Ivan Lebanov Full-stack web developer

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Where to start learning to be a web dev?

Becoming more experienced in the area of web development, I decided to give my 2 cents on “How to become a web developer?” – a very common question.

It is not possible to know everything

The web development scene is changing rapidly and drastically all the time. There are new technologies every day as well as new Javascript/PHP frameworks. I’m not saying that I know everything. I strive to learn new things each day. There is no progress bar till you’re a good full-stack developer.

University or self-taught? Both.

All depends on your aim. Do you wanna be part of a big corporation? Do you wanna be an employee of Zucks at Facebook? Do you wanna make your own startup or work for one? Do you want a career as a freelancer developer? There’re a few routes you can follow:

  • -“I wanna be part of Facebook’s dev team” – Both. Big corporations care about education and skill set so it’s important to have a degree as well as the bonus skills from self-teaching yourself – you have to be extra good.
  • -” I wanna be a freelancer… I wanna be a part of a startup or create a new one” – Both. The skills, in this case, are a priority. Ability to do stuff rather than an official qualification. However, education can boost your knowledge and let you be seen as more professional.
  • -“I don’t know what exactly I wanna be” – start with a crash course online. If you’re still interested – start learning in a university. Do extra stuff. Don’t expect the uni to give you all the knowledge. You need to dig in.

UI & UX

You can’t be relevant in the web development world if you don’t have a basic understanding(at least) of User Interfaces & User Experience. They’re a vital part of your future creations.

Design

You should know how to use Photoshop/Sketch to be able to convert your colleagues designs into code. IMO it is also crucial to know how to make your designs but it’s more like a “Nice to have”.  I personally recommend watching this video:

HTML

Start small with the basics. This is a relatively easy part however it’s very important foundation for your future as a developer. If your HTML skills are low your websites will be styled easier and faster. If you get this part wrong you will struggle as a dev. I personally recommend learning in combination with CSS.

Cascading Style Sheets

or CSS are files used to style up your HTML markup. If you wanna be able to make beautiful websites for desktop and mobile you must write maintainable & structured CSS code.

Good point to start is Codecademy,  Udemy or Udacity. There is plenty info also at Smashingmagazine and CSS-tricks.

Javascript

Vanilla Javascript is really important for your development. You’ll learn to make new DOM elements, make AJAX calls and change attributes of HTML DOM. Starting with pure javascript helps with your understanding of other javascript frameworks in the future. You will learn the basics with all the little differences in the language compared to others.

Back-end & Databases

Everything so far that you’ve done is related to the actual visuals of a site. You need to have Database & Back-end knowledge. I’d personally advise on starting with MySQL and PHP.

Going further

Frameworks and Content Management Systems are a really nice addition to your portfolio. Here’s a list of my favorites:

  • WordPress – powering approx. 25% of the www WordPress is a great option for a commercial website without many customizations, for a blog or a simple e-commerce shop.
  • Laravel – more complex projects with more functionality and logic (e.g social media, a to-do list etc.)
  • Angular/React – single page applications

Verdict

There are different approaches to progress in the web development field. You have to make your decision for yourself. In the end, the whole article is a suggestion. Do you.