Earning a Master's in Web Design Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in Web Design Online?

Working professionals across all industries can boost their careers and salaries by earning an online web design master's degree. Web professionals with an online master's in web design find work as senior web developers, computer information systems managers, and software engineers. Jobs that require or prefer candidates with master's degrees typically receive higher salaries. A web developer, for example, earns an annual median salary of $67,990, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

An online web design master's degree appeals to students who currently work full time in technology and need flexible school schedules. Students can watch lectures or find their assignments online without visiting campus. Employers in many fields, including education and advertising, need web professionals with advanced degrees to fill senior staff positions. Read on to learn what your future may hold after completing a web design master's degree online.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Web Design Graduates

Master's in Web Design Salary

Industry, location, and prior experience all come into play when determining salaries for online web design master's degree graduates. Salaries also rise as web professionals gain more work experience. Entry-level employees start off with a salary of $46,100 and working professionals with more than 10 years' experience earn an annual salary of $53,500, according to PayScale. To explore the other highest paying sectors, see the list below.

Master's in Web Design Careers

Employers across all industries need web designers with highly specialized skills. These professionals can find jobs that suit their personality, preferred work environment, and interests. Graduates land positions as user interface designers, marketing managers, and design managers. Some occupations require web professionals to work in teams, and others require employees to work independently on projects. Explore the careers below to see which jobs await graduates who hold an online master's in web design.

User Interface Designer

Annual Median Salary: $65,861

User interface designers work with the IT department to design and maintain interfaces for web applications. These designers must possess excellent knowledge of HTML, JavaScript, UI frameworks, and SCSS. They must demonstrate proficiency in common prototyping and design tools, and some employers require candidates to know Sketch, Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop, as well.

Design Manager

Annual Median Salary: $93,996

Professionals in these positions lead teams of UI designers as they create new web pages and update existing pages to make them more user-friendly and attractive. They also work with web development teams to create plans. Employers prefer to hire design managers with experience in web design, UX strategy, analytics, and visual design. Candidates should demonstrate proficiency in Sketch, SEO, and Google Analytics.

UI Developer

Annual Median Salary: $80,320

User interface developers do the work of web designers and web developers. They work with the UX team to provide technical guidance and work to maintain the quality and efficiency of codebases. UI developers must know JavaScript, React, Redux, Node.js, and Typescript. They should also boast expert experience in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Web Developer

Annual Median Salary: $67,990

A web designer and developer must know how to build a website using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. These professionals often handle websites' appearance and usability. Web designers must demonstrate some knowledge of code, while developers should know some design. Both should demonstrate proficiency in design tools such as Adobe, Photoshop, Sketch, and Illustrator.

Source: PayScale

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Web Design Program?

Web design master's degrees vary among colleges, with some institutions offering degrees in information technology or software engineering with web design concentrations. Curricula vary, as well, but their core classes usually bear similarities. Students typically take website design principles and advanced web programming classes. Read on to learn more about typical courses required of web design students.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Web Design

Website Design Principles

Students in this course hone their skills in coding HTML and CSS files. They also explore color principles and web layout designs. The class delves into information architecture and how to implement user experience into a website or UX, preparing students to become web designers and developers.

Corporate and Brand Identity

This class teaches students to conduct corporate and brand identity research and analysis. Students learn to use practical frameworks and strategies, which serve as the foundation to managing brands. The course equips students to develop brand proposals and strategies and to communicate a brand's identity through various graphic tools.

Advanced Web Programming

In advanced web programming courses, students strengthen their foundational knowledge of JavaScript and learn advanced layout techniques in CSS. They learn the client-side of JavaScript, including frameworks, design patterns, and debugging and error-handling. The course provides hands-on experience in designing and testing RESTful web services.

Research and Usability Testing

A research and usability testing course offers the hands-on training students need to find work as web developers or UI developers. Students learn to use research and usability testing in software development, conducting lab testing and remote online task-based studies for products and designs. They also learn to write test plans and present their findings.

Mass Communication Theory

This course covers mass media theories. Students learn to think critically and analyze mass communication research and theories, exploring how mass communications theories relate to web design and marketing. The course prepares students to work as marketing managers.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Web Design Prepares For

  • Adobe Certified Expert: This certification designates professionals as experts in Adobe programs. To receive certification, candidates must pass an exam and pay a fee. Adobe offers several exams in AEM 6 Architect, AEM 6 Developer, and Advertising Cloud Search Business Practitioner. Test-takers can go to a PSI location or take a test online.
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer - App Builder: This certification helps web professionals stand out from the pack by validating their skills in building mobile and web applications. Web professionals must demonstrate their abilities in universal Windows platform or web applications. Candidates must pass an exam and pay a fee.

Professional Organizations and Resources

Entry-level and seasoned web professionals can access educational courses and career opportunities by joining professional organizations. These organizations offer current students and recent graduates opportunities to meet future employers from all over, access to job boards, and entry into career fairs. Students often qualify for discounted memberships. The professional organizations listed below host networking events and career growth opportunities.

  • American Institute of Graphic Arts: Founded in 1914, AIGA boasts more than 25,000 members across the world, including students and business owners. The organization hosts events year-round, providing members discounted admission. Members also benefit from discounts to The Creative Group, Apple, and WeWork.

  • International Web Association: IWA, which began in 1996, represents members from more than 106 countries. The association sets industry guidelines and offers certifications in eCommerce, internetworking, and site design. Individuals can join IWA on a trial basis.

  • Web Professionals: WebProfessionals.org fosters a community for technical and creative professionals. Members access training resources, certifications, and error and omission insurance. The website also lists web design contests open to members.

  • Access Technology Higher Education Network: ATHEN serves professionals working in access technology in high schools or colleges. Members receive discounts to the Accessing Higher Ground Conference and can participate in virtual conferences and webinars at discount prices. Students receive discounted membership rates.

  • American Webmasters Association: Created in 2003, AWA works to unite people who manage, market, and create websites. All members can apply for AWA Awards for the best website. They also enjoy access to local chapter meetings and continuing education opportunities.

  • Association of Web Design Professionals: Tap into a worldwide directory of tech job listings and industry news. Anyone can join for free, but paying members receive unlimited access. AWDP also features a blog with tech information for working professionals.

  • World Wide Web Foundation (W3F): The W3F, created in 2009, began in an effort to create digital equality. The foundation features headquarters in London, Washington, D.C., and Jakarta and offers free access to research and publications.

  • Creative Market: Through Creative Market, web designers can access more than 29,000 design assets -- including graphic fonts, photos, and themes -- for free. Users can pay to download other assets, as well, such as Illustrator brushes, InDesign color palettes, and Photoshop Actions.

  • Pixeden: This website offers web designers access to galleries featuring free icons, vectors, and mock-ups. By joining and following Pixeden on social media, users can access print designs for resumes, logos, brochures, and business cards.

  • Unsplash: Find a free database of more than 850,000 high-resolution photographs. Users can join for free and download wallpapers and photographs, including images of current events, fashion, and travel. Web designers can use images for both noncommercial and commercial purposes.