Do Web Design Schools Teach Programming?

Web design colleges teach students the importance of visual appeal in web design viewed by the end user. Much like the visual appeal of this website, understanding how a person will view a web page and understanding the desires of the audience are important. But behind this screen, there is programming and coding that the end user will never see. Is this something that one learns in web design college or is this more ‘web development and computer science’?

The short answer is yes, you can learn programming and code I web design schools. There are many programs that blend ‘web design’ (the aesthetic appeal of websites) and ‘web programming’ (the hidden code that makes a website work). It really depends on the major you choose to pursue and your own desire to learn about coding.

There are visual artists who work solely on the visual appeal of a website. If that’s your passion, consider a graphic design program. Web designers are expected to know coding and programming by most employers out there. (If you put yourself in the place of the employer, it’s not a tough call. Why hire someone who can only do one job, when there are applicants who can do it all?)

To help answer this question, we looked to an About.com guide on web design. Jennifer Kyrnin was asked “How much programming does a web designer do?” by a viewer. Here is Kyrnin’s answer:

“Trying to decide what kind of Web developer you want to be can be tricky. There are so many options:

Design
Including CSS and layout as well as graphic design

Programming
Writing CGIs or Flash applications or even Ajax Web 2.0 applications

Content
Writing the text or creating the images that will be used on a Web site

Databases
Including working with XML, database administration, and connecting sites to databases

Information architecture
Setting up the informatics behind a Web site, and making them easier to use and navigate

Metrics
Watching the pageviews and tracking to validate the efficacy of Web design work

And much much more…

If you’re going to be a Web programmer, languages like C++, Perl, PHP, Java, ASP, or JSP will feature heavily in your daily workload. But designers and content writers don’t use them at all. You would use C++ to write CGIs and scripts to make your Web pages dynamic and interactive.

There are lots of other jobs in the Web field that don’t require any programming, they have titles like Designer, Program Manager, Information Architect, Content Coordinator, and many others. I took the programming route because it worked for me, but I’ve worked with hundreds of Web developers who wouldn’t know a block of code if it bit them in the foot. :-) And they wouldn’t want to know it.” You can read her entire response here.