Is this a good college major for web development?

Hi. I would like to be a web developer. I’m in college working on an associates in graphic design with emphasis in web design. I considered getting a BS in computer science after I finish, but I am really not good at math. Since I am not good at math and don’t like it, I am going to finish an associates in web development after I finish my associates in graphic design. Then I will transfer to a college that will accept most of my design credits so I can get a BFA in graphic design just so I can say I have a bachelors.

I am interested in both graphic design and web development. After I complete the web development associates, I will have learned html, css, javascript, php, sql, xml, interface design, a little about java and some about developing mobile devices for android apps. Would this knowledge combined with my BFA in graphic design help me get a job as a web developer if I wanted? I know most companies separate the design and development departments and they are separate fields. It would probably be easier for me to get a job as a designer than a web developer because of my BFA I will have. Hypothetically, if I ever decided to apply for a developer position, would my lack of an IT or CS degree hinder my chances a lot? I will at least have an associates in web development on my resume by then and I may consider getting one or more graduate certificate(s) related to web development.

I do not think not getting a CS degree will completely hinder your ability to get a development job. It will keep you from getting jobs where CS is an absolute requirement (there are engineering type positions out there). If you are looking for a web development job and can demonstrate that you understand the technology and have some web development experience, then I think your design degree is just icing on the cake.

Thank you for replying to my question.

For the record, I have a degree in CS and I am terrible at Math. What you learn in CS isn’t really Math, so don’t let that hinder you.

That being said, whereas Computer Science is a great degree to have if you want to go into development I would recommend entering development with any degree other than Web Design. My reason for this is that most of what you learn, even with a CS degree, will be learned on the job. A Web Design degree gives you nothing and takes three years of your life and a lot of your money. The education itself is more of a life experience than one for gaining a job. Some of the best developers I’ve met have either no degree or degrees in completely unrelated subjects.

any degree except web design? So you don’t think a BFA in graphic design would help at all? What if I got a BFA in graphic design (because I already have a lot of credits in it and it would be 2-3 times faster than CS), then get a job and work on math classes on the side until I’m ready to apply for a masters in CS? Would that probably work?

I can take a lot of classes in web development at the college I am at. I can get an associates in web development and an associates in android application development fairly quickly if I take the prerequisites for them while I finish my other associates. After I finish my first associates and the beginning/prerequisites, I could finish both the web development associates and android app associates with one additional year of education (if I take lots of classes at once, which I think I can handle). Then I could finish a BFA in design in less than 2 years because of all the general education and design credits I have. There is a state university I have visited that will take a large quantity of my credits. I have talked to the department head of design there and discussed transferring so I know. Also, I get in-state tuition there.

My current plan, which I just discussed above, would take a total of 3.5 years total from now (at most) to finish a bachelors in graphic design, an associates in web development, and an associates in android app development. The types of programming classes included in these associates are more relevant to web and application development than the types of programming classes included in a CS degree, so it might enable me to get to work building websites and apps a lot faster than getting a BS in CS. If I finished an associates in graphic design (I might as well finish it since I’m close) and took math classes at the same time to obtain the level of math proficiency I would need for CS, it would take about 1 more year to get to pre-calculus level (assuming I do not fail any math classes and need to re-take them), then it would take a minimum of 3.5 additional years of education for me to finish a BS in computer science. This would take a total of 4.5 years (at least) to get a bachelors. I still would need to learn the type of programming skills that would be relevant to web development and app development, so it might take even longer for me to develop the skills I would really need to do web development. Also, since I am not very good at math and science classes, I may need to space out the degree requirements for a BS in CS in order to do well enough successfully complete them. This is why I thought 4.5 years would only be a minimum amount of time I would need to finish college if I did a BS in CS instead of a BFA in design.

It would be faster, easier, and cheaper to finish 2 additional associates in web development and app development and a BFA in design (so I will have at least some kind of bachelors) than a BS in CS. I also plan to use the web and app development skills I would learn sooner this way to build some websites and apps for my portfolio in the summer. This will show employers what I am capable of and give me practice and experience, which is probably more helpful in getting a job than having a very specific type of degree. I have also been teaching myself html5 and css3. I plan to try to learn a bit about jquery in the summer. By the time I finish college, I will know html4, css2 (already learned fairly well), html5, css3 (currently learning), and will learn javascript, jquery, sql, ms access, xml, php, java, e-commerce, interface design, several courses in mobile application development, a little about networking and info security, and possibly advanced courses in java programming and sql.

How about a BFA in graphic design, my 2 associates (4 if you count my associates in gen ed for a bachelors and my associates in graphic design), and eventually a masters in CS or related field? On my resume, I would make the gen ed associates and graphic design associates less prominently displayed, but still mentioned because they would be less important than my other degrees. Would this be just as useful as a BS in CS?

Thanks for the advice. Graphic Design isn’t exactly the same as Web Design, though. Web Design is just one form of Graphic Design. I could possibly discuss my choice of major with a career counselor if needed. I was considering Graphic Design as my first choice of bachelors degree because I have already spent a long time in college and sill have no degree. Since I am tired of college and want to graduate before I am 30 or 40, I thought I should do Graphic Design because it would be the fastest. Then at least I will have some kind of bachelors, which is better than none.

This is where it gets confusing. You stated that you wanted a job in development, not design. If you want to be a Web Designer then Graphic Design is the perfect degree. If you want to be a designer (not a developer) I would always recommend Graphic Design above anything else, especially Web Design degrees.


This is why I, like many others, oppose Web Development degrees so much. They’re nothing more than money-spinners for “universities” (and I use that term loosely) who want to get their hiring stats up and get money off of popular trends in the job market. It’s a deplorable practice for an academic institution. The mere thought of getting a qualification in “Android Application Development” is insane too, as by the time you’ve studied for the exam Android itself would have already moved on!

The reason why these degrees are so poor is because they teach trade skills outside of a trade setting, from lecturers who may be decent programmers but have no current real-world experience. A student who studies for a BSc in Web Design will graduate with the ability to write acceptable front-end code, code a bit of PHP and work with a relational database. They will probably also be able to handle some front-end development. However, three years after they started picking up these skills they’ll be forced into either front-end development work or PHP, because it’s all that they’ve learned. Another graduate, with a degree in Law (as an example) now wants to be a developer. To get the experience necessary to get a job this person has built their skills in their own time, either through home study or through internships. This person has relevant first-hand experience of the work place and the skills required in a work place.

I hate to be so dismissive, but once you’ve got a Bachelors degree no one will care about your associates degree. In the same vein, once you’ve got a few years of employment about you most employers won’t even care what degree you have. It sucks, especially when you’ve spent money and time to get a degree, but that’s the cold, hard fact.

If you want to be a designer then take the necessary Art and Design classes to get your Bachelors in Graphic Design. If you want to be a developer then Graphic Design is fine, but I would pick up coding in your own time as many “Web” classes in universities are a waste of credits for someone who wants real-world experience. Code in your own time and/or get yourself a summer internship writing code for a local company. Naturally, Computer Science will give you the fundamental knowledge for Software Development.

In summary, don’t waste your time worrying about getting relevant credits in Web Development or Android Development if you want to be a designer. You’ll learn more in a few weeks of your own time or in an eight week summer internship than you will in an entire year of university.

I think I should take just a few web development and programming classes and/or get an internship in web development to try it out. I have always liked art and design, but for some reason, I have been interested in doing development. I should probably double major in graphic design and computer science. That’s what I originally wanted to do anyways, I just got distracted doing associates degrees because I thought one bachelors and one associates might be cheaper and faster than two bachelors. It will take longer and probably cost a little more, but it would probably be worth it since that’s what I really wanted.

Web Development, Web Design & Engineering, Web Design & Production…You can also get certifications.

that sound’s like a good idea in all, check out web authoring because you’ve got a good idea about the web.
ps. certificates don’t really matter for web design, you get go the stress free route and get a desktop opertating certificate it’s pretty popular.

Like Ultimate has already stated there is really only two options: Computer Science or Graphic BA. The “web design”, “web development”, etc degrees are worthless fluff. Just about everybody in the industry views them that way. Not worth the time nor the money. Once you have 2 – 3 years of professional experience no one really cares anyway – it isn’t like medicine or law.