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3 obvious mistakes to avoid when you're learning web development

Learning web development can be a little tricky. You can learn from so many different sources in so many different ways that it gets hard to decide which one is the best and that's why it's easy to make mistakes. I can't tell you how many times I had to relearn concepts because I learned them the wrong way.

The good news for you is that you can save yourself months of time if you know what to avoid doing. What you're about to learn might sound obvious, but those are the things we tend to look over the most.

  1. Trying to learn too much at once.
    don't drown yourself

    • You know you need to learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and you probably want to learn them as fast as possible. That doesn't mean you should start learning them all at the same time. If you want to get good at this stuff, take your time and learn them one by one. Doing this will give you the depth you need to really understand how each programming language works.
    • If you're looking to make money with web development, whether it's by starting a new career or freelancing on the side, you need to know what you're doing. Despite what online classes and coding boot camps teach you, you aren't going to be starting projects from fresh files. You're going to get hit over the head with some legacy crap and you need to know how to dig through it.
    • Take your time and learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript because they are the foundation of web development. You need to be able to look at this code separately and know how to read it, where to make changes, and why you need to make those changes. The only way to do that is by focusing on one concept at a time.
  2. Not using your skills together.
    use the stuff you learn together

    • This is the complete opposite of the last point. You need to know everything about HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but you also need to know how they work together. It's best to learn everything separately at first because that gives you in depth knowledge on the little details that make websites work, but the real power comes from using them together. When you are learning how to program as a beginner it's easy to compartmentalize the different languages.
    • It might be a little challenging at first, but you need to practice making little websites with all three programming languages until you can make bigger, more complex websites with them. Sometimes courses focus so much on learning the individual programming languages that they don't leave enough time for you to practice.
    • You should spend at least 4 months doing nothing but making websites. Not practicing individual skills, but using all of them together. That's what true web development is. Think about this, if you know all of the concepts in JavaScript but you can't use them on a real web page, then do you really know JavaScript?
  3. Thinking you're an expert after you finish some tutorials or classes.
    you're still considered a baby

    • Sorry if I burst your bubble here, but you will not be a skilled web developer in 3 - 6 months. Not even close. You might be able to do some of the basic stuff really well in 3 - 6 months. Maybe even well enough to start freelancing or applying for jobs. The thing is that nobody really cares about the basics. That's not what's going to make you the money.
    • You need some practice and experience under your belt and that just takes time. And no, you don't need someone to give you a chance to practice. You just have to get up and start making websites. You don't even have to come up with an original website! Go to your favorite website and just try to make a copy of it.
    • Tutorials and classes give you a good start and you can get through them relatively fast. That's just not where you stop. It's a good idea to spend a minimum of 4 months making websites so that you really know what you're doing. You'll also be building up a portfolio you can show to potential freelance clients or major companies so that makes this practice worth your time.

These are some of the most obvious mistakes that people make when they're learning web development and now you don't have to make them. But there is one big one I left out on purpose. If you think that you'll be good at web development in less than a year, you're either incredibly smart or you're like me when I started and you just don't know how much it takes.

Just remember that after all of the time you spend learning, you're looking at an average starting pay of $70,000 (but really more like $55,000), a field that's marked to grow over the next 10 years, and access to opportunities you won't get in any other field. This is especially true if you live in the U.S. because there's an extreme shortage of skilled programmers.

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Top comments (1)

tux0r profile image

Just remember that after all of the time you spend learning, you're looking at an average starting pay of $70,000

Obvious mistake #4 ...