New program to close the gap in advanced certificates

Jason Withrew is the primary adviser for the new program. CARMEN CHENG | WASHTENAW VOICE

Jason Withrow is the primary adviser for the new program.
CARMEN CHENG | WASHTENAW VOICE

By Brittany Dekorte
Staff Writer

Washtenaw Community College’s Board of Trustees announced at its meeting on Sept. 27 that there will be a new advanced certificate program added to the school’s curriculum.

The program is Digital Strategy Advanced Certificate (CVWDIS), and will consist of three classes, for a total of 11 credit hours. “Courses focus on the knowledge and skills necessary for employment as a digital strategist, web marketing specialist, business analyst or project manager,” according to the description given to the Board of Trustees.

“The certification will be a cross between business and web,” said Scott Shaper, an internet professional instructor.
“Basically, it’s a capstone, saying okay, here is what you learned about computers, how here is how it actually works in the real world,” Shaper said.

The classes that the program will encompass are Web Analytics and SEO (WEB 233), Business Analysis and Project Management (WEB 263), and Business on the Internet (BMG 155).

Instructor Jason Withrow will be the primary adviser for the new program, as well as the professor for both WEB classes.

“The new advanced certificate does address a gap in the advanced certificates that we offer. The existing advanced certificates focus on web programming and web graphic design / interface design; this new advanced certificate deals with strategy and web marketing.”

Two of the classes in the program, BMG 155 and WEB 233, are already offered at WCC. The new class, WEB 263, was compiled and organized by Withrow specifically for this new certification.

Kelley Gottschang, instuctor of digital media arts, helped get the program through committee as a colleague of Withrow.

“The recommendation for the program came out of our advisory committee last year. They found that particular skill set was difficult to find employees for in this area, and while they can just hire coders, having these skills is a lot better,” Gottschang said.

The certification should be ready in time for winter semester, according to Withrow. BMG 155 will be offered in winter semester, but the WEB classes will not be offered until next fall.

Students who go through with this program will be in high demand; to the Digital Marketing Institute which predicts 150,000 new digital jobs by 2020. Many of these relate to what this certification requires.

Digital media arts department proposal noted the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics median annual wage for web developers was $64,970 as of May 2015.

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