Many people would like to know how to get started with web development. You may have your own business and want to create the website. Alternatively, maybe you just like getting involved with the development side and want to know more.

If you begin by looking on the internet, expect to be mind-boggled. There is so much stuff out there that knowing where to begin can be confusing. There are many reasons a business needs a website, even if you’re a small business, and we’ve written a beginner’s guide to web development. Take heed of what we have to say here and you will soon be well on your way.

How to get started with web development

1. Get started with HTML, CSS and JavaScript

It’s likely that you have heard of all three of these but what do they do?

  • HTML – this is the foundation of building your web page. It’s everything that is needed to hold the structure together i.e. body, header and paragraph tags.
  • CSS – this deals with the way things look and the styling.
  • JavaScript – this adds the interactive elements and communication tools, improving the user experience.

2. Kick off with coding

There are many resources online that enable you to learn basic coding. One of them is https://www.freecodecamp.org/ and it’s free to use. This will take you through the basics of HTML, and CSS. Work your way through to the finish and you should have a much better understanding of how to use all of this coding. Once you reach the end you will receive a Front-end Development Certificate from FreeCodeCamp. To get to grips with JavaScript, try https://watchandcode.com/ where you will find a Practical JavaScript course, also for free.

Now you should be able to create a few static web pages and test out your skills.

3. Get involved in design

Of course, having all of these great skills is of no use unless you learn how to design websites. Some people find that this comes naturally; others have to learn how to ‘put their designer head on’. Again, the web has some super tuition available.

4. Get inspired to move forward

Now you can really get into the research part. Read articles, books and looks at code that others have built. Check out the open source projects and free libraries to gain inspiration. https://github.com/ is a platform that brings web developers together. Here you can host/review code, manage your projects and work alongside millions of other developers.

5. Check out as many free resources as you can

Whether you want to get involved in web development for fun or to begin learning the trade, you shouldn’t need a large cash pot to get started. There are so many free resources out there so make use of them. Once you have your hardware, start looking for the many free software products that cost nothing. You may find that you get some tips from conversations with others within GitHub. It should not be hard to find free design and development tools as well as stock images. A good example is https://startupstash.com/.

6. Get a design tool

It takes a lot of hard work to become a good designer. You also need to invest in a good design tool. Whereas PhotoShop used to be the go-to software for web designers, now Sketch seems to be taking over. Much will depend on your preferences and which one you find the easiest to learn. Before getting started, check out the many free tutorials available on the internet as this can save you a lot of time.

7. Get to grips with the concept of requirements engineering

Now that you are beginning to work on digital products and your own web projects, you need to develop further skills. Coding and design are not enough as basic organisational skills are required. The concept of ‘requirements engineering’ enables you to manage and plan effectively. This will not only help you tremendously but also your clients if you decide to make a living from web development.

Requirements engineering enables you to formulate, document and manage the many different requirements that are a part of each projects.

If you don’t get used to working methodically and identifying, formulating, documenting and monitoring each requirement, you may find yourself in a mess. If you are in the midst of one of your own projects, you can possibly find your way out of this but do this when working for a client and your reputation will suffer. Some of the most popular project software around that aid web development are Basecamp and JIRA.

They will help with such things as plotting tasks, putting milestones in place and keeping up-to-date with progress. It is worth spending some time looking at the many project management tools available and choosing the one that suits you best.

8. Get your hands on a programming-friendly text editor

This is a must have if you are serious about getting to grips with web development. Some of the most well-known are Eclipse, Vim, Notepad++ and Sublime Text. Again, check them out and identify the one that you prefer to work with.

9. Make use of frameworks

By making use of frameworks, your life can become a whole lot easier as a web developer. There are many types of frameworks available so you might end up using several of them. Depending upon the particular area that you are working on, you need to select the most appropriate framework. Bootstrap is used by many, as is Ember.

10. Track those bugs

Get into the habit of tracking bugs from day one. As a beginner, you may think that you can ignore them but this is not the case. You need to get used to managing a workflow where bugs are collected and tracked. At the same time, users need to be able to report back to you with bugs. Only this way can your web development projects become successful. Search online for the many bug trackers available and make the task an easy one.

So there are our top 10 tips. As a web developer, you never stop learning. Even if you don’t want to use your skills commercially, web development can be a fascinating topic to get absorbed in. When talking with professional web developers in the future, you will also find your conversations and discussions far more meaningful.

As the old saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’ so don’t give up and continue with the hard work. That way you can really get to grips with web development basics, even when starting as a complete beginner.