Focusing on the web

Natcoll Design Technology’s new Diploma of Web Development has been created in direct response to industry feedback and student demand for a course tightly focused on building feature-rich web applications.
“We simply sat in a room with the whole national team, plus stacks of minutes from industry consultation, and set out to identify the best package of skills for a web developer,” explains national course co- ordinator John Jones.

“Our contacts include recruiters, web development companies and on-line consumer businesses, as well as advisers from corporate and government sectors. Each of these has a slightly different focus, but all understand that when carrying out a business activity the web can be seen as your customer service team, your forms, your fax machine, your client file and your help desk all rolled into one automated system. This represents a fantastic boost in efficiency.”

Students are excited because Natcoll’s new Level 6 Diploma in Web Development is targeted exclusively at getting them into work in this rapidly advancing field.
“Also, because we are using open source technologies students can experience the fun of being part of a supportive programming community willing to share its ideas and its code.”

The 35-week course is aimed at technical people, preferably with a splash of creativity. It is weighted towards programming — client side (18 per cent) and server side (27%). However design and usability are also important (7%). Students who are particularly interested in design can tune the course towards their strengths by electing to do an advanced design component (11%) instead of, or as well as, advanced server side (11%).

“There are an increasing number of middle roles combining technical and design/usability even in the corporate market. Also, employers are recognising that developers, and in particular project leaders, need to have a wider view of issues involved in web projects,” says Jones.

Other course components include multimedia web scripting using Flash (6%), Linux systems administration (7%), an industry project (18%) and the production of an online portfolio (6%) — a useful marketing tool for students after the course. During the course, students are also exposed to requirements and specification analysis, project management, extreme programming methods and creative problem solving.

Jones says that in a few years web development is unlikely to be viewed differently to desktop application programming.
“Web developers are the programmers for a distributed network-centric environment. The gap is rapidly closing between the sophistication of desktop and web applications.” Career opportunities for graduates include web master, web architect, web author, web developer, web specialist and web programmer.