What Is the Best Degree Path to Becoming a Web Developer?

If you like both computers and visual art, a career in web design and development might be the right career path for you. Web design combines the technical skills of computer programming with the artistic skills of graphic design, which makes it one of the top 10 degrees for creative people. With a web design degree, you can get a job that puts your creative personality and natural attention to detail to work creating functional and aesthetically appealing websites, while earning a high salary for your work.

A Degree in Web Design

Perhaps you’ve always had an eye for good aesthetic design. To learn the technical skills you will need to become a successful web developer or web designer, though, you will need an education. Some entry-level positions may be available to self-taught candidates with a high school diploma, but many employers seek candidates with a formal college education, typically at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Web design and related fields, like multimedia design or media arts, are among the most popular majors for aspiring web developers. At either the associate’s or bachelor’s degree level, web design degree programs typically include the study of art and design principles and the web publishing tools, like Flash, that professionals use to create and modify websites and webpages. Students will develop a strong foundation in HTML programming language. An understanding of other programming languages, like JavaScript and SQL, can be helpful in making a web developer candidate more marketable, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Courses in graphic design, too, can prove useful.

Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in web design will spend more time – about twice as long – in school, taking general education courses that round out their education. Often, aspiring web developers benefit from taking courses in art history and business during their college career, especially if they, like one-quarter of all web developers, intend to work for themselves.

Alternatives to Studying Web Design

Studying web design will provide you with the graphic arts skills and knowledge of how to use publishing tools and basic programming languages, but it may not give you all of the skills you need for more technical positions, the BLS reported. If you enjoy the technical aspect of web design and think that you might want to someday move into a web architect position, studying computer science or computer programming at the bachelor’s degree level might be a better choice for you.

Web designers earn a median annual salary of $62,500, according to the BLS. They also have a very positive job outlook, with the BLS expecting opportunities in web design to increase by 20 percent over a decade. Of course, the work of creating and beautifying websites and webpages is itself satisfying for the creative individuals who seek out this career. So is the opportunity to continue learning new things – like evolving tools and programming languages – throughout their careers.

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