Southern California Based Web Design Schools Offer Career Training
Author Jason Nazar of Forbes Magazine says that “approximately 543,000 new businesses get started every month in the United States.” Of course, many of these do not survive, but for purposes of this article, we will focus only on the fact that the owners of these businesses are going to need the perfect website to represent their companies. This means that the job potential for web developers and web designers is excellent.
According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of web developers is projected to grow 27 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand will be driven by the growing popularity of mobile devices and e-commerce.”
Twenty-seven percent growth is excellent news. If you are among those who are considering a career as a web designer or web developer—and you want to ensure employment, you should consider attending a college that offers a web design curriculum to get your career started.
If you happen to live in Los Angeles, there are many custom education plans to choose from. You can choose from among numerous web design and web development certificate programs, or you can choose a program offered by one of the city’s major universities. You can even select a program at a smaller art college or independent school.
Whatever you decide, just know that these programs vary considerably in their curriculum. Some emphasize web design, while others emphasize web development. The two may seem interchangeable, but in truth, they’re quite different. Therefore, it’s important for you to decide which area (design or development) is of interest to you before you enroll in a program.
Before we explore how to jump-start your career as a web designer or web developer, it is probably best to distinguish the similarities and differences between the two professions. According to an article by Eric An on CareerFoundry.com, the easiest way to understand the differences between the two skills is to imagine what it would be like for the web designer and web developer to come together to build a car.
Mr. An says that the web designer would be the one responsible for the aesthetic design of the car, which includes “the comfort of the seats, the layout of the dashboard, etc., as well as the convenience in driving and riding in the car.” In other words, the designer sees to visual appeal, comfort, and even the element of fun that should be woven into the final product. The web designer will have mastered color, typography, image manipulation and more, and will know how to use graphic tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustration, as well as Adobe Dreamweaver. Many designers learn to use these tools on the job or through self-education.
On the other hand, the web developer would be responsible for “various components like the engine, transmission, wheels, etc. to construct a fully-functional car that is error-free in its technical aspects.” In short, the developer builds a strong, reliable, flexible, and fully-functional website that is bug-free and does all that it’s supposed to do.
Just remember that while the two areas are often mixed, in many cases a design team will contain both dedicated designers and dedicated developers.
THE WORDPRESS WRINKLE
According to a thread on WebHostingTalk.com, if you type “how to build a website” in your favorite search engine, “most if not all of the top results mention WordPress and how easy it is to use.” In 2014, an article called 11 Online Places to Learn WordPress Inside and Out claims that “WordPress is running over 17% of the Internet nowadays and that number keeps growing. It’s being listed as a job skill on job boards [and is]what the technical and non-technical alike are using to build websites.”
Since WordPress improves by leaps and bounds each year, it’s easy to understand its popularity among laypersons in need a quality website for their business or personal use. It is indeed super-easy to use, and what makes it even better for those who are looking for the perfect website is that the Internet is simply teeming with WordPress designers who offer stunning multi-purpose themes at the low, low price of $50 to $80. When you compare this small charge to the thousands (and sometimes tens of thousands) that will probably be charged when using a web designer or web developer, it is easy to imagine the challenge that experts in these two fields may face trying to stay afloat in the business.
As inexpensive as WordPress may be, there are certainly valid arguments as to why a person in need of a website might decide to by-pass the WordPress bargain and opt for a pricey web designer or web developer instead. Here are two of those arguments:
- “Lack of uniqueness.” Since WordPress theme developers sell their themes over and over again (for example, the Avada WordPress theme has currently sold over 265,000 copies), it will be challenging for buyers to make their website completely unique without hiring a 3rd party to customize the site to fit their business’ personality. At the very least, buyers will need to have basic customization skills to make their website seem different and unique.
- Rails Developer Scott Radcliffe says that “WordPress is built around a core set of features like pages, posts, users, etc. This is usually enough to get most companies going. But…business cases and processes are different. And as such, those businesses need an expert to analyze their needs and build them a solution that helps them make money.”
Even with these convincing arguments about why a layperson should consider hiring a web designer or web developer, there are many viable reasons that you might choose to learn WordPress in addition to any formal web design or web development courses you might take to enhance your career.
According to an article on 1stWebDesigner.com, by choosing to learn and utilize WordPress to build websites “you are already setting yourself miles ahead of other web designers” because WordPress allows you to build websites “at lightning speed” and then use your extra time to help clients reach their specific goals and objectives. This would improve the economic viability of your web service business and allow you to “give the people what they want.”
In short, WordPress is not the end-all of all web designs; however, because of its immense popularity, you should seriously consider adding it to your list of professional courses. Online schools like Udemy, Chaffey College, and Lynda.com (which offers over 100 web development courses) offer courses in WordPress theme development, including how to use simple HTML and CSS to customize a site’s overall appearance, how to use plugins to enhance and expand features, and how to “turn a site into an ecommerce powerhouse and improve search engine page results.”
Granted, these courses are mostly written for laypersons with no web design or web development courses in their backgrounds, but they still offer a viable option of learning WordPress online simultaneously while you are pursuing your web design or web development career.
LOS ANGELES WEB DESIGN SCHOOLS TO CONSIDER
When it comes to web design and web development, choosing the right school is just as important as acquiring the right skills and hands-on experience in your field. Following is a list of schools you might consider:
2900 31st Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405-3035
Phone: 888-646-4610 or 888-624-0300
The Art Institute of California, Los Angeles campus offers web design as two of four modules under the heading of Visual Design. The first of these modules is called ‘Graphic and Web Design,’ a course that gives students a comprehensive view of the graphic skills required for web design, including:
- Color & Design Fundamentals
- Image Manipulation
- Traditional Typography
- Layout & Concept Design
- Web Page Scripting
- Digital Illustration
- Interactive Motion Graphics
The second module is entitled ‘Web Design and Interactive Media,’ and covers graphics, media, software, and programming. Topics include:
- Fundamentals of Design
- Color Theory
- Image Manipulation
- Programming Logic
- Introduction to Audio
- Design Concepts
- Introduction Scripting Languages
- Design Layout
- Introduction to Authoring
- Intermediate Authoring
- Digital Illustration
- Introduction to User Centered Design
- Usability Testing
- Project Management
- Designing for Dynamic Web Sites
- Designing for Server Side Technology
- Integrated Information Design
- E-Learning Design
Both modules offer a comprehensive course selection in web and graphic design. They begin with the basics areas like “color, illustration, and image manipulation” and then move on to concept development and implementation. The Institute offers a traditional print concentration as well as a web design concentration.
The certificate program
1000 E. Victoria Street, Carson, CA 90747
Cell Phone: (877) GO-HILLS
The California State college system is well known for providing students with an excellent education at an affordable price, and offers a variety of solution-oriented classes and job certification programs.
For example, California State University, Dominguez Hills offers a web design certificate program that focuses on teaching the basic skills and tools needed for a career in web design. The program, which is part of the College of Extended and International Education, does not offer comprehensive training; rather, it is intended for business professionals and students who want a thorough knowledge of web design and web development in a short period of time.
Course topics include html and CSS. In addition, students learn how to use Adobe power web tools like Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and Web design and coding tools like Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Flash.
Full Sail University offers a Bachelor of Arts in web design and development that students can achieve in just 32 months. Full Sail reminds students that web technology powers almost every aspect of our lives and it takes a specialized skill set to build great websites and applications. Therefore, if you are passionate about the programming and design that goes into a well-designed website, Full Sail University’s online Web Design & Development bachelor’s program is a great place to develop your talents.
9045 Lincoln Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90045
(800) 527–OTIS (6847)
OTIS College of Art and Design is highly respected and nationally recognized. The college was established in 1918, and is a national leader in art and design education. Its mission is to prepare diverse students of art and design to enrich our world through their creativity, skill, and vision.
OTIS offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate level courses, as well as a Digital Media Arts certificate program. The program consists of 18 classes that provide in-depth study in media arts and digital media. The courses teach students to use the same software applications and technical tools used by today’s web design professional.
The web design sequence of classes include:
- Introduction to Graphic Design
- Typography I
- From Idea to Launch: Web Design & Strategy
- Digital Imaging II: Photoshop
- Flash I
- Web Design I
- Web Design II
- Web Design III
- Final Portfolio: Professional Practices
Platt College Anaheim
1551 S. Douglass Road
Anaheim, CA 92806
Platt College offers career training in locations throughout Southern California. The school’s mission is “to provide a balanced program of instruction for our students, to help them acquire the specialized knowledge and skills they need to take advantage of exciting career opportunities in many of today’s in-demand fields.”
Platt students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communication, with comprehensive courses in every phase of web design and development. Their School of Graphic Design’s Bachelor’s degree program in Visual Communication helps students build the skills they need. They can choose to specialize in Web Design, 3D Animation, or 2D Print. Each of these specializations provides graduates with the skills necessary to pursue careers in these dynamic industries.
Broad Art Center
240 Charles E. Young Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1456
UCLA offers an Advanced Web and Interaction Design certificate for industry professionals or students who have complete the Design Communication Arts certificate. The program is for students seeking advanced training in problem solving, UX/UI, dynamically delivered content, and more, and consists of 24 units, with 3 required courses and 3 electives.
- User Experience I: Survey
- Web Design IV: Real World Application
- 3 Elective Courses (12 units)
3650 McClintock Ave.
Olin Hall of Engineering
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1456
Telephone: (213) 740-4542
The University of Southern California is a nationally known institution of higher learning that is an integral part of the Los Angeles community. USC provides both undergraduate and graduate level studies, and offer specialization in web design as part of their information technology curriculum. The curriculum is for students who want to learn how to make web pages and learn the basics of adding additional functionality such as interactivity and databases. The courses introduce students to the major topics in web publishing and development.
Some specific courses include:
- Web Animation and Interactivity (2 units)
- Interactive Web Development (4 units)*
- Advanced Web Publishing (2 units)*
- Web Application Project (4 units)**
- Advanced Web Publishing (2 units)*
9000 Overland Avenue
Culver City, CA 90230
West Los Angeles College is part of the Los Angeles Community College District, and though it does not offer a web design certification, it does have an excellent curriculum of web development classes.
The Training Connection has offered courses in web design and development in Los Angeles for the last 10 years. They also have a location in Chicago.
Courses given by The Training Connection are short in duration (3 days), and packed with information. According to the website, they allow students to repeat their training for free if they feel the need.
That sounds like a pretty good deal, and it lends credibility to their stated philosophy:
These days there are a lot of different training choices available, online, webinar etc. but if you are looking for the best and highest quality learning experience then nothing compares to one of our face-to-face instructor-led classes.
- Live trainer (actually present in the classroom
- Emphasis on providing a real world learning experience
- Free class repeat valid for 6 months
- Money back guarantee (some conditions)
The Training Connection has a mix of classes in web development and for Adobe training.
The classes are shown in list form on their website, and linked to detailed descriptions. We really like the degree of detail they provide:
The HTML and CSS Fundamentals class show above runs three days. The charge is $1295
The Training Connection employs industry professionals teach the classes. It’s a proven approach that offers students many benefits, including exposure to teachers who are actually in the field making a living. The classroom material is likely to reflect what the marketplace is currently demanding.
On the other hand, the teachers are not vetted in any independent manner. The school attests to the knowledge, skills, and teaching abilities, and they are highly motivated to pick good people.
Nevertheless, without a demonstrable track record, it’s really just blind faith.
We agree with the Training Connection that web design is best taught in the classroom, but of course along with that goes a hefty price. $1295 for three days is expensive.
It’s a lot of information to digest in a short time. This may be great for quick learners, but not so great for those who need a bit more time.
The Training Connection
915 Wilshire Blvd
Email: [email protected]
This is an exciting time for web designers and web developers. An article called How Is Technology Impacting the Changes in the 21st Century Workplace reports that “for the past generation, technological inventions and improvements seem to be introduced every week.” What should be acknowledged is the fact that people and businesses that ride the “Internet wagon” are going to need a web presence that reflects these constant changes, and this presence must be accomplished through the use of a web designer or developer.
The alternative, of course, is that these individuals and businesses would need to possess the basic skills to know how to update, backup, tweak or enhance the site they already have. Some will have these skills, but many will look for an expert like you to handle the details for them.
As long as the Internet keeps changing and there is a need to “keep it fresh,” your web development or web design services should always be in demand. How much in demand they will be is, of course, another story. In the meantime, all you need to do is choose the right school and the right customized education to ensure that you are the solution to these ever-changing needs.