Careers in web design and development

November 08, 2022 · 6 min read · By ASU Online
Visually appealing, user friendly and functional website design is vital to a company’s success. Learn more about what web designers and developers do, the types of career tracks, and the online bachelor’s degrees that will teach you the needed skills to become a successful web designer or developer.

With all of us using web-connected devices all day, good website design and development are critical to a business’ success now more than ever. According to Adobe, 38% of users will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive. Google found that it takes just 50 milliseconds for users to form a first impression of a website. Making a good first impression is critical, as another study found that 88% of online visitors/consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. Furthermore, it’s been found that a website user’s first impressions are 94% design-related.

With the demand for web designers and developers expected to grow 13% over the next decade, getting a bachelor’s degree in internet and web development or graphic information technology will allow you to gain knowledge of website elements and apply the skills essential to web design and development. These areas of study may also give you an advantage in the job market and the opportunity to display your creative and technical talents to a variety of audiences.


Web design vs web development: What’s the difference?

While web designers work on the visual and user-facing elements of a website, a web developer builds and maintains the behind-the-scenes architecture of a website.

Web designers will come up with the idea and look of a website, creating a mockup based on visual, UX, and UI elements. Web developers are then the ones to determine whether the concept is financially and technically plausible, and then are responsible to program and code the site.


What's a web designer and what do they do?

Web designers are responsible for creating the visual look, layout, and features of websites. A web designer needs to have a solid understanding of both computer programming and graphic design.

A web designer’s duties include coding websites or pages for maximum visual and user impact, meeting with clients to review websites or refine their designs, and running tests to preview layouts and website features. Web designers also work closely with the development team to plan updates for the website and prioritize tasks.

Web designers turn a client’s vision for a website into reality. A web designer needs to understand the user experience and design a site that is easy to understand and navigate, as well as visually appealing. Web designers should be well versed in front-end web development languages such as CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and JQuery.

In addition to technical skills, web designers should also have soft skills, such as good verbal communication, written communication, and strong presentation abilities. A web designer needs to be able to effectively communicate with clients and stakeholders in addition to the development team about the goals of projects they are working on.


Web design careers

  • UX Designer

UX (user experience) designers combine critical analysis and logic to understand and plan for the end-user’s interaction with products, systems, and services. This includes the usability, design, navigation, and impression of a web site. The goal of a UX designer is to create a visually interesting and usable web design for users.

  • UI Designer

UI (user interface) designers are responsible for how an app or web page looks and feels. Using colors, fonts, patterns, textures, icons, and buttons, user interface designers work with UX designers to improve websites.

  • Visual Designer

Visual designers work with the fundamental elements and principals of visual design such as line, shape, color, and volume to make the overall aesthetics and appearance of a website consistent and visually appealing.

What is a web developer and what do they do?

The main job of a web developer is to build and maintain the core structure of a website. This involves a lot of technical work, including using complex coding and advanced programming languages. Web developers take the ideas and concepts laid out by designers and turn them into fully-functioning websites.

A web developer’s duties revolve around constructing the website itself. Web development includes coding and configuring the server and databases on the back-end, in addition to incorporating user-facing features and functionality. Developers also perform testing and debugging and may handle multiple post-launch services, such as providing ongoing support, site maintenance and fixing server or web hosting issues.

A web developer needs to be knowledgeable in coding and programming languages such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.


Web developer careers

  • Front-end developer

A front-end developer architects and develops websites and applications using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, DOM, and JavaScript. Front-end developers need especially strong visual design skills, since they work on the user-facing side of a website. You need the technical prowess to code, but you also need to apply your coding skills to create a visually appealing and effective website.

  • Back-end developer

Back-end developers do not need any experience with visual web design. Instead, they must acquire specific technical competencies. This role involves creating the organization of the website — its infrastructure, or the part that the user does not see. Common programming languages that back-end developers learn include Java, Python, PHP and NodeJS, but the languages you study will depend on your chosen area of focus as a back-end developer.

  • Full-stack developer

The position of full-stack developer requires you to be comfortable working with both the front- and back-end — to be well-versed in the visual and technical. In addition to understanding visual design and website elements, you will need to learn the essential set of programming languages used by full-stack developers: HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Due to the range of abilities demanded by this role, full-stack developers tend to be the highest paid among the various types of web developers.


Web design and development salary and job outlook

The exponential growth of the internet means the need for people working in website design and development is growing rapidly as well. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the demand for web developers and digital designers will grow 23% from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all other occupations. That's an estimated 21,800 job openings each year. Furthermore, website designers and developers earn an above-average salary, often starting at over $78,000 per year.


Earn a bachelor’s degree in web design and development online

Arizona State University offers several undergraduate degrees online that can help you develop the skills required for a career in website development and design.

Earn your master's degree sooner with accelerated 4+1 programs

ASU Online's accelerated 4+1 programs allow you to earn your graduate degree in as little as one year after completing your undergraduate degree.


About ASU Online

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