Online Web Development Degree Overview
An online degree in web development is perfect for students looking to program the next hit mobile app, design websites, or become a master coder. These programs are offered throughout the country and can help kickstart a career in web development. In this article, the various types of degrees and concentrations, as well as industry certifications available for those looking to explore a career in web development will be examined.
Students enrolled in online web development degree programs have the potential to gain transferable skills such as effective communication, creativity, customer service, attention to detail, problem-solving, and the ability to stay abreast of industry trends and evolving technologies.
Online web development degrees are available at every degree level. They are usually fully remote or offered through a hybrid curriculum of both in-person and online classes. Students should have access to a computer and the internet to utilize essential digital learning tools for optimal learning, such as video instruction, email communication, and forums.
Online Associate Degrees in Web Development
An online associate degree in web development will require less time than a bachelor's degree to complete. However, it won't provide the same level of education or hold the same weight when it comes time to apply for jobs. An associate degree can be a good option for those who are seeking entry-level employment or are looking to transfer into a four-year program in the future.
Typically, an online associate degree in web development is a two-year program and students are likely to obtain either an Associate of Science (AS), Associate of Applied Science (AAS), or an Associate of Arts (AA).
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Web Development
Like an on-campus bachelor's degree, an online bachelor's degree program in web development will typically take four years to complete but can offer more flexibility than a standard on-campus degree. A requirement of about 120 credits can be expected to earn an online bachelor's in web development as students will need to complete general education, major core, and concentration-specific courses before graduating.
Typically, a bachelor's degree in web development culminates in a Bachelor of Science (BA), although some programs may offer a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS), as well. Additionally, some program graduation requirements require that students compile and present their work in a digital portfolio.
Online Master's Degrees in Web Development
Students may choose to pursue a master's degree in web development in order to enhance their industry expertise or advance in their careers. More specifically, an online master's degree program for web development can provide working professionals a flexible learning opportunity that allows them to attend school without putting their careers on hold.
For those looking to receive a graduate-level education in web development, there are a number of programs that offer online courses. Programs will require a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, and some may have a standard GPA requirement usually around 3.0. Students should expect to complete 36-40 credits to earn this degree and a commitment of around 1-2 years. Students that receive this degree will have mastered web developing programs and will have a strong understanding of both web design and development.
An online master's degree in web development or a related subject area typically culminates in a Master of Science (MS). Other degree programs, such as mass communication with a concentration in web design, may result in a Master of Arts (MA) instead.
Online Doctoral Degrees in Web Development
Students with master's degrees in web development may decide to obtain a postgraduate degree in web development or a similar program. Doctoral degrees are the highest degree level that students may obtain to become experts in their field. Many postgraduate students pursue doctorates for career opportunities in research or teaching roles at colleges and universities.
Finding the right online doctoral program may be difficult as there are far fewer available than undergraduate and master's degrees. However, some schools may offer a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in computer science that will cover some aspects of web development. These degrees typically have a GPA requirement of around 3.0 and students may need to complete pre-candidacy examinations, field research, and a dissertation manuscript that must be turned in before graduating.
Students can expect most doctoral programs to include a rigorous curriculum of about 45-60 credits and take about three to five years to complete.
Online Certificates in Web Development
Students may obtain web development certificates at the undergraduate or graduate level in order to improve their skill sets or gain new skills, advance in their careers, or increase their knowledge in niche web development and design topics. Many colleges offer certificate programs fully online for more flexible learning. Generally, certificate programs include 12-18 credits of core web development topics and can be completed in about a year.
Students tend to have plenty of options when it comes to enrolling in web development certificate programs. Examples of common online certificate program titles include Mobile and Desktop Web Developer, Front-End Web Development, or User Experience.
Web Development Specializations/Concentrations
Online bachelor's degrees in web development tend to vary by school, but whether a student attends fully online or in a hybrid curriculum of in-person and online courses, the following concentrations may be offered at the bachelor-level:
- Web Design/Graphic Design
- Digital Production
- Computer Networking
- Information Systems
Web development deals with coding, creating, and designing web sites, but those aren't the only areas one may specialize in. Coding and creating is the backbone of the industry as without coders there would be nothing to design. These professionals are known as back-end developers. Others may specialize in graphic design and the look of the site; these coders are known as front-end developers. Others may concentrate on information security and computer science. The area a student may choose to focus on depends on where their interest lies, and the type of degree they choose to pursue.
Likewise, many online bachelor's degree programs offer broader curriculums that draw from each of these common tracks for a more comprehensive study of web development practices and perspectives.
Curriculum/Coursework for a Web Development Degree
Common courses one might take while earning this degree are as follows:
- Web Scripting
- Information Security
- Database Management Systems
- Web Architecture
- Organizational Behavior
How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Bachelor's in Web Development?
Full-time students can typically complete their bachelor's degree web development programs in four years. Part-time students often take about five years to obtain their degree. However, program durations may vary for several reasons, such as whether students enroll in summer course offerings, or if they are required to fulfill other program requirements (internships, workshops, or seminars).
Depending on the school, online courses may be deliverable in an eight-week or 12-week format, and some programs allow students to pursue an accelerated dual degree. Dual degree programs are usually longer than an average bachelor's degree program and shorter than a graduate degree, however, students typically graduate with both a bachelor's and a master's degree.
How to Choose a Web Development School & Program
When prospective students are deciding what school to attend for web development, there are key aspects they should consider in their search for the best program. For example, students should review the admissions criteria to determine if they meet the academic standards for consideration into various web development programs, such as a minimum GPA, prerequisites, etc.
Since web development programs differ from school to school, students may also want to review program websites to see if they offer specific concentrations, a broad range of courses that would allow them to meet their academic and professional goals, and internship opportunities for practical experience in the field.
Additionally, students should ensure that the schools they're applying to are accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization, particularly if they intend to apply for financial aid or scholarships. Students may also want to consider the professional resources or job placement tools the schools offer to assist them upon graduating from their programs.
For further guidance, students can contact an academic advisor at their prospective school to learn more about different programs or connect with students who are currently enrolled to gain a better understanding of the program curriculums and learning outcomes.
Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Web Development Degrees
Students looking to pursue a career in web development want to be sure the college or university they plan on studying at is accredited. Generally, employers will only be looking to hire candidates with degrees from accredited schools. Likewise, students who are seeking financial aid or scholarship opportunities are required to attend an accredited college or university to qualify.
On the homepage of most college and university websites, there will be information on which organization the school is accredited by. Some of the organizations include the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Some specific schools or degree programs within a higher learning institution will be accredited by an organization in the field the school represents, such as the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS) which may accredit computer science and IT degrees.
Students who wish to find out more about a school or program's accreditation may search the U.S. Department of Education's database of accredited colleges and universities or visit their college or humanities program website for details.
Web Development Licensure & Certification
Most undergraduate programs will offer training and certification for programs such as Python and ComTIA Linux+, which can be earned at the same time as a degree. These certifications are necessary for those looking to be successful and land a job in the field of web development as they show employers that the candidate is proficient with the required programs.
However, if the college or university a student chooses to attend does not offer such certifications, the companies that created these programs offer training and certification. For example, Microsoft offers a Microsoft Technical Assistant Associate (MTA) certification and training course that tests and certifies one's ability with the coding program Python.
Web Development Career Information
There are plenty of careers available for those who choose to study web development. A degree in web development will open doors for those who wish to become software engineers, coders, web designers, and even webmasters. Some careers may seem very similar, such as web developers and web architects, but subtle differences can require different degrees and certifications. It's important to research different careers before choosing which degree to pursue.
Some of the careers one can pursue with a bachelor's degree in web development are as follows:
- Applications Manager
- Web Application Developer
- Web Designer
- Front-End Developer
- Back-End Developer
- Web Producer
- Web Programmer
- Full-Stack Developer
How to Become a Front-End Developer
How to Become a Webmaster
A webmaster is someone who oversees a website after it has been developed and is fully operational. Webmasters, in most cases, aren't responsible for coding or designing websites but a basic understanding of coding languages is needed. In this role, responsibilities include updating content, responding to customers, and the overall managing and running of a website. Employers will look for candidates who completed a degree in computer science or web design, and who are also certified in several coding languages. This position usually requires one or more years of experience in computer science, web development, or a related field. According to the BLS web master's make a median salary of $73,760 per year.
Professional Organizations in Web Development
After completing a degree in web development, professionals may wish to join an organization of other professionals in their field for support, assistance, and other benefits. WebProfessionals.org is one such group that offers its members access to experts, discounts on webinars and training as well as notifications of job opportunities. For students, the cost to join is $29.00 and applications can be found on the organization's website. One international group that is composed of web professionals is the International Web Association (IWA). With more than 300,000 members IWA provides members educational programs and certifications as well as employment resources. IWA offers a free trial period before becoming a paid member at a cost of $49.00 per year.
Financial Aid and Scholarship Information for Web Development Degrees
Before searching for specific web development scholarship funds, every student pursuing a college degree should apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA is available to all U.S. citizens enrolled in an accredited college or university with a valid social security number and can be applied for online.
An organization that offers scholarships in the field of web development is Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The ESA foundation offers scholarships for women and minority 'Computer and Video Game Arts Sciences Scholars' yearly, applicants must be enrolled in an accredited four-year degree program studying video game development or design.
There are also scholarships available from the state, such as the Massachusetts High Demand Scholarship Program which is available to students studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields at any of the UMass colleges. To apply, students must meet both of the previous requirements along with having been a Massachusetts resident for at least 1 year, be a U.S. citizen, have applied for FAFSA, have no prior bachelor's or equivalent degree, and maintain a GPA of 3.0. The deadline for students to apply for this scholarship, which awards up to $6,500 a year, is March 20.