Starting Off in Web Development

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Fortunately for me, I have a tiny bit of experience with web design, I used to run a couple of websites way back in the day but that was so long ago that when I decided to pick it up again I found that everything changed! HTML was a lot different then. There were codes that I used back then that are dead now and everyone went from coding layouts by manipulating tables to making columns by floating divs. So I had a lot of questions coming into this again and now here I am trying to answer the same questions I had for someone ready to start their journey of becoming a web designer.

So the first question I had was where do I start?

Well, I had a basic understanding of HTML even though a lot of the tags that I used back then aren’t around anymore now, I still understood it pretty well. So for someone brand new to web design/development I would strongly recommend learning HTML/XHTML thoroughly I mean front to back because it is a huge part of building websites. Directly after you learn XHTML start learning CSS there’s not a web developer out there that doesn’t know both of these things.

What tools do I need to apply HTML/XHTML and CSS

An HTML Editor like notepad or notepad++ a word processor won’t work. There are plenty of free ones out there just do a Google search for text editors and pick one. If there’s one I recommend its notepad++

Ways to learn XHTML and CSS

  • Read a lot of books on the title
  • Get on the web and research XHTML like there’s no tomorrow
  • Read up on everything and anything you can
  • Practice your new skills on a text editor like notepad or notepad++
  • Sign up to become a member at some web development forums where you can ask live people for help

What tools do I need to design layouts?

A photo editor likes Adobe Photoshop or Gimp…I highly recommend getting Photoshop whether it’s Photoshop 8 or Photoshop CS5, Unfortunately, Photoshop isn’t cheap, but it is a very good investment that’ll pay off once you get good at it. For someone who can’t afford Photoshop, I suggest downloading gimp, it’ll be good enough just for the basics, and it is free.

Anyone can learn XHTML and CSS it’s not Chinese or English for Chinese people but how do you apply what you know with XHTML and CSS to make layouts and websites? Well, this is what I did but maybe you can develop your way to practice. Download a free CSS template and mess with their style sheet to see what happens, try to customize it to look more how you prefer. Look for anything in their code that you don’t understand and research it until you understand it yourself. And then try to take what you’ve learned from their code and apply it to one of your own.

Make up your design from Photoshop… start with something really simple and then try more complicated designs as you complete them. I’ve coded at least 25 different layouts before trying to get one online… One common practice is to create a website for an imaginary client, Make up a mock business and create a website for your fake business, or go to your friends and family and ask them if they would like you to make a website for them just for kicks and no charge.

Nobody can become a web designer/developer overnight it is going to take a lot of hard work! To be successful in this field you need to commit yourself and don’t let yourself get discouraged, there are going to be times when you feel like you’ll never figure something out and you want to just quit but its the ones that don’t quit after running into a wall at full force that becomes web designers/developers.