I have recently published a piece on “what no one tells you about working in web development” in which I shared some insights on how working on web development projects, well, works.
Starting out in web development can be quite difficult, but it is a worthwhile adventure if well prepared. Here’s my web development tutorial with 9 useful tips that can help you make your start in web development a smooth one!
1. Learn the basics
LTFB – Learn the f* basics. Any further tip is useless if you do not know the basics of web development. If you find yourself struggling with programming and design, I’ve got some nice getting started guides for you on this blog. Try to pick a few topics and make yourself comfortable with basic requirements in web development.
To learn the basics of programming, I’d recommend taking an online course. There are tons of great programs to choose from out there: Hop over to treehouse or code academy and check out their classes.
Learn how to design
Getting started in web development also requires some basic understanding of good design. Besides making yourself familiar with some design tools, I’d recommend learning the basic concepts of design. Learn how to think like a designer.
Teamtreehouse, for example, offers some great classes and materials on design. Lynda.com is another great resource.
Further educational resources
- Learn a new programming language within 1 month
- Great tutorials on design & web development at lynda.com
- Learn how to code with Code School
2. Do your research & get inspired
When starting out in web development, you’ll be reading a lot of articles and books, as well as other people’s code. You don’t have to come up with something nobody has ever seen before. There are tons of (open source) projects, code snippets, and free libraries available that you can use to build your first projects. You can gain a lot of inspiration from looking at the work of others.
Great ideas come from building on the ideas of others.
Further resources for research & inspiration:
Make use of code snippets on hsnipt.net
Discover the community of web developers on github.com
Find some design inspirations on pinterest.com
Check out the search engine for design ideas at niice.co
3. Make use of free resources
Starting out in web development isn’t expensive Apart from your hardware. There are some great software products out there that you can use for free. However, it’s not easy to decide which people and resources to follow, when there are tons of them out there.
- Check out our post about the 12 best web development blogs which can provide you great insights and updates on any topic in web development.
- Explore different Quora threads on a variety of web dev topics. I’d recommend taking a look at the following Quora threads:
- Best blogs to follow
- How to start in web development
- Build a network of people you follow on Twitter and GitHub and try to engage in relevant conversations.
- Explore new resources, tools, and content on Product Hunt, dzone, Reddit and hacker news.
Whether you’re looking for free stock images, free design or dev tools, I’d recommend taking a look at the following collections of free resources:
- Curated collection of tools for design, development and business: toolr.co
- List of free tools to build your startup: startupstash.com
Further collections of free stuff:
- 200+ free tools for web developers: https://medium.com/@ti_asif/200-best-free-tools-resources-for-front-end-web-developers-3fb3c415a643
- 300 free things for design, web dev & business: https://medium.com/everything-about-startups-and-entrepreneurship/300-awesome-free-things-e07b3cd5fd5b
- 50 free web design tools: http://www.creativebloq.com/design/50-free-web-design-tools-rock-3126412
- Collection of free stuff for startups: http://www.producthunt.com/hnshah/collections/free-stuff-for-startups
4. Improve your design skills
These days, with ever-changing “design standards” it’s not only important to learn the basics of good design, but also to keep your design skills up-to-date. It doesn’t matter how good you are today but how fast you improve your design skill every day. I really like these 17 tips from wikiHow on how to improve as a designer.
Get a design tool
For more and more web designers, Sketch has become the successor of Photoshop. I, personally, think it is more intuitive and easier to learn than Photoshop. Check out some free tutorials, which can save you a lot of a time.
5.Make yourself familiar with the concept of requirements engineering
Working on digital products or any other web project not only requires skills on how to code or design, but also some basic organisational skills.
The framework of requirements engineering helps you (and your clients) to formulate, document and maintain different requirements for your product or project.
Identify relevant requirements
Identifying, formulating, documenting and monitoring all your requirements can become quite a mess if you’re not using the right tool.
Apart from well-known project software for web development like JIRA or Basecamp, there are more and more really awesome tools available on the market. They range from collecting your requirements/tasks to planning your milestones to analysing your project progress. Take a look at some of these awesome project management tools and figure out if one of them fits your project and workflow.
6. Get a programming-friendly text editor
A programming-friendly text editor is must-have for every web developer. It’s the place where you’ll spend most of your time, so make sure you secure the best option available to you. Whether it’s Vim, Sublime Text, Notepad++, or Eclipse — choose the tool which is the best fit for you.
7. Use frameworks
Frameworks can make your life in web development a lot easier.
Since most projects, you’ll be working on are not particularly unique, you’ll probably end up making use of different frameworks.
There are different frameworks available, depending on the area you’re working in. Bootstrap, for example, is one of the most popular frameworks nowadays. Furthermore, there are some great front-end frameworks like Ember or Modernizr.
8. Track bugs – from the start
Most people think bug tracking is not for beginners. But having a workflow in place where you collect and track bugs and allow your users to report bugs is essential for a successful web development project.
Of course, we eat our own dog food but we can really recommend the Usersnap Bug Tracker. Why? Because it has a screenshot tool that lets you annotate screens directly in your browser, which makes sharing stuff with your fellow developers and designers much easier. Just give it a try, it’s completely free for 15-days, and you don’t even need a credit card to sign up: usersnap.com
9. Always keep Learning
Always keep moving forward with your new coding and design skills.
Learn, test, build and iterate over and over again.
That’s the only way to becoming better at what you’re doing right now.