With the ever increasing need for good developers, there's little wonder so many people are looking to learn web development skills. With some great salaries available, no shortage of jobs, and freelance options, learning web development is an attractive career move.
But for many would-be rock star developers, the question is not so much why learn web development, but rather how.
This quick guide is going to run through the basics of getting started. We'll concentrate on the quickest ways to get basic web development skills that you can then build upon.
This guide assumes no prior knowledge, and no real understanding of computer science. So if you're a beginner who needs some points on how to learn web development, you've come to the right place.
I've put together a quick learning plan that goes through the essential language skills, starting with the easiest, then 'core' programming languages for the web, and then a few interesting additions that you can use to make your dev work more interesting.
The learning plan is designed to show you a logical progression through various languages.
To find out HOW to learn these languages, head down to the bottom of the page where I list the five best resources for learning web-development.
Step One: Basic Web Languages
The absolute first thing you'll want to do is learn HTML. If you don't already know the basics, don't worry, it's not that complicated, and basic proficiency can be achieved in a few hours.
HTML alone won't get you very far, but it's essential for most web based jobs (development, design, SEO, etc).
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) allow you to define how a web page looks in a much quicker and more in-depth way than HTML. You can create 'style sheets' and save them in a separate area on the site, so they load quickly when needed, but don't slow down the page as much as having a load of code on the page.
Step Two: Core Web-Programming Languages
The next in our 'relatively easy' programming languages that you absolutely must learn if you plan to become a web developer, is PHP
PHP is still well used, and has a very large community of developers, so support is easy to find should you get confused.
Step Three: Becoming a Pro Web Developer
By the time you've learned the languages above, you'll already have the skills needed to get some web-development freelance work, and could probably land a junior coding job at a development agency. The last three languages on this list are what will really make you stand out from the crowd, as well as enable you to create some pretty awesome things.
Python is an extremely powerful language that can be used for an enormous number of tasks, but is actually very easy to learn if you already know the languages listed previously in this guide.
Structured Query Language (SQL) is different from the previously listed languages because it doesn't actually send instructions to the computer in order to get the desired outcome, but rather looks up information from databases and can perform complex operations within that database, before providing the information to be used by another language.
If you've got this far in your learning plan, you'll find Ruby pretty easy to get to grips with. Ruby is used to create web applications and can be used for a wide variety of tasks.
Time to Start Learning
So now you know WHAT you need to learn, now it's time to actually start learning. What follows is a list of my five favorite resources for learning the skills listed above.
All the websites below offer free courses and information. So there really is no excuse to become a web developer if that's what you've been talking about...
- Amazing lessons
- Easy to follow
- For a beginner? None
Codecademy is an amazing site that offers fantastic instruction on the basics of web development. The user interface has instructions, a code area for you to work, and a terminal that displays what you've coded.
The free courses are great, and you will definitely learn a lot from this site, which is why it's my most highly recommended site for getting started in web development.
- Main concepts covered in good depth
- Plenty of tutorials
- Great community
- Limited free options
CodeAvengers is, like Codecademy, an interactive learning environment for beginners. The free tutorials will help you get to grips with the core elements of web development, and show you how to make simple web apps, games, or pages.
There are some free courses, and others that require a subscription. I recommend trying out the free ones then deciding if you like the learning style before paying for a subscription.
- Huge number of resources aimed at all levels
- Active forum
- Not technically a course
w3schools is not technically a course, but is such a great resource for budding programmers that I couldn't leave it out.
This site is more of a reference library for all things web development related. Each language covers lots of ground, and can be followed by a beginner, but it is all text and image based, rather than interactive. So it would be a fairly difficult site to use on its own as a learning resource, but is very useful as a reference alongside one of the other courses mentioned.
- Many languages covered
- Not technically a course
Bento doesn't actually create courses, or host them, but offers curated lists of websites for learning about all the major web development languages.
That means if you're really interested in learning about a language that isn't covered on the other sites in this list, you can head over to Bento and find a site that has the perfect course for you.
- Plenty of options
- User reviews
- Some courses very basic
- The best courses are fairly expensive
Udemy is an extremely popular site that hosts courses on just about everything. This impressive list of courses has some excellent, and highly qualified instructors too. The main downside of Udemy is thatsome of the courses could be a bit basic, even if you've only gone through a few Codecademy tutorials, so it's important to make sure you user reviews of the course before you put down any money.
Learning Web Development Summary
By now you should understand that learning web development isn't something you can do in a few days; it takes a lot of practice and dedication, but the rewards are great if you do get your head down and study hard. The resources mentioned in this guide are in no way the be all and end all of learning to code, but show a some very useful ways to learn, even for people with varied learning styles.
If you're going to go down the route of self study, be prepared for a steep learning curve and some frustration along the way.
Here are the recommended sites once again: