Opening the doors to technology - a new Front-End Development Certificate Program

March 21, 2019

By Ognian Danailov, Digital Technology Coordinator for UArts Continuing Education Program

JavaScript is, quite simply, one of the most widely used and versatile programming languages. It’s the code behind nearly every website we visit. And its influence has only grown since the early 2000s, even as other technologies have moved to the margins.

That was the thinking behind the creation of the brand-new JavaScript certificate program at the University of the Arts. Designed to launch in January 2020, the year-long trimester program will be the latest addition to a popular lineup of professionally oriented technology certificates that includes UX Design — UArts’ most-subscribed program — as well as Web Design and Front-End Web Development with JavaScript.

Caitlin Perkins, Director of Continuing Education at UArts, spearheaded the new certificate program after realizing that career-minded students had a desire to go further into web development — and that more advanced JavaScript skills were in demand for a growing array of creative roles. Her thinking fits within the long UArts tradition of training students in the practical skills they need for contemporary careers; the Continuing Education division, in particular, caters to professionals in transition or those seeking advancement within their field.

Just a few years ago, after all, JavaScript was considered a tool for computer programmers and software engineers. But today it is much more versatile. The programming language has expanded to include spinoff JavaScript environments such as Node.js, which means that JavaScript is the only programming language that can be executed both within the browser and on the client (server) side.

All of which means that professionals in a wide variety of fields employ coding; programming with JavaScript has become increasingly fundamental for the work undertaken by design and media workers. And coding is gaining currency as a creative form in its own right. JavaScript is in particularly strong demand in Philadelphia, a metro area with a diversified and creative economy that includes myriad nonprofit organizations, arts and educational institutions and startup companies.

The new JavaScript certificate program is designed to build on prior coding knowledge — whether through a previous UArts web sequence or learned independently — taking students to the next level and graduating versatile web developers. “This curated program will dive deep into pure JavaScript,” said Oggi Danailov, a Philadelphia software engineer and technology instructor who developed the course sequence as Digital Technology Coordinator for UArts Continuing Education.

“The main goal for the students will be to learn as thoroughly as possible the syntax of JavaScript and its fundamental logic as a primary programming language. In other words, we will not simply code; we will also make sure that we understand the language itself.”

Danailov explained that while an entire career can be built on knowledge of JavaScript, the versatile programming language is also the ideal foundation for learning other languages and frameworks. He knows this from direct experience; for several years, he taught JavaScript and a variety of coding tools at an intensive web development boot camp. After watching cohorts of students arrive as novices and graduate into successful programming careers, Danailov observed the critical importance of JavaScript competence.

By all indications, this importance will only continue to grow. In 2016, according to the Bureau of national statistics, there were 1,256,000 American working in the field of computer programming. By 2026, the Bureau expects that number to rise by 24 percent — a much faster growth than for other fields. Demand will continue to increase for workers in a variety of fields who can incorporate coding into their skill set — and that’s where UArts’ JavaScript certificate program comes in.


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