What to expect from Web development schools
Website creation can involve at least three equal aspects: the visual, the technical and the software. Web developers tend to focus on the visual aspects of website creation, unlike Web programmers, who tend to focus on the technical side. Both Web designers and Web programmers may be required to understand database administration or create website software.
Programs at the bachelor's and associate degree, as well as certificate, level are offered, as well as a master's degree in Web development and design. However, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes (BLS.gov/ooh, 2012), the education requirements of a Web developer can vary, depending on where they are employed and the type of work they do. Some Web designers may need to have an understanding of HTML or SQL, while others may only need a degree in graphic design and some coding experience. Some employers may require Web designers to have degrees in both subjects.
Web design classes, by their nature, translate well to online delivery. Online Web design schools can allow students who have already completed a related degree, such as a degree in graphic design or computer programming, to complement their education with the skills needed to design and develop a website. Such schools may also offer students currently working the option to earn a degree without sacrificing their employment.
Skills for Web developing
Working in tandem with Web programmers, Web developers and designers focus on search engine optimization (SEO) and the end-user experience by creating the look, feel and "voice" of a website. This can involve laying out the flow of a website, choosing the appropriate website tools, and deciding how to integrate graphics and audio, as well as creating and using website programs for retail checkout and site security.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov/ooh, 2012), website developers can benefit from possessing both problem-solving and customer-service skills, as the needs of a website's visitors may not be easily resolved or addressed. Web developers can also benefit from having a strong sense of creativity and ingenuity, as the artistic layout of the website can require as much artistic design as creating a magazine page or an advertisement. As Web developers may find themselves working with Web programmers in order to meet the needs of the website's users, Web developers should have a strong sense of teamwork as well.
What software developers can expect to use
In addition to needing creativity, Web designers may also need to understand how to use website programs such as Proto.io, which can help Web designers preview and analyze their Web pages to optimize for search-engine ranking and user experience, or jQuery, which can take care of the "nuts and bolts" of website programming, allowing developers to focus on website design. Software such as Gridset and Basecamp can bring both the traditional graphic design aspects of print publishing into the website creation process and provide smooth project collaboration among multiple people.
However, as developments in the computer industry occur often, Web designers may need to stay up to date with not only the latest programs and software available to them but also the different types of programming languages and SEO guidelines.
Potential career opportunities for Web developers
According to the BLS, from 2010 to 2020, Web developers (along with information security analysts and computer network architects) are expected to experience an employment growth of up to 22 percent, nationally (BLS.gov/ooh, 2012). The employment growth of Web developers is expected to be a result of the continuing increase in e-commerce. As companies continue to expand into the online world, Web designers should be needed to help create, maintain and redesign websites. Web designers with knowledge of multiple programming languages as well as multimedia tools may have the best job prospects.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2012, Web developers earned a national median annual wage of $62,500 (BLS.gov/oes, 2013).
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Information Security Analysts, Web Developers, and Computer Network Architects - http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts-web-developers-and-computer-network-architects.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012, Web Developers, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151134.htm