10 Web Development Skills You Need And Where To Start As A Beginner

php code on a computer screen

This is a continuation of my previous post, which contains the first 5 things you should learn as a new web developer. If you have not read part one yet, I suggest you take a look at it as well.


Let’s say you are comfortable navigating
WordPress and doing some basic image editing. However, if you really don’t like
how something looks on your WordPress site, then it’s time to learn HTML &
CSS. I’m not going to dwell on this one because the reality is that it is an
absolutely basic skill you need to have if you want any chance of getting work
in web development at all. Frankly it’s not very difficult either to get the
basics down.

CSS text for web development

For the real beginners out there think
about it this way:

  • HTML allows you to display content and organize
  • CSS allows you to decide how it gets displayed
    on a screen (layouts, colors, etc.)

HTML & CSS are used virtually
everywhere in web development, so it is imperative you learn them. There are
tons of YouTube videos and resources out there to get you started or to advance
your understanding. Codecademy is what I used in conjunction with YouTube.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with my
very first HTML and CSS project
. A simple one-page project made to
look like a whole site using only HTML & CSS

7. JavaScript

If you are only going to learn one
programming language, this is the one to learn. What sets JavaScript apart from
other languages in web development is that it can run on both the front-end and

javscript code in web development

If you have never coded before, I recommend you at least get some basics down. Learn about variables, datatypes, loops, functions, and classes. In fact, those basics are almost universal across many types of coding languages including JavaScript, C++, PHP, Python, etc. I know Codecademy’s JavaScript course used to cover some of this for the beginners, but I see they have a new option. Check out their Code Foundations Path if you’re a newbie web developer.

If you have those basics down, then I think
learning a JavaScript framework would be a good place to keep going. In fact, I
think frameworks are a great place to start learning anything new because:

  • You can start to build real projects to see how the pieces fit together
  • And there are tons of resources available if you’re stuck.

Meteor JavaScript Framework

Meteor is a great framework to start
with and there are lots of
video tutorials
on how to get started with it.

Another advantage to using JavaScript on the backend using something like Meteor is that you will be running Node.js. Having working knowledge of Node.js is also a very desirable skill in the job market for a web developer.

8. PHP

laravel logo, php framework for web development
Laravel Logo – PHP Framework

There are some out there that think PHP is
dying or might not be worth learning. Personally, I disagree. Do you need to
learn PHP to get started or to build real world web applications? Absolutely
not. If you read my point on JavaScript above, then you already know JavaScript
can run on both the front-end and back-end so you can build real world web
applications using only HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

PHP is still used widely and there are many sites and frameworks out there built on PHP. WordPress itself is built on PHP and I don’t see WordPress going anywhere anytime soon. There are many jobs out there too that specifically require skills in PHP and PHP frameworks for web developers.

Laravel PHP Framework

Assuming you have already learned some coding basics, then once again I suggest using a framework to learn PHP. Laravel is one of the most popular PHP frameworks out there and I see it mentioned in job postings quite regularly. Traversy Media has a great series called “Laravel From Scratch”. He walks you through from start to finish on how to build a CRUD (create, read, update, delete) application – or simply put, a blog.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I really like Traversy Media’s YouTube channel and I strongly suggest you subscribe to it regardless of your skill as a web developer.

9. Command Line Interface (CLI)

Terminator application for the command line interface. A valuable tool in web development.
Terminator Command Line Interface (Ubuntu)

Learning the basics of the CLI will become extremely
valuable and improve your workflow. If you are working with frameworks like
Laravel or Meteor, you will be starting to work in the CLI. I don’t think you
will have much of a choice.

Some people might be wondering why we would bother typing in the CLI when we are in the age of GUI’s (graphic user interfaces). Frankly as you start to learn the commands and what you need to do to perform a certain task, using the command line is much faster. Navigating system folders, making commits in Git, starting localhosts, installing dependencies, etc., are all performed quicker within the command line.

Terminator CLI

My biggest complaint with the CLI was that you often needed a few terminal windows open to work. This was kind of a pain until I discovered Terminator. Unfortunately, Terminator is only available for Mac and Linux distributions as far as I can tell. But knowing the CLI will quickly become a valuable skill as a web developer both you and your potential employer will appreciate.

Personally, I think just learning how to navigate the CLI is a good place to start. After that, just look up the commands you need to use depending on what you’re doing. Whether it’s Git, Laravel, Meteor, or some kind of dependency, it’s fairly easy to find what commands you will need to use. Depending on the framework or tool you are using, you should have no problem finding commands in the documentation.

On a final note for those who are just
getting started, there can be some very noticeable differences between the
Windows CLI and Mac/Linux. So make sure you are looking for the appropriate
commands based on your operating system.

10. Git (version control)

Version control is an extremely valuable tool not just for a web developer, but for any coder. It gives you a safe place to store your code, track changes, revert to previous versions if something breaks, and much more. In the professional world teams use it to work on different sections of code, track the changes and who made them, document known issues, and generally coordinate their work.

If you are just getting started with git, Source Tree
has a GUI (graphic user interface) for git which is what I first learned on.
This was handy in my opinion when learning so I could focus on the concepts of
git and how it works. However, you may quickly find yourself moving to the
command line for git if you get serious as it ends up being more efficient.

Personally, I prefer the command line and
using GitHub for my repositories.

Some good places to start learning git are YouTube
and Codecademy. You
can also find great guides
on git commands
and what they do all over the web.

The post 10 Web Development Skills You Need And Where To Start As A Beginner (Part 2 of 2) appeared first on Website Built.

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