How to Become a Successful Self-Taught Web Developer
Web development is one of the fastest growing industries in today’s work market because the Internet is rapidly expanding. Just to give you an idea, it is estimated that there are over 1.8 billion websites all over the world, and the number is constantly growing!
So, there is plenty of work for a young web designer looking to develop their skills. True, platforms like WordPress and Wix allow everyone to create a website (even users who don’t know one line of code), but the sites that deliver performance require specialists. Not to mention, web developers also work on apps, browser extensions, and widgets, which extends the horizon.
So, if your dream is to create cool things that work in the HTML world, you’ll have lots of challenging projects to tackle!
Will Anyone Hire a Self-Taught Developer?
We’re used to people parading their diplomas around, but in the tech industry, things are a bit different. Coding is one of those areas where a diploma doesn’t mean a lot without the means to prove your skills.
Furthermore, according to the StackOver Flow 2016 Survey, most developers (69%) are self-taught. It only takes an analytical mind, attention to details, determination, discipline, and resources available online to get the necessary knowledge and skills to prove your worth.
However, it’s not something that happens overnight, and it can be confusing in the beginning, with so many programming languages, frameworks, and libraries.
So, if you want to become a web developer, but don’t know where to start, have a look at our guide below.
The first and most important step is deciding where to start. The world of web development is diverse and always changing, so, if you stick with it, you will end up with a little bit from everything. But, to start, you should first know what you want to do.
So, what do you want to do? Do you want to:
– create web apps?
– build cool web features?
– make websites?
– build eCommerce solutions?
– build your own startup?
– be a Front-End, Back-End or Full-Stack Developer?
The good news is that they are not difficult to learn, and you don’t need a powerful computer or any specialized software. Furthermore, most tools you’ll need are free and use an easy to understand interface.
2. Where to Find the Resources
There are plenty of website development courses available at an affordable price, with access to experienced teachers and resources in different formats. eLearning platforms are designed to promote learning by doing, so you’ll also have exercises and tests included in the course, which is a fantastic opportunity for a coder.
Most platforms also provide a certificate stating your achievements and showcasing your efforts. While these are not comparable to a diploma, they show you are learning and can be useful to build up your LinkedIn profile to attract employers.
3. Learn by Doing
There is no other area where this statement bears more power than in the world of coding! Whether you learn your first HTML tags, or you’ve just started Ruby on Rails, the only way to learn is by doing stuff.
Start with small projects, copy code you find online and run it line by line to understand what it does. Also, try modifying variables, mess up the code you copy and learn how to fix it. When it comes to programming, you must keep in mind that’s it’s all about solving a problem.
Thus, your code needs to be logical and built towards a solution without eating more resources than it needs to. You’re basically using a new language to explain a computer what you want it to do. So, it’s only natural that you’ll make mistakes, but you should welcome them because they help you learn.
Quick tip: To be prepared for job interviews or to attract customers, build a portfolio of apps, websites, or web tools you designed. Take any chance to build something from scratch, even if it’s a tool that’s already available.
4. Join Online Communities
One of the reasons why it’s possible to become a developer without wasting years in a school system is the existence of online communities (such as StackOver Flow). Here, newbies can connect with experienced developers and learn from others’ mistakes and struggles.
You can also post questions and code problems and have the answer explained in a way you’ll understand. However, make sure you try your best to get the answer without any help from an online community. This way, you can show you tried, which is important for experienced folks.
It’s also important for you, as a beginner, as you learn how to find solutions when you get stuck (which will happen quite a lot).
5. Stay Motivated
Self-taught developers have an extra skill that speaks for their character, and that is grit! If you managed to go through the ups and downs of learning a new programming language, and you became proficient in it, this shows a lot of discipline and determination.
While coding may look like an easy thing to learn, it has a lot of challenging areas that can be difficult to figure out without the help of a teacher or a mentor. Not to mention that, in many situations, solving one problem, can lead to 99+ other problems you didn’t know you had!
Coding can be frustrating, infuriating, and tedious but it also makes you feel like you control the world! As you get better, you have access to more interesting projects and new paths open up. Still, keep in mind that this is an environment that’s constantly changing, so you never stop learning.
The world is full of stories where coding skills helped people gain control over their own destiny. According to them, it takes guts, good resources, and a problem-solving approach. So, if you truly want to take a shot at coding, there’s no reason to wait; start your journey today and see where it takes you!