People become interested in web development for a wide variety of reasons. Some people are drawn to it out of curiosity. After all, code forms the foundation of a huge portion of our daily lives.
This ubiquity also draws people in for potential career opportunities. And of course there’s the element of pure fun.
People attracted to programming often discover that it feels like solving a difficult, but rewarding, puzzle. This tends to prompt one question. Can I teach myself web development?
First, we must learn whether we like programming and what areas we excel in.
Although we can teach ourselves basic web development, there’s a considerable amount which really does need a more complete educational experience. We’ll need to look at some aspects of the discipline to fully understand why that’s the case.
Looking at Basic Tools and Tutorials
Every journey begins with a single step. And every foray into programming begins with something called “Hello World.” The specifics of a Hello World program vary on a case-by-case basis. But in general, it simply means that we write a program that prints a line of text to an output device.
The most common way to go about this is to have a program output text reading “Hello World” onto a display device such as a computer monitor. However, the specific text can be anything. Likewise, a first Hello World program could write the text output to an e-paper system, a printer, a text file, or a wide variety of other options.
Development vs. Deployment Environments
The former simplicity of this approach has been hampered by an increasing separation between development and deployment environments. The development environment is where we write the code. The deployment environment is where we run the code.
For most of the history of programming, these environments would be one and the same. We’d write code on a computer. And that code was always intended to run on a similar line of devices.
But today’s web developer also needs to target web-based platforms, smartphones, and tablets. In those environments, we typically need to include quite complex steps, such as creating installable packages for mobile platforms. Or the task might require tinkering with online runtime systems and web servers.
Python is a web development language, compiler, interpreter, and even extremely simple integrated development environment (IDE) all mixed into one. It’s true that people usually use a more complex IDE with languages after a while.
But when we’re just starting out, all you’ll need to do is download the appropriate Python package for your operating system. The free download will offer the same functionality on every popular operating system. In fact, it also runs on a wide variety of less popular selections, as well.
The Python website also contains everything needed to get started with the basics of web development. We can run code by simply typing it into the runtime on a command line. Past that, we can move on to using plain text files.
Just keep in mind that it teaches us how to program in Python rather than a generalized generic prototyping language. Web development itself can take on a variety of other forms when venturing out into other areas.
Python is in many ways a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. It’s a Just-In-Time, or JIT, compiled language. This makes it faster than a scripting language, where every line of code is read out and acted upon like an actor reading a script. But it’s also always going to be slower than a truly compiled language like C or C++.
The More Complex Libraries
Python makes it easy to wrap libraries written in C/C++ in its own coding system. This lets us get to those languages’ power without needing to fully understand their more complex codebase.
Think of it as analogous to someone cooking dinner by mixing preselected, sorted, and prepared ingredients according to a recipe. The person has a general idea of cooking but isn’t quite ready to create the recipe on his or her own or work with raw ingredients.
Moving Into the Online World
At this point, we’d have a good grasp of how Python works on the desktop. It’s not much of a leap to go from Python on the desktop to Python on a server. In fact, it’s quite literally the same general runtime environment.
By now it’s more apparent how the complexity of programming can escalate. There are good reasons why it can be hard to know where to start learning a programming language.
So far, we’ve seen that one path involves learning Python on the desktop in order to learn the basic process of programming. This can then transition to using external libraries, as well.
It can get even more complex when we add graphic design elements, like Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). And the complexity will spiral even further as we try to master those subjects.
Broadening Our Perspective by Adding in Technical Schools
It’s not impossible for someone to learn the basics of web development on his or her own. However, the issues involved tend to grow at an exponential rate.
The first steps are usually quite easy. And that start is among the most valuable parts of the journey since it tells us whether we enjoy web development. But the further we go down the path of education in web development, the more difficult things become.
And then there’s the vital question of future employment. How do we go from dipping our toes into web development to finding employment within that field?
The answer to all those questions is to mix some early self-education with a formal education. A technical school that offers web development and design programs is the ideal choice for people with the drive to learn a little web development on their own. This is in large part because technical schools are all about focus and rapid progression.
The same drive that leads people to learn about web development on their own will also help them get the most out of a technical school. It’s important to keep in mind that these schools aren’t just about education. Technical schools also put a heavy emphasis on future employment.
Professional Advice and Professional Aspirations
Every added concept learned in a technical school curriculum makes the final whole a lot easier to achieve. For example, take the prospect of future employment. While we’re learning about web development in a technical school, we’re also networking with instructors who have valuable professional contacts. This also gives us a chance to leverage the earlier efforts to dip our toes into web development.
Most professional developers have a portfolio of their exemplary achievements. It’s a quick way to show both our passion and proficiency.
Instructors at a technical school are usually quick to notice where you show a particular skill. They will be able to help you focus on moving forward with past web development efforts that will properly integrate the new skills being taught. This methodology will help you put together a compelling professional portfolio even before graduating.
An in-depth mentorship goes along with a technical school’s more well-rounded educational approach. However, there’s one other area where a technical school’s help can prove invaluable.
Learning With the Latest Tech
We’ve noted that modern web development is often tied to pieces of hardware. Even if we’re writing for the web, we need to put exacting attention on the various browsers and approaches provided by each piece of hardware.
There’s also the issue of just testing out programs on every popular platform. The idea of “write once run everywhere” has been a dream of web developers since the earliest microcomputers. But popular wisdom holds that we’ll always have to fall back to “write once, run anywhere” as a coding ethos on even the most portable codebase.
Technical schools can provide us with all the latest and greatest technologies to test and develop on. But just as importantly, they’ll also be able to provide more eclectic, older technologies.
It’s important to target new, old, and everything in between if we’re trying to reach a broader audience. And with the right help and our own drive to learn web development, we can do exactly that…not to mention that the career prospects for people who’ve mastered that design philosophy are quite impressive.
Through a series of hands-on projects, Web Application Design and Development training program students not only cultivate an understanding of computer coding and programming concepts, but also learn to work in a collaborative team environment, practice software development methodology skills, and prepare a sizable portfolio for their new career.
Contact us today to find out more about how to become a website developer on Long Island.