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The internet connects communities and powers businesses across the globe. And its importance continues to grow over time due to the increasing popularity of e-commerce, mobile technologies, and, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, platforms for remote work.
Companies in nearly every industry seek out skilled web developers. This guide provides information about the best online master's in web development programs, which can help prepare you to advance your career. The following sections delve into education requirements, cover popular career paths, and answer frequently asked questions about web development.
What Are the Best Online Master's in Web Development Programs? Here Are Our Top 4:
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|1||Boston University||Boston, MA|
|2||University of Denver||Denver, CO|
|3||Fort Hays State University||Hays, KS|
|4||Southern New Hampshire University||Manchester, NH|
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2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Web Development Programs
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|Boston, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 88%||
As a national research institution, BU offers academic programs at more than five campuses and online. Students may choose from dozens of online and hybrid graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs, including an online master's in information science.
Students can complete this online master's degree in 18-24 months. BU charges online tuition rates based on a student's enrollment status and whether a course qualifies as an upper- or lower-level class. Applicants with a regionally accredited bachelor's degree may apply at any time.
University of Denver
|Denver, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 77%||
DU's University College enrolls more than 1,500 students in professional and continuing studies programs — on campus and online. Students can choose from more than 20 master's and bachelor's completion programs that offer fully online, hybrid, or DU's signature HyFlex (synchronous/hybrid) course delivery options.
The school's MS in information and communications technology features an optional concentration in web design and development. The 48-credit program features core, concentration, and elective requirements, including a student success seminar/orientation course to transition college students to the virtual learning environment. The program culminates in a capstone project and a seminar.
Course topics span four primary areas of web development, addressing website usability, design, management, and information systems. Students complete courses over 10-week terms and can graduate in 18 months. DU does not require GRE or GMAT scores for admission.
Fort Hays State University
|Hays, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
FHSU — based in central Kansas — oversees a comprehensive online division, with a virtual enrollment of nearly 7,000 learners. Students can choose from hundreds of graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs, including more than 200 programs offered through FHSU Online.
The master's in web development at FHSU features a 30-credit curriculum with core and major coursework in subjects like research methods in informatics, database design and programming, and front- and back-end web development. Students conclude the program with a capstone project.
Applicants must hold a regionally accredited bachelor's degree. The program recommends that students enroll in the fall or spring. Online graduate students all pay the same per-credit tuition rate, regardless of where they live.
Southern New Hampshire University
|Manchester, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
An early provider of distance education, SNHU began offering online programs in 1995. Today, the university enrolls more than 135,000 students online and offers more than 200 career-focused graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs in its virtual classrooms.
SNHU's online MS in information technology features a concentration in web design. Participants complete 36 credits of courses covering topics like interface design for websites, web construction, and operating systems. Other related concentration options include database design and software applications development.
SNHU accepts applications on a rolling basis. Applicants do not need to submit GRE or GMAT scores and may enter the online program at one of six start dates per year. Students can earn their degree in 15 months. SNHU does not charge a higher out-of-state tuition rate.
What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Web Development Program?
The top master's in web development programs teach theory that can be put into practice in fields like cloud computing and digital marketing.
To earn a master's degree in web development, students must complete at least 30 credits of classes, experiential learning, and capstone projects. Students usually graduate in 18-24 months. However, some learners can graduate more quickly by enrolling in accelerated programs; in these intensive tracks, distance learners apply relevant career experience and take courses throughout the year to graduate in about 12 months.
Most programs cover core topics like computer programming and user experience (UX) theory. However, curricula differ based on degree type. Learners in an MS program may focus more on technical competencies in information systems analysis and data visualization, while students pursuing an MA develop more transferable skills related to graphic design and mass communication.
Certain graduate schools also offer IT-focused MBA programs, which emphasize topics like corporate brand identity and Ruby on Rails coding. MBA candidates also gain advanced project management skills that prepare them to earn professional certification from organizations like the EC-Council and Project Management Institute.
The top master's in web development programs teach theory that can be put into practice in fields like cloud computing and digital marketing. Students can gain experience in the field and expand their network through internships and campus residencies. They round out their graduate education by completing a capstone project or thesis that tackles a major challenge in the IT field.
Admission Requirements for Online Master's in Web Development Programs
Online master's in web development programs usually require prospective students to hold an accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA. If applicants do not have an IT-related degree, they may need to complete prerequisite coursework in areas like computer information systems and networking fundamentals.
Application materials may include a personal statement, 2-3 recommendation letters, and a resume. GRE requirements vary by school, so confirm details with an admissions counselor. Check out our Graduate Admissions Guide for more information.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Web Development Program?
Courses differ based on degree type and program focus. However, students can expect to take core classes in areas like database design principles, web application development, and digital layout and design. Through advanced electives and self-motivated research, learners also examine emerging trends and technological innovations that may help shape the future of the internet.
- Front-End Web Development
- Object-Oriented Application Development
- Technical Communication
In this class, students gain the communication skills needed to present technical information in the form of project plans, test documents, user manuals, white papers, and oral presentations. They learn how to alter their language based on stakeholder needs and business settings. The course also teaches learners proper formatting guidelines for academic research papers.
- Web Analytics and Mining
This advanced course prepares students for careers in digital marketing and IT research. Covered topics include data collection and preprocessing, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and distributed computing. Learners also develop text mining skills, with an emphasis on string matching, content clustering and classification, and recommendation systems.
- Digital Forensics
Designed for future cybersecurity specialists, this class offers an in-depth examination of current forensic tools and techniques. Students learn how to set up an investigative laboratory and process digital crime scenes. Additional topics may include data acquisition, image file recovery, email investigations, digital evidence controls, and expert witness requirements.
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What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Web Development Degree?
Online master's in web development graduates are equipped to pursue some of the fastest-growing careers in the United States. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 8% job growth for web developers and digital designers between 2019 and 2029, which is about twice as fast as the average projected growth rate for all occupations in the U.S..
Furthermore, a web development degree prepares learners for roles in game design, cloud computing, and software programming. If professionals go on to earn a doctoral degree, they can also work as researchers and tenure-track college professors.
Learn more about web development careers, and see where a master's in web development can take you.
- Full-Stack Web Development
Full-stack engineers are experts in both front-end and back-end web development. They are also comfortable working with networks and have in-depth knowledge of current UX and business practices, making them great freelancers and consultants. Full-stack developers may also complete bootcamp training and earn professional certification.
By focusing on cybersecurity, master's students can go on to work as information security analysts — one of the fastest-growing occupations in the United States. These IT specialists defend computer systems and networks against cyberattacks by building multi-tiered protections. They assess the strength of a network's defenses by conducting penetration tests.
- UX Design
UX design combines technical aspects of IT (such as scripting and interface prototyping) with graphic design principles (including typography and multimedia communication). Skilled designers are able to create websites, mobile apps, and new products that creatively engage consumers. UX web developers typically work in game development and advertising.
- Digital Marketing
E-commerce has replaced brick-and-mortar shopping as the main revenue stream for many companies, making digital marketers a valuable part of business teams. These professionals can send messages to target audiences and track and predict consumer behavior through data analytics and SEO algorithms.
- Information Systems Management
Web developers with strong leadership and project management skills can pursue information systems careers. These professionals oversee daily tasks and special projects for IT departments. They meet with stakeholders to determine technology goals and direct project teams to meet these objectives.
Web Development Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Web Development Programs
- Is a master's in web development worth it?
A master's in web development prepares graduates to create sites and applications that engage diverse audiences, making them a crucial asset to employers in finance, enterprise management, and software publishing. In addition to the potential for high pay, web developers enjoy a lot of occupational flexibility.
- What can I do with a master's in web development?
Web developers can work for one employer as part of an in-house IT team or they can freelance, designing sites and consulting for external clients. They can also pursue careers in adjacent industries like cybersecurity, database administration, and digital marketing.
- Is web development in demand?
Yes. The BLS projects 8% job growth for web developers and digital designers between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than the average projected growth rate for all U.S. jobs.
- How much money can I make with a master's in web development?
According to PayScale, senior web developers earn an average annual salary of $88,090. Wages fluctuate based on specific occupation, with UX designers making $74,270 and full-stack software engineers earning $91,680 each year. A worker's salary potential also depends on their employer, location, and prior experience.
- What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with a master's in web development?
Among computer and information technology occupations, research scientists make the most money, earning a median annual salary of $122,840. Network architect and software developer positions are also lucrative, with these workers earning $112,690 and $107,510, respectively.