Whether you are going to school and studying web development, or taking the self taught route, the information that will be laid in front of you can sometimes be overwhelming. There are so many programming languages, CMS’s, and Frameworks that all claim to be the best. On top of that, there are web developers with opinions on what they believe to be certain is the best way of doing things (I’m guilty of this sometimes too.) It’s very easy to get lost as a beginner. The right answer for you isn’t going to be handed to you on a silver platter. But on the bright side, I’ve come up with a few tips to keep you from getting lost.
Learn to code without a CSS framework
CSS frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation will no doubt speed up the building process, and you’ll be able to get a lot done in a short period of time. However, every framework is different. They have a bit of a learning curve to them, and they usually contain a lot of bloat code. If you jump straight to a framework without knowing how to build a layout with vanilla HTML and CSS, you will limit yourself to the restrictions of the framework, and you won’t grow as a developer. Learn how to properly use floats before jumping to that grid system. Understand the difference between margins and padding. Make CSS-tricks your new bible!
Pick at least one CMS and become and expert with it
WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are the three most commonly used CMS’s on the internet right now. Most clients, whether they are small/mid sized business or corporations, want a website where they can update their content and edit pages. In my particular case I decided to learn WordPress. It’s really popular among small businesses. And even though it’s mostly known as a blogging platform, when you know what you’re doing it can be used as a web application framework. Check out my article about it. When you become an expert in one CMS, it will be easier for you to land jobs with companies that actually need your skills.
Learn PHP. Just do it
Never stop learning, ever
This should be a really obvious one. Landing your first job at an agency or on a web development team does not give you a ticket to slack off. In fact, you have to step up your game. Keep striving to write good code, and evolve your process. Use an online learning tool like Treehouse to keep your skills sharp. Find web developers out there that blog about the cool things they make, and get inspired. Remember, sometimes technologies and frameworks come and go, and you need to be able to adapt to the changes in the industry.
At the end of the day, You’re going to have to be the one to decide which direction you want to take in web development. There is no right or wrong path. Just remember to keep yourself well versed in the basics. I hope this article helps. What do you think is important for rookie web developers to learn?