Begin Web Development with a Head Start
If you’re a budding engineer in the trade of IT or someone else with a fresh interest in website development and design, then this post is for you.
For over a decade, web development has been the favorite subject for geeks all over the world and it’s not new. But the everyday growth and emerging techniques have made it an even more wondrous subject to learn and experiment on. In this article, I’ll write everything you need to know and everything you will require to pursue your journey in web development conveniently, productively, and with more fun!
Why Web Development?
The trade of IT and Computer Science (CSE) is basically categorized into three sub-domains; Software engineering, Networking, and website development. However former two are also very interesting and fruitful as web development, students are consistently made to believe that those are more important and significant than WebDev. I can’t stress this point enough, Web Development and Designing is the third wheel in computer technologies and it can’t be underestimated.
I’ve personally seen people wandering in software engineering for jobs and careers regardless of their non-interests in the field and after failing that, commencing website development. Web Development is the future. Have a look around and you’ll agree.
Myths of Web Development
The most common myths about web development are:
- WebDev is limited to creating websites.
- WebDev cannot get you ‘high-paid’ jobs.
- WebDev is easy.
No Dear! Web Development is not limited to websites, you can create browsers, plugins, games, e-commerce, and SOFTWARES too. The development scope is too vast, describing it would take more than one article. WebDev can get you jobs in high-reputed companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Google, etc. or you could always work as a high-profiled freelancer. Although beginning a career might disappoint you, as you keep growing, so does your paycheque.
Web Development, although fun, requires hard work, especially during the PHP/ASP.net phase. You have to work in a specific order if you want to become a good web developer.
Who can develop websites and web applications?
- If you understand the basic logic of programming (loops, classes, objects, functions, etc.), you can easily construct a web application as huge as Google Chrome. Nothing Fancy.
- If you like spending your time with a code editor rather than doing other mediocre chores, then yes, you can be the next Zuckerberg.
- Coding during web development is relatively easy than that in software designing but it still requires logic and a focused mindset.
Who cannot develop websites and web applications?
If the only motivation behind all this work is academics and a decent résumé then you might face ‘technical’ problems as developing on web domains requires a lot of smart work and dedication. If you don’t plan through, you might end up in nowhere with your interest and efforts completely ruined.
Step 1 – HTML5
- Though easy it seems, HTML5 is certainly not the old HTML as we know it. HTML5 is the extended functional form of HTML4 with many more features than the former version. With HTML5, you can not only prepare basic webpage structure easily, but can store variables on the page itself, create games on it, don’t need to rely on flash anymore to run your videos and animation, and with a nice 4 months of in-depth study, can even create a full functioning blog, without even touching server-side languages like PHP.
- Time Required: 4 months*
- Avoid Head-start and HTML5 for dummies books as they do not have much practice on the subject.
Step 2 – CSS
- Who adds colors to rainbows? CSS surely does.
- With the application of CSS, you can define your web in a colorful and smooth way. Like HTML, CSS has grown into CSS3, with which, you can also add transitions to pages, scrolls, and even mouse hovers. You can even make your site elegant or flashy by using just a few lines of CSS3.
- Time Required: 1 Month of practice with HTML5*
Now as you learn HTML5 and CSS3 so far, designing pages won’t look much hard to you. You can either design your own pages or templates or can work into responsive layouts that can adapt to any device’s screen.
You can practice as much as you want, but 60 hours* are just enough to practice using HTML5 and CSS3 together. If you’re a brilliant student, you can also look up bootstrap3 for responsive layout, before moving to step 4.
So far, it’s all about developing a website from the front end. How it looks and how should it react, but real work takes place behind the curtains. PHP is a server-side language, and it handles all the real work and completely relies on your internet connection (unless you’re working on a local host which I don’t recommend for projects).
- The first half of this learning procedure is working on the front-end
- The second half requires more back-coding
Time required: 4 Months (500 hours at least)*
Step 6 – All above + MySQL
- Easiest to work, hardest to maintain. Designing the database can be a real pain if you’re not organized and well-planned.
- The reason I recommend PHP over any other server-scripting languages is that PHP is great for beginners and if your basic old-school C++ concepts are clear, PHP becomes much easier than you anticipate.
- MySQL, with the combination of PHP on an Apache server (better than IIS), provides a perfect frame to build webpages and if you want to practice on localhost, try a WAMP server.
- Practice on the local host, and implement on the remote host.
- Books Recommended: Head-first MySQL by O’Reilly
- If you followed the steps above in sequence as mentioned, you probably know already the working of a social networking website and how notifications and personal messages (chats) works.
- You can create e-commerce easily, without even moving further to the next step. But what if you want to create websites like Flipkart, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, or Facebook?
- Those are more complicated than just HTML5, PHP, and MySQL.
- There are other servers and client-side coding languages to help you do the wonders you always wished. Python is one of the most practical, efficient, and profitable coding languages that is being used today and the best thing about learning python is it’s very easy.
- Although Python is independent of PHP I still recommend learning PHP first as it will prepare your mindset and you will learn python more quickly.
- I worked on PHP for six years and learned python in 12 hours.
- There are other coding languages and frameworks on which you can work like Ruby on rails. But Python should be your first preference.
Step 8 – Mix-it-up
It would take some time before you begin to create your own big project that someday might replace major web-technology brands, but every hike starts with a small step.
Thanks for reading, if you have any more pointers, suggestions, arguments, or appreciation, post a comment!
*All these are my time estimates and may vary from individual to individual.
P.S – WebDev and WebDav. WebDav means Web Distributed authoring and versioning- a completely different thing.
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