"I made this from scratch!"
Zune Nguyen explains how the web development minor gets students starting with no coding experience to the finish line — a complete web application
Zune Nguyen, lecturer of information technology at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, talked to us about how the web classes at ITP prepare students to work not only in web development but also in mobile development, software engineering and project management.
The minor in web technologies and applications is open to all students across the university and teaches students how to update web content, program web applications and implement the best UX design practices.
Nguyen shared with us what makes web development interesting to him and what students can expect from this minor.
What is this minor about?
The web technologies and applications minor focuses on the process of creating and launching websites or web applications. It also covers skills like general software development or project management.
Why does web development interest you?
I find web development interesting because it’s very versatile. If you look at today’s world, almost everything uses web technologies. And we’re not just talking about websites. We’re also talking about web services or web APIs — things that IoT devices or mobile apps connect to.
What is one thing you want people to know about web development?
It’s not limited to just creating websites. Web developers have to know general programming theory, which means they can also create general purpose software. And with the tools and frameworks we have available right now, you could create mobile apps using web technologies.
In fact, our students are great examples of this. We have a [former] student who is currently a software engineer at Lyft, another who is creating tablet applications at the Getty Museum, and another who’s a project manager at Microsoft.
What is the most valuable part of this minor for students?
Students can try a little bit of everything. You can typically split development into front-end and back-end. If someone is a very visual person and a customer-oriented person, front-end is going to be appealing. On the other hand, if someone is more logic-based and likes to focus on functionality and ensuring things work properly, back-end is going to be a lot more interesting.
With our minor, students get to try a little bit of both. They can decide whether they want to focus on front-end or back-end, or if they want to pursue both after they graduate.
What is your favorite project students complete in this minor?
For the final project, students can create websites on any topic — as long as it satisfies some requirements — and I really like it for two reasons.
First, students can come out with something they can usually show to their potential employers and something they can add their portfolios.
Two, they usually come into the class with limited or no coding experience — and by the end of 15 weeks, they can look back and they can see, “Wow, I made this from scratch!”
Working in web
Career opportunities for web developers are expected to grow 13 percent between 2018 and 2028.
Web developers work for tech companies, marketing agencies, government offices, schools, and more.
In addition to coding skills, web developers need skills in problem solving, design, and communication.