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TSTC’s Web Design and Development program teaches students how to be the top search result

TSTC’s Web Design and Development program is 100% online and teaches students how to build and market small and large e-commerce websites. (Photo courtesy of TSTC.)

“One of the easiest ways a site can fail is that customers never see it because marketing and search engine optimization was never done,” Shannon Ferguson, TSTC’s interim director of alignment for Web Design and Development, said. “The good news is our program gives our students the foundation they need to be successful in web development.”

The Web Design and Development program walks students through the process of creating websites — from building one from the ground up to marketing it. By the time they graduate, they know how to build small- and large-scale e-commerce sites.

“To stand out, you need to understand end-user design, usability testing, accessibility, design concepts, many different web concepts, SEO (search engine optimization), and promoting the sites,” Ferguson said.

TSTC’s Web Design and Development program is taught in the performance-based education model and offered 100% online. This allows students to learn at their own pace and complete their work at any time of the day while still having wide-open communication lines with the program’s instructors.

Ferguson worked in freelance web development for years before coming to TSTC. He and his team keep their knowledge fresh through various forms of research and networking with industry experts. Everything they learn is incorporated into the program.

The instructors make sure that their students know what they are doing by requiring them to score 80% or higher on their course projects before they can move on to the next module.

“If skills are not mastered on the first attempt, they are given another opportunity to fix the missed skill and then allowed to resubmit the assignment,” Ferguson said. “We give students flexibility by giving them the opportunity to fall slightly behind or even accelerate to finish the course early. We encourage our students to get ahead.”

TSTC graduate Dave McMillan began teaching himself coding when he was 16 years old, but he went on to work in the oil field for over 10 years. Though he originally planned to register his son as a student at TSTC, McMillan instead chose to join the Web Design and Development program himself. He graduated from the program with his Associate of Applied Science degree in summer 2023 and now works as an online operations director for BH-USA in Longview.

“(Coding) was always a passion of mine, I just didn’t know how to make it come true,” McMillan said. “I absolutely loved the program. I’m so thankful I went through TSTC.”

According to onetonline.org, web developers earn an average of $77,710 a year in Texas, where the number of jobs was projected to increase 24% between 2020 and 2030.

Registration for the spring semester is underway. For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.

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