Getting started in web development has never been harder. Employers are seeking more and more experience, certification, and education. There really is no magical formula besides hard work and a continual dedication to learning new technologies. However, I will outline some tips on what can help you get started on your career as a web developer.
Getting Started in Web Development
1. Learn HTML and XHTML- both are very similar (as noticed by the name) but XHTML is the newer standard of the two. Essentially XHTML, doesn’t let you get away with forgetting the closing bracket “>” for many tags, it is stricter but leaner and will eventually replace old html. The reason I point out knowing HTML by heart is that you never know what your employer is going to use a a text editor, besides, knowing the code will save you many hours of trying to figure out a mistake made by using the graphical interface. The reason I stress this as my main point is that depending on who you work for, different companies many times use different editors, and while Dreamweaver is essentially the industry standard as far as web design goes, knowing what’s under the hood can make or break the next job interview.
Most recently too, html 5 and css3 have come into play, learning those new technologies can help you have an edge over candidates that don’t.
2. Learn to use Photoshop-
I am guilty of procrastinating on this, I got into the comfort zone of using Fireworks, the graphical editor that comes with the
Macromedia StudioAdobe. The truth is that most real pro’s use Photoshop. Please don’t misunderstand, you don’t have to become an expert in photoshop to be a web designer, that’s the job of graphic designer. But to break in, you should know how to move around and do simple tasks such as resizing photos, cropping, and slicing, good-tutorials.com has tutorials on basically everything having to do with photoshop.
3.Know how to use ftp clients (programs) It is not hard- This third point, is important because after you build and test locally, you then have to upload to the server. Using different types of ftp clients is good, because as I said before you never know which one a company will use. So if you are used to using Dreamweaver’s built in ftp client, download filezilla and learn to use that one as well. Filezilla in particular is great because you can chmod (change permissions) files on the fly. And it is free.
Next section below will be focused on how to get a portfolio and experience in web design.
One of the biggest obstacles to getting a job as a web designer is the lack of experience. Fortunately, if you take initiative, this step in the process to getting hired can be an easy one. One of the benefits of being involved in technology is that most of the tools you need to build incredible applications are free or can be found at very low cost.
Tools needed: HTML editor, graphics editor, web server, database engine, and for our example php.
NVU- why nvu? because it is a simple and free HTML editor, it might not have all the bells and whistles, but that can be a good thing, too many bells and whistles in web design often times leads to bad design.
Photoshop-It is the industry standard, bottom line. It is rather expensive to purchase outright, but often times you can get a discount for being a student. If you absolutely cannot afford it, you can always use GIMP , the free image editor.
You will need a webserver, for this I recommend apache, which is free and an excellent tool to go along with mysql and php , usually the three are referred to as AMP. Having apache installed on your desktop is a great way to set up a testing server before going live, especially if you plan on scripting in PHP.
Having a database is not always essential, obvioulsy it depends on the project. But sooner or later, you will have to install, use, and update one. MySQL is the preferred open source database, especially when working with PHP and Apache, since PHP has many commands that are mysql specific, it’s a great marriage together.
And finally, PHP. PHP is the scripting or programming language we will use to create the functionality on sites.
I prefer to use lamp as a testing server.
Okay, once you have these things squared away, and you are ready to start working on projects, it time to head over to sourceforge.net.
At Sourceforge, you can either create your own project, where you will be the project manager-developer-whatever else. Or you can search the help wanted section and find a project that interests you. I suggest applying for 3 or 4 projects, mainly because with some of them you might not get an answer back, or you might get rejected. applying is simple enough, it usually involves just sending the contact person an email. You do have to sign up first and create an account at sourceforge in order contact anyone.
I think sourceforge is by far the easiest way to getting started in web development. Other people like to volunteer to some charity, and that might work for you. Personally, it’s not my cup of tea. Good luck in all your endeavors.If you found this helpful, please share. Thank you!