When you are considering a career change it can be very confusing to know where to begin. That is definitely the case with web development.
This post is my advice to someone who wants to work for a company as a web developer.
If you're interested in my advice for someone who wants to get into web development as a tech entrepreneur, then check out my series Web Development For Entrepreneurs Who Don't Know Where To Begin.
I would learn front-end development first because if you know React.js really well, then you can get a job pretty easily. Then I would learn backend development later on, if that interests you.
The problem with programming is that there are far more poorly written books than there are well written books. If you struggle with any of the programming books that I recommend below, then keep trying. Maybe you would benefit from a video series instead of books. The good news is that once you understand the basics of programming (and all of the strange terminology), then everything else will fall into place.
I think the best programming books are the ones that are organized like a math textbook. Math textbooks (1) explain a new concept, (2) walk through some examples to illustrate the new concept, and then (3) they provide you with exercises to practice and solidify the new concept. If you can find books or videos that follow that process, then you have struck gold!
These are the subjects that I would learn (in this order):
- The best way to learn web development is to create projects. The books I mentioned above walk you through a few projects, but when you are ready you should create your own projects because that causes you to think through an idea and work through the problems that you run into.
- I heard someone define programming as "a process of fixing errors". When you program you will have errors all the time. You need to learn to be patient. You will also get good at finding out how to fix your errors. If there is an error in your website, look in your browser console for an error message (right-click on your web page, select "Inspect", click the "Console" tab). Copy and paste the error into Google and read through the search results. You will get really familiar with a website called StackOverflow.com. It is where programmers go to post questions and get answers. You will most likely be reading a lot of posts and answers from that website throughout your life as a web developer.
It's going to be a long road, but stick with it and have fun! The advice and tips I gave above are some shortcuts that I wish I had when I started. Hopefully these shortcuts will help speed up the process for you so you can get started quicker than I did.