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What is Web Design?

Design is the process of collecting ideas, and aesthetically arranging and implementing them, guided by certain principles for a specific purpose. Web design is a similar process of creation, with the intention of presenting the content on electronic web pages, which the end-users can access through the internet with the help of a web browser. It is the process of conceptualizing, planning, and building a collection of electronic files. These files determine the layout, colors, text styles, structure, graphics, images, and use of interactive features that deliver pages to a website’s visitors.

What is Web Development?

Web development is the coding or programming that enables website functionality, per the owner’s requirements. It mainly deals with the non-design aspect of building websites, which includes coding and writing markup. The process ranges from creating plain text pages to complex web-based applications, social network applications, and electronic business applications. Web development includes web design, web content development, client-side/server-side scripting, and network security configurations, among other tasks.

Similar but Different

Web design and web development both require some level of programming knowledge. Of course, developers rely on programming much more. However, it is highly advantageous for designers to understand how to use code.

Nowadays, the two terms are virtually interchangeable as “web companies” alternate the way they describe their services. As explained above, they are two distinct and fundamentally different aspects of the website building process requiring two unique skill sets. Web design refers to both the aesthetic portion of the website and its usability. Designers use various design programs such as Adobe Photoshop to create the layout and other visual elements of the website.

Web Developers, on the other hand, take a website design and actually make a functioning website from it. Developers, sometimes called programmers, use HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, and other programming languages to bring to life the design files. Developers take a web designer’s creation and break it up into its components. They then use either just HTML or a more dynamic approach incorporating programming languages such as PHP to develop the various website pages. Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) is a server-side scripting language designed for Web development.

web design or developer smart

It seems evident from the above information that it is beneficial for web designers and web developers to understand each other’s work. Perhaps, this is why so many schools incorporate the two into one degree.

A Bachelor of Science in Web Design and Web Development may include these courses:

Web front-end Development

  • Visual Media
  • Typography
  • Graphic Design
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Database Design and Development

A Bachelor of Science devoted to Web Development will generally concentrate on courses such as:

  • Server-Side Scripting for the Web
  • Emerging Media and Technology
  • Web-Based Database Applications
  • Multi-Media Development for the Web

You will also see undergraduate programs in web development as a Bachelor of Science in Information specializing in Web and Mobile Programming. The curriculum provides an understanding of the convergence of information technology and business processes. You will learn how to design relevant associated web and mobile programs, in addition to web pages using innovative methods that are consistent with business objectives. As a graduate of this particular program, you will have potential career opportunities as a web developer, front-end web developer, user interface analyst, and mobile web designer.

The trend in education appears to be the combination of a bachelor’s degree program in web design and web development. These programs will teach you how to produce web applications, interactive presentations, mobile applications, and user interfaces for a broad range of consumer applications, emphasizing both front-end and back-end development.

Having the skills of design and development affords a variety of job settings. These include computer and information services, finance, insurance, government, education, and almost any other kind of professional organization that needs to communicate and interact online.

How do you choose?

It depends on your skills. If your expertise and talent are more in the creative department, you may want to consider being a web designer. However, if you have technical abilities and strong logical thinking, being a web developer might be the better option. An analogy is designing a building. Do you see yourself as the architect who designs the structure? Or are you the structural engineer whose role it is to determine what structural components are needed based upon the architect’s design?

Salary Considerations

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median salary for web developers at $67,990 (May 2017) with an Associate’s degree. The BLS does not list the occupation of a web designer. Although, their description for this profession could also refer to a web designer. The BLS states that web developers “design and create websites”.

If you refer to Glassdoor, as of early 2017, the national average was $66,238 for web developers. According to PayScale, the median web designer salary in the U.S. is $40,001 (as of late 2018). Also found on PayScale, the median web developer salary in the U.S. is $58,262 (as of late 2018).

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