Introduction to Web Design Degrees

WebDesignColleges provides students with useful guides on Web Design degrees. Web design, development, and programming are disciplines that require advanced training. While a college degree is not essential to become a good Web site designer or Webmaster, obtaining at least an associate’s degree in the subject will not only sharpen your skills, but also look good on your resume to any potential employer.

Web design is a fast growing field in all sectors, as web designers and sites are needed for most businesses. Web design incorporates different design and coding courses. In the past, it was not required for a web designer to have a bachelor’s degree, however the industry is constantly changing and a degree is beneficial for the most competitive positions.

Full Sail University
BS in Web Design & Development
BS in Mobile Development
Full Sail University — Full Sail University's BS in Web Design & Development teaches students the technology they need to understand the language of Web design and create interactive web content. The program covers front and back end development for the web, PDAs and cell phones, and requires students to master the multiple languages used in today's hottest technology.
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Rasmussen College
AS in Web Design
Rasmussen College — Rasmussen College's AS in web design teaches students how to develop websites to be visually engaging through the use of color, sound, images, graphics, animation and text. The art of building a successful website requires as much technological skill as artistic talent, as well as a foundation in psychology and behavioral principles.
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Liberty University
BSIT in Web and Mobile Programming
Liberty University — Liberty University's BSIT in Web and Mobile Programming program is a relatively new program that teaches cutting edge web development techniques. The curriculum, offered online, combines a campus-based approach and enhances it with simulations and other hands-on technology. This degree is designed for the busy working professional that seeks advanced training in web technology.
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About Web Design Colleges

Web design colleges focus on coding, web building, and some graphic design. This degree deals primarily deals with basic and advanced web design and development, allowing students to go on to work for web design firms or in-house for companies large and small.

Should I Already Know Coding for Web Design College?

Some knowledge of coding is useful, but not required. Basic HTML should be familiar, but even the basics will be covered in introduction courses. While a web design degree does not involve as much coding as a computer science degree, it does have a sizeable amount of coding to learn. Students should work well with computers, have some understanding of code and be prepared to study long hours to better grasp the techniques used to create a strong website. Students who are new to coding can read books and websites on their own, before starting web design courses. There are many free resources online to understand coding, as well as tutorials to learn how to use it appropriately when building basic sites. This is a useful skill and is excellent practice for those who are going into a web design program with limited knowledge.

What Courses Do I Take for a Web Design Degree?

Students take courses like:

  • Introduction to web design
  • Digital design
  • Scripting for the web
  • Digital imaging
  • Digital photography
  • Interactive media
  • Animation

Some programs also require motion graphics, audio and color theory so students are well-rounded in other areas of interactive art. Web design is a fairly new endeavor for some colleges. The Internet, e-commerce, and web marketing has exploded in the past decade, creating a need for web design professionals. Before this degree, many web designers were self-taught. Web designers still operate under this principle and should always keep up to date on graphics and web trends, to deliver the best product to clients.

Do I Take Regular Courses Too?

The first two years of most web design programs involve general courses such as English, math, and sometimes a foreign language. Students can complete these first two years at a community college or through an accredited online program. Beyond that, a student begins to focus on web design courses during the second half of a degree program. Most programs will accept transfer students who already have a few general courses completed. Some students can also expand their art and design knowledge by taking courses like typography and art history as electives for a web design degree.

Are There Prerequisites for a Web Design Degree?

Schools with strong art programs often require a portfolio as part of a web design program application. This is most common at liberal arts or art schools with a long history and a campus. For smaller programs or online schools, a student usually needs a high school diploma. No prior knowledge of web design is needed. Because web design has become a very popular degree for traditional and online schools, many high schools offer courses in this field. In these classes, a student might be required to create a portfolio as part of the class, or have the skills to create his or her own portfolio to apply to a web design program. A well-rounded portfolio should have a few samples of different types of work, such as a straight site, a site in Flash, and a site featuring music or animation. Students with limited abilities should only feature what they are best at in their portfolio.

Are There Online Web Design Degree Programs?

There are many online degrees to choose from if you want to be a web designer. You want to make sure the program you enroll in is accredited by a regional accreditation organization, especially if you’re in the beginning stages of a degree. This allows courses and credits to transfer in the event you move to a different program. Set up a meeting with an academic advisor at the potential school. For schools with campuses, this may be done in an office. Online only schools may conduct these meetings over the phone or via live chat. This gives you the opportunity to ask the advisor about the program’s accreditation, how long instructors have been teaching online courses, and what is required on your end for the web design program. Some web design programs require certain computers, software, and other equipment to participate in the program. If your school has a campus, some of these items may be available at the library to check out or use on campus for a limited time.

What Will I Need for a Web Design Program?

It seems professional web designers are split when it comes to working on desktops, laptops, PCs or Mac computers. Most programs do not require a student to have a certain type of computer, just certain software, but it’s best to ask about this when meeting with a school advisor. Most programs will state the required materials on their website. More often, schools that operate online only require a Mac computer. Other common requirements are:

  • Dreamweaver
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • FrontPage
  • Flash
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Microsoft Office
  • A digital camera

This can be an expensive endeavor, but remember that all of these items are things you’ll need once you begin working as a professional web designer. Some stores offer discounts for students and if you are savvy enough, you can divide the cost of a program with other students since some can be installed on multiple computers.

Should I Know PCs and Mac Computers?

A web designer should have extensive knowledge of both types of computers because they will need to assist clients according to their needs. Professional web designers are known for using both types of computers and even switching between the two according to the project. While the back end of coding and building a website is the same, the end result can appear differently depending on the browser, which can vary by computer type. It’s for this reason that it’s best for a designer to utilize both computers to get a feel for how the graphics and layout are coming together for the end product.

What Other Courses Should I Take to Be a Web Designer?

Marketing classes are extremely useful for web designers. You are constantly studying the trends and changes in design. Marketing courses help you understand the shifts in these changes, why they occur and what attracts different consumers based on demographics. All of this comes in useful when developing a site for a company that’s selling a product or looking to attract a certain group, such as teenagers or moms. Marketing courses are also handy for those who may work freelance and handle their own marketing, looking to build a sizeable roster of clients.

What is the Career Outlook for Web Designers?

In the coming decade, web designers and developers look to experience a 13 percent growth in jobs, which is only slightly above average as compared to other industries. The departure from print media is responsible for the bulk of this growth, as businesses of every type begin pouring money into websites, online marketing and viral campaigns. Web designers are needed in nearly all markets, but the areas with the most opportunity will be large cities where major companies conduct business. Many of these companies have in-house web designers who handle day to day maintenance and new sites that are created for promotions or special events. There’s also expected growth in the freelance field for web designers. The rise in small business owners means they will be reaching out to freelance developers to create sites for various projects. Most smaller businesses cannot afford to have a web developer on staff, but this can be lucrative, regular business for a designer. This is usually still cheaper for a small business owner to handle.

How Much Do Web Designers Earn?

On average, web designers earn about $47,000 per year. This can fluctuate greatly depending on the market a designer works in. Those working in a small market can make considerably less, although freelance web designers may have high paying clients that are not necessarily in their area. The same can be said for a freelance designer living in a large city, who has clients with small to medium-sized businesses. Web designers who are employed full time often take on freelance work to make extra money, but also to expand their portfolios and perhaps play with more creativity than they’re allowed in their day job.

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