Fundamentals of Becoming a Web Developer

I’ve recently taken a big step towards becoming a web developer, so I’m writing this to hopefully help other people who want to do the same. Here’s the advice I wish I had gotten earlier in my journey to becoming a web developer!

Starting is simple yet the most difficult

A lot of aspiring developers get caught up in the countless resources. It’s so easy to, one Google search and you find tons of guides, blogs or videos. Some are free, some not. Then there are big questions to answer like what resource should you choose to learn from? What is the best language to learn? I could go on and on. These are good questions but they aren’t helping you achieve your first and most important goal. LEARN TO PROGRAM!

So …. if you’re anything like me this isn’t the first blog post you’ve read on becoming a developer. If it is I hope it’s the last one you do because the best way to become one is by starting right now! Seriously learn from my mistakes. Save this post, pick a language that sounds fun or interesting to you ( I personally recommend Ruby), and come back after you’ve written your first hello world program in that language. I suggest a tool like repl for your first program to make getting started easy.

If you still need help here are my recommendations for getting started for free!

The Growth mindset: Belief → Behavior → Results

“In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”

This is probably the single most important concept you could come across in your journey to becoming a programmer. Why? Because you’ve now embarked on a path that is not easy. You’ll most likely lose confidence in yourself when you get stuck on a hard algorithm. That’s why so many people think they aren’t cut out for it. But you can learn, you can improve and you will! It just takes a positive attitude, determination and the belief that anyone can grow and become more intelligent.

My instructor at Actualize, Dani, gave us a video that highlights this very well. We watched it on our first day and it’s already had a huge impact on me.

Getting Unstuck

If you didn’t know already, being stuck SUCKS! For me there’s nothing more frustrating. It hurts your confidence and is mentally exhausting. It’s all apart of the process though.

Due to the fundamental above I’ll reiterate that you must know, there are going to be hard times. You won’t have the time or energy and you’ll get stuck and want to give up. When I first started I often asked my self if I was cut out for it after being stumped by an algorithm. Remember this is a part of the process. You must believe in yourself and realize that every bit of energy you put towards it is only helping.

Some steps I recommend are:

  • Talk it out, either with someone you know or use a rubber ducky
  • Take a break, walk it out or even sleep on it if you can! Coming back with a fresh mind can really help.

Here are some good steps my instructor gave our class;

1 — Read error message and find the right error line

2 — Print variables near error line

3 — Search online with specific keywords and look at language documentation

4 — Play with the code

5 — Decompose the problem into smaller problems and work through them

6 — Ask for help with specific questions, explain it like a puzzle and more people will be willing to help!

Conclusion

So you may have noticed a theme. Although this article was about fundamentals that would help you become a developer they can also apply to life in general. Often scouring the web reading every blog post and reddit thread before you make a purchase or start a new project might feel good but ultimately, it isn’t. You could be half way done if you hadn’t been wasting time thinking about starting. It’s important to remember that you can continually improve and grow not only as a web developer, but as a person and professional too. Thanks for reading.

Now.

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