A question people regularly ask me is, “How did you get started with web design?” They’re looking to build their own web site, build a friend’s web site, maybe even build their own business.
It’s a great question. The economy is tough, but technology-related industries are thriving. In fact, there’s an unmet demand in the United States for web programmers who really know what they’re doing. I’m seeing this firsthand in the industry. If you’re good with code and know how to work with people, you’ll make better money than most bloggers. It’s not an attack on writers, it’s just a statistic.
Not only is web development lucrative, it’s personally rewarding. It’s difficult to describe the feeling when you build a web-based application that works and is heavily used.
There’s a lot of opportunity here, so where do you begin? Where did I begin?
First, I learned basic HTML and CSS really really well with this book: Build Your Own Website The Right Way Using HTML & CSS, 3rd Edition. You can land $1,000 Web design gigs with the skill sets of this book. Over the years I’ve seen many books on HTML and CSS, and none of them hold a candle to this one. It’s not a college textbook. It’s enjoyable to read and you actually learn stuff!
Once you have HTML and CSS down, you’re ready to begin web programming. There are dozens of programming languages you could start with, but I recommend PHP because it’s by far the most popular programming language for web application development. PHP is where the money is. eWeek has a great article listing the top 10 high-demand languages, and PHP is #1 on the list.
As you know, books are the fastest way to learn, and once again Sitepoint has hit a home run. Sitepoint’s Technical Director, Kevin Yank, has put the finishing touches on the 5th edition of his PHP & MySQL: Novice To Ninja. You can pre-oder the book like I did for $34. It’s the best investment you’ll ever make.
I’ve not read the fifth edition; how do I know it’s any good? Because I downloaded the first four chapters of the fourth edition for free from Sitepoint, and I learned how to build this and this (you’ll need to login for the second link).
Software development has a bright future, and if you love learning, you can be a part of it. Will you join me?