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Five ways to get into web development

Five ways to get into web development

The first thing to know about a career in web development is that it’s not just for maths geniuses and computer scientists. If you’re enthusiastic and good at problem solving then it could be for you, with thousands of jobs available right now for those with the right coding skills.

While a degree in Computer Science is one way into coding, if you’re working to a tight budget or need to move into a new role quickly, there are now more ways than ever before to kickstart a career in coding.

Pick up a book

It may not sound the most exciting method, but there are dozens of high quality books on web development that have helped developers take their skill level from novice to expert.

Two books I can personally recommend are Chris Pine’s Learn to Program: Using Ruby and Marijn Haverbeke’s Eloquent JavaScript: A Modern Introduction to Programming, both of which will give you a grounding in the basics of these languages.

Use an app

Your phone or tablet could be your best friend when it comes to learning to code, with a number of apps available for both iOS and Android.

If you’re considering programming Mac and iOS apps, then Apple’s own Swift is an obvious language to learn. Apps such as Swifty is a handy way to learn the basics on the move - the first few topics are free before you need to pay for further lessons.

JavaScript Anywhere has been around since 2010 and helps you write Write JavaScript, HTML and CSS source code, while Code School is another option to help you learn while on the bus.

Try an online course

Want to learn at your own pace, keep an eye on your budget and not worry about leaving your own home?

If you want free courses, try out the likes of Codeacademy and Crunchzilla - both of these will have you learning and writing basic code in minutes and I recommend them for anyone still trying to decide if coding is really for them.

There are thousands of hours or resources over at Treehouse and Lynda.com, excellent resources that can help you build websites and apps via online videos and tutorials.

Take an evening class

If you want to keep the day job while planning your next step, evening classes are a great option. Every town and city will have different opportunities, either as part of a university or at an independent establishment, so start searching for evening and adult learning classes today.

Attend an intensive training course

By far the fastest solution, though not always the most convenient, is an intensive course. I teach at CodeClan , Scotland’s first accredited digital skills academy, where a 16-week course takes students from novice to junior developer level.

Other respected courses include General Assembly, Makers Academy and Decoded, the latter offering one day coding masterclasses to those who are really in a hurry.


Richard Henry is a freelance web developer and instructor with extensive experience of JavaScript, CSS and HTML. He started programming and building web apps in 2010, subsequently working with organisations including Standard Life, Clean Digital and CodeClan.

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