Web Design Schools

I am looking at getting a degree in Web site design or possibly graphic design. What traditional schools are best to look at? What online schools are good to look at? Is the Art Institute a safe bet? Does anyone know what kind of tuition rates per credit hour these schools charge for a degree? Thanks very much

I think a web design degree is much too specific and won’t really be of much use. That’s my personal opinion though. A graphic design degree would be of much more use, as the career opportunities are of a much larger spectrum.

I don’t think many of the top web designers out there have degrees in such a subject. It’s something that’s learned with experience.

As to the actual question - no one can really give you advice as to schools unless they know where you are based.

Ok, lets say I’m based in Dallas, Texas. Why would it make a difference if I was online? Are you referring to local schools?

Well, you did ask which traditional schools to look at :wink:

Living in the UK, I can’t give any recommendations as to actual schools worth more than a search engine. As a developer, I can also tell you that, from my experience, experience is usually preferred over education in a market like this. So I’m not gonna be much help here unfortunately, but I’m sure someone will come along and answer.

As far as I’ve looked (and trust me I’ve looked far and wide) there isn’t any “Web Design degree” available at the current moment that is worth one blink of anyones eyes. (If there is a lecturer out there that lectures on a “Web Design Degree” that is worth at least one blink of an eye then please contact me!)

As Jake said, you’re better off with a Graphic Design degree, but even then, graphic design is still a fair way off Web design. Traditional graphic design and Web design are two totally different arenas and you’ll probably need to do some of your own independent learning to become a professional and well-versed Web designer even after graduating with a graphic design degree.

Personally speaking I would say scrap the idea of a Web design and graphic design degree. Go for a degree in a subject that you love but don’t particularly want a career in. Learn Web design in your own time independently and by the time you’ve graduated you’ll have the skills and knowledge to work in a mid-weight Web design agency or start your own small firm whilst also having a unique skill and knowledge-set that no other Web designer has - A degree that isn’t in a related subject! :slight_smile:

Goodluck with whatever you choose to do, fwc67 (and a Merry Christmas to you too!) :slight_smile:

I don’t think anyone can truly answer such a question like this Jake, but who are we to say even that eh? Haha, what a crazy World we live in! :lol:

Andrew Cooper

Do you think web development is the same story? Getting familiar with the HTML, CSS, Javascript? Maybe even implementing it with Ruby? This is more technical but still requires the artistic side.

It’s not the same story with Web development. It’s a much worse story I’m afraid :frowning: I would highly advice and insist that you buy some Web design / development books, also have a look at SitePoint Courses and [URL=“http://learnable.com/”]Learnable and also the [URL=“http://membership.thinkvitamin.com/”]ThinkVitamin Membership :slight_smile:

You’d be better off with making your own education that going to University to spend thousands on a degree that will be useless to you, except maybe get you a job. Honestly, University fees are a rip-off for what you get! :eek: It is -not- a sound investment. You are the investment.

Any more help or advise you need, you know where to go :wink:

Andrew Cooper

Thanks and before I go down the rabbit hole too far with any of these, what are your opinions on Principles of Beautiful Web Design? Is it a good place to start? How is the second version compared to the first? Is it worth the cost?

100% agreed. I don’t know how much time commitment you have but I’d consider getting computer science degree. Yeah…I know… CS degree… yuk!!! However, you can learn web design from the book and not from school. Just like the other guy said. Most likely, if you do take my advice and start taking CS courses…you’ll be thinking “that sg707 is an idiot!” since you won’t be learning any design stuff. But, once you have CS degree you’ll easily find jobs that are fairly high salary. Also, they’ll highly value your design skill along w/ server side language you learned at the school. Too many times, I met people are either designer or programmer… why not being both??? G’luck!

I disagree with much of what has been said. If your passion is design than pursuing a design degree could be a good move. While a design degree will not aid development of technical skills it will teach you to produce functional and aesthetically pleasing work that satisfy any given design problem. Having the skill to look at any design problem and produce a finish product regardless of the medium is more future standing than a web design degree. The technical stuff can be learned with books on the side.

Have to agree with oddz here. If your passion lies in design, get a graphic design or industrial design degree. Either of these are not tied to the web (or a specific medium), but the knowledge you derive from such a study will undoubtedly help you in understanding visual design.

That is only one quarter of the bill. You’ll need to learn the differences between graphic design and graphic design for the web, as you can’t just apply on the web what you’ve learned for other media. Then there’s the whole front-end development side you need to learn, and there’s content writing, marketing, and other aspects of which you’ll need to have at least a basic understanding (even if just to be able to tell which copywriter or marketing expert to hire).

The best thing in having a graphic design degree (or similar) is that you’re not forever tied to the web. Nobody knows whether websites will exist in the shape and form they do now. Websites, as we know it, might become obsolete sooner than we’d like to believe. With a graphic design degree, you could make the transition to other media a lot more easily than if you concentrated on the web exclusively.

Ok, there is quite a bit to respond to here, but after emailing a friend, I have some more thoughts on the matter.

He said the PHP and coding becomes more of a chore, but is good to learn.
He recommended lynda.com and said to forget about flash. SEO is also something that companies look for, because they always want their website well ranked.

This seems like an approach that might be more aimed at employment, but I have to agree that if I go into CS, then its not going to be enjoyable at all.

lynda.com teaches you how to use tools like it says on their website (software training), it doesn’t teach you web design.

You think think vitamin is the website of choice?

For website design, I’d recommend ALA. That’s not the only one, however, but it’d be a start. I’d also get plenty of books on a variety of subjects. The topics to cover would be CSS, HTML, Javascript, Information Architecture, Content Writing & Content Strategies, Color Theory, Accessibility, Progressive Enhancement, Usability, Website Optimization, User Interface Design, Typography, Iconography, User Experience Design, Marketing Basics, Drawing & Sketching, Geometry, and Grids.

These aren’t all, but they give you a very basic overview on some of the topics that need to be covered.

This overview might also be of interest to you. That site has plenty of other good information related to your quest, so it’s worth checking out.

Ok thanks for the links, the second one looks like a good article. Its not always easy to choose which books are good and which are bad. I think UX is a good place to start, and I have already covered a lot of these topics while studying other areas.

I quite like UX Matters.

Kake you are right there is no need to take degree in graphics instead you can take graphics courses which are sufficient enough.

I agree with oddz and kohoutek 100%.

Jake Arkinstall is correct that experience is worth far more than a degree, but the degree itself teaches the fundamentals you’ll need to become a designer and if you have a degree it shows an employer that you have a certain level of knowledge that is extremely hard to test in an interview with a candidate. This is the entire reason you get a degree, to show you have the knowledge to work, and when you start work you build your career on experience from there.

This may be a sweeping generalisation that may not be true of the people here, but I have found that those without degrees are quick to state that it is not necessary to have a degree in the IT industry, whereas those with degrees are full-aware of its importance. The simple fact (as I have mentioned before) is that for most jobs that require a web professional you need a degree.

Now, degrees in Web Design aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. In the UK, they’re often a sign of someone who went to a post-polytechnic and got ripped-off by their sales pitch on why you need a Web Design degree to be a Web Designer. I’ve known a couple of Web Design graduates and they struggle to get work and can be “out-designed” by teenagers with cracked copies of Photoshop.

If you want to get a degree there are two highly-recommended routes; if you’re a techie and you want to get involved in the development of software then Computer Science is the standard degree. If you’re interested in design then Graphic Design is most likely the best route to choose. From there, choose the most reputable school you can find and soak up everything you can learn there like a sponge. Once you’ve got your degree, have interned during your summers and have an extensive portfolio of work behind you you’ll be well-positioned to apply for the best jobs out there.

Yea, it looks like graphic design is the way to go.