How to Get Started in Web Design and Programming
The internet and web technologies have completely transformed modern life. So much so, it’s almost impossible to imagine a world without online media and communications.
Since its inception in the late 80s as an early information-sharing platform, the web has evolved. It has become our primary source of media, news, social interaction and even how we shop and do business.
However, while we all mostly take modern technology for granted, it’s worth remembering the sites and services we now consider commonplace were once just mere ideas. At some point, someone (more likely a team of people) devised, planned and programmed every site and web service we use.
Getting started in web design or programming can often seem a daunting task. Especially when you consider all the elements involved in successful web production. However, if you’re determined enough, there are some tried and tested routes you could follow to break into the business.
Books, online advice sites and courses
One of the best ways to learn about internet production is by checking tutorial sites online. The web is the biggest library in history. There are a plethora of design and coding sites (often free) with extensive tutorials to help you get started. Books too can also be a healthy source of knowledge. Although they tend to date quicker than the information you can find online (also books aren’t free). Check online for a respected blog and industry sites to learn more about the fundamentals of programming and design.
Study code and teach yourself programming
Due to the way the internet works (i.e. literally sending data from servers to your computer), almost all pages or services you view will have easily-accessible code which you can study to understand what’s going on. Try right-clicking in your browser and select View Source (or similar) to see the underlying programming which powers the page you’re viewing.
Of course, it’s useful to have at least a grounding in design and code techniques first. But, studying existing websites can be a beneficial way to build your knowledge and find inspiration for platforms you might like to make in the future.
The growing importance of SEO awareness in design and programming
Not so long ago, the majority of web production work revolved purely around design and programming. However, as more and more sites have come online (there are now more web pages than people in the world), an increasingly important side of the industry has evolved – Search Engine Optimization (or SEO for short).
In essence, SEO is the practice of actively promoting websites to be easily found in search engines. SEO practitioners use a varied mix of techniques and tricks to help sites reach the top of search results, often to dramatic effect. Check companies like Click Intelligence to get inspiration and ideas of the various sides of SEO. Then learn how to add these invaluable skills to your arsenal of web proficiencies.
Web marketing and SEO are now among the fastest-growing sides of the internet industry. So, having the necessary knowledge and talent will go a long way to helping you break into the market.
Take a university course
Many programmers and designers started their careers in university. Often learning the basics of design and coding from the ground up. However, speak to any recruitment agencies actively involved in the industry, and you’ll hear the same common complaint, over and over. Namely that university courses are often way behind current trends.
Most of the problems faced by universities come from the speed of technological advancement. Typically, a university course takes at least a couple of years to develop. Two years is a very long time in an industry famed for never standing still. This delay means that, by the time a student has completed a four-year university degree, they will likely graduate with knowledge that is already six years out of date.
Nonetheless, universities do offer the advantage of giving you a formal paper qualification and a solid grounding in web tech/languages. Both of which can be important for getting your foot in the door and gaining employment.
Getting started in design, programming, or SEO needn’t be a massive challenge if you know where to look or how to get started. As the web is continually evolving, the best route into the industry is probably a healthy mix of education coupled with discovery and experimenting with the most up-to-date tutorials online.