Basic Steps Involved in Teaching Yourself to Become a Web Developer

If you’re a young person finishing high school, you had good grades, you’re sharp, you love computers, and you have financial backing…you might just be headed off to college to master the art of higher learning. However…let’s say you’re not. Let’s say that the college opportunity door opened, then closed, and you’re still standing where you were without having gone through it. SURE, you can go to college now, but do you want to?

Let’s say instead that there were a way to earn very good money in the real world, but without having to spend the next 3 or 4 years of your time (to say nothing of your money) learning a trade that may or may not pay off for you. Let’s say that you could simply apply yourself to being your own teacher, and still come out on top. That is precisely what is possible in our day and age, and precisely what you’ll need to do to make yourself a Web developer without going to college.

Okay, it’s time to talk details. Let’s start with basic computer skills. If you’re not computer literate at this point, then you’re not necessarily in the wrong place (i.e., wanting to become a Web developer), but it might just be that you’re here at the wrong time. First, become computer literate. There are other classes that are built for that. Go do that, then come back here. However, if you are computer literate, take the first step toward becoming a Web developer…and this will involve a trip to Borders, or Barnes & Noble, or whatever bookstore is close by.

#1 – Buy yourself a coffee, then go look at the Computer Programming section of the bookstore. When I first took this step, it was recommended to me that I buy Sam’s Teach Yourself ASP.NET in 21 days. I bought it. It’s a great book, but nobody told me that page one of that book is still like Greek to a true beginner. Thus, first pick up the newest teach yourself ASP.NET for true beginners and you’ll be off on the right track. Then find Sam’s Teach Yourself ASP.NET in 21 Days, or some such “instructor’s manual”.

#2 – Now, organize your schedule. You’ll be needing the next few months to BEGIN to teach yourself this trade. Decide on a truly reasonable schedule that you can live with over a relatively long period of time. It’s much better to study for one to two hours daily than for 12 hours straight on the weekend. Find the time…then sit down in front of your computer, open the first book to page one, and begin to read.

#3 – Be a kind teacher. The really cool teachers that we remember from school were the ones that were kind, but at the same time, could really teach us something. Be that way with yourself. When you’ve been studying for a few days and you shut your book, drop your head into your hands, and say, “I’ll NEVER get this!”, then be kind to yourself. Recognize that nobody got it in the first couple of days, weeks, or even months. It takes time, but you have to keep moving forward. When you get worn down, depressed, or just feel like giving up, take a break! Go make a coffee, take a nap, or whatever relaxes you. Then come back and before opening the book again, stop and ask yourself this one, simple question: What do I know right now about this subject that I did not know when I started? Chances are very, very good that you will answer that question with quite a few things that you’ve learned. Thus, you ARE INDEED learning.

#4 – Find a way to enjoy what you are learning. When we actually enjoy something, we will keep doing it. Thus, when teaching yourself to become a Web developer, don’t forget to isolate what it is that you enjoy most about the tasks that the books/manuals give you, and then capitalize on those! Share them with your family and/or friends. Live it up. Enjoy yourself.

#5 – Once you have worked hard for months at this “project”, chances are that you’ll be wanting to start to earn money at it.

Stay tuned for the following article about how to take your training to the next level…and actually earn some money!

Working As a Freelance Web Developer

Freelancing is a great way to become self-employed in a short amount of time and very easily. A web developer will find this method to be their best bet to branch out on their own.

The income from freelancing can often be greater than working for someone else. There are some points to keep in mind though before you explore this option.

The income you receive from freelancing is far from being a regular income, it is very unsteady and many times you will find that you get checks sent to you at all times throughout the month. Sometimes you do not receive an income from certain clients for whom you have performed services or payment is late in arriving to you.

It is always a good idea to have a back up plan so that you do have some income to fall back on from savings or from other sources that provide multiple streams of income.

Difficult clients can make for a frustrating day. Often you may run across this in your line of work, and on some occasions you may get a very good client who is easy going and doesn’t complain. Dealing with difficult clients can be a source of frustration and stress especially if they want constant revisions or expect the product in an unreasonable time frame.

Keeping clients happy is part of the process of doing business and if you have experience in this area from previous working relationships you can use it to your advantage.

Some of the benefits of being a self-employed web developer are the fact that you can charge your won prices, you can select the clientele to work with, and you can schedule your own work times. However, you must still consider the points above.

Besides freelancing, network marketing is a great source for multiple streams of income. You are already experienced in business and marketing techniques so this income source would fit right into what you are doing as a freelance web developer. Consider this option as well.

Tablets: Another Consideration in Web Development

Let’s face it; many people are still not enamored with tablet PCs. Thousands may already own an iPad or any tablet but there are still plenty of individuals who choose the bulkier but more feature-rich notebooks or even netbooks. The tides of change cannot be stemmed though and tablets will become a major platform in personal computing in the near future.

As consumers, we can see that as an improvement over what we have today. But for webmasters and web developers, it poses yet another challenge. With sales of tablet PCs rising, the time is right to start investing on tablet-friendly website versions. Yes. Versions because you do not have to totally redesign your website to accommodate internet surfers using tablets. Like with smartphone users, you can specify a version of your site to be served to those using tablet.

When developing the tablet version of your website, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Keep file sizes to a minimum. In the future, all tablet PCs would be equipped with Wi-Fi functionality. Today though, plenty of tablet PCs still connect to the web using 3G networks. This means pages would not load as fast as when the PC is using Wi-Fi connection. As a result, you have to ensure that your website’s tablet PC version is light and would load easily. Most internet browsers are impatient and if you cannot deliver the info they need on time, they would easily hit the back button and try another website.

2. No Flash. Android-powered tablet PCs support Flash. Apple’s iPad does not. We can argue all we want that Android-powered tablets are better than the iOS-powered iPad, but it will not change the fact that sales figures are on the side of the iPad. That said, you have to find Flash alternative to use on your site if you need multimedia content on your site’s version for tablet PCs. Furthermore, contents using the multimedia platform from Adobe cannot be read by search engine bots thus lowering your chance to get higher ranking on search engine result pages.

3. Resolution and the accelerometer. Most tablet PCs are equipped with accelerometers so there is no definite resolution to target when designing for tablets. There’s another thing to consider with accelerometers. You have to design your site in such a way that no matter how it is being rendered, the area above the fold is well optimized. Above the fold means the area that the visitor can see without having to scroll down. Make sure that you make good use of this area in any resolution or display layout.

Remember that tablets are still relatively young and in the near future, they would come with better and newer features. Make sure that you are on top of these changes and adapt your site’s design to accommodate future changes.

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