Start on the Cheap
When you make the decision to learn web development, do not run out and buy the most expensive set of programs on the market. Although Adobe makes outstanding web development titles, the startup developer should learn to write code with products that are more basic. In essence, it is best to learn the hard way. Software such as Dreamweaver can encourage rookies to layout everything in tables because it is easy to just drag your elements on the screen. In the beginning you may learn make a few websites that look okay, but you still won’t really know how to lay out a website the correct way. Products like Dreamweaver become more important when you advance. At that time, you will be able to use the high-end software to your advantage.
Learn the Basics: XHTML and CSS
It is tempting to first learn technologies such and Flash or Flex. These are some of the most exciting technologies on the web. For the rookie developer, it makes more sense to start with XHTML, and then move onto CSS. XHTML is the most basic and widely used coding language on the web, and CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) is a presentational language that was designed to make content look good. It is impossible to be a real success in the web industry without having a firm grip on these two technologies.
Visit Tutorial Websites
Although printed media is a great place to learn about the design side of building web pages, it is very difficult to learn complex computer code by flipping through the pages of a book. When you do this you are only learning in one way, by reading. Tutorial websites are a better answer. You will see an expert web developer work on the project. You will hear their voice. You will open up a browser window, and do the project yourself. Nothing is more effective than this method of learning. It is possible to find a tutorial from a world class teacher on any quality software program available today. Memberships to tutorial websites are much less expensive than the most affordable design school. Chances are the lessons will be more up to date as well.
Hang out on Web Development Forums
Everyone needs feedback, and technology is changing all the time. It is easy to get left in the dust. The best way for a rookie developer to get quality feedback and stay up to date is to hang out at web development forums. It is important to see what other developers around the globe are doing with web design. Forums allow you to ask questions from others that have already been there. They also give you a place to show off your work and get critiques from people that know what they are talking about.
Web developers have done a good job promoting and helping those in their own medium. Take advantage of the free and inexpensive online tutorials, learn the basic coding languages, and hang out with those further down the road. You don’t have to shell out $300 or more per credit hour to learn the web development trade.
Author: Joe Drouillard