Not many would question that there’s a lot to learn if you want to be a web designer. From the traditions of graphic design to the ever changing technology of developing a web page, there’s a lot to learn. What’s the best way to get that education?
Should you seek a 4 year degree from a university or college? Should you buy books about design and development or learn from online tutorials? How about something in between? Where do online degree programs fit in?
The following is a guest post from Amanda Tradwick that looks at two popular places to get online degrees. I’ll add some thoughts of my own at the end.
ITT and DeVry: A Comparison of Web Design Programs
If you are interested in completing your formal training in Web design, or if you are a professional who is looking to change careers, there are many online schools that can provide the training you need and allow you the flexibility to continue to work or tend to family responsibilities while you study.
Two popular online schools, ITT Technical Institute and DeVry University, offer programs in Web design. If you are considering pursuing your degree with either of these well-known colleges, here is more information about how the two programs compare so you can determine which is right for you:
Both schools offer a program in Web design, each with different parameters.
- ITT offers an associate’s degree in Information Technology — Web Development
- DeVry offers an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Design and Development
The broader degree offered by DeVry has to be narrowed by adding a specialization in Web Design and Development.
Those who are looking for a specific degree in Web design might find that the specialization option at DeVry is not comprehensive enough. However, the abbreviated associate’s degree program at ITT may not be extensive enough. Your individual professional goals will determine which program is the best option.
The degrees offered by each school offer a general education in Web development, though each has a different focus.
The program at ITT teaches students how to design, create, and maintain Web sites. Training includes coding with popular programming languages, use of database technology, and more. The program promises to provide students the training to become Web administrators, applications developers, software developers, and Web site developers.
The program at DeVry is a bit more theoretical in nature. The program teaches students business fundamentals, principles of Web site layout and structure, and standards of design. Practical skills focus on the use of database technology and how to develop and use animations, videos, and images.
Those who are looking to quickly enter the workforce or to change careers would likely benefit more from the program at ITT, which is more focused on teaching practical skills in a shorter period of time.
The amount of time and financial resources required to complete each program greatly varies.
The bachelor’s degree at DeVry is a typical four-year program. However, the associate’s degree is 30 months — six months longer than the typical two-year program available at ITT.
Both associate’s programs are comparable in price.
- The program at DeVry costs $37,405
- The program at ITT costs $40,896
Though the program at ITT is shorter, it includes more credit units than the program at DeVry. The associate’s degree at ITT includes 96 credit hours, and the longer program at DeVry includes 67 credit hours.
This means that the program at ITT includes more classes, but that the classes meet for a shorter duration. If you prefer a more fast-paced, skills-oriented program, then the program at ITT would better suit your needs. In contrast, the program at DeVry is more conceptual in nature, but allows greater time for learning the material.
Determining the program that is right for you will depend on the type of learner you are and the goals that you have for your professional development.
Those who are looking for a more intense, results-oriented program in a shorter time span would benefit more from ITT’s shorter, practical curriculum.
Those who want a more traditional bachelor’s degree and are interested in developing as a manager or project leader would benefit more from DeVry’s program.
Both are fully accredited and offer financial aid. Of course, both also offer the flexibility of online learning, allowing professionals to create their own schedules and to balance study with work and other responsibilities.
General Thoughts from Steve
Back to me. I think education is important, not just for web designers, but for everyone. We’re all different though and we learn in different ways and have different goals for what we’ll do with the things we learn.
I mentioned 3 places to learn from at the start of this post.
- Physically attending a 4 year college or university
- Getting an online degree
- Teaching yourself though books and online tutorials
All 3 can be great ways to learn. You’ll have to do the last at some point if you want to stay current and continue learning. The question is whether to go either of the first 2 routes.
I’m someone who did go to college. In fact I went to several in earning 2 undergraduate degrees, neither in web design or development, though. As a web designer I’m mainly self taught. The online degree is the one path I didn’t travel.
My guess is many of you reading are either self taught or starting on the self teaching journey. Ultimately I think your success as a web designer will come from the understanding and skills you acquire and not so much from where you acquire them.
At the same time I wouldn’t brush off a more formal education. Had I not spent the years in college that I did, I don’t think I would be able to teach myself the way I can now. I wouldn’t be as disciplined or organized in how I learn. Picking up tips and techniques from tutorials can be a great thing, but they don’t always show you the big picture and help you integrate what you learn into a whole you make your own.
Both the big picture and the finer details are important for success.
In the end how you learn is up to you as long as you learn. The only mistake you can make is a failure to learn.
Amanda Tradwick is a grant researcher and writer for CollegeGrants.org. She has a Bachelor’s degrees from the University of
Delaware, and has recently finished research on native
american grants for college and wyoming
Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.