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Chloe Liggett
By Chloe Liggett

Chloe is a BECK Digital enthusiast with a weak spot for business planning, full cycle digital marketing and killer content.

Web design and coding education has come a long way in the last few decades. Students of all ages are starting to realize the vast opportunities for creativity and problem solving in the field. And as interest in the field grows, computer programming and development courses have become commonplace in the classroom, some beginning as early as kindergarten.

“Interest in offering web design and development has grown. Some schools have built out concentrations in these areas. Others, like Clemson, offer courses that anyone can take based on interest,” says Erica Walker, assistant professor at Clemson University in the department of Graphic Communications. Until 2018, Dr. Walker was the only faculty to teach web design in the department.

In 2017, the department began offering a front end development and UX course, taught by Santiago Gomez of Atlanta, Georgia. Gomez has experience in developing solutions for web designs and interfaces. This change to make web design and development courses into their own concentrations is a contrast to past educational practices. Traditionally, students learn these skills in “a really intense, boot-camp style program that lasted a couple of months… run by independent companies, not associated with a college or university degree,” says Walker.

Similar to the department of Graphic Communications at Clemson University, web design and computer programming courses are popping up in colleges and schools across the country. As interest grows among young students, and even seasoned professionals, you may wonder why the field has become so relevant.

The answer lies not only in larger economic needs, but in the critical thinking and computation skills gained from these courses. From computer developers to educators to administrators, most believe an education in programming and coding builds necessary skills for the national workforce, especially as the workplace becomes more digitized. Companies and their growth strategies now revolve around online marketing, digital ads, apps, and mobile storefronts – and current trends suggest this online emphasis will only grow.

Teaching computer science benefits the economy at large and prepares students for a variety of careers in technology and beyond. The field of web development and coding is often a natural progression from other fields of study and careers. For example, graphic design and graphic communications majors, like those found at Clemson, often find that design skills and proficiency go hand in hand with front end web development. The skills you need to design a striking piece of graphic work are similar to those needed to create attractive websites and interfaces.

Whether or not students pursue a career in data science and computer programming, these courses encourage students to process information in new and desirable ways; interpretation, analytical and problem solving skills create ingenious workers, regardless of the field they choose to enter. And as companies become more digitized, coding skills and technological literacy is growing more and more important for jobs at all levels.

As a current Clemson student majoring in Graphic Communications, I’ve studied frontend web design and coding as part of my major. I’ve learned that my graphic design skills lend themselves naturally to web design, an important part of the web development process. I’ve seen firsthand how an education in web development and coding can enhance the versatility of an employee, and further my career opportunities in all fields.

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