Best Master's Degree in Web Design & Development

Oct 20, 2021

What Is a Master's in Web Design & Development Degree?

A web developer is responsible for how a website looks and the experience of navigating the website on the internet. A master's degree in web design and development provides the practical skills required to become a web developer and work in the industry. The degree teaches both aspects of development and design and prepares the student to deal with both client and server development. Students will learn to create websites using programming languages and frameworks. The degree also serves as a foundation for numerous careers and industries; it is seen as a great investment in one's career and future and may be a competitive option.

Common Undergraduate Degrees for Web Design & Development

A bachelor's degree in web development is not always necessary to become a web developer. However, some experience working with computers and programming languages may be a bonus. Hence, bachelor's degrees in computer science, communications or business can be very advantageous for students hoping to make a mark in this field. One may also substitute one's major with a specialization in web development or graphic design to learn some of the skills of design and development necessary for a graduate degree in this area.

Admissions Requirements for Web Design & Development Master's Programs

Most master's degrees in web design and development require a bachelor's degree from an accredited university with a minimum GPA of approximately 2.5. If the degree is not be in a field related to web development or information technology, students may be required to complete related coursework in areas such as network fundamentals and computer information systems. Other application materials for a Master's in Web Development and Design may include a statement of purpose, two to three letters of recommendations and a resume. GRE score requirements may vary depending on the program in question. Work experience may also be an advantage when trying to get admitted to a competitive program.

How to Choose a Master's in Web Design & Development Program

A master's degree typically takes one and a half to two years with approximately 35-40 credits . The field offers various specializations, and the professional market has different programming needs. The curriculum varies depending on the program, and checking out the particular specializations and courses offered before deciding on a program is always recommended. The program should also have good resources for professionalization such as regular recruitment drives, have proper accreditation and meet all industry standards.

Web Design & Development Master's Degree Courses

Some popular specializations for a Master's in Web Development and Design include server development and data communication networks. These courses teach the student about the interconnected nature of a field such as website development. Similarly, courses such as web analytics and database security teach the student to work with the vast amount of data that is gathered through information systems. While there are electives and specializations that a student can choose, a few foundational courses are required for the completion of the coursework.

Web Design & Development Foundational Courses

Foundational courses in web design and development usually focus on introducing the student to the basics of database design, digital design and layouts and application development. Usually, foundational courses differ depending on the focus of the particular program. Some common foundational courses in web development and design are:

  • Front End Web Development: This course focuses on teaching students the basics of programming languages such as HTML and JavaScript. Students learn how to build websites that respond to different browsers and interfaces.
  • Digital Forensics: This course teaches the basic tools of current forensic tools and techniques. Students hoping to work in cybersecurity will find this course exceptionally useful.

Web Design & Development Specialist & Elective Courses

Most programs will allow students to attend elective courses depending on individual interest and the specific career trajectory the student wishes to follow. Some common elective courses offered by programs include:

  • Business Data Communication Networks: This course will teach students the tools required for data communication among business platforms. Students also learn about business communication avenues, information security and community networks.
  • Health Informatics: This class prepares students to work in the healthcare industry, where workers have to deal with highly sensitive information and various levels of security regulations.

Licensure & Certification in Web Design & Development

Currently, no license is required to work as a web developer. However, in addition to a degree, there are a few certificates available that can strengthen the resume of a web developer. Some of these certificates include:

  • Google Developers Certification: Although not a prerequisite for jobs in this field, Google offers certificates in data management and development that can add to the resume of any web developer.
  • Adobe Web Certification: Adobe provides certification in systems assessment, specific adobe systems and architectural analytics. The certification requires prior completion of certain Adobe courses and work experience and is valid for two years. The certificate attests to the holders' ability to work with different Adobe solutions.

Post-Graduate Options After Master's in Web Design & Development

Most students with a degree in web design choose to work within the industry. While most universities do not offer a Ph.D. in Web Development or Design, depending on one's background and interest in higher education, a Ph.D. in software engineering with a specialization in web development or game development may be an option. A Ph.D. will allow the holder to teach the subject at a postsecondary level. A master's degree in web development can also be a steppingstone for a creative MBA such as an MBA in design leadership. With an MBA after a degree in web design, graduates can work in the business and management side of this industry.

What Can I Do with a Web Design & Development Master's Degree?

Graduates in web development and design are part of one of the fastest growing industries in the United States today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth in this field is 8% between 2019-2029, which is higher than the average growth for most professions in the country. The degree prepares learners for various different fields of work, including cloud computing, software programming and game design. Hence, there are multiple directions one can go with a degree in web design and development. Some common industries in which graduates get hired include cybersecurity, digital marketing, UX design, full-stack web development and information systems management.

Job Outlook for a Master's in Web Design & Development

With a degree in web design and development, one can work in data science, software engineering or information systems. A common job for a graduate is a software engineer, which is responsible for developing software, applications and systems. In this age of digital technology, there is a high demand for software engineers with a projected growth of 22% in the next ten years by the BLS.

How to Become a Web Developer

Whether working for a company or freelancing, there are a number of steps to becoming a web developer. A degree in web design and development is necessary to teach one the fundamentals of web development, programming languages and design. Once these skills have been accumulated, the learner will need to build a portfolio. Many students choose to build a portfolio through work done during internships, externships, freelancing and volunteering. These jobs provide practical experience, a portfolio and a solid resume--all prerequisites to getting hired as a web developer. According to the BLS, the median salary of a web developer is $73,760 per year. Moreover, this is a growing field with a projected growth rate of 8% between 2019-2029, which is much faster than most jobs in the United States. This is also a field where working remotely is a prevalent option, thereby providing a lot of lifestyle flexibility for developers.

How to Become a Game Developer

A game developer is responsible for bringing the designer's ideas and concepts to digital reality in the form of a playable game. This is a job that requires a lot of technical creativity and passion, thereby also making it a very satisfying career. For this role, extensive knowledge of programming languages is a prerequisite. Hence, a degree in a related subject such as web design and development or software engineering is required. After the completion of the degree, it is necessary to build a portfolio that showcases one's skills adequately to prospective employers. There are numerous career options available within this field, including designers and programmers. Depending on the role, level of experience, and location, salaries can range from $49,000 to $107,000.

Master's in Web Design & Development Program Financial Aid & Scholarship Resources

Depending on the school in question, a degree in web development and design can be very expensive. As a professional degree, this master's provides a lot of career opportunities and is highly valued. A typical program can approximately cost $2000-$5000, and the cost can double with if the student is out of state.

Many schools offer merit or need based scholarships to offset the cost of attending school. Hence, it is always useful to check for university specific scholarships and aid. It is also recommended to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid with specific schools in question. The FAFSA offers loans for master's programs based on need and the length of the program which can offset the expenses of a master's degree.

There are also a number of competitive scholarships available for students in web development, such as the AP-Google Scholarship Program, CBC Spouses Visual Arts Scholarship and Design Crowd Scholarship for Innovation.

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