Wern Ancheta

Adventures in Web Development.

Things I Wish I Was Told When I First Started Web Development

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In this post I want to share some of the things I wish someone told me when I first started Web Development. Things that could have made me a better developer. Things that could have gotten me into the right path when I first started.

The learning doesn’t stop

There’s always a new technology, tools, and methodology that you will need to learn in order to become a better developer. This is a truth not just for web developers but for any profession as well. The only thing is the learning in the web development industry have to go in a faster pace if you want to stay in the game.

There are many ways to accomplish one thing

There are many ways to accomplish one thing but there are only a few best practices that you need to follow. Best practices are industry standard way of doing things. Always Google the best practices for every programming language, technology, tool or methodology that you’re trying to learn. So that you will be doing things the right way right from the very start. For PHP there’s PHP the right way, PHP Best Practices and the official PHP site. And for JavaScript there’s JS the right way.

Not everything in the web is right

When I was in College we started learning HTML and CSS using W3Schools and HTMLGoodies. And we used the following to build an HTML page:

  • TD colspan and TD rowspan
  • Frames
  • tags

Yuck right? But now there’s MDN and Web Platform that teaches us the right way of doing things.

Going back to the main topic. Not everything in the web is right so don’t believe everything people say. Most of the tutorials in the web shows you how to do things but often times its not a best practice. So don’t just blindly copy and paste codes that you find in the web. Always see to it that you perform a Google search on the specific method that the author have used in the blog post and check what other people are saying and decide for yourself which method you would follow.

There are lots of learning resources that you could use

There are lots of learning resources that you could use. But always try to check the authority of where you’re learning from. Check what other people says about that particular resource. Lastly see for yourself if they can give you the education that you need (teaches the standard way of doing things not the hacky way). Here are some of the learning resources that I would personally recommend:

There’s always something to improve

The code that you write today won’t be perfect. 3 or 4 days later you will see something that needs improvement. Sometimes you will even ask yourself: why did I even write this crappy code? Or maybe: Who wrote this? It sucks!

There are lots of tools that you could use

And by tools I mean the tools that you can use for developing applications. Sublime Text is really hot these days but it doesn’t mean that you should use it. The tools that you will use always depends on which feels right for you. If dreamweaver feels right for you and you think you’re productive when using it then don’t give it up. Although its always recommended that you try out different tools so that you’ll have an idea of how it can help you achieve your daily development tasks.

There will never be enough time learn everything you want to learn

No matter how much time you have there will never be enough time to learn everything you want to learn so take it easy. Learn one technology at a time. Everything that is rushed ends up like crap. You just have to enjoy while learning. Make sure you understand everything that you’re learning and don’t take shortcuts.

Expose Your Skills

If you plan on Freelancing then this is the way to go. Share your thoughts in the technologies, tools, coding practices, and methodologies that you’re using. Answer some questions on Stackoverflow, join discussions at Hacker News, create a youtube channel and upload some video tutorials that you have created. Create side projects and upload your code to Github. Create a portfolio and LinkedIn or Twitter account to show your skills to the world. I won’t be able to assure you that this will get you a job but its a good start to give you the exposure that you need. Just make sure that all of the content that you’re producing is good. Don’t publish anything that hasn’t been proof-read. When writing a tutorial don’t assume too much but don’t give out too much information either.

Salary doesn’t really matter when first starting out

The salary that you make doesn’t really matter when first starting out. There are even people who do a project for free just to have something to put on their portfolio. What is important is that you’re given the time to learn the technologies required to do the job and you’re not being pressured into producing an application in a week. Because if that’s the job that you’re going to do when first starting out then you’ll only end up with writing crappy code. Nothing good actually comes out from being pressured and being forced to finish things fast.

Love what you do

Lastly, you must love what you do.