Web Development learning survival guide

Coding

First post of 2018, so I wish you an Happy New Year 😉

I am learning Web Development since May 2017 and I have to admit it is at the same rather easy and very difficult.

Easy because the subject is understandable, this is not nuclear physics.

Difficulte because there are so many different languages, frameworks and libraries, that it is not obvious where to start and where to go.

I am a cartographer, so I know how to use Qgis (not everything of course) and Illustrator. I also learned for fun Photoshop and InDesign. I can say I am comfortable with a lot of softwares, so I was wondering, and if I did more…

This thought led me to the path of web development. Why web development you could ask?

  • I have a blog on WordPress.com (which will surely goes to WordPress.org this year)
  • Web Development and cartography have some links
  • Design softwares (Photoshop, Illustrator) and Web Development also have some links

So it was obvious for me that I had to choose to learn Web Development instead of game development or software development. Not that I don’t want to work on some games later 😉

How to find your way?

As an autodidact, I know it is hard to learn by yourself. You doubt about your progress, you can be lost on the web looking for the good information…

So here I will share with you my experience if it can help you saving time.

  • You like to learn through videos, go to Udemy, it is not expensive and you will find plenty of very good courses about web development.
    Videos are great to learn something and feel involved in the course.
  • You want to quickly find the good information you need, buy a book.
    Videos are great to learn but not to find a precise information when you need it. You will waste your time trying to find the exact moment when the instructor gives it.
    Web Development blogs and forums are also great, but a book is like a dictionary. It is an efficient tool and avoids to you a headache, which is great when you already have one learning.
  • Free tutorials are great but it requires a lot of time to find, understand and finish. You are a student with a lot of free time, why not. You have a job and/or a family, go for Udemy and books, it costs money but you will spend your time on useful work.

What to learn?

I would say first and foremost: HTML.

Then you have to know (not necessarily master) CSS, Javascript (which is not the brother/sister of Java), PHP and MySQL. It is also good to know what is a CMS, for example WordPress.

This should take you while before understanding everything. But It will also give you some ideas, some projects, and help you to know where you want to go, what you want to learn and master.

Then you will be able to learn the libraries and frameworks of the languages you like, and there are a lot them!

To work from any computer, I advice you Cloud 9, which is a free online integrated development environment. You can create virtual databases and work with every language. It is really a nice tool.

To finish (and everything I wrote also applies to myself), do projects, create web pages, a simple website, a short javascript program… You need to program in order to become a programmer. I am totally in this right now, put into practice what I learned, it is the best way to improve your skills.

A last advice, be patient. You can’t become a web developer in 6 weeks or 3 months. You can maybe get skilled in one or even two languages, but you will not survive with a real project in your hands. I don’t think a good developer can live knowing only 1 language and 2 frameworks, unless you love to do the same thing everyday, which is not my case.

Programming is an endless topic and I wish to explore it from every angle.

I am waiting for your comments, tell me your own experience 😉

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