So, you've decided to take the plunge and gain an interest in learning web development?
Maybe you're interested in a career change, maybe you were forced to build a website for a company you've worked for even though you've never done it before, but you suddenly found you enjoyed it. Regardless of your reason, web development is a great field to get into and can open up so many doors to expand on your skillset, build some super cool tech-based projects, and make some great money.
I have no idea where to start, what do you recommend?
There are honestly so many different ways to get started, whether it be through a course/degree at a local secondary school or university, or signing up to a coding camp, or even just through YouTube.
Okay, I've learnt the fundamentals of web development, what next?
The answer to this question is so simple, yet a lot of developers do not realise this when they start learning, and that is... code, code, and code some more! Like anything, the more you practice something, the better you will get at it.
When you start coding, at first you will make many mistakes, and that's absolutely normal! Learning from our mistakes will help us get better and understand what we should and shouldn't do in programming.
However, try not to get too caught up with all the latest and greatest trends and end up getting stuck in what's known as "tutorial hell" because you get overwhelmed by trying to learn everything at once.
Cool, so I think I'm getting more confident in my programming skills now, how do I get my first job as a developer?
Your first developer job will always be the hardest one to land, as you are starting out in the industry with absolutely no experience. Try not to let this get you down when you receive rejections over and over again on your job applications (trust me, I have experienced this many times in the past!).
What I have noticed is that companies are way more likely to get back to you if you attach examples of work you have done (i.e: a portfolio). These do not need to be real life projects, it can be a website you've built for a university assignment, or a website for a fake company, or even build your own resume as a website per se. It really does not matter, the idea is to show these companies that you have the basic skills to build a website.
4 years down the track, I actually now have the opposite problem, and am constantly contacted by recruiters and even directly by the head honchos of different companies on LinkedIn for new job opportunities. This is one of the many reasons why I always feel reassured that I have chosen the right career for myself. Trust me, once you have a year or two of experience behind you, it really does get a lot easier to get your foot in the door and secure an interview.
I've just finished my first year as a junior developer, where do I go from here?
So, you've just finished your first year as a junior developer, and I can almost guarantee you have learnt a lot of other skills you wouldn't have expected to learn in that role. You will probably also find your confidence in yourself as a developer has boosted since 12 months ago.
In my personal opinion, if you are still learning a lot, work with a great team, and are happy with the money you are earning at your current role, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with staying with the company you are working for!
However, if you are finding that you're now getting to the point where you're not learning much anymore and don't feel there is much progression for you in the future there, then maybe it's time to start looking for other opportunities.
Once you've gotten to this point, the opportunities out there for you are endless, and there are so many different ways you can progress with your career as a developer.
Maybe you want to stick with what you're doing? Maybe you want to get more in-depth with a popular front-end framework such as React? Maybe your niche is building eCommerce websites in Shopify or WordPress? Or maybe you even want to change it up completely and get into app development! The choice really is yours, and you should do whatever makes you happy and allows you to keep learning!
There's not much else to say except... onwards and upwards! If you've actually managed to not get bored of my article and read this far, I wish you all the best and good luck in your journey as becoming a web developer! :)