Web design is the face of the internet. Every website, every application, every page that is shown on the internet or on a smartphone is designed by professionals who are hired for the specific purpose of making the internet look good. For students who wish to become professional web designers, this is an exciting prospect; however, not all programs are created equal. Here are some of the top things to look for in a web design degree program.
Programming Language Options
One of the most important things to look for in a web design degree program is whether the program offers the chance to learn different programming languages. Anything done on the web must be written in code; even the templates used by several website building companies are coded by in-house web designers and developers. But while programming may not be as vital for a designer as it is for a developer, knowing how to code may provide students with additional opportunities upon graduating from school. The most common programming languages for web designers include HTML, CSS, Java, Python, and PHP.
The web design field is about portfolio work, or what a student has accomplished with their knowledge. Most programs, especially ones run by art schools or web design-specific schools, require that students complete a variety of projects beginning their first term in the program. All of the work culminates in an undergraduate or graduate portfolio of work. When done correctly, it will provide potential clients and employers with a demonstration of what that professional has accomplished and has knowledge in. Programs without a portfolio requirement may well be quality programs but lack in offering students a body of work that can showcase their skills.
Access to Business Courses
One thing that most web designers need to learn in college or university is how to sell their business. This is not limited to just freelancers; web designers are supposed to be able to sell their skills to clients when they work with a large company or firm. Business courses, such as those that focus on management and marketing, are important for these designers. This is especially true when one considers how many web designers work for themselves. It’s not enough to just know the web design business; a professional must also know how to run a company effectively and ethically. Schools without business courses available to their students are ones to reconsider, as it demonstrates that the school is not updated on how most web designers work.
Web design is an umbrella term for most of the design that happens on the internet. In fact, professionals in the field do much better when they choose a specialization for their career. Some of the possibilities for specializations include visual design, user experience, web development, new media web design, and more. Some schools also offer students the chance to either earn a dual degree in a related field or provide students with an individualized plan of study. This is something to consider when looking at schools because programs that do not offer specialization options may not be a good fit for a student who knows where they would like to focus their career.
The continuing education of a web designer is something that is discussed all the time in the field; in fact, the popular web magazine, Creative Boom, dedicated an entire article to why earning a graduate degree in the field is a great step forward for most web designers. But while continuing education will be a constant factor in a professional’s life, finding a great web design degree program is where it all starts. Now that professionals know what to look for in these degrees, the time has come to start researching schools that may be a good fit for an ambitious web design professional.