Web Development & Design

In the 21st Century, facts are instantly at our fingertips thanks to the amazing technology that is the World Wide Web.
Planning a vacation and looking for great places to stay? Want to know what year the polio vaccine was created? All one has to do is punch in a few specific keywords into any search engine and results quickly are produced.
Both individuals and businesses have realized the importance of being visible on the internet. Having a website or a blog – or both – is one of the best ways to improve the customer base.
But not just anyone can create a website. In order to be effective, websites have to not only be visually pleasing, but also be designed in a way that will attract the attention of search engines.
Web designers and developers are trained in the creation and promotion of websites. Skilled in a program known as HTML, web designers take the concepts provided by their clients and bring them to life on the internet.
Education Requirements

While natural creativity helps, it is not a requirement for a career in web development and design.
There are a number of programs – both online and traditional – that provide quality training to work in the industry. There also are a variety of degree options available to those who are pursuing a career as a web designer.
Associate degree programs take an average of two years to complete and will prepare students for most entry-level positions in the industry. Coursework will include the basics of HTML coding, visual and artistic design concepts, database applications, scripting and managing audio and video for websites.
Bachelor degree programs take four years to complete and include more intense coursework. Students can anticipate learning how to use the Adobe Suite applications, which includes InDesign, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator and other CSS tools. Adobe is the gold standard for most professional publications on the market today, so any school which does not offer the basics in this suite of programs should be avoided.
Master degree programs are available, but not necessary for working in the industry.  Generally, only those who wish to teach website design and development should pursue this level of degree.
As with other programs in the arts, choosing a program in web design and development that has been accredited is the best option. Accredited programs are guaranteed to be both rigorous and relevant, and students who enroll in an accredited program will have an easier time transferring credits from one school to another should the need arise.
Future Outlook

Demand for web designers is expected to surge by 22 percent between now and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growth rate is faster than that of all other business and industry being tracked by the bureau during the same time period.

The average annual salary for web designers was $75,660 as of May 2010. The top 10 percent of workers in the industry were earning over $120,000. While some website designers and developers work for companies, the trend seems to be moving more toward independent consulting.

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