If you have an eye for aesthetics, a passion for programming, and want to create amazing user experiences, a career in web design could be perfect for you. This article will discuss how you can get started in this highly rewarding field. Are web design degrees worth it? and what other study options are available?
The duration and cost of web design degrees vary with the university and the type of course you want to enroll in. There are different web design degree types available including associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees. And they all require a significant investment of time and cash.
We’ll cover each type of degree separately, and also offer up some more affordable options that could be just as effective at launching your web design career.
The Web Design Job Market
If you’re on the fence about a web design education, you’ll probably research the demand and projected growth for UX design. And you’ll find that it’s one of the most stable fields out there.
The Internet is one of the fastest-growing technologies in history. In 1991 the web first became publicly available. Just 14 years later an incredible 1 billion users were online. This trend is showing no signs of slowing, with the latest numbers predicting that 60% of the entire world population now has Internet access.
Businesses simply can’t ignore this spectacular growth. Companies in every walk of life now require an online presence to sell their products and connect with their customers. This is where web design comes in.
Talented web designers are responsible for building and maintaining sites on the Internet. As transfer speeds have increased and compression algorithms have evolved, the art of web design has changed dramatically over the years but still remains as vital as ever. Talented web designers can look forward to a wide array of job opportunities across the country.
Web Design Associate Degree
Associate of web design is a degree program pursued by post-secondary students. Applicants are required to have a high school diploma or equivalent achievement. Students pursuing the course full-time can earn the degree in 2 years. However, many choose to study part-time and learn at their own pace.
Some colleges and universities let students translate their associate degree into freshman and sophomore years of a bachelor’s degree. In the last two decades, associate degrees have gained immense popularity as they’re quicker and less expensive than other degree types.
Aspiring web designers will learn key skills required to develop interactive websites and web applications. They’re trained to secure online business transactions, develop efficient site navigation, and control webpage elements like graphics and text.
Students will have the opportunity to intern at a local business. This allows them to build a professional portfolio, gain important real-life experience, and build their professional network.
The core curriculum of a typical web design associate degree includes web database design, e-commerce concepts, webpage programming, and script programming.
Web Design Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree in web design is a common way to get started in this field. They typically last 3 to 4 years and can cost up to $40,000. Tuition fees and time frames vary depending on the specific course you enroll in.
The curriculum is broader than an associate’s degree and includes some business-oriented subjects like:
- How to create computer-aided illustrations to communicate ideas to clients.
- How to effectively capture user requirements.
- How to specify design goals.
- How to test websites and collect user feedback.
Web design bachelor’s degrees can prepare students for the workplace or lay the foundations for further study. Students pursuing communication or graphic design have the option of choosing web design as a specialized course. In addition to classroom lectures, students can also pursue internships. This provides experience working on real-world projects.
Students will learn object-oriented programming, website construction, and graphic design. Programs that include web design as part of a broader curriculum are most likely to include courses in both web-based and print-based design.
In addition to theoretical and practical topics, a bachelor’s degree also covers ethical and legal aspects of web design. AdWords, Search Engine Optimization, and analytics may also be included.
If you’ve taken art courses at high school, you’ll stand a better chance of being accepted into art-oriented degree programs. Some universities ask their applicants to take separate art and design courses if they lack the required skills.
It should be noted that a traditional bachelor's degree specializing solely in web design isn’t very common. Some schools offer on-campus or online bachelor's degrees, but the majority of web design courses offered are associate degrees or certificate courses.
Web Design Master’s Degree
A master's degree is flexible. Students who pursue a master's degree immediately after their bachelor’s degree may find the full-time, on-campus experience preferable. Students who are working and have other commitments may go for the online or ‘hybrid’ option.
The hybrid option involves periodic meetings with professors and classmates on campus for seminars and presentations. But most of the studying is done online.
The 100% online option gives students full access to digital study resources so they never have to travel on campus. Students submit assignments and take tests online at their own pace.
Most master's degree courses are meant to be completed in 2 years. However, several factors may have an impact on the duration. The longer you take to complete the program, the more fees you will have to pay. Be mindful of this when selecting a course.
The cost of a master’s program can vary. Tuition alone can cost in-state students up to $40,000 per year, whereas out-of-state students may have to pay almost twice as much.
Web Design Certifications
Certification courses are designed to validate your skills in a specific area, often related to an occupation, industry, or technology. Certifications can be completed in a matter of months and are less expensive than a degree.
Hundreds of certification courses are provided by online learning platforms in partnership with top universities. Most of these courses require you to achieve a certain grade during the program in order to earn the certificate. They’ll typically end with a real-world project involving all the skills you’ve learned throughout the course.
The cost of a certification course varies dramatically. Some programs are offered online for free, whereas more in-depth certificates can cost up to $10,000.
With all certification programs, the emphasis is on validating or upgrading existing knowledge and skills, rather than learning new fields completely from scratch. They are perfect for professionals with already established careers, that want to remain up-to-date with the ever-evolving tech space.
Certificates look great on your resume. They demonstrate to prospective employers that you’re committed to a particular specialization.
Web Design Bootcamps
Bootcamps are laser-focused education programs that teach essential skills required to land a well-paid job at a top company. They’re faster-paced, more affordable, and more specialized than degree programs.
By enrolling in a web design bootcamp you’ll learn UX/UI design skills, receive one-on-one mentorship from leading experts, and gain all the support you need to transition from complete beginner to hired in just a few months.
Are Web Design Degrees Worth It?
There’s a bright future for anyone interested in tech. The web design industry alone is expected to grow by 20% in the next decade. Design roles are attracting higher and higher salaries as demand grows. An entry-level web designer can earn as much as $80,000 in their first year.
The best news of all, you don’t actually need a degree to get started in this rewarding and lucrative field.
Stack Overflow conducted a study and found that over 60% of web developers taught themselves most of their development skills. Over 10% of them revealed that they’re completely self-taught. This makes it quite clear that a degree is not essential for a job in the industry.
Web design degrees are great at providing a comprehensive, structured education program for students wanting to learn a range of different design skills. They allow graduates to keep their options open and follow a wide range of different career paths. However, they require a significant investment of both time and money. Most bachelor’s degree courses last 4 years and can cost up to $40,000.
If you’re set on a future in web design, you might want to consider enrolling in our UX/UI design bootcamp. It’s an alternative, more efficient way to kickstart your dream tech career.
Unlike a degree program, our bootcamp drills down to only cover essential skills. The curriculum has been designed by experienced professionals that understand exactly what topics to cover. You also get the chance to build a professional portfolio during your study. This gives your resume a boost and further increases your chances of landing a well-paid design job. Schedule a call with our admissions team and we’ll answer any questions you might have.