Web development doesn’t easily boil down to a single job description. At big media companies, for example, the web development “team” will often include a spectrum of people from database administrators and drupal or php experts, who work on the functional “back end” of sites, to usability experts and project managers who help create web businesses, but don’t actually touch any back end website code.
Other Key Specialties In Computer Tech:
Basically, web developers are the people to take an online business concept and turn it into a real functioning website. They’re usually seen as distinct from web designers, who work on the graphic appearance of a site. Developer salaries can vary a great deal, because job openings exist everywhere from giant corporations to fairly small businesses, and even on down to local bakeries, who can hire a freelance developer to create a website. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the median wage for a web developer at just over $75,000., but this is based on a very broad definition of the specialty.
In a web development degree program, you can expect training to become the “go-to” person in charge of building and integrating all the pieces of a website — and then keeping them running smoothly. You’ll get a basic foundation in the process of analyzing online design layouts, business plans and wireframes, and then creating the building blocks that actually bring them to life.
That can involve integrating a full range of front-end reader tools and navigation, as well as setting up back-end content management systems, database programs, web analytics and many other elements that go into the typical website today. If you wind up working for a very large company, the odds are good that you’ll work more as a specialist in content management, database administration or some other particular area. The smaller the company you work for, the more likely it is that you’ll be involved in every aspect of website creation from “soup to nuts.”
Dev Degrees Go By Many Names
Historically, web development has often been taught as a sub-specialty of broader degrees in information services or computer science. There are also some degree programs that combine the “artistic” aspects of web design with more technical development courses. But because the back-end construction of websites is becoming so complex, website “dev” has become more and more of a free-standing specialty (one which happens to be very in-demand). But strictly speaking, a computer technology degree with a sub specialty in development, a combo design and dev degree or a degree that’s simply titled “web development” can all lead you into fairly similar career paths.
What You’ll Learn
One of the more interesting aspects of web development is that is cuts across lots of different knowledge sets. All that variety can help keep you from getting bored. At the same time, because you tend to get a broad foundation, there’s often opportunity to try several different things then specialize later on with the help of on the job experience or a master’s degree.
A bachelor degree that’s specialized in this area will include (beyond the standard foundation of humanities courses that are involved in any BA or BS) introductions to a wide range of programming languages like Java, Visual BASIC, ActionScript and HTML, and courses in:
- System Development
- Database Programming
- Digital Security
- Interactive Design
- Linux / Unix
- Usability Design & Testing
- Server-Side Programming
- Enterprise Applications
Why Go For A Bachelor’s Degree In Web Development?
Most web developers have at least an associate’s degree. But a bachelor’s in web development can provide greater job opportunities with larger companies. Technology is a quirky business – it’s always possible that a highly talented programmer can advance without a lot of formal training (witness the cases of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, neither of whom finished college). For most people who are smart but not geniuses, however, it’s safe to assume that the higher the pay for a development job, the more likely it is that an employer will be looking to fill it with somebody who’s got at least a bachelor’s degree.
An added reason that a bachelor’s degree can be of value is that it will require you to take a foundation of humanities-type courses in communication, psychology and other non technical subjects. As a tech “gear head,” you might consider these a waste of time. But the fact is that web developers tend to interface a great deal with non-technical people like sales, marketing and financial managers, and communication skills can be important if you hope to advance your career. Many SVP’s of web development actually spend more time discussing profit margins and other business concepts with other corporate managers than they do programming anything. It’s a key reason that bachelor’s and master’s degrees in this specialty often include courses in presentational speaking and team dynamics.
If you’re interested in all aspects of website creation, and have a desire to keep getting involved in new things like online video, social media, international web design and every-changing issues in digital security, this can be a specialty worth considering.
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