Webmaster Degrees: Associate, Bachelor's & Online Class Info

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What will you learn in a webmaster program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of an associate's and bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Studying Computer Science: Degrees at a Glance

The main role of a webmaster is to manage regular updates and changes to a website. Changes may consist of adding text to a page or creating a new section on the site. Some webmasters have responsibilities that may require complicated coding, managing e-commerce or even site conversions.

A webmaster position consists of technical responsibilities as well as customer service duties. An associate's degree in computer science or information technology can help you secure an entry-level position with minimal coding. However, for more complex responsibilities, such as information security and e-commerce, you may need training that comes with a bachelor's degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in this field are projected to grow 22% from 2010-2020.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? -Individuals interested in becoming a webmaster with minimal programming responsibilities
-Individuals seeking webmaster positions with development and programming responsibilities
-Individuals seeking to pursue graduate studies in computer-related areas
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) - Webmaster ($67,000)**
- Web administrator ($74,000)**
- Web programmer ($55,000)**
- Web developer ($78,000)*
Time to Completion 1-2 years 4-5 years
Prerequisites High school diploma High school diploma or associate's degree in a related field
Online Availability Yes Yes

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures). **Salary.com (June 2012 figures).

Associate's Degree in Computer Science

If you are interested in becoming a webmaster, you will need to pursue a degree in computer science or information technology. In addition to gaining introductory technical and programming skills, you will also gain a certain amount of creativity as you design information in a way that is pleasing to consumers - as far as design and organization. Creativity is useful in problem solving as you create new solutions to engage customers and promote a company's message through a website. While an associate's degree will teach you basic skills to manage webmaster responsibilities, you may need to continue your education to improve your job prospects and gain advanced skills in the field.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Since a webmaster maintains websites, the work is more constant than a Web design or programming career, which may be more project-based.
  • An associate's degree can serve as a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree which will lead to more responsibilities and opportunities in the fields of computer science and information technology.
  • You can work in a variety of industries and 17% were self-employed in 2010.*

Cons

  • Some programs focus on back-end coursework, while others focus more on front-end coursework. Look for a program that has coursework focused on where your interests lie.
  • With such user-friendly software, people think that they can design websites themselves, so you also face competition from novices, as well as individuals who have earned certificates in Web design and maintenance.
  • Technology changes at such a rapid pace, you are required to constantly be aware of the latest trends and technology, requiring active continuing education.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Courses and Requirements

In addition to general studies courses, you will take coursework in computer languages and programming to make the site function properly. You will learn coding languages such as HTML, Java and Flash. You will also learn about the programming that makes the back end function, including ways to incorporate databases, forms and shopping carts onto a website. You can expect to take courses in:

  • Web design
  • Intellectual property law
  • Systems analysis
  • Computer networking

Online Degree Options

You will find many online programs in information technology. In addition to general education courses, your program will include coursework in database management, systems management and Web design. You may also have a cumulative project or internship. It's important that you find programs that are accredited and will allow you to transfer credits towards a bachelor's degree.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

  • Practice customer-service skills. In addition to knowing technical programming, webmasters have to respond politely and correctly to user questions and requests. Hone your communication and customer service skills by volunteering to teach a computer class at a local community center or retirement home.
  • Learn as many programming languages as possible. Your coursework will cover the most popular, but with a few library books and practice, you can learn fundamentals and features of lesser known programs.
  • Take a marketing course. The website is basically a tool to attract and engage customers. When you can understand the role of the website, you will have a better idea of how to solve problems that meet those needs.

Bachelor's in Computer Science

A bachelor's degree in computer science or information technology will prepare you to become an advanced webmaster. You will have programming knowledge to keep the website fresh and competitive with other online outlets. In addition, you will also learn how to solve technical problems relating to programming. It is possible to find degree programs that offer concentrations or specializations, which may give you the opportunity to focus on Web programming and other issues related to website management.

With a bachelor's degree in information technology or computer science, you can pursue positions as Web developers and Web programmers, as well as webmasters. The bachelor's degree will also prepare you for graduate studies in computer-related fields including business information technology or healthcare information systems. However, you will still compete with associate's degree holders for entry-level jobs.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • If you enjoy variety in your career, you may respond to customer inquiries, add a social media tool to the site, change search engine optimization data and figure out a way for the page to load faster, all in one day.
  • Most businesses have websites. You can also work for any government, private or nonprofit organization selling goods or services.
  • Pursuing a bachelor's degree will make you marketable as a developer and programmer in addition to a webmaster.

Cons

  • May compete with associate's level graduates for entry-level jobs
  • Webmasters, designers and programmers face competition from individuals in other countries as some companies attempt to outsource.
  • Webmasters may be called into work at all hours to fix or update website.

Courses and Requirements

Computer science and information technology students are expected to have a strong background in math. You will take courses in algebra and calculus. Some of your coursework will be in programming languages such as Java and C++. You can also expect to take courses in:

  • Data structures
  • Computer architecture
  • Software engineering
  • Database management

You may be required to complete a capstone course as well. Some programs will allow you to choose a concentration, where you can focus on programming, development or social media.

Online Degree Options

You will find many online bachelor's degree programs in computer science and information technology. These programs will provide you with the knowledge to pass certification exams. You can also expect to take courses in operating systems Windows and Linux, as well as Web architecture, programming and security.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

  • Although your program will include technical coursework, you may or may not have coursework in Web design. To become marketable, take courses in graphic design so that you can provide solutions that are aesthetically pleasing for both customers and your company.
  • Learn to produce multimedia. It may be required that you include audio, images or video to your website. Take basic electives in broadcast journalism or photography that will help you discern quality characteristics in multimedia.
  • Practice the skills you learn in class by developing your own website. You can apply language coursework, practice integrating your website with social media and learn about search engine optimization by developing your own website.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate: Information Technology
      • AASIT: Network Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Technology Studies
      • Associate of Science - Information Technology Admin and Management
  • Campus and Online Programs
    3. Everest

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate's - Computer Information Science
  • Walla Walla, WA

    Walla Walla Community College

  • Vincennes, IN

    Vincennes University

  • Temple, TX

    Temple College

  • Culver City, CA

    West Los Angeles College

  • Port Huron, MI

    St Clair County Community College

  • Belleville, IL

    Southwestern Illinois College

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Associate: Information Technology
  • AASIT: Network Admin

Which subject are you interested in?

Herzing University

  • Associate of Science - Technology Studies
  • Associate of Science - Information Technology Admin and Management

What is your highest level of education?

Everest

  • Associate's - Computer Information Science

What is your highest level of education completed?

Walla Walla Community College

Vincennes University

Temple College

West Los Angeles College

St Clair County Community College