apply their skills and competencies to other fields or industries such as multimedia art and animation, product design, or web security. Likewise, developers interested in the business aspects of websites or in human-computer interaction may move into web business analysis, consulting, or user experience design roles.
Building transferable skills establishes a secure foundation for future educational pursuits and career development. With the proliferation of popular mobile devices, the rapid growth of e-commerce platforms, and the continuing expansion of remote work opportunities, graduates of bachelor's programs in web development can look forward to expanded opportunities for career success inside or outside of technology fields.
While an online web development degree can prepare you for a career in the tech industry, it also provides several transferables skills that lend themselves to work in other fields and industries. For instance, web developers may work in IT project management, web business analysis, multimedia art and animation, software development, and web application security. With additional experience, developers may advance into senior supervisory roles, consulting positions, and independent freelance design or development work.
Annual Median Salary: $58,343
Web developers write code, debug, and optimize performance for web applications and websites. Their responsibilities include scripting, usability, accessibility, updates, maintenance of databases, and keeping up-to-date on new frameworks, technologies, and web tools.
Annual Median Salary: $72,026
Mobile web applications developers build, test, and maintain applications for mobile devices. Working closely with QA, they handle coding, technical problem solving, adapting applications for new requirements, and cross-platform issues.
Annual Median Salary: $72,736
User interface and experience developers research and design front-end web user environments. In consultation with clients and stakeholders, they gather requirements, interview technology users, evaluate prototypes, and establish priorities for web projects.
Annual Median Salary: $68,848
Front end developers handle coding, debugging, and implementation for the interactive and visual elements of web applications. Their responsibilities include interpreting design requirements, creating project plans, and technical performance optimization.
Annual Median Salary: $51,960
Webmasters build, maintain, and administer websites; their duties overlap with those of web designers and developers. Their responsibilities vary considerably and can include design, layout, updates, cross-browser compatibility, and backups.
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