If you’re interested in becoming a web developer, you’ve come to the right place: we’ve put together our top tips for anyone looking to start a career in this exciting field. For the sake of clarity, we’ll assume that you’re a complete beginner to the world of web development. As I’m sure you know, the journey to becoming a really good developer takes some serious time and effort. You’ll need to put in the hours and be ready to make some mistakes – but all that hard work will pay off tenfold when you start building amazing websites and the clients start knocking on your door!

#1 Learn the fundamentals of the game

For complete beginners, web development and the technical language surrounding it can seem hard to grasp at first. You’ve probably already come across a few examples, especially if you’ve worked with developers as a client. HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, and jQuery are just a few examples of these languages: they might sound foreign to you now, but with a little time and study you’ll get to know them like the back of your hand. Our suggestion is to start simple, get a good grasp of the basics and then start to familiarise yourself with more complex programming languages.

 

#2 Learn about content management systems

Known as a CMS, these allow you to effectively manage websites and the content on them: product descriptions, ‘about us’ pages, or FAQs, to give you a few examples. Nowadays, the majority of websites are built on a CMS using themes – which makes life much easier for the designer/developer. Popular CMS to look out for are WordPress, Joomla, and Magento – WordPress is a good place to start, as it’s by far the most popular.

 

#3 Use Google as much as possible

On your path to becoming a website designer, we strongly suggest using Google as much as possible. You will almost certainly run into situations where you want to pull your hair out – because your code won’t work the way you want it to, or something has just gone wrong and you can’t figure out why. Take a deep breath, step back, and Google the issue: you’ll be surprised at how often this solves your problem, and often is the quickest route to a right answer. It’s also a good idea to sign up for a site such as WebDesignerForum. These are essentially huge online communities of experienced and amateur developers, who’ll almost certainly be able to help you with your problems – or at least empathise with your frustration!

 

#4 Don’t be a designer

Spend as little time in photoshop as possible. You’re learning to become a coder – not a designer. Web design is very much a separate field to website development, so focus your attention on programming while you’re learning. You’re not a logo designer

 

#5 Get your first client

Once you’ve got the basics down and you can create a website from scratch. It’s a good idea to you get your first client unpaid; it could be a family member, a friend or even a local business. Creating a website for someone else will help you develop your skills and add to that all-important portfolio – essential when talking to a new client about a project. Most prospects wont go anywhere near a freelance web designer with no portfolio!

There’s a world of information out there for you, so get started! If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share.