Freelance Web Designer & Developer
From Texas, USA.
713 417 7472

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and Learn - Benjamin Franklin

Hi Guys,

This is Ranjit Pillai known as RJ or RJ Houston , but likes to know as Best website developer Houston :) or Bespoke Developer or Creative APP Developer …..

First, let me tell you a story of how i become A WEB DEVELOPER !

Well, I’m a full-time front end and Back End developer with 10 years experience.

When i graduated from college in early 2000, My dream was to work for a FORBES 500 company! But one of my mentor word tracked my future, He asked me “ Do you want to become a small fish in a big pound or a big fish in a small pond” , In first case you will learn process, but in second case you will learn technology ! In that time, I’ve worked as a web developer for both a Forbes consulting firm and a small company.

This may not sound like a lot of experience, but finishing my second year as a developer has been a huge milestone for me. This is because I had no real experience doing web development — and not much programming experience in general beyond some basic C# and Java training I got from a few online courses.

I’d never written about my experience despite all the help I’ve received from wonderful resources like Google, Stack flow.

I used to google “ best website developer”, Web designer houston, ………………… and find out who have the best profile and write all their skill set and made plans to learn those technologies.

Today I’m going to fill you in on what went right, and what didn’t, so that if you’re embarking on this journey, you’ll have better luck than I did.

I know that there are a lot of articles like this, but not very many of them discuss the process with the benefit of an extra two years of hindsight.

I’ll start off with my journey, including what went wrong along the way. If you just care about what my suggestions for the shortest possible route to becoming a web developer from scratch are, feel free to skip to the last section: The shortest route.

So, without any further ado, Let’s get started!

Getting the Basics

After deciding I wanted to get into web development the first question on my mind was “What do I learn?” After doing some research, I ended up making my learning path based on what most entry-level web developer positions asked for, which was:

  • JavaScript
  • HTML & CSS
  • CSS Preprocessors (Less & Sass)
  • Responsive Design
  • AngularJS
  • Design Patterns
  • Git
  • NodeJS
  • Task Runners

Here’s how it went.

Javascript

I began my Journey learning JavaScript through youtube tutorials and doing small live projects.

I found learning resources like this were the best when you are just getting started. Just be advised that this method of learning gets tiring quickly once you get into more advanced stuff, since their algorithms for checking whether you solved the code example correctly have some accuracy issues. Both of their introductory courses to JavaScript were outstanding and I highly recommend them.

Once I got the basics out of the way, I proceeded to get a stronger JavaScript foundation by doing lot of live projects and reading the Eloquent Javascript: A Modern Introduction to Programming book by Haverbeke (free).

This book was recommended to me by a lot of people in the JavaScript forums as a must read, and for good reason. That book was tough — especially if you’re just learning programming like I was back then. But I’m glad I didn’t give up and kept at it. It was phenomenal due to the vast scope of programming concepts it covers, even if it was a bit ruthless at times. Whatever you do, don’t skip the code challenges. Once you finish this book, then you can finally say with confidence that you have a good grasp on JavaScript.

You can also optionally learn jQuery (though I really don’t recommend learning it yet — more on this later). You can learn it through CodeSchool’s Try jQuery course.

HTML & CSS

After learning JavaScript, I proceeded to learn the fundamentals of HTML & CSS and web design through CodeSchool’s HTML & CSS learning path. These courses are still my favorites today, since the pacing is great, and the overall scope of what they cover allowed me to acquire a stronger foundation to this.

You could also switch this out easily for something like Codecademy’s HTML & CSS course and still get similar results. Or if you are up for a challenge, Udacity’s course Intro to HTML and CSS is far more complete, and slightly more challenging.

Bonus

If you can get your hands on Jon Duckett’s HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites book, it’s also a rock solid starting point for learning HTML & CSS (with a sprinkle of web design). It’s highly rated (4.7/5 on Amazon), offers a solid introduction to the world of web development. It’s a beautiful book thanks to it’s clean design with big letters and colorful pages. I often come back to it just to admire it.

Less / Sass

For those unfamiliar, Less & Sass are CSS transpilers that allow you to write CSS in a more elegant manner. This lets you do things that aren’t normally supported, like nesting CSS rules. Once finished, these CSS transpilers “compile” your code and convert it to normal CSS.

There are 2 major CSS transpilers right now:  Less  and   Sass .Sass is the more popular one, but I found learning Less first to be easier, mainly because using Sass on your computer requires also installing Ruby, which I wasn’t fond of. You can get a quick, yet complete overview of Less using WinLess’s Online Less Compilerand it’s code examples to see how your Less code would turn into CSS. You can also try Sass online using SassMeister (though this doesn’t include code examples).

It doesn’t matter whether you learn Less or Sass first. They’re extremely similar, so once you know one, you pretty much know the other. You can find a great quick comparison between Less and Sass on Shelby Moulden’s article Comparison between LESS & SASS.

Responsive Design

I originally learned about responsive design and Bootstrap using Codeschool’s HTML & CSS path, but I recently found Udacity’s course by Google on Responsive Web Design Fundamentals to be fantastic at covering the basics and beyond in a far more complete manner than Codeschool did.

You can do responsive design without any additional framework, but it’s far easier with the help of a responsive framework like Bootstrap. Bootstrap’s official documentation is very well made so you should have no problem at getting started with it.

If you are having trouble grasping it’s basic principles, read Froont’s blog post on 9 basic principles of responsive web design. It has beautiful clean & simple animations that help illustrate visually the principles of responsive web design.

AngularJS

I didn’t really know what exactly AngularJS was back then, but I knew everyone was talking about it, and that if I wanted to become a web developer I needed to learn it. I found Google Developer’s Design Decisions in AngularJS to provide the best general overview of what AngularJS was and how it improved making web applications.

I first thought of learning AngularJS through their official documentation, but this turned out to be a terrible idea. The documentation wasn’t very easy on beginners, and the cluttered formatting made it hard to read and understand.I then proceeded to learn AngularJS through Codeschool. With my positive experience on the JavaScript and CSS courses also from there, I expected nothing less than a great course. I was wrong. The course was a disaster from the get go, since the algorithm used to check if you got the code example right sometimes didn’t work right and marked your clearly right solution as incorrect. There were even times where all it took to fix the broken validation system was a page refresh. As for the course’s content, it wasn’t great either. It did an ok job at explaining the basic components of an AngularJS application, but it did a terrible job at integrating these into a real application, leaving me with far more questions than I started with.

After some searching around forums, I stumbled upon Egghead.io (free / paid) where I had much better luck. Their course material was a lot cleaner, more concise, and more complete, making for a far better experience. Not to mention that apart from their courses, they have bite-sized 2–5 minute lessons that cover important topics. (For example: What is a controller? What is a filter? What is $scope?) These make it really easy to understand the basics. They also have some videos that require payment, but they are usually the ones covering more advanced angular topics you will not need until later on. I took their AngularJS Fundamentals course and I was fully satisfied with the results (and also became a big fan of Egghead.io’s courses in the process).

Design Patterns

Design patterns are basically reusable code solutions that can be repeatedly used to solve common software problems. Having a foundation on this will make you far more competitive software developer in any programming language. This will also make it easier for you to understand other people’s code, since you’ll quickly identify what design pattern they used on their code to better understand it.I found the 2 best sources to learn this are doFactory’s JavaScript Design Patterns and Addy Osmani’s Learning JavaScript Design Patterns. I found doFactory a lot easier to understand, while Addy Osmani’s book was a lot more complete.

Chrome DevTools

Chrome is one of the most powerful tools for a web developer. The sooner you master it, the more time you can save later on. Codeschool’s free course Explore and Master Chrome DevTools does a great job at introducing them.

Git (Version Control)

Ah, Git — the tool I never knew I needed until I discovered what it could do. Git basically it lets you keep a track of the changes you make to your code so that if things go wrong, you can roll back to a previous point in time. It also lets you see your code’s history.

I found CodeSchool’s free Try Github course to be a friendly way to get started. Atlassian’s Git training was superb at covering the more advanced commands available. Codeschool’s Git Learning Path is also great at covering Git’s fundamentals.

NodeJS

It didn’t take long before I learned that having a basic understanding of NodeJS would help me greatly in my quest of becoming a web developer (more on this soon).

I tried Codeschool’s courses on Node, but I found them really lacking in content. I found NodeSchool.io to be a far better teacher at getting the basics right, and it was fun! I loved the hands-on approach it offered, which was similar to Codeschool and Codecademy — with the added improvement that I was really running NodeJS.

Task Runners (Grunt & Gulp)

Grunt and Gulp were quite a big surprise to me in that I had no idea tools like that even existed — but I’m extremely glad they do! Basically, these task runners allow you to automate common tasks. For example, remember Less/Sass? Normally you would have to manually run the CSS compiler every time you make an edit for it to compile the CSS, and then update the browser. Using a task runner, you can set it up to watch your Less/Sass files for changes, and when it detects a change, compile your CSS, and automatically refresh the browser. This is immensely useful at reducing your development time.

There are 2 main task runners right now: Grunt and Gulp. While they do the exact same thing, they work in very different ways, with Grunt being a lot more verbose and configuration oriented, and Gulp being shorter to write and preferring code over configuration.

Knowing NodeJS will help you write better Grunt and Gulp files since both of them run on NodeJS .You can pick whichever you want, but I found Gulp to be far easier to learn and write. I still today prefer it because of its minimalist — yet powerful — pipe-based approach.

I found Scotch.io’s courses on Grunt and Gulp to be among the best out there……

Email me on rjsugarland@gmail.com

Note to my clients: -

A competent UI design could increase your web conversions by up to 500%. According to the study, a strong user experience can increase conversion rates up to 900%.This means that poor UI/UX is turning away a lot of potential sales. And, if that confusing, frustrating website is your, you may not even realize how many solid leads are leaving as a result of poor UI.Chances are good that if a consumer couldn’t be bothered to finish the purchase they intended to make, that they’re not reaching out to tell you why.That’s why user interface and user experience design are going to trump pretty design for its own sake in 2019.

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