Learning to code: On becoming a web developer

Will Stern‘s advice on what one needs to become a good web developer.

1) Find a learning resource. You can learn a LOT on your own by searching here and there, but you will learn a lot faster from professionals and you’ll have the confidence that you learned to do things the right way.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Treehouse as a resource.
Code School is also a great resource. They tend to throw more at you, but have more meaty content at the same time.
Here’s a coggle mindmap (this is a 2015 update) that illustrates everything else in this post.

2) Learn Basic HTML/CSS/Javascript

No matter what direction you go, you have to learn the basics. Currently, every browser runs 3 languages: HTML, CSS, Javascript. Basic HTML can be learned very quickly and CSS/Javascript just take a little effort. Even if you don’t become a CSS or Javascript ninja, you’ll need to know the basics of how it works, since it is one of the 3 primary browser languages.


3) Learn a couple of misc. development skills

Github (from the command line, not the application), knowledge of webservices, FTP, SSH, using the terminal. These are skills that you need to know no matter what route you take.


4) Decide on a path – frontend or backend?

So, out of all of the things you’ve done so far, which is the most fun? If you like CSS and design, then I recommend front-end development. If you like using $.ajax and working with data, then maybe go backend. Either way, you’re not committed – there’s no such thing as useless web knowledge, but what counts is learning one skill set very well rather than learning a bunch of skills a little bit.


Watch the video version of Web Development career advice by Will Stern.

For more resources and links to learning materials go to Coding page.

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