There are many advertisements for training courses for the profession of a web developer on the network. Most of them are paid and cost several tens of thousands of dollars. Yes, the salary of a web developer or his freelance income will allow you to quickly recoup the cost of courses, but is it possible to master the profession for free or do it with little expenses? Yes, there is – you can find all the necessary information on the network. You will only have to structure it, as well as develop several projects “for yourself”.
Free development of the profession of a web developer: is it real
Yes, it’s real, but it will be more difficult than taking courses, it will require more time and perseverance from you. Plus, it’s not a fact that you won’t have gaps in knowledge that you will have to quickly close while working with real projects. Although the passage of expensive courses also does not guarantee you the absence of gaps in knowledge that you will have to gain in your work practice.
Some employers in the IT field value self-taught people more than those who have taken courses. True, this is relevant only in those cases when you yourself were able to master the web profession at an acceptable level.
To learn web development on your own as well as paid courses, follow the tips below.
Tip 1: Determine your level
Quite strange advice, as it assumes that you have no knowledge of web development. However, it is highly desirable to know exactly what level you are at. It is possible that you know some of the basics of web design, HTML layout, imagine how a site should work, and have already developed pages on constructors. In this case, you have a rough idea of what you will learn and what you should be able to do upon completion of the training. For example, you can not study the theory of web development and sites, but immediately decide on the choice of a more in-depth direction.
Another situation is that you know how to use a browser at the level of an ordinary user, but you have not encountered the development of sites and web applications before. Most likely, you do not know what all pages should have in common, what logic of their construction and many other theoretical nuances. In this case:
- Analyze for yourself several different sites and try to find patterns in their interface, for example, the location of the menu, other elements.
- Look at several master classes on creating pages (you can even use constructors). Your task is not to try to repeat after the author of the video, but to understand what he does, why, what sequence and structure he observes in doing so.
- Learn the theory of web development and site building in general. You must understand that there is a layout, there are databases, an administrative site control panel and other elements. It is not necessary to understand this in detail – it is enough to know about it and approximately understand what is responsible for what.
- Check out website themes. There are resources where web developers and designers post their themes for websites. It is not necessary to download and pay for them – you just need to see how they work, read the description of these topics.
- Try to make something yourself on the website builder. Some of them are free for non-commercial use, and you don’t need any skills to get started – the interface is intuitive.
Understanding what level you are at will both save time and make up for possible gaps. It is very important that during the learning process you have as few questions as possible from the category “why do I need this?”, as they are very demotivating and worsen the quality of learning.
Tip 2: Think about direction
Web development is a vast field that has its own directions. There are three main ones in total:
- Frontend – development of the appearance of interfaces and pages, development of basic functionality on the user’s side;
- Backend – integration of the finished design into management systems, databases, adding more complex functionality to it, for example, registration forms;
- Full-stack – combines back-end and front-end development, that is, you must be able to do everything necessary to launch the site at all stages of development.
Each of these points can be subdivided into several more highly specialized ones.
As a beginner web developer, it is recommended to start with a basic set for the front-end, and here’s why:
- Most of the knowledge to one degree or another will also be useful in the backend;
- The initial skills required for the frontend are easier to master;
- The acquired skills will make the learning process even for another direction easier.
It is likely that while studying the basics of the front-end, you will decide instead of web development to do web design, writing texts for the site, and analytics. These areas are also included in web development, but they do not require writing code, although it is recommended to know its basics.
Tip 3: Don’t skip the basics
Even if you want to become a backender and are not going to work with design, as well as directly make up a site, you still need at least average knowledge of HTML, CSS, JS to work. The fact is that in order to integrate extended functionality, you need to edit the layout code, and possibly even rewrite entire blocks. Without basic knowledge, it will be impossible to do it correctly.
Tip 4: Plan your study
There is more than enough information in the free access to master the profession of a web developer for free, the problem is different – it is poorly structured. Those who try to learn a profession on their own are often lost in such a volume of information and abandoned.
In paid and shareware courses, the learning process is structured so that it is convenient for most students to perceive information. This is their major advantage. On the promo pages of courses and tutorials, you can often find a list of topics studied in chronological order. You can use this as a learning plan. Yes, you still have to look for information on your own, but at least you will have an idea of what you study now and what later.
View a few promotional pages for web development courses and write out their curriculum by topic. Also look for blogs of programmers and web developers. They also sometimes publish their training plans.
You can make a training plan yourself, but there is not much point in this – spend a lot of time and it is not certain that the plan you have drawn up will be optimal. It is best to take the one that has proven itself for most people. Just such a list of topics and in such a sequence is studied in web development courses.
Tip 5: Make time
It must be allocated on an ongoing basis and try not to violate the created schedule. It is not at all necessary to devote 10 hours and 7 days a week to studying, on the contrary, it is even harmful. It is generally recommended to allocate 2 to 6 hours a day for training and 4-5 days a week. Less does not always mean worse – it is better to set aside 2 hours a day and 4 days a week, but do it regularly than “sit down” for 8-10 hours a couple of times a week. The learning process should not be a burden to you. It is also better to abandon the idea of mastering web development “in a couple of months”. Consider 6 months or more. Slower is better, but regularly, with full immersion, without unnecessary stress and hostility.
In the courses, the curators independently draw up a training schedule for the group or individually for each student, plus, make sure that it is followed. With self-study, you will also need to learn self-discipline – it is not recommended to violate the categorical schedule. If you can’t manage without violations, then make your study schedule more flexible.
Tip 6: Don’t go to extremes
It concerns the time allocated for training. Allocate at least 2 hours a day to study. The fact is that at least the first hour you will spend on repeating what you learned last time. It is recommended to choose at least 4 days per week for learning web development, but do not take a big break right away – it is best that it be no more than 2 days. The fact is that during this time you can forget what you have studied. This is especially true for those who are just starting the learning process.
Similarly, you do not need to sit for 8+ hours and 6-7 days a week. Practice shows that most of the people with this mode quickly burn out or abandon training for a long period of time for other reasons. You should have at least one day off per week so that you can study effectively. You should also have time during the day for other activities besides work and school.
The best time option is 4-5 hours a day, 4-5 days a week. Such a schedule is not so difficult to combine with work and study if you have an 8-hour working day.
Tip 7: Don’t neglect books
They can and should be considered as an addition to the main curriculum. Yes, it is not recommended to fully study according to them, but they will allow you to master the theory well, and also help in drawing up an individual training plan. We have a detailed article with a selection of books for programmers and web developers.
Tip 8: Start Involving the Community
It is not recommended to study “in a vacuum”. Subscribe to publics and channels of other developers, IT companies, authors of professional courses, visit professional forums and websites. By following the news in these sources, you can occasionally find something interesting for yourself, as well as adjust your curriculum in accordance with relevance.
By chatting with other developers, you can also ask for advice and help. In most cases, you will be happy to help and explain everything. When you gain experience, you will be able to advise completely newcomers. In addition, professional communities are an ideal environment for useful contacts and even job searches.
Tip 9: Practice
It is useful to study the theory, but only on it you will not be able to become a web developer, since this profession requires practical skills. Try to make pages on your own using the skills you have learned. Moreover, it is recommended to typeset them completely independently, and not according to guides on YouTube or other sources. During the training, you need to learn how to independently find the best solutions when working on a project, as well as learn how to “google”.
As a practice, you can take free PSD site design templates and try to make them up, link them to the admin panel, add all the necessary functionality, and upload them to the server. Also, as an option, you can try to fully develop the site, that is, come up with a concept, implement a design, write text, select photos, make up and bring it all into working form.
Tip 10: Try to find real projects
It is already applicable to those who have mastered the necessary basics and begin to delve into the chosen direction of development. You already have enough knowledge, skills and experience to take on simple work on layout and customization of sites. It is unlikely that you will be able to seriously advance only on the processing of design templates from the Internet – it is important for you to learn to understand the specifics of working with a real project.
Here are options for those who have already mastered the basics and want to start working on real projects:
- Find someone who is willing to entrust you with the development of a site or page for a symbolic reward or even for free. Naturally, you don’t need to constantly work for a penny, but the first couple of orders can be completed for a nominal fee in order to get at least some experience working on a real project.
- Try to get a job as an intern at some web agency. There are quite a lot of them, you can work remotely, and they are ready to take smart and purposeful developers, even if they are still studying, for an internship. You will not only be able to get your hands on real projects, but also get a job in the future.
- Find a more experienced developer who is willing to pass on some of their work to you as training. So, you will get the opportunity not only to work on real projects, but also instructions from a more experienced colleague.
It is quite possible to master the profession of a web developer on your own and for free or with minimal financial costs. However, this will require good discipline, the ability to analyze and structure information, a lot of free time, assertiveness. You will have to spend more time and effort than a buyer of professional courses, but if you succeed, then you may well become a competent and competitive specialist.