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Getting Started: 9 Key Web Development Tips for Beginners

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1.7 billion websites are online right now. Do you know what all of those websites have in common?

The fact that somebody built them.

If the prospect of building websites either professionally or recreationally sounds like a blast to you, we’ve got great news! It’s never been easier to get into web development, and if you’re committed, we have no doubt that you can be a professional within a year.

Despite how accessible web development is, thousands of people that get started with it will give up before doing anything meaningful. To save you from that fate, check out these nine tips to help structure and maximize your learning.

1. Web Development Doesn’t Take Talent, It Takes Practice

The perceived difficulty of building websites keeps a lot of prospective developers from entering the fray. That’s too bad because web development isn’t that hard.

Like all things, in order to master web development, you have to practice regularly. Beyond practice, though, you don’t need to have any special talents or aptitudes to find success.

2. Get Educated with Free Online Resources

You don’t need to attend a formal web development school in order to become a web developer. People self-educate themselves in development with the assistance of free resources every day.

Websites like Codecademy and Khan Academy are fantastic resources when it comes to learning how to code and, consequently, how to develop websites.

3. Focus Your Education on HTML and CSS First

There are a lot of things that you’d probably like to do as a web developer. Maybe you’d like to build slick product pages, interactive on-page elements, or any number of other fun bells and whistles.

Our advice is to put those aspirations on hold and focus the beginning of your education on HTML and CSS. HTML and CSS are the foundational languages of web development. HTML produces content for your website, and CSS is what styles that content.

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Make it a point to get proficient at both of those languages — no matter how tedious it seems — before moving onto any other aspect of your education.

4. Graduate to JavaScript

With a strong basis in HTML and CSS, move your code-learning journey onto JavaScript. JavaScript is an object-oriented language that allows you to take elements on your page and have them react dynamically to user inputs.

With an education in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript you’d have all of the know-how that you’d need to build everything from websites to interactive mobile applications with the help of tools like Adobe’s PhoneGap.

5. Coding Neatly Matters

When you’re coding, it can be tempting to add odd spacing between lines or to code multiple commands on a single line. Avoid doing those things.

While the way that you utilize spaces doesn’t matter to a computer, neatness can impact your employability, productivity, and the speed in which your applications run.

Be consistent in the way that you write, and you’ll have a much easier time breaking into and staying relevant in web development.

6. Use Comments

Adding comments to your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript when you’re writing code is extremely helpful to team members and your future self.

Imagine creating a website with tons of JavaScript functions and stepping away from the project for a year. When you came back, the amount of time that it would take to go through your code and remember what everything did would be crippling.

By noting what blocks of your code do with in-line comments, you enable yourself and anybody else that reads your code to quickly understand your thought process.

7. Be Platform Agnostic in Your Design

We don’t have to tell you that more people than ever are accessing the internet from their phones. That means that a good web developer needs to create online products that look great, no matter what kind of screen they’re being viewed on.

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To achieve that end, make sure that the CSS you’re using is defined flexibly. You can learn more about flexible CSS by reading about Bootstrap.

8. Accept That Debugging Will Take a Lot of Your Time

Code is extremely picky. One wrong character and entire sections of your website might function incorrectly.

Part of a web developer’s job is to spend inordinate amounts of time scouring their code for these small errors via a process called “debugging.”

Debugging can get tedious quickly. Accept that it’s part of the job rather than throwing a fit and take the time to get familiar with debugging tools.

9. Learn WordPress

Learning to code by hand is integral to becoming a good web developer. Once you’ve gotten that down, take the time to master WordPress.

WordPress is the most popular content management system on the planet and is the foundation that most small businesses are building their websites on.

By understanding the ins and outs of WordPress, you’ll be able to quickly create sites using the technology that today’s consumers expect. You’ll also be able to provide your customers with custom WordPress templates and features that non-code-trained “WordPress experts” won’t be able to produce.

Learning how to work with and install WordPress on web hosting platforms will also give you insight into website maintenance cost, database management, and back-end operations.

With a Little Bit of Practice Every Day, Web Development Will Come Easy

The only thing standing between you and being excellent at web development is the commitment to practicing a few times per week. If you can do that, we 100% guarantee that you’ll blow yourself away with what you’ll achieve.

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