By Dr. Novadean Watson-Stone
Program Director, Information Technology at American Public University
When someone says, “I’m going shopping,” and you ask, “Where?” We often think of a physical location and not the Web. When someone says, “I am going to meet up with my friends,” again we think of a physical location and not the Web. Where we shop, socialize, write, read the news, pay our bills, arrange our flights, game, look for employment, download our music and movies, search for the hot topics or day-to-day information are happening more often on the Web.
Many businesses now make it a point to remind consumers to use their Web services first, often at a reduced fee or no fee at all, before requesting personal or live services, which is typically at a greater cost. These services and computing behaviors have helped to define the Web today, which is increasingly becoming innovative, dynamic and mobile.
With a growing basket of activities forcing users to go to the Web for support and services, this age has seen the Web evolve over three distinct generations. Web 1.0 offered linking between documents and content such as commercial products and services, educational materials, governmental facts and statistics, and a network of resources posted by private and public Website owners with the intent of sharing data and information with Website visitors. Web 2.0 shifted the Web fiercely into delivering rich content with more advanced social computing and networking opportunities. Website visitors may continue to read documents and content provided on various Websites, but they may now share their opinions, recent trends, and interests with family and friends and critics alike; train and learn; and participate in massively multiplayer online role-playing games using Web components such as YouTube, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Adobe Connect, and Xbox LIVE .
Today, some argue that the Web is gradually evolving into what is defined as Web 3.0, which hinges on providing mobile and intelligent systems to meet user’s customized wants and needs. Increasingly, Website visitors will find their activities, passion, and preferences captured and used to coin their user-specific products and services for taking courses, training, shopping, conducting business, developing and designing products, gaming, discussing the latest events or trends, expressing perspectives and views, socializing, voting, traveling, cooking, exercising, browsing and conducting other Web related activities. Basically, Web 3.0 will use a user’s Web footprint to define his or her desires and personal profile.
Web trends are also driving the job market which needs professionals skilled in Web analytics, search engine optimization (SEO), content management systems (CMS), collaborative interfaces, social media marketing development, mobile application development, and other Web-related disciplines. Accordingly, Web computing has resulted in unique job functions such as Webmaster, Web developer, Graphic Designer, Interaction Designer, Visual Designer, Freelance Designer–just to name a few of the vital positions in Web computing. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook reports, “Employment of [Web] developers is expected to grow as ecommerce continues to grow. Online purchasing is expected to continue to grow faster than the overall retail industry. As retail firms expand their online offerings, demand for [Web] developers will increase.”
About the Author:
Dr. Watson-Stone is currently the Program Director for the Graduate and Undergraduate Information Technology Programs at American Public University System (APUS), where she serves an aggressively growing department. She has over 12 years of experience in the Information Technology field. Recently, Dr. Watson-Stone co-published her research, Community College Survey Data: The Impact of Quantity and Quality on Informed Decision-Making, at the Association for Institutional Research Annual Forum, Jun 5, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana; and presented her research entitled Watch Gaming and Simulation Replace PowerPoint in the Classroom, January 14, 2012 at the Air Education and Training Command Symposium, San Antonio, Texas. She further co-published several other articles to include “RFID with Real Implications”, “Artificial Intelligence in Information Security”, and the “Evolution of Information Security.”