Study Web Programming: Masters, Training & Online Degree Info

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What kind of job can you get with a master's degree or certificate in Web programming? Find out program requirements, online options and info on training and Web programming degrees.
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Web Programming Master's Degrees and Graduate Certificates: Programs at a Glance

Web programming involves writing the code that makes websites run, and this task is usually performed by Web developers during the process of building and maintaining websites. You can't get a master's degree specifically in Web programming, but you will find programs in the broader field of Web development. Graduate certificates in Web development are available as well.

Before considering a master's degree or certificate in Web development, though, you should be aware that you only need a bachelor's degree and experience for most Web development positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, a graduate degree or certificate might be appropriate if you already have an IT-related bachelor's degree and you'd like to study Web development at an advanced level. Job prospects are projected to be favorable for Web developers between 2010 and 2020, and pay in this profession is relatively high.

Master's Degrees Graduate Certificates
Who is this program for? People with an IT background who want to study Web development in depth Varies, but typically for IT professionals who'd like a briefer, more specialized Web development program
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) A bachelor's degree is usually sufficient for the following jobs:
- Web applications developer ($80,000, with 2-4 years' experience)
- Web software developer ($73,000, with 2 years' experience; $86,000, with 3-5 years' experience)
- Same occupations as for the master's degree, if you meet the minimum education and experience requirements
Time to Completion 2 years, full-time About 1 year, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements Final project Coursework only
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree in a related field, or bachelor's degree in a non-related field plus work experience Usually same as for the master's degree
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011).

Master's Degree in Web Programming

Master's degree programs specifically for Web programming are usually not available; however, you can learn Web programming skills in computer science or information technology degree programs with concentrations in Web development. You'll take general IT courses and learn specialized Web development skills as well. Some programs give you the chance to complete a hands-on project, either alone or as part of a team. Many Web development degree programs also include courses in management skills, since Web developers may oversee a project team responsible for building and maintaining a website. Although earning a degree can be a good way to expand your skill set, most jobs in Web development require practical experience in addition to education.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • If you're already working in IT, you'll learn specialized Web development skills that may open up a new career field for you or allow you to become a Web entrepreneur
  • Some programs allow you to create a project, which you can use to demonstrate your skills to potential employers
  • If you choose a master's degree program instead of a certificate program, you'll learn a broader range of IT skills that may increase your employability

Cons

  • A master's degree isn't necessary to get a job as a Web developer or Web programmer
  • You'll already need to have advanced IT skills to be considered for most programs
  • Since many Web development jobs require experience, you might still have trouble finding a job if you haven't worked in this field before

Courses and Requirements

Most master's degree programs in Web development require you to complete 10-12 courses. The majority of programs include core classes that teach foundational Web development and programming skills. In addition to these classes, students are encouraged to take elective or specialized courses within their particular fields of interest, such as computer graphics, game design, operating system programming and website design. Graduate courses in Web development may include the following:

  • Business technology trends
  • Database systems
  • Computer programming

Some degree programs offer you the choice of taking additional courses or completing a final project. Although the requirements vary by program, most students have the freedom to work on projects related to their specific Web programming interests.

Online Degree Options

There are master's degree programs in Web development that provide you with the option of completing some or all of your coursework online. You'll take the same classes that on-campus students take, and you'll usually be able to communicate with your professors via email and Web chat. Online courses also differ from campus-based ones in that you'll be able to complete course content at a time that's convenient for you.

Stand Out with This Degree

If you're earning a master's degree, you may already be taking a step towards standing out on the job market. However, there's even more you can do to increase your chances of finding a job. According to the BLS, aspiring Web developers can stand out by learning a variety of programming languages, including SQL and JavaScript, as well as multimedia tools, like Photoshop and Flash. Employers may also prefer candidates with strong knowledge of PHP and Apache. You should try to take related classes if your degree program offers them.

Graduate Certificates in Web Programming

As with master's degrees, it's unlikely that you'll find a certificate program specifically in Web programming; however, most Web development certificate programs cover Web programming skills in depth. Some graduate certificate programs also offer specific emphases, such as Web application development or open source development. Most Web development certificate programs are designed to teach you to deal with real-life Web development problems, and some even allow you to work on a personal project as part of your coursework. For example, if you're building a website for your business, you could submit it as a class project.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Certificate programs allow you to finish your studies more quickly than master's degree programs do
  • You may be able to count courses you take for your certificate program towards earning a related master's degree in the future
  • You'll only have to take Web development courses in a certificate program - in a master's degree program, you may have to take additional computer science courses that you don't want or need

Cons

  • If you're relatively new to IT, you may need the additional breadth offered by master's degree programs
  • You'll take fewer courses, which means you'll learn fewer new skills - this could limit your career options
  • A certificate doesn't have the same prestige as a master's degree

Common Courses and Requirements

Although each program is different, the majority of Web development certificate programs will teach you about developing websites and applications with the aid of tools such as Dreamweaver, AJAX, Photoshop, Google Web Toolkit and Flash. Most certificate programs also train you to alter images, embed icons, work with cascading style sheets and organize databases. Some certificate programs may be designed for those interested in e-business and Web marketing. These programs focus on teaching you to address the needs of clients and consumers, and you'll also learn about different marketing strategies, including viral marketing and search engine optimization. Here are some sample courses:

  • Web standards
  • .NET Web development
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Application development with XML

Online Program Info

It's possible to earn a Web development graduate certificate from an online program. Your coursework will be similar to what you'd take if you went to school on campus, and you'll have the advantage of being able to complete classwork when your schedule allows it. However, you'll still have to adhere to basic course deadlines - for example, you'll typically have to complete all requirements for courses by a scheduled date, and you may have deadlines for submitting tests or projects.

Getting Ahead with This Certificate

The best way to make sure that you'll stand out on the job market after graduation is to get experience using in-demand programming languages and Web development tools while you're in school. For example, some employers seek candidates with proven experience using PHP, SQL and JavaScript. Flash and Photoshop skills are also well-regarded, according to the BLS. After you graduate, you can even earn certifications from technology companies, like Microsoft and Oracle, which demonstrate your ability to work with their proprietary products.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Instructional Technology
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security (Bridge)
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. - Information Technology
      • Master of Science in Computer Science
      • MS - Management - Information Systems Security
      • MS - Computer Science - Computer Systems Security
      • M.S. - Management: IT and Project Management
      • M.S. - Information Technology - Project Management
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
      • MSM in Information Technology
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      • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
      • MS in Cybersecurity Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Applied Computer Science
      • MSTIM - Computer Science
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      • MSTIM - Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    6. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of IT: Project Management
      • Master of Information Technology - Information Assurance and Security
      • Master of Science in Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS Information Technology: Internet Security Concentration
      • MS in Cyber Security with a concentration in IT management
      • MS Information Technology: Web Design Concentration
      • MS in Information Technology with a concentration in software application development
      • MS Information Technology
      • MS in Cyber Security
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
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      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Lewis University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Computer Science
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      • MS in Computer Science - Cyber Security
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master - Information Technology Management
      • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology

Featured Schools

Grand Canyon University

  • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • M.S. in Instructional Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

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Colorado Technical University

  • M.S. - Information Technology
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • MS - Management - Information Systems Security

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Kaplan University

  • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
  • MSM in Information Technology
  • Master: Information Technology

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Northcentral University

  • MBA - Applied Computer Science
  • MSTIM - Computer Science
  • MBA - Management Information Systems

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American InterContinental University

  • Master of IT: Project Management
  • Master of Information Technology - Information Assurance and Security
  • Master of Science in Information Technology

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Southern New Hampshire University

  • MS Information Technology: Internet Security Concentration
  • MS in Cyber Security with a concentration in IT management
  • MS Information Technology: Web Design Concentration

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Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
  • MBA: Technology Management
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Public Safety Leadership and Technology Management

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