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Jennifer Kyrnin

Poll: Would you get a degree in Web design?

By July 31, 2008

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When I started in this business in 1995, there were almost no classes on HTML, period, let alone university courses or degrees. But now most universities offer some type of Web development class or degree - sometimes design focused and sometimes programming focused.

If you're getting ready to look for a college are you going to try to get a degree in Web design or Web development? And if you've already gotten a degree, do you wish you could have gotten one in Web design or development? Why or why not? Or are you considering going back and getting another degree in Web development?

August 1, 2008 at 8:35 am
(1) creigle says:

If anyone today thinks that a good paying job comes without a degree is serious mistaken. Just look at what the employers are looking for and that will tell you if you need a degree or not.

August 1, 2008 at 1:46 pm
(2) Jennifer Kyrnin says:

creigle: Ah, but does the degree have to be in Web design? I have a degree (two degrees, actually) and neither are in Web design or even a related field. The question was not whether or not you should get a degree, but whether, if you do, it should be in Web design or not.

August 1, 2008 at 10:48 pm
(3) Peggy Shields says:

I began learning HTML in 1998 and worked as an Administrative Assistant. When my company downsized, I decided to look into other opportunities. I returned to school and graduated with a BS in Web Design and Multimedia in December 2006. I am self-taught in many areas, however, I felt a degree would validate my skills and expertise to sell myself as a self-employed web designer. I do not regret my decision.

The biggest advantage in getting my degree was that I learned things I would not have known to learn. It provided structure and the course load allowed me to explore the various opportunities in the field.

My degree led to the opportunity to work from home (I would probably be on disability otherwise due to fibromyalgia) and to generate a much higher income.

August 5, 2008 at 6:43 am
(4) Karthik says:

Well, It all depends on the job you do. If you are a freelancer, degree does not matter at all. Just skillset is what matters. But if u r employed in a MNC, then u need to have a degree to be recognised for promotion. But this is all bullshit what i feel. If you are confident on what you do and have a fire within you to learn thats enough to learn web.

August 5, 2008 at 7:10 am
(5) Paul Chenoweth says:

Having a college diploma from an accredited university means a lot to me when I look for candidates for web related positions. The technical aspects of forming good pages are only a small portion of the qualifications that an individual needs. Web positions often mean wearing multiple ‘hats’ (i.e. graphic artist, photographer, marketing consultant, negotiator and hand-holder). Having a liberal arts degree makes for a more attractive candidate because of those extra hats. Having web skills, experience, and motivation layered on top of that degree makes for a much better looking resume.

I would take a good look at a candidate with a degree in web development or web design. I would, however, expect to see verifiable examples of what that graduate did with those skills on active web sites. Without those examples/experience the degree puts many candidates way down the list of better qualified/experienced candidates.

August 5, 2008 at 8:35 am
(6) Lou says:

I learned the bulk of what I know in Web design outside of the classroom. Yes, I did get a degree in it, but technology and Internet requirements have changed so since I got my degree, I would have to be a life-long student and never make it out of college if I kept going to school just so I had my degree.
I’ve talked to several people I graduated with and some decided to start their own business because of how Web design had changed since they started for their degree. Others had gotten better paying jobs, but ended up creating online tutorials just to keep their skills fresh.
So, even though a degree may help you get a Web design job, it is not required. What is required is the willingness to learn.

August 5, 2008 at 1:05 pm
(7) Jennie says:

I would love to have a degree. All of the local colleges and universities don’t offer a degree in web design, only IT tech degree and they do offer some offer related classes. The best I’m doing right now is that I’ve made an arrangement with the woman who teaches the two web design courses at the community college. She’s agreed to give me credits for her courses [which I surpass in knowledge] if I enter and rank in a web design competition that will feature students in design and art schools. I’m currently pursuing a counseling degree – which is my dream career, but web design is a passion and I want to obtain a license or degree to show that I do know it because I work with it so much.

August 6, 2008 at 9:00 am
(8) Karen says:

All a degree proves is that you don’t have a portfolio. If you have a good portfolio, it doesn’t matter whether you’re self taught or not. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of education can’t teach good taste and creativity.

Having said that, there are an awful lot of “self-taught” people calling themselves web designers who have no clue what they’re doing.

August 6, 2008 at 5:56 pm
(9) Dawn says:

A degree does NOT mean the degree holder has no portfolio. Some programs assign projects that are specifically intended to be used in the graduate’s portfolio.
Why so negative? Axe to grind maybe?

March 23, 2009 at 5:18 am
(10) etah says:

when you guys say degree. does it have to be a bachelors degree, or does something like a webdesign diploma from Platt count?

April 13, 2010 at 9:11 am
(11) Chris says:

@Dawn – Sounds like someone definitely has an axe to grind, totally agree with you. Normally I wouldn’t be so crude, but when someone speaks in blanketed absolutes, they’re simply begging for it, or trolling…

July 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm
(12) mark webster says:

I have a one year certificate in web design. It got me a full time job that lasted a year until 9-11. I started freelancing, and eventually ended up teaching web design in a community college. 11 years later, I’m still doing it. A degree does ensure that you are a well rounded designer – developer. Most self taught web gurus specialize in programming (php, asp.net, etc).

A well rounded freelance web developer-designer needs lots of diverse skills: SEO, advertising, cold calling, photography, contract writing, (x)html, php or asp.net, Javascript and jquery, Flash for advertisements, Mobile Optimization, Photoshop, Illustrator…the list goes on.

You must also have excellent communication skills…including the ability to write clean, error free English.

That being said, it is quite possible to teach yourself all these skills using free youtube videos, and or lynda videos, which are much cheaper than college.

There is definitely work in web. My best students all get jobs…but my average students do not. You can’t be average in this business…you have to excel.

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