Aspiring web developers eager to join the workforce often ask if a degree in web development from a two-year school will help them get a job. The answer to this question is a resounding yes. While some employers may require a higher degree, an associate degree is the most common degree requirement for careers in web development. Completing an associate degree generally takes two years and prepares candidates for entry-level positions as web developers.
What a Web Developer Does
Web designers perform many tasks throughout their day, but they mostly design and create websites. Creating a website involves many people, including computer programmers, coders, web designers and web developers. Each person does his or her job, but it is the web developer who is responsible for the final appearance of the website as well as its speed capacity and performance. They may also add certain content on the site. Web developer’s duties include the following:
- Meet and collaborate with clients on what they want and need in a website
- Design and test the website applications
- Work with graphic designers regarding the layout of the website
- Combine video, audio, graphics and fonts into the website
- Monitor the site’s traffic
- Troubleshoot the website for functionality and necessary upgrades
Web developers create websites aimed at meeting their client’s needs. The types of websites they may make include gaming sites, news sites, ecommerce or even personal websites. The type of website they create will determine the type of application they’ll use. For this reason, web developers must keep up with new programming languages and web designs. For instance, an ecommerce site will require an application for receiving and processing payments, while a gaming site requires knowledge of advanced graphics.
Web developers often specialize in certain aspects of web development, such as front-end or back-end development. With the increased use of the internet, many web developers find successful careers working in mobile application design.
While some candidates may find work in web development with only a high school diploma, an associate’s degree is the most common career path. The two-year associate’s degree in web design or a similar field generally takes two years to complete. More advanced positions, such as computer programmers, front-end web developers, back-end web developers or project managers may require a baccalaureate degree, but the two-associate degree is typically an ideal degree for a career in web development.
Depending on the college, web development associate’s degree programs may be offered both on-campus and online. While both formats are good options, on-campus programs generally off students more person-to-person networking opportunities, hands-on training and internship placement assistance. Course topics in a web development associate’s degree program include web design, application development, intro to scripting, IT fundamentals and database design.
Career Outlook & Wage Potential
Web developers are expected to see employment growth of about 13 percent during the years 2018-2028 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Based on this projection, about 20,900 new web developer jobs should be created by 2028. Web developers in the lowest 10 percent wage brackets earned average yearly wages of $37,930, while those in the top percent earned $124,480 in 2018. The average yearly wage for web developers nationwide was $75,580.
Web developers with knowledge of digital media tools and various programming languages generally have the best wage potential. Other factors that can affect wages include education level, work experience, certifications, location and type of employer. The states where the highest wages were earned by web designers in 2018 are Washington, Virginia, District of Columbia, California and New Jersey.
As ecommerce continues to grow, so will the need for qualified web developers. The increase in online purchasing will also put a demand for web developers because online merchants need attractive websites to sell their products. While the merchants may have products and services to sell, many of them don’t have the knowledge or skill to create websites. This also puts a demand for web developers. Earning a web development degree from a two-year college can be just the education they need to get a job and start their careers.