Web Developer Associate Degree program at my community college. Worth it?

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (22)

chris in San Antonio, Texas

75 months ago

I hope someone can help with input. I am floundering here.

I'm a 36 year old mom of three who has been doing clerical work all my life. Spent my time home with my kids and never finished college. So, here I am, tired of surviving, trying to figure out what to do.

I have thought about going back to school and becoming a teacher. I would like to explore other options that would require less schooling and more pay.

I want to know what kind of person is best suited for this career, and what kind of academic strengths you need. My strengths are in "words"... I write well, notice details, am a stickler for correctness. I've always been good with words, ideas, details, and design. I have a strong creative side and I'm really very smart but I STINK at math.

I taught myself basic HTML in the early 90's, just for fun. I read all I could and learned quickly. I have no idea if this means I'd be naturally good at anything beyond that though.

The community college offers a 2 year program for "Web Developer" and a shorter one for Web Design. What kinds of things would you tell someone considering this option?

I have struggled to find a Health Care path that would suit me because the pay is great and the demand is great but aside from maybe being an Ultrasound tech, it's just not "me". I like to work with computers, I like to work alone if possible. I'm not a morning person and I am no good at math. What would you tell me?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (6) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Brian in Washington, District of Columbia

68 months ago

Hi Chris,

I'm currently pursuing a 2 year program for web development here in DC. It's a second career for me as I was previously a medical student. I went to a career counselor when I was first contemplating leaving medical school (and going the web dev path) and she told me that a web career may not be an ideal career for myself personally BUT the advice she offered me was to try a class first, see if I like it, and go from there...so maybe you could do the same (I have since stuck it out).
A fun little test you might want to take is the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) and see if you have the MBTI "type" of other web developers (again don't be discouraged as I believe I actually don't have the "ideal" type as most web developers).
So anyway my best piece of advice would be to take a class or two and see if you like it...if you do great! but if not then at least you know.

Hope this helps

Brian

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (7) / No Reply - Report abuse

Brenda in West Palm Beach, Florida

60 months ago

chris in San Antonio, Texas said: I hope someone can help with input. I am floundering here.

I'm a 36 year old mom of three who has been doing clerical work all my life. Spent my time home with my kids and never finished college. So, here I am, tired of surviving, trying to figure out what to do.

I have thought about going back to school and becoming a teacher. I would like to explore other options that would require less schooling and more pay.

I want to know what kind of person is best suited for this career, and what kind of academic strengths you need. My strengths are in "words"... I write well, notice details, am a stickler for correctness. I've always been good with words, ideas, details, and design. I have a strong creative side and I'm really very smart but I STINK at math.

I taught myself basic HTML in the early 90's, just for fun. I read all I could and learned quickly. I have no idea if this means I'd be naturally good at anything beyond that though.

The community college offers a 2 year program for "Web Developer" and a shorter one for Web Design. What kinds of things would you tell someone considering this option?

I have struggled to find a Health Care path that would suit me because the pay is great and the demand is great but aside from maybe being an Ultrasound tech, it's just not "me". I like to work with computers, I like to work alone if possible. I'm not a morning person and I am no good at math. What would you tell me?

~~ Absolutely amazing! You sound EXACTLY like me. I just turned 37 with 2 kids and have been in clerical most of my life. I then obtained my MCSE Cert. and worked in the Electronic Data Interchange field with software programmers while only interacting with the IT guys on occasion. I 'loved' this job, more of preventing any problems before occuring. Then did technical support, answering phones and resolving issues, paid $60K per year but didn't like it. It's challenging. Now looking at WEB

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Mike in Delray Beach, Florida

60 months ago

Good stuff. I'm doing a very condensed full scope Webmaster class- and only after thorough consideration of MSCE first. I think - actually I know because I did this for a job, that to make it in the relatively oversaturated field of web design (not developing), you need to be a salesperson first. Most designers can't sell, even if they can do pretty good work. just a thought..

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

Brenda in West Palm Beach, Florida

60 months ago

Mike in Delray Beach, Florida said: Good stuff. I'm doing a very condensed full scope Webmaster class- and only after thorough consideration of MSCE first. I think - actually I know because I did this for a job, that to make it in the relatively oversaturated field of web design (not developing), you need to be a salesperson first. Most designers can't sell, even if they can do pretty good work. just a thought..

Hi Mike, good comment ... I've pretty much made up my mind to go into Web Development as I don't care for the hands on with hardware or the constant troubleshooting of the actual Computer Science/IT Tech field, and because I'm only 'semi' creative, I don't feel that a design focus would be my thing. I'm somewhere in between. I'm technically savvy, yet prefer 'creating' and preventing and software rather then the actual 'hands on' hardware troubleshooting all the time. I'm a thinker, not a hands on doer per say.

So, I plan to start with Web Development, and possibly also further my skills later on to include Computer/Internet Security which is an even more in demand field to be in.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

eyethinkyourcute

55 months ago

Brenda in West Palm Beach, Florida said: ~~ Absolutely amazing! You sound EXACTLY like me. I just turned 37 with 2 kids and have been in clerical most of my life. I then obtained my MCSE Cert. and worked in the Electronic Data Interchange field with software programmers while only interacting with the IT guys on occasion. I 'loved' this job, more of preventing any problems before occuring. Then did technical support, answering phones and resolving issues, paid $60K per year but didn't like it. It's challenging. Now looking at WEB

Hey I was wondering if you had a degree in computer science before you took your MCSE? Did you do a bootcamp to obtain your cert? What is a hard cert to get? Alot of math?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Brenda in West Palm Beach, Florida

52 months ago

eyethinkyourcute said: Hey I was wondering if you had a degree in computer science before you took your MCSE? Did you do a bootcamp to obtain your cert? What is a hard cert to get? Alot of math?

No, actually I didn't. I was previously in the 'finance' field but didn't want to re-enter into it, therefore I pursued a different interest which was in the computer field (MCSE). I went to school for about 1 year, passed the exams. Many people found it difficult and couldn't pass the exams the first and sometimes second time around. I am a good studier and test taker, so I breezed through the exams. No math for MCSE, just technical hardware stuff mainly. Once I optained my MCSE, I got an entry level position as an EDI Monitoring Technician where I worked with both the IT staff as well as the programmers. *Although in my personal opinion, going through school and achieving any specialized certificate should be recognized. It's still education, and even though the certificates expire, in reality you still achieved it, so in reality it's like any degree and just because the certificate expires, doesn't mean your skills expired!
If your actively working in the field, you are continually keeping skills up to date.

I don't think just an MCSE 'certificate' is enough to get anywhere but entry level these days, degrees are preferred in order to move up in the field.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Brenda in West Palm Beach, Florida

52 months ago

joesmith in Columbus, Ohio said: Brenda,

Youare not an MCSE. There is maybe 1% of the exams that are hardware related. If you are an MCSE, post your transcript.

Joe Smith, of Columbis OH, if you would like to post your re-collection of the exam contents, please feel free do so, correct me if I am wrong in your opinion, doesn't matter to me but don't call me a lier, question or judge me. You don't know me and I have no reason to lie. It's what I remember, and as I said, it's been 10 years!

And go ahead and post your transcript that contains your personal information and address on to the web for everyone to view if your comfortable with that as am not, and will not post my MCP transcript on the web, and I'm not applying for work with you --- This was not a debate or discussion relating to MCSE, and not a job application. Merely a short sentence that came up in regards to my own personal history, experience and opinion based on what I remember. I said technical hardware, yes, more technical. What ever.

Again, it's been 10 years, but it's what I remembered. Your right though, jogging my memory, it's the A+ exam that is hardware focused, MCSE is TECHNICAL systems administration, configurations and troubleshooting (osi layer, etc...) --- I worked with both, as they went hand in hand at one place of employment, so that is why hardware also comes to mind.

Oh, and just as I said, my MCP, MCP+I and MCSE were obtained in 2000 and 2001, all expired a long time ago and I no longer work in the field, so no, I no longer utilize or practice in the field.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Brian_Cali77 in Scottsdale, Arizona

37 months ago

I am also interested in getting an Associates in Web Development but I'm not sure if it's worth it too. I'm in my early 30's with a BA in Sociology so for me to get another bachelors would be like starting all over again (because it's in a way different field). However, getting an associates would take much less time and money. I know experience and a strong portfolio carry a lot of weight in the Web Dev. world. But would a BA in Sociology augmented by an Associates Degree in Web. Dev. be enough to be considered for an interview. Also, upward mobility in terms of salary (or will the associates cap me at a lower rate)?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

porcupiny in Santa Monica, California

36 months ago

I was in a similar situation not too long ago. I have a BA in Psychology and wasn't really qualified for many jobs other than administrative ones. A few years ago, I decided to return to school for certificates in Web Design and it's really opened up a lot of doors for me. I'm still in contract positions, but I know there's a lot of work in Web Development in a lot of companies.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No Reply - Report abuse

Brian_Cali77 in Scottsdale, Arizona

36 months ago

porcupiny in Santa Monica, California said: I was in a similar situation not too long ago. I have a BA in Psychology and wasn't really qualified for many jobs other than administrative ones. A few years ago, I decided to return to school for certificates in Web Design and it's really opened up a lot of doors for me. I'm still in contract positions, but I know there's a lot of work in Web Development in a lot of companies.

Oh cool that sounds promising then. I'm originally from Santa Monica too... so I'm thinking you went to SMC and/or AET for that certificate? Anyway, I'm worried that a lot of opportunities will only be contract work. Are you doing contract positions by choice or are there no permanent spots with benefits out there?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

porcupiny in Santa Monica, California

36 months ago

Actually, I went to Fullerton College since I was living in Orange County for awhile. There are definitely lots of permanent positions for web developers out there, especially in this area. Contracting helps to gain experience when you're still new to the field. This is my 3rd contract position in the past 2 years, but I took a break to take more classes after the first one.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Brendaann in West Palm Beach, Florida

36 months ago

That sounds great, but I have been attending school for two years, focusing on Web Development and I feel that I've only become 'familiarized' with javascript, xhtml, etc.... but really haven't actually learned enough to even ask to get my foot in the door. *I don't know much of anything even after all this time. How does a person get started because it's obvious that it would take a full time job with every day hands on learning one on one to really grasp all of the information and really begin to do anything with it.

?? ... I thought I'd know enough to at least feel confident enough to have an entry level job by now, but I don't. It's been a very slow process. How do I start in the field.?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Brendaann in West Palm Beach, Florida

36 months ago

That sounds great, but I have been attending school for two years, focusing on Web Development and I feel that I've only become 'familiarized' with javascript, xhtml, etc.... but really haven't actually learned enough to even ask to get my foot in the door. *I don't know much of anything even after all this time. How does a person get started because it's obvious that it would take a full time job with every day hands on learning one on one to really grasp all of the information and really begin to do anything with it.

?? ... I thought I'd know enough to at least feel confident enough to have an entry level job by now, but I don't. It's been a very slow process. How do I start in the field.?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Brian_Cali77 in Scottsdale, Arizona

36 months ago

Brendaann in West Palm Beach, Florida said: That sounds great, but I have been attending school for two years, focusing on Web Development and I feel that I've only become 'familiarized' with javascript, xhtml, etc.... but really haven't actually learned enough to even ask to get my foot in the door. *I don't know much of anything even after all this time. How does a person get started because it's obvious that it would take a full time job with every day hands on learning one on one to really grasp all of the information and really begin to do anything with it.

?? ... I thought I'd know enough to at least feel confident enough to have an entry level job by now, but I don't. It's been a very slow process. How do I start in the field.?

Now that sounds a bit scary because I haven't even dove in those classes yet. But after some poking around in forums and at the career center on campus, everyone says that you can get your foot in the door by doing internships and freelance work. Build the portfolio while at the same time your racking in the year(s) of experience to add under your belt. Experience in golden, whether its from an actual paying employer or an internship you got through school. Well that's my plan at least... hope it works (for both of us)!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

porcupiny in Santa Monica, California

36 months ago

If you enjoy the classes enough, you'll want to test out what you've learned outside the classroom also. As with any career, you really only want to get into it if you have an interest in doing it on your own time as well as for work.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Volker in Sydney, Australia

31 months ago

I have struggled to find a Health Care path that would suit me because the pay is great and the demand is great but aside from maybe being an Ultrasound tech, it's just not "me". I like to work with computers, I like to work alone if possible. I'm not a morning person and I am no good at math. What would you tell me?

---- You sound a lot like a programmer.

I have done a degree as web developer. And it paid off very, very well. It should be the developer with PHP, Javascript and HTML. Not the designer.

Programmers are very sort after and paid good.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

me in Fallbrook, California

18 months ago

I have a web developer certificate and an A.A. in New media Compositing, Authoring and Distribution. Outside of school worked on my own projects and read blogs and books. After much hard work I landed a contact job at Life Technoloies. That has ended and now doing freelance jobs until I find another job. You need to have a passion for this stuff or you will fail. School will not teach you all that you need to know, even a B.S. Degree. If you don't learn fast this might not be for you. Being good at math helps when working on hard problems. If you cant solve problems well this career is not for you.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

gnote in Los Angeles, California

17 months ago

I am planning a career change to web development. I have already started online classes throug TeamTreeHouse.com that can essentially take me through the whole learning process online. Could something like this be enough, with a portfolio to get a good job? The tracks I am taking are both Web Design and Web Development.

I have earned so many degrees, from AA to Masters level, but none in computer sciences or anything related. My degrees are in social sciences, music, and allied health. But, they are degrees. Might help me get employed but a health organization.

I am looking for the fastest track but I am confused. I read that the portfolio is very important, and certificates can be an avernue. Then I read elsewhere that most all jobs require a bachelors or AA degree is web development, design, computer sciences. Is this really true? Hoping someone here can point me in the right direction.

Wondering if a certificate from a university's extended learning program specifically in web development would be a viable route too.

I am an older worker, very self-motivated, and it is important to reach my goals of employability as quickly as possible. Thanks for any input! I am just trying to understand what really counts in this field to get my foot into the door of employment.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

AB in New York, New York

16 months ago

As someone who is a web developer (5 years at a major dotcom) and looking for a new job (front-end web developer, experienced, non-managerial) I can tell you that the barrier to entry for web developer jobs is very high. Those community college and certificate programs are too dumbed down to be of any help. Don't bother wasting your money on them. instead by O'Riley books in HTML, CSS, Javascript, and JQuery and prepare to study like you've never studied before! Learn this stuff extremely well, volunteer to build sites to add to your portfolio, then learn the latest new technologies, like node.js. Nobody will hold your hand in getting a web dev job--you'll need to be better than all the starry-eyed hopefuls out there drooling over cushy salaries.

Entry-level web jobs are not that common in this economy, so you'll be competing with lots of people for only a few jobs since most web dev positions require some on the job experience or a B.S. in Computer Science. I think you can do it if you are willing to dedicate thousands of hours to learn the technologies to the level that is required to pass a tech interview. There are also object-oriented programming concepts that will be needed when tougher javascript questions come up. I have had 5 years' of front-end web development experience at a major tech company and a year's worth of graduate school intro to programming courses and I still have not found a job after 2 months in New York City!! It is an extremely competitive market where employers sometime aren't even hiring due to the lousy economy... Good luck and I hope you have a more realistic sense of what the job market looks like for web developers now.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No Reply - Report abuse

gnote in Los Angeles, California

16 months ago

Thanks for you input, AB. I would just like to add to my comment, that I am an older worker who is looking more for a type of encore career that can take my into something like semi-retirement and have productive work at home. But, from what you are saying, I may be barking up the wrong tree.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

dk in Greenville, North Carolina

14 months ago

I think this really depends on your geographic area and personality. I got an associates in Web Tech from a community college, and I am now in a position at a small company, however we have experienced a lot of success and I feel like the future is bright in this area. I am ready to move to another job and start moving up the ladder.

The personality traits you need to be successful in this field:

Don't expect a lot of praise or recognition, but take joy in in the tiny victories of solving complex problems everyday.

You won't ever let a problem beat you.

You don't expect things to be handed to you, and are a google ninja, searching searching searching until you find the answer you are looking for.

Not a lot of social interaction (though a quality partner can help you tremendously with finding the right solution).

Take a complex problem and turn it into a logical set of steps.

Spend a good 20-30% of your time just studying, even after you have the job. A good programmer doesnt write a lot of code, they write quality code that achieves things in the most efficient way possible.

Focus on backend. If you just want to make things pretty and not make them work, you will struggle to find work.

Also, the way you did it yesterday won't be suitable today. For one thing you should be better at it, and for another, things change so quick that there will always be a more efficient way. If you are the type that likes to do the same thing the same way every time, programming is not for you.

One last piece of advice: Once you get into the field, DO NOT let a company make you work in languages that are obsolete or heading that way for very long. If you aren't moving forward with the technology you are moving backwards. You may soon find yourself an expert at a technology that no one will want to hire you to do.

Web development is a challenge and takes a special type of person. The rewards are often just the feeling of a job well done.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No Reply - Report abuse

» Sign in or create an account to comment on this topic.