Web developers are currently in great demand on the job market and that demand continues to grow. As a web developer, your responsibilities include creating websites and web applications, which necessitates training in both programming and graphic design. Most web development jobs require at least an associate degree, but an advanced degree can lead to more opportunities with higher salaries.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of web developer jobs is expected to grow by 27% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than the average job in the U.S. This burgeoning field is full of excellent opportunities; pursuing a master's in web development is an investment in a promising future.
What are the best web development programs of 2020? Here are our top 4:
|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|
2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Web Development Programs
|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 Else can I Expect from an Online Master's in Web Development Program?
Master's in web development programs cover advanced techniques and information that can help further your career. When you compare different master's programs, you will notice that the exact details of the coursework vary depending on the school and specific type of program.
Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Web Development
The following courses are examples of what you can expect to find in the curriculum of a master's in web development program; however, the exact courses differ somewhat depending on the college and degree concentration.
- Website Construction: This course covers how to design, build, and manage interactive websites, which is the core of any web developer's responsibilities. Students also learn an overview of technical and design aspects, preparing them to construct well-structured websites that meet technical standards, function smoothly, and are easy to navigate.
- Interface Design: Students learn how to design user-friendly interfaces for web applications and gain an overview of evolving usability standards and best practices. They also learn to identify strengths and weaknesses in a site's design, detect technical problems and accessibility issues, and improve performance and navigation.
- Web Analytics/Optimization: This course teaches students how to build websites that attract traffic and increase profits. Students also cover the methods used to gather and interpret statistics related to a website's usage.
- Principles of Database Design: In this class, students design, develop, and implement database management systems. They cover each step of the design process, from concept to final product, while studying Structured Query Language (SQL) programming and optimizing functions such as searchability and data mining. Distance learners also complete projects that prepare them to design and maintain databases in a professional capacity.
How Long Does it Take to get an Online Master's in Web Development?
Most master's in web development programs consist of 36 to 48 credit hours. Some programs may be completed in as few as 15 months, although most take 18 to 24 months to finish. The differences in length and number of credit hours vary based on the requirements of a school and/or program. For example, certain concentrations requiring more specialized knowledge may contain more credit hours. Some programs also offer the opportunity to add graduate certificate courses, extending the program's completion time but providing additional professional qualifications that can help make you more competitive on the job market.
The teaching style also affects the overall program length. Some programs use cohort learning, which is a traditional style where a whole group of students follow the same schedule. Other schools offer an individual pace, letting students begin a course at one of several starting points during the year and complete it at their convenience.
Accreditation for Online Master's in Web Development Degrees
Accreditation is one of the most important features you should look for when choosing a master's in web development program. An accredited school has been reviewed and found to comply with certain educational standards, assuring you and prospective employers that your degree is valid. Accreditation may be regional or national.
Regional accreditation is the most popular and prestigious type. It is awarded by one of seven different agencies, collectively known as the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC), each of which serves a particular geographic region of the United States. Credits and degrees from regionally-accredited programs are the most widely accepted and transferable. Nonprofit institutions are more likely to be regionally accredited. Alternatively, national accreditation is usually awarded to for-profit institutions like career and trade schools. The academic standards at these schools tend to be lower than those of regionally-accredited colleges; thus, national accreditation is viewed as a less prestigious designation. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes 10 agencies as providers of national accreditation, including organizations such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
The U.S. Department of Education oversees these accreditation agencies and establishes policies for education, administers and coordinates most federal assistance provided to schools, and monitors national educational standards. The Department of Education receives guidance on these matters from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The CHEA has a membership of approximately 3,000 colleges and universities and 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations. They monitor the agencies that accredit schools, essentially providing a form of accreditation to those accrediting agencies.
Employment Outlook for Master's in Web Development Graduates
While web development jobs require varying levels of education, depending on the specific position, earning your master's in web development typically qualifies you for higher-ranking and better-paying roles. For example, a web developer with a master's degree may be eligible for promotion to senior web developer or software engineer; these roles tend to pay significantly more than those requiring a lower level of education and experience. Additionally, a graduate degree generally increases your chances of being employed; the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, in 2016, workers with a master's degree had an unemployment rate of 2.4%, which is better than the overall average of 4%.
Master's In Web Development Salary
Although the most significant factor affecting the wages of web developers is their level of experience, certain states offer higher median salaries for this field. The following table features data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showing the states with the top five mean salary rates for web developers. These states have a high concentration of web, media, and government jobs that require high-quality web development work. Be aware that holding a master's degree may allow you to obtain higher-ranking jobs and earn a better-than-average salary.
|State||Hourly Mean Wage||Annual Mean Wage|
|District of Columbia||$41.70||$86,730|
Master's In Web Development Careers
Web developers can pursue a variety of computer-based careers. When you earn your master's in web development and gain professional experience, you tend to increase your opportunities for advancement to senior positions and management roles. These are full-time positions in the public and private sectors where professionals primarily work in an office environment. Depending on the size of the company, these roles may be performed alone or as part of a team.
- Web Developer
Web developers create websites and other web applications. They handle the technical features and are sometimes responsible for design aspects. This requires training in both web development and graphic design. A master's degree in web development gives you more advanced tools for building web applications and may help you advance to senior roles, particularly in companies that employ multiple web developers.
Median Annual Salary $66,130
Projected Growth Rate 27%
- Software Developer
Software developers create computer programs, which can range from business applications to games to operating systems. Most software developers have a bachelor's degree, but earning a master's degree may make senior and supervisory roles more accessible.
Median Annual Salary $102,280
Projected Growth Rate 17%
- Computer Programmer
When software developers create programs, computer programmers write the actual code that allows software to function. Code is written in a programming language, which the computer translates into instructions it can follow. A bachelor's degree is typically needed for an entry-level computer programming job, but a master's degree can lead to senior positions.
Median Annual Salary $79,840
Projected Growth Rate -8%
- Computer and Information Systems Manager
Computer and information systems managers oversee an organization's computer-related functions. This position is also referred to as an information technology (IT) manager or project manager. A manager directs a team of employees, which often consists of software and web developers, programmers, and hardware technicians, to ensure an organization's technological needs are met. These management positions generally require a bachelor's degree and professional experience, although many people in these roles hold a graduate degree.
Median Annual Salary $135,800
Projected Growth Rate 15%
- Database Administrator
Database administrators manage computerized data storage, ensuring that it is safe, orderly, and accessible to the proper parties as needed. Maintaining the integrity and security of data is an administrator's primary goal. Database administrators usually hold at least a bachelor's degree, but an advanced degree may provide a competitive edge on the job market.
Median Annual Salary $84,950
Projected Growth Rate 11%
Financing Your Online Master's in Web Development Program
Almost every college student uses some type of financial aid to help pay for their education; aid comes in the form of grants, loans, scholarships, and work-study programs. When you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, the results help you understand which financial aid opportunities are available to you. Many private scholarships also require applicants to fill out the FAFSA. High-demand fields, such as web development, often have special financial aid opportunities for students who are willing to work in certain areas. In addition to providing financial aid, these opportunities can help you land your first job working in the specialization, organization, or community in question.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.