The Best Web Development Learning Options

When I was around the age of 12, I used to walk to the local library to check out book about computers.
The books were most likely written in the early 80s and dealt with the basics: what is a computer, programming in BASIC, etc.
I would also browse the technology section at the book store in the mall and skim through books before placing them back because I couldn’t afford the cost.
That’s how I furthered my knowledge until my family got cable internet and a home network to share connection in my teenage years.

People these days have it much, much easier when it comes to learning.
Information on every subject imaginable is available to anyone with a data plan or WIFI connection.
Youtube alone has taught me everything from music production techniques to what the best cardio exercises are.
When it comes to web development, this is no different as there are a ton of resources one can use to get started in the field.

Options for learning about web development include:

  1. Formal Education – 2 or 4 year degree
  2. Online CertificationCoursera, Free Code Camp, etc.
  3. Online Skills TrainingCodecademy, Code School
  4. Do It YourselfBooks, Youtube, The Interwebs

1. Formal Education

I earned a Bachelor’s Science degree in Information Systems in 2010.
The program focused heavily on system design, database design, ASP.NET, and a set of general business classes.
While much of the ASP stuff is dated at this point, the program set me up nicely for my first positions as a database application developer.

The programs offered today are highly tuned to meet the demands of the market.
Universities give students the structure to be placed in a job once they graduate.
While web developers don’t necessarily need a degree in the field, having one is worthwhile just for the exposure to other topics and subjects that college brings.

2. Online Certifications

College isn’t for everybody and access isn’t equally available. Because of this, online schools have propped up to field the gap for people who want a formal education but can’t commit to a full 2 or 4 year program.

One of the most used online schools is Coursera, which offers certified specializations from well-known institutions of higher education. For a fraction of the cost of a full degree, an aspiring web developer can take a 5 or 6 course specialization over a few months span and earn a certificate.

I personally like Free Code Camp. Free Code Camp offers free lessons on web development and gives students the ability to complete a certificate by volunteering work for nonprofits at the conclusion of the program.
It is a win / win for all involved, in my opinion.

3. Online Skill Training

Online skill training sites are places were you can practice web development skills through interactive lessons.
My favorite is Codecademy. Here, you can do small but thoughtful exercises.
This site and others like it are very good for beginners.

5. Do It Yourself (aka Google It)

Seriously. Google a question and the answer shall be yours. And the answer will probably be posted on Stack Overflow, the database of programming questions and answers. I learned game development with Phaser, Angular JS, backend Python servers with Flask, and more through sheer determination and the power of Google. There are so many resources out there that I’m not even going to list any here.

More Education Resources

Here are 250 Ivy League courses you can take online right now for free (via freecodecamp)