So you think you’re interested to spend some time learning how to code, do web development and become a web developer.
Firstly, know that you’ve made a great decision. The demand for web developers in Malaysia and in fact, the world, is steadily increasing every day. Even more so for good developers.
So how do you start learning web development? Pick an online class and start going to as many tech meetups as possible?
Chances are you have already done that and found that there are so much to learn. Which programming language do you start learning first? Which framework should you use? Which programming language will give the best return in your career?
Well, don’t worry. You’re not alone in this. In fact, most people go through this phase of confusion, drowned by the noise and informational overload in the market.
What Made You Decide To Learn Programming?
Programming, development or coding, all mean the same thing. One of the first things to do is to set a clear goal when you’re setting out to learn web programming.
You decided to learn to code, because:
- You want to make a career change into a more rewarding one in tech.
- You decided to master web development and provide freelance services
- Maybe you just wanted to learn to code for fun and began searching for coding classes in Malaysia.
Nevertheless, it’s important to know why you started.
Having a clear goal will help you pull through the long hours of practice and learning. There will be times you feel like giving up on learning. But if you have a goal so big, you’ll see it through. So set a goal and stick with it.
Should I Learn Front-End or Back-End Web Development?
You’re not alone when you ask this question. Many beginners do not know which one to learn and which one suits them best.
This is what you see and interact with when you browse a website. The design, text, images, layout and generally content that you see ‘in-front’.
Front-end developers usually have a good understanding of user experience (UX/UI), an awareness of latest design trends and have good critical thinking style.
Often referred to as ‘server-side’ coding, back-end development is what goes on behind the website. Think of the systems, databases, and servers that ensure how the site works. Website visitors do not see back-end elements on the site.
Companies who hire back-end developers usually look for logical thinkers and individuals who love solving problems.
Typical technologies used in back-end programming are like PHP and Python.
You would have identified that there are two themes here. People who love good visual design and people who love solving problems. Depending on your personality trait, you might choose to go into either front-end or back-end development.
But what if you could learn both of them?
Full Stack Web Development
Long story short, the more skills you have – the more valuable you become to the marketplace. A quick search in job posting boards will reveal the value of being a full stack developer.
A full stack developer is someone who understands all layers of development – front-end and back-end. It’s rewarding to be one, but if you decide to focus on full stack development you need to understand if you have what it takes to learn and take a full stack web development job.
Some traits of full stack developer include:
- A hunger for constant learning
- Ability to see the big picture & lead a team of developers
- Great attention to detail
- Good leadership & management skills, along with patience.
They are often seen as a jack-of-all-trades developer, but i actual fact, with proper training and practice, full stack developer are masters of a few technologies.
Choosing A Place To Start Learning
You can get started with online classes such as Codecademy. Start with HTML or CSS courses to get a feel for the technologies.
What you really want here is to start developing consistency to practice coding. With learning to code or program, you may at times feel like you stopped progressing and has hit a plateau.
However, very much like how a bodybuilder trains at the gym: train, rest & repeat. The same goes for learning web development. It won’t be good days every day. Some days, you’ll feel good being able to effectively solve problems and on some days, you’ll be laid out flat, unable to complete coding tasks.
But that’s okay. Because with learning something, it’s the consistency and persistence that will pay.
Finding A Community & Mentor
Learning web development can become a lonely journey, one you spend most of your time in front of a computer.
That’s why it’s important to be part of a healthy and encouraging community, as you learn web development.
Look for a community that not only helps answers your questions and shares resources with you but have the same goals as you, as to why they decided to learn web development.
The next thing is to look for a mentor. Playing a role of a teacher and connector, a mentor will be able to help you as you learn and most importantly connect you to important key contacts within his or her network in the industry.
As you learn to program, mentors can be great people to bounce your ideas off, provided that you can learn through their experience. Heck, even the best football player in the world has a coach/mentor. Why shouldn’t you?
Don’t Wait To Be An Expert To Start
The nice thing about being a web developer is you don’t have to be an expert to start building and creating things.
Instead, learn as you build or work with a company.
On working smart:
So are all full-stack web developers some sort of genius? Well not really. And you don’t have to be.
Many of these developers are people who work smart. For example, you don’t have to code everything from scratch all the time.
To speed up your workflow, make use of frameworks, ready-made technologies and also templates to build websites. While you might get frowned upon by experienced developers, I often find it useful to reverse engineer a certain idea or website build, to understand better.
Work with templates or frameworks on actual projects and strip them down to see how it’s built.
Of course, you still have to put time and effort into mastering web development. The advice here is don’t become someone who constantly learns but is too afraid to start building real projects.
Interested in Full Stack Web Development?
If you’re tired of trying to master full stack web development, by going through endless of online videos, attending coding meetups and posting questions that never get answered forums, we’ve got a better course for you.
Join Full Stack Web Development 360, a hybrid course that covers every aspect of web development from front-end and back-end. The course is delivered online and offline, featuring experienced mentors who will help you master web development and find a job.