Why learning HTML really matters?

Originally published at Latifa’s Business on July 25, 2016.

The last time I had an opportunity to learn some coding was way back in high school in IT class. My high school major was IT, Math and Physics, but Math was the only of the three I really liked and cared about.

It’s been a long time since then, and coding, HTML, seemed so distant to me. Working in a digital agency, and having to work with Facebook apps from a particular platform, from time to time, I would encounter a problem that required a CSS intervention. Of course, my coding knowledge was 0,0, but with time, after analyzing few variations of code, I have figured out a few things, and I was able to make slight, very simple, changes.

It was only more than a months ago, while reading an article about SEO, that I figured out that I must know some HTML. I ran across this amazing HTML school w3schools, and even though I was a bit reluctant and scared of a great challenge that stood before me, I just started, that very minute…and stayed on the page for a few more hours being glued to the screen!

I just remembered the words I came across recently: Always walk through you fear, as if your fear was a waterfall! If you don’t walk through it, you will remain trapped by your fear, you will stay in the cave, weak and unaware of wonders that exist on the other side! Always remember, your fear is just a curtain of water before you that is blocking your view and blocking opportunities from coming your way!

In the past month I had my ups and downs with motivation, but I have prevailed, and I am almost at the end of the beginners HTML course, and I’m already thinking about digging deeper into JavaScript, but we’ll see about that. But what is it that I find so amazing about HTML and why I think everyone should learn at least the HTML fundamentals?

  1. Because it makes you more precise. My most recent deep engagement with studying was related to International relations. It is really interesting to read about ideas, concepts, case studies on various countries, explore ideas of post-conflict theory, but you don’t always have to be precises. The point is to have the initial input, but it is required from you to be an independent thinker, your opinion, backed with logically structured arguments, is valued a lot and all you have to do is to read a lot and think about the things you read, and occasionally, write a paper about it. So HTML made me adjust my learning process. HTML requires 100% precision, because if you have left out one single “/” in a closing tag, it will not be recognized as a closing tag. It requires 100% focus and learning things just the way they are. And not to speak about typos: my most common is writing “sytle” instead of “style”. So, try imagining that!
  2. It makes you more disciplined. I love the structure of <html> documents. They always have the beginning, substructures, appropriate closing tags, and it ain’ over till it’s over. You can’t just say, OK, I’ve written enough, and stop at the <p>. you have to go all the way till the end to see the result, you have to make closures.
  3. It makes you more creative. Yes, even though it is well structured and formal, and you have to obey the rules, sometimes, it is a lot of fun to try to figure out the way around, or to apply common logic. For example, at the very beginning of my engagement with HTML, when I was learning about paragraphs and headings, I wanted to separate the paragraphs, but it was before I knew about the <br>, which you place between two paragraphs, without closing tag. So I thought, hey, but if I place an empty paragraph, <p></p>, between two paragraphs, that could maybe do it? And it did. So, feel free to play with elements, especially with CSS.
  4. It enhances your problem solving skills. I know that there must be hundreds of other online schools scattered around the Internet, but I like the w3schools because it allows you to test your knowledge and to check you code along the way. It happens that you think you have written everything, top to bottom, but it just doesn’t work, somehow. So then you have to go back, inspect every single character, and find the solution. Also, when you’re given a task in your exercise, you’re being faced with a problem you need to find a solution for, employing your logic and knowledge, and it really all depends on you. This kind of exercise makes you think faster and improves your problem solving skills, which is the most important skill in life and business, in general.
  5. It expands your views. Learning about stuff that happen behind the scene helps you get a grasp of how the whole system works. If you work in an environment of digital agency, or your share office with developers, or work for a SaaS startup, it is so important to know some coding, even though your only doing social media, strategies or business planning.
  6. It makes you more independent. It’s common knowledge, the more you know the more independent you are and the more confidence you have. While writing a blog, working on SEO, being a Growth hacker, or trying to be one, working with app platforms, doing conversion campaigns, encountering some code is inevitable, so you should be able to understand it, fix it, or, even, write it. So, the faster you roll up your sleeves and learn some more about it, the better it will be for you. You will be more independent, more confident, and you will own your business!
  7. It makes you stand out and more competitive in the job market. The job market is so dynamic, and it is keeping up with the development of IT industry and the startup scene. If you have been checking out the job openings lately, it seems as if it’s impossible to have all the skills and you hear this voice in your head telling you, “OMG, Gotta Catch ’Em All!”. And of course, it is becoming impossible to catch ’em all and know it all, and be skilled in everything, but what matters the most is to develop a state of mind, and skills which make you more adaptive and able to figure out your way through the problems, and I am sure that, anyone who sees in your resume that you know HTML, will not only appreciate you for knowing a specific thing, but will consider you to be a far more competent than the people who don’t have that particular skill.

So, no time to waist! Get straight to business!