The Essentials of a Web Development Degree

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Web development is a highly technical career that is constantly changing. A good web development degree will incorporate a solid technical foundation while also educating you on the cutting edge of all the latest technological innovations. Since the dawn of the internet age, the web pages we use have been getting more and more advanced. So have the tools used to create them. There are a few courses you should pay particular attention to when checking out potential web development programs: graphic design, object oriented programming, scripting languages, database design/management and UI design. So, let’s talk about those.

Graphic DesignAn often overlooked aspect of web development is graphic design. Not every web developer has to be an expert graphic designer, but a good developer will be familiar with every aspect of the design of his website, even those that are handled by someone else. With that in mind, a good web development program will, at the very least, offer an introduction to graphic design work, possibly with the option to specialize if that’s the direction you want to go with your web development degree.

Object Oriented Programming
The foundation of most of the websites you use are built on the object-oriented programming paradigm, and even though there are many tools to streamline or hide the low-level technical aspects of web development, a solid understanding of OOP is vital to your ability to create well-designed and functional web pages. Two of the most popular object-oriented languages for web development are Java and C Sharp. A good web development program will give you a taste of both of these languages and possibly more so that you know what’s going on under the hood of your webpage.

Scripting Languages
Most, if not all, of the websites that you use make use of “scripts.” Scripts are what make websites interactive, instead of just boring old text and pictures. You can use scripts to allow the user to enter information or to display any kind of dynamic content. Scripting can technically be done in any programming language, but there are specialized scripting languages that are designed to be easier to work with. A good web development degree will teach you the fundamentals of scripting and introduce you to some of these scripting languages, such as JavaScript or Python so that you can design your sites with interactive elements.

Database Design and Management
The layout and interface of a webpage is usually referred to as the “front end.” It’s what the average user will see and interact with. The content you see on the web page, as well as user information, passwords, etc. are stored in a database. This database is part of the “back end, ” and it is vital to the functionality of your web page. The database is usually managed by a specialized database administrator, but a web developer is going to need to be familiar with many of the aspects of the database to effectively communicate needs and work in a team. Any good web development degree will include at least one course on the design, implementation, and upkeep of a database.

User Interface Design
It’s generally not enough these days to simply have a functional website; users expect a website that is easy to use and pleasant to look at with a lot of interactive features. Think of all your favorite websites – not many are just plain text and pictures, are they? Most good websites will have a pleasant looking and above all easy to use design. A good web development program will offer courses in the fundamentals of user interface design as it relates to web pages so you know how to craft a reliable and pleasant experience for your users.

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