Web Development Courses

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Though web development and web design are terms that are often used interchangeably, they are actually quite distinct from each other. Web design is really about making a site look good for customers and making it easy for them to navigate. Web development, on the other hand, is very much concerned with what goes on under the bonnet; that is, with the aspects of coding, site functionality, web security and site analysis.

It is therefore the responsibility of a web developer to create and maintain smooth-running and effective sites; but to do this a good developer will generally need to have a well-rounded skill set, including a strong familiarity with different programming languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript (along with JavaScript frameworks such as jQuery).

What does it involve

All this might sound a bit daunting to the uninitiated, but there s no need to worry. Picking up a programming language does not take as long as you might think (though mastering the language is another thing), and there are plenty of part-time Web Development programmes that have been designed to lead total beginners through the fog of confusion and into a ready understanding of web development essentials.

One such option is a Certified Internet Webmaster course, which will give learners training in web basics (e. g. using different browsers, email, FTP and security settings) before moving on to the foundations of site development, where they will learn about web creation. This will include training in developing web pages using a text editor and a graphic user interface (GUI) editor. Students also learn how to use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and study the basics of Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML), JavaScript, Dynamic HTML (DHTML), and the Document Object Model (DOM). After completing this course, students will be able to create basic web pages containing text, graphics, hyperlinks, tables, forms and frames. They will also have spent time examining the theory and concepts behind website architecture.

Courses in Web Programming are another viable alternative, and will teach students the fundamentals of building dynamic websites using PHP and MYSQL. These courses are well suited to learners who are keen to develop the skills required for developing database-driven websites. Upon course completion, graduates will be able to negotiate the web environment (including the use of browsers, servers, mark-up languages, scripting and plugins, relational database design using MYSQL, server side scripting using PHP, open source software for shopping carts, e-learning, blogs and content management systems). Courses are normally FETAC-certified, and so successful candidates may be awarded the following modules: Computer Progamming (Level 5), Relational Databases (Level 6), Web Hosting and Maintenance (Level 6).

Doing an part-time Advanced Diploma in Web Design will allow students to progress their skills from this point. Course participants will learn to build and deploy dynamic web applications that interact with a powerful database. Modules will cover areas such as database design and structure using Access and SQL, scripting languages and search engine optimisation. Because of the more advanced nature of such programmes, students are expected to have already attained a high standard of competency in using computer applications and possess a keen interest in programming. A sound knowledge of HTML and Macromedia Dreamweaver is also required. Students must complete a project in which they will be asked to build a web application and online store for assessment.

Why do it

There are numerous good reasons for learning how to develop websites; however, they can generally be boiled down to two personal and professional. By learning how to create a website from scratch, you will be able to share your information, interests and thoughts in a clear, polished and captivating way.

Naturally, communicating information in fine style is something of a holy grail for many professional organisations too. Knowing how to construct a high-quality website gives you a sure way of achieving this ambition and advancing either your own or your employer s business interests.

What comes next

Because so many business transactions are conducted via the internet, having an online presence is simply essential for professional success: the better a company s website is, the greater its chances are of attaining this success. Qualified and experienced web developers can therefore work for just about any kind of client from healthcare professionals to artists to government bodies.

At a glance

A Certified Internet Webmaster programme can be quite short generally being split into three modules that are run over the course of 9 16 days. Part-time Web Programming courses typically run for around 25 weeks. A part-time course in Advanced Web Development will last for around 3 4 months.


Frank Bolger

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