January 12, 2017

How you can become a web developer in 2017

Published: 12 January 2017 

It's 2017 and you've got a list of goals you want to achieve for the year. Why not add "learn web development" to this list?

If you’re working in the online environment or even if you have a blog, chances are at some point you’ve thought about web development. Maybe you don’t know much about it and you’ve had to hire a developer? Maybe you’ve talked to the WordPress developers? Or maybe web development seems too confusing and that’s why you’ve never even considered it. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that confusing.


There are a few steps you can follow to get you on your way to becoming a web developer:

Pick an area you’re interested in

Doing something that you’re actually interested in always makes the task that much more interesting. That rule applies for when you’re starting to learn web development too. Web development is a pretty big field - it makes sense to break it down into fields, rather than trying to learn it all at once. This will also make it easier from moving from one field to the other. Gradually increasing your skills is always the better choice than trying to master web development all at once. Just think about what you’re interested in and try and start from there.

Woorank suggests if nothing really excites you, maybe stick with JavaScript and PHP.

Have a goal

This will help you know what you want to achieve. Want to start your own business? Just develop your own website? Whatever your goal is, always keep that in mind. This will help you keep motivated and constantly move forward with your progress. Help yourself work towards this goal by breaking it down. Document how many hours you’re going to practice daily or weekly. Having a lot of smaller goals on the way to achieving your larger goal will definitely help you feel more satisfied and achieve that end goal faster.

Learn how to code


If you don’t already know how to do it, this can seem like a pretty daunting task, and is probably one of the major aspects that keeps people from divulging into web development. Inc lists various online free tutorials to learn the basics of coding to get you on your way. Sometimes you need a bit more than tutorials. You need practical experience. Some online resources worth checking out include:

  • Codecademy: use tutorials to learn how to code for free.
  • CareerFoundry: this is a great resource for those who are looking to get a job in web development. The course teaches skills in frontend and backend web development for complete beginners. You will take daily classes, submit assignments and build a portfolio. You also take part in weekly Skype chats with your mentor. If you don’t get a job within six months, you’ll receive a 100% refund.
  • Codewars: this martial arts themed site has challenges called ‘kata’, which you must complete to get higher rankings.
  • Free Code Camp: has an established curriculum of approximately 800 hours of coding, and will give you hands on experience by allowing you to work on projects for not-for-profit organisations.

Learn to Code With Me also offers an extensive lists of places which offer free coding tutorials.
Sitepoint also suggests to engage with a significant amount of training material. This will allow you to not only expand your knowledge base, but see how different developers solve problems, rather than receiving all your instruction from one source.

Learn the programming languages


While you’re learning to code you’ll have to learn the different programming languages. These include:

  • Ruby: this focuses on simplicity and productivity, which is natural to read and easy to write. This is a great place to start for beginners.
  • Java: this is a popular programming language, one you’ve probably heard of before. It is designed to work across multiple software platforms. So if you have a program written on a Mac OS X, it will also work on Windows, and vice versa.
  • : this is considered essential for interactive or animated web functions, including game development or writing desktop applications. JavaScript’s website has a “learn” section, perfect for beginners. The Next Web suggests there are numerous reasons why learning ECMAScript 6 - the next version of JavaScript - including it's arrow functions, modules and support classes.
  • CSS: this stands for Cascading Style Sheets. This is all about describing the look and formatting of a document written in a markup language. Almost every web page uses CSS for its presentation.
  • C++: once you’ve mastered the first four, it’s time to move on to C++. This powers software including Firefox and Adobe programs. It’s also used in application software and video games.
  • Python: the final language is Python, which is a high-level server side scripting language for websites and mobile apps. But don’t worry, it’s considered pretty straight forward, as it’s fairly readable and compact. This means you don’t have to use as many lines of code, like you would using other languages. You’ll find this used in popular programs including Instagram, Pinterest and Rdio. Python’s website offers a guide for beginners which you can install to get started.

What’s next?

Once you’ve learnt how to code and all the different programming languages, you’re well on your way to becoming a web developer. If your goal was to gain employment in the web development field, a good idea is to put together a portfolio for future employers and clients. You can do this through using websites such as Github. You can also use forums such as Stack Overflow to ask technical questions and make sure you’re using the wrong terminology. There’s nothing worse than going for a job interview and not using the correct phrases.

Ben Maden

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