Web Development – How One English Project Got Me Started in Web Development!

10 years ago I was studying to become a teacher, and this is the story about one assignment that changed my choice of career. Teaching was the thing I really wanted to do and is still something I’m very passionate about. However, little did I know that one English class would send me on the track to becoming a web developer.

It was an English class assignment on Ireland and our professor told us that we could deliver it in any format we wanted. In fact, he strongly urged us to get creative. This was during the high point of the dot com bubble and to me it seemed obvious that my format of delivery should be a web page.

There was however, one tiny problem. I didn’t know how to create a web page. That didn’t hold me back so I went and created a geocities account that very same day. I had a choice to make. I could use the build in web site creator tools in Geocities or I could learn to create the web page myself. Always eager to learn new things I decided on the latter. I just had to figure out how to go about getting started in web development.

I did know some things about web pages. I knew that they were build using something called HTML, but I didn’t know how to write HTML myself. Therefore, I went to my local bookstore and picked up a copy of a beginners HTML book and dived into it.

By the time the assignment was due I had a fully fledged website about the history of Ireland to show off. It was ugly beyond belief, but I had build it myself!

The sense of achievement and the joy of building a web site from the ground up eventually led me to change my choice of career and today I make my living as a professional web developer.

Lessons learned – obviously I learned how to get started in web development, but more importantly I learned never to be afraid of trying something new. I also learned that although I love teaching becoming a teacher wasn’t for me. The latter lesson just goes to show that you never know what you might learn that will change your life.

Life principles learned

  • Always embrace the chance to learn something new.
  • Always start at with the basic principles when learning something new.
  • Never hesitate to take action when a new opportunity arises.


Author: Michael B Humphrey