Web developers combine creative, technical, and communication skills to design, develop, and maintain websites. Nearly all businesses maintain a web presence, providing opportunities for skilled web developers in a variety of industries. Furthermore, mobile devices and e-commerce continue to grow in popularity, driving demand for skilled professionals in the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 15% job growth for web developers through 2026.
Web development students build proficiency in code writing, principles of design, and project management. Most web developers begin their careers working in project teams for companies; experienced developers often perform freelance consulting work. A web development associate degree equips students with the skills and education necessary to pursue a web development career.
Should I Get an Associate Degree in Web Development?
Consider your career goals as you explore associate degree programs in web development. Students who want to pursue junior developer jobs as soon as possible should consider an on-campus associate degree in web development. While online associate programs offer flexibility for busy professionals, campus-based programs offer valuable in-person networking opportunities.
In addition to technical and design skills, careers in web development require business acumen, communication skills, and collaborative work habits. A web development associate degree teaches students many skills in design, markup, usability, and accessibility. Web professionals must keep up with evolving technologies, so students with a strong interest in lifelong learning thrive in this field.
An associate program in web development provides students with networking opportunities, improved communication skills, and placement assistance for internships and jobs.
What Can I Do With an Associate in Web Development?
Graduates of web development associate programs are qualified for junior web developer roles. Further education allows students to advance into senior roles in project management. Experienced and independent self-starters often work as freelance consultants. Below are common jobs for those with a web development education.
- Web Developer
Web developers program and build websites, often specializing in front-end or back-end development. They oversee scripting, usability, accessibility, and optimization. They also handle mobile application design, testing, and user experience. Web developers with associate degrees typically begin their careers as junior developers and may later pursue a bachelor's degree for career advancement.
Median Annual Salary: $53,866
- Computer Programmer
Programmers write, design, and troubleshoot source code for computer programs. They develop, evaluate, debug, and implement computer programs on multiple operating systems. They also work with engineers and designers to analyze clients' needs and plan software applications. Many computer programmers learn independently; others hold associate degrees.
Median Annual Salary: $60,946
Webmasters oversee all aspects of websites, from design and layout to updates and maintenance. Webmaster responsibilities include supervision of web content updates, search engine optimization, backup management, recordkeeping, and troubleshooting. Many webmasters earn an associate degree and later pursue a bachelor's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $52,662
- Graphic Designer
Graphic designers design and build the visual elements of websites. Web design professionals employ many of the same skills as developers, but designers concentrate more on aesthetics than technical functionality. An associate degree in web development can help launch a career in the field.
Median Annual Salary: $42,528
How to Choose an Associate Program in Web Development
When researching potential web development associate degrees, consider whether an online or on-campus program aligns with your needs. The flexibility of online programs typically appeals to students with work and family obligations while on-campus programs appeal to students seeking a more traditional college experience. If pursuing an online education, be sure to research the top online web development associate programs.
If you aspire to work as a web developer in a city known as a tech hub, you may want to research on-campus programs at schools in those locations to increase your chances of employment. Students should also consider quality of life factors, such as cost of living and climate, when researching potential programs. For instance, housing and transportation costs in prominent tech hubs tend to be higher than in smaller cities.
If you're pursuing a specialty, such as front-end or back-end development, be sure your chosen school offers courses in it. Most programs conclude with a practicum, portfolio, or other final project designed to present to employers.
Associate in Web Development Program Admissions
The admissions process is similar for on-campus and online programs in web development. Prospective students submit an application along with transcripts and any additional required documents, like test scores, resumes, and letters of recommendation. On-campus programs also require documented proof of immunizations. Many community colleges maintain an open admissions policy and offer admission to all high school graduates or GED holders who obtain satisfactory scores on placement or career aptitude tests.
It's best to apply to at least five schools with varying degrees of selectivity to increase your chances of admission.
- Application: Students submit an online application that typically takes an hour to complete.
- Transcripts: To ensure accurate placement and credit, schools require transcripts of previous coursework. Most schools charge transcript release fees.
- Application Fee: Most schools charge application processing fees between $20-50. Some schools may waive this fee for students with demonstrable financial need.
Educational Paths for Web Development Associate Programs
Graduates of associate programs frequently continue their studies in four-year programs, because a bachelor's degree provides opportunities for advancement into senior developer roles. Ideal associate programs in web development make transferring credits easier for graduates who want to pursue further education.
- Bachelor's in Computer Science
Computer science focuses on theory and design of computational systems and analytical thinking for problem-solving. Computer science students study programming languages, algorithms, data structures, logic, computer architecture, and advanced mathematics. Specializations include data analysis, machine learning, and natural language processing.
- Bachelor's in Computer Information Systems
Computer information systems students learn practical applications of technology and information management in support of enterprise. Students study many interrelated areas for this degree, including business, informatics, networking, mathematics, and communications. Popular specializations include software and web systems, computer security, and artificial intelligence.
- Bachelor's in Web Development
Students in web development bachelor's programs build on the knowledge and skills gained in associate programs, including programming, cloud computing, database management, and systems administration. With a bachelor's degree, web developers often advance into senior web development or project management roles.
What Else Can I Expect From an Associate Program in Web Development?
Curricula, program length, and cost vary by institution, but the following section outlines what students in web development associate degree programs can generally expect regarding these factors.
Courses in an Associate Program in Web Development
While curricula vary by school, most web development associate degrees offer similar core coursework. Students can expect to find some version of the following courses in most web development programs.
- IT Fundamentals
This course provides an overview of the IT environment and introduces students to the IT discipline. Topics covered include networking, programming, information assurance, and emerging technologies. Students also examine the uses of IT for organizational efficiency and profitability.
- Introduction to Scripting
- Application Development
This course provides an introduction to programming technologies for mobile and web application development. Through hands-on activities, students learn to design and implement an interactive application with a project team. Topics covered include web frameworks, mobile operating systems, and the development lifecycle.
- Web Design
This course surveys the fundamentals of developing and maintaining interactive sites for the web with an emphasis on standards compliance and semantic correctness. Topics covered include formatting with HTML/XHTML, styling and layout with CSS, and web standards. Students also survey network protocols and client-server communications.
- Database Design
This course covers the design and implementation of relational database management systems. Students learn to evaluate user requirements, formulate queries with Structured Query Language, and select optimal models for organizational problem-solving. Other topics covered include data types, normalization, and the database development process.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate in Web Development?
Associate programs in web development typically take two years of full-time study to complete and comprise 60 credits, but many factors affect an individual's time to completion. Students with extensive family and work responsibilities may prefer a part-time schedule, which lengthens the time to completion. On the other hand, motivated students who can attend full time and study intensively may opt for an accelerated program, permitting them to graduate in 12-18 months. Some programs may also award transfer credits or credit for work experience, which shortens the time to completion.
While the majority of web development programs offer asynchronous learning, some programs maintain a cohort-based structure. Students enrolled in asynchronous programs can complete their coursework at their own pace. By contrast, cohort programs proceed at a set pace throughout the program and graduate together.
How Much Is an Associate in Web Development?
Costs vary by school, but most web development associate degrees cost between $10,000-$20,000. In-state public school students typically pay the least, while out-of-state public school students and private school students pay the most. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement for students to reduce educational costs.
If you plan to take time off work to study full time, you should also factor in loss of income. While you can save money by doubling up on credits, continuing to work and attending part time may represent a more financially prudent choice.
Other costs to consider include textbooks and supplies, technology costs, exam fees, and fees for transportation and parking. Some schools waive application fees and offer 30%-50% discounts on tuition for active-duty military members, spouses, and veterans.
Professional Organizations in Web Development
Professional organizations for web developers offer many benefits to students and graduates, such as access to scholarships, research, mentoring opportunities, and industry trends. Other benefits include job boards, workshops, conferences, and members-only networking events. Some organizations offer student discounts on membership fees.
This nonprofit organization supports individuals and groups who create and maintain websites by offering educational resources, advocacy, and certifications.
As a leading organization creating professional and ethical standards for certification and education in web professions, IWA offers technical assistance and employment resources for businesses and individuals.
Founded in 2008, AWDP offers professional directory listings for web design businesses, including a searchable directory and job listings organized by region.