Updated on Wednesday 6 March 2013
Deciding what to study can be an onerous task. Most students want to balance fun with quality preparation and promising job prospects. Studying web design and development offers the perfect blend of these criteria, mixing exciting areas of study like graphic design with fantastic preparation for work in a rapidly growing industry.
We live in a time universally recognized as the Age of Information. The internet has enabled individuals, organizations, and corporations alike to achieve new heights and explore new avenues of information exchange and financial gain. It is little wonder that the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job growth in the area of web design and development to grow at a rate 57% faster than the average expected rate of growth for all other occupations combined. There is no better time to begin pursuing a degree in this exciting and blossoming field than now.
Web design and development is an area of study encompassing everything involved in building a website, from the coding at work behind the scenes, to the design of the user-interface, to content management. There are many colleges and universities across the US that offer degrees concentrating on different aspects of web design. Some institutions offer specialized training in website construction, while others offer a broader education that aims to give students the know-how necessary to perform a variety of tasks, not just only concentrating on building websites.
If you are an international student looking to study web design and development in the US, the first thing you should do is figure out what you want from your education. If you are solely concerned with learning how to build web sites, whether for desktops, smart phones, or other user devices, you might want to consider programs that offer degrees in web design and development. There are several schools in the US that offer such degrees. The Full Sail University, DeVry University, University of Phoenix, Colorado Technical University , and Southern New Hampshire University all have excellent programs with proven track records for providing their students with the education they need to succeed. All of these institutions welcome international students looking to study in the US. If you are concerned with getting a broad education that prepares you for different jobs in information technology, you might consider programs offering degrees in IT or computer science with a focus on web design and development.
Many companies hire designers and developers separately; however, designers and developers often work closely, and it behooves each to have a working knowledge of the other's area of study. Many degree-awarding institutions offer classes that cover both areas for students interested in this field, but some programs focus more on the design aspects, while others focus more on programming aspects. Still others seek to give their students a full education in all areas of design and development. Full Sail University is a good example of the latter type of program, offering a wide range of classes and guiding students through the entire process of web site construction.
International students studying web design and development in the US can expect terrific preparation for a career as a web developer, web designer, webmaster, or web application developer. However, you should choose your school & program carefully—some schools teach a curriculum that is either outdated, incomplete, or both.
A degree in this field will teach many skills transferable to a wide range of other careers. From learning about web graphics to the basics of animation to communication and marketing, the classes you take towards a degree in web design and development will give you the tools and knowledge necessary to excel in many different career paths.
To apply to a bachelors program in web design and development, you will most likely need the following: a high school diploma, verification of language proficiency (if English is not your primary language), and a copy of some form of identification (most often your passport). In addition, some schools require a financial guarantee, which is a way of proving that you can pay your way through the program.
Many design and development positions require a bachelor's degree in a related field, although some positions may only require an associate's degree, especially positions that do not require knowledge of programming languages. There are a growing number of independent contractors working in this field, but most already have a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field.
If you enjoy working with computers and the Internet, you may excel in a career in web design and development—during which you will actually help to build the Internet! Like anything worth doing, working in this field is not easy, but it can be rewarding and potentially lucrative. There are many opportunities for entrepreneurship, and many openings with companies large and small across the globe. Even through tough economic times, the web industry has enjoyed sustained and rapid growth—jobs in this industry are not difficult to find for qualified individuals. Simply put; if web technology is your passion, and you have the drive to continue learning new programming languages, tools, and methods throughout your career, you will succeed as a web designer or web developer.