What's the Difference Between Website Design and Programming?

Whether you're interested in the artistic or technical aspects of creating websites, a job in website design or website programming might be for you. Read on to find out about training opportunities in this field. Schools offering Digital Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Website Design and Programming Differ

Website design is concerned with a site's appearance; website programming is concerned with its function. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that website design and website programming are both undertaken by web developers who are concerned with the functionality of a site's software applications (www.bls.gov). However, page design can also be undertaken by web designers who specialize in Flash and other visual effects software.

Important Facts About Website Design and Programming Studies

Web Design Web Programming
Degree/Certificate Levels Typically undergraduate, both certificates and degrees Typically undergraduate, mostly degrees
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent required; previous digital media coursework or portfolio preferred High school diploma or equivalent required; previous IT coursework or experience preferred
Online Availability Yes - fully online Yes - fully online
Possible Careers Art director, graphic designer (specializing in web or multimedia), game designer, multimedia designer, web master, developer, or content specialist Software or applications developer, database engineer, information security specialist, senior programmer, systems analyst or engineer
Median Salary (2018)* $69,430 (for all web developers) $84,280 (for all computer programmers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 15% growth (for all web developers) -7% decline (for all computer programmers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Common Degrees for Web Designers

If you're more interested in the design aspects of creating websites, training is commonly available through certificate and diploma programs. You'll learn how to use multimedia and animation software such as Flash, Final Cut Pro and Photoshop. Courses will include subjects such as:

  • Typography
  • Graphic Design for the Web
  • Web Graphics and Photo Editing
  • Interactive Media Design
  • Digital Layout

Credit hours from these programs may also be applied towards media arts or interactive media associate and bachelor's degree programs. These programs cover advanced topics in storyboarding and web animation. You'll also be able to add sound and video application software to your repertoire, such as Motion and Apple Soundtrack Pro.

Common Degrees for Web Programmers

If you're interested in programming websites, you might consider a job as a web developer. According to the BLS, those applying for web developer positions will generally need a bachelor's degree. Programming coursework will likely include topics such as:

  • HTML Programming
  • JavaScript Programming
  • Advanced CSS
  • PHP Web Development
  • Developing Mobile Applications

Among the more common programs available are information technology or information systems bachelor's degrees. Some programs may allow you to specialize in web development. In such programs you'll generally get an overview of programming as well as design elements, in addition to some training in site maintenance. You'll learn about basic operating systems, networking, site security and server-side scripting.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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