Wanna be a web developer? Learn these skills before you start coding

There's never been a more exciting time to get into web development. However, some beginners can be overwhelmed with all the different available technologies and tools. Here's a few of the things you should learn before starting your career as a developer.

Drop the GUI, get the Command Line

One sign of an experienced developer is the ability to use the command line interface. Mac users control this through Terminal, while Windows users will want to get the Cygwin tool, a massive improvement over the standard Windows command line tool. A few basic commands are enough for now: just learn to navigate the folder structure, change directories, make, edit, and delete files. Learn the basics here. For experienced users, Windows 10 now fully supports an Ubuntu-based shell, allowing Linux to run seamlessly on Windows devices. Learn more about Linux for Windows here.

Git and Github

Even the best developers make mistakes, especially when working with a team. One way to minimize mistakes and confusion is through version control, and one of the most popular tools for this is Git. Git LogoStart off with the basics (create a repository, clone, push, pull, stage and commit local changes) before moving onto more advanced topics like branching. Get started with this basic guide. Once you have Git, you'll need a Github to show off your stuff. Why? Github allows you to showcase your code to other developers and prospective employers. Think of it as a social network where you can share your code; this is a great way to show others what you can do and what you interests are. Chances are most employers will want to see an active Github and a consistent commit history from anyone they'd consider hiring. Get started with Github here.

Pick a text editor

Now we're ready to actually get started writing code, but first we need to chose an editor. For a beginner, it's best to go with an established choice like Sublime Text or Notepad++Notepad++ LogoMore ambitious developers may be tempted to dive in with more advanced choices like vim, Emacs, or an integrated developer environment (IDE), but for now it's best to stick with a simple editor that can get you up and running quickly. Want a more robust editor that's still easy to use? Try Atom, an increasingly popular choice from the Github team. Atom is loaded with new features, styles, and many open-source plugins available online so you can make Atom your own.

Start with HTML and CSS

As a developer, you have many different choices when it comes to languages and frameworks. But one thing is certain: you'll use HTML and CSS somewhere along the way. These two technologies form the basic building blocks for all other web development, so they must be the first thing you learn. Start with the most basic pieces and then get more specific.HTML5 Logo Learning the basic elements and how they nest together is more important than memorizing every HTML5 tag and CSS3 special tag. Likewise, learning classic HTML design patterns may seem like a waste of time in the beginning, but it will lay the foundation you use to structure every website or app you ever build.  

Learn to use the DOM and Developer tools

Modern web browsers provide a lot of interesting tools you can use to make your work a whole lot easier. While all browsers have their strengths, Google Chrome is considered the strongest in terms of development tools and Document Object Model (DOM) manipulation. Get started with Chrome Developer tools here and learn more about the DOM here.

Pick a language and stick with it

Trends come and go, but developers who want a long-term career must eventually choose. First off, pick a language. Your choice of language will determine your choice of frameworks and libraries, if any. Many developers think that learning the basics of a framework is enough to get around learning an actual language, but this is only a temporary solution. Instead, learn the core language surrounding a framework and it will become clear when and where (if ever) to use frameworks and libraries, and you will have a skill set that outlasts the temporary popularity of any one framework.

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Publish Date:

2017-04-27 10:12:43

Last Modified:

2017-04-27 10:12:43