My Journey Learning Web Development

Introduction

My name is Arnaud Cortisse and I've been a developer for 5 years. The first 4 years of my professional career were mostly spent using low-level languages. At present, I'm exclusively using web technologies.

In this article, I want to explain my journey getting into web development: Why I got into it, how I went about learning it, the resources I used, etc.

What got me into web development

In February 2019, I decided to resign from the company I was working for to go work for a startup.

Only about 6 months after I joined, me and half of my coworkers got laid off because they decided to cut costs.

I saw there an opportunity to learn stuff I'd been eager to learn for a long time, that is, web development. Why web development? I'm a huge podcast listener and a big part of what I listen to includes web technologies. Being exposed to those talks over and over made me want to dig more into that topic.

I decided that I would learn it full-time, before taking another job.

Learning web development

At that time, even though I had been a professional developer for several years, I hadn't done any serious web-related projects. I knew I would basically have to start from the beginning but that I would be able to leverage my previous work experiences and move (way) faster than somebody who has never been exposed to programming before.

The methodology

From my own experience, I know what works best for me when it comes to learning new stuff is watching video courses while coding along. Back then, I had already used Udemy a couple of times and I had enjoyed it, so I decided to stick with it.

What I also do when I feel like one concept is poorly explained in a course is search for other resources and delve deeper on my own (e.g. Medium, dev.to, Youtube, etc.).

The journey

HTML and CSS (2 weeks)

The first thing I set out to do was learning the web foundations, that is, HTML and CSS. To do so, I took "Modern HTML & CSS From The Beginning". From what I remember, this course was OK.

Javascript (2 weeks)

Once I was done with it, I immediately started learning about JavaScript. Once again, I had to choose a resource that would guide me and decided to go with "Modern JavaScript From The Beginning". I don't recommend this one because the instructor makes plenty of mistakes and I remember feeling quite frustrated at some point (which is why I only went through 60% of it). Still, I had gained some insights into JavaScript, especially in a browser context and I felt like it was enough for now.

General knowledge (4 weeks)

Now that I had the basics of web development, I wanted to expand my general knowledge of the web world. It just so happens that "The Complete Web Developer in 2020" is designed to give you an overview of web development. Granted, this course contains some stuff I already knew about, but repetition is good!

After I finished this course, that wasn't enough. I still wanted to have more insights into web development. I bought yet another course: The Complete Junior to Senior Web Developer Roadmap. It is kind of the follow-up of the previous one.

Overall these two courses were, in my opinion, really great.

Front-end framework (4 weeks)

OK... I had the basics covered and knew a bit more as to what it takes to create a full-fledged web application. But I didn't feel like I was ready to create my own application just yet. I had dabbled in React and Redux in the previous course, but it was clearly not enough to get started and create a project on my own (besides, I didn't know what to develop).

I decided to take one last course exclusively focusing on the React ecosystem: Complete React Developer in 2020.

Why React?

  • I had already been in touch with it in one of the previous courses I took and I had enjoyed it.
  • I did some research and it appeared to be one of the most (if not the most) popular front-end frameworks.
  • I would be able to use it for a lot of stuff: web applications, static websites, server-side rendered websites, mobile applications, desktop applications, etc.

This last course gave me a good grounding in React. In hindsight, I do not regret having chosen the React framework.

Creating my own project

At that point, I was already 3 months into my learning journey. I remember thinking to myself "now, you ought to create something on your own and get out of this tutorial hell". I'd learned enough that I felt like I could create my own project to consolidate all my newly-acquired knowledge. I wanted to create something from scratch.

And then, I got an idea. In the next blog post, I'll give the big picture of my journey developing DoNotSkip, the project I chose to develop.

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