When it comes to learning new things, we can’t help ourselves wanting to hurry the process along. It’s natural to want to learn faster so we can do ‘the real things’ faster (and get paid for it!). That’s why here, we naturally get a lot of questions like, ‘What’s the fastest way to learn coding?’, or ‘how do I find work faster?’
Learning web development is very much like learning a new language with its complex syntax and various rules. However, you’ll be surprised to know how much you might be able to get done after even just learning the basics!
Web development is usually a long journey; it’s a landscape that’s constantly changing with, and adapting to new technological shifts. Learning new versions of languages and new frameworks are enough to keep any developer on their feet. As a result, learning coding is never just a straightforward path to becoming ‘fluent’ in the languages.
But how long does it take to become comfortable with coding? While of course it varies from person-to-person, we’ve seen many students come out of our course and start freelancing straight-away. It’s actually not uncommon that with some hard work, 2-3 months is enough time to start picking up basic jobs.
To speed up the process, here are 3 ways you can learn web development faster!
1. Learn by coding more and coding regularly
Learning by applying, no matter how little you’ve learnt, is probably the fastest way to get to grips with how any coding language works. By constantly trying new projects, building all sorts of things will become second nature. In time, you’ll discover more shortcuts, develop your own workflow, and form your own frameworks to help you work more efficiently.
Not sure what to build, or don’t have any steady work? A favourite learning tool we use is to task ourselves with rebuilding existing websites. Pick any of your favourite websites (or even apps!) and see if you can replicate the user interface. It’s a great way to get some practice in and study how to build your favourite components.
Coding your first few projects from scratch can be daunting, so it’s important to remember starting is the hardest part. Also, practice frequency is important - we recommend doing an hour of coding a day! Even veteran developers will attest to how fast you can become rusty after not working for a while.
2. Apply for jobs you’re only partially qualified for
There’s no experience as good as ‘the real thing’. But for neophyte developers, finding the confidence to win your first job is often a big hurdle.
That’s why we advocate for the “60%” rule-of-thumb - apply for jobs you’re only 60% qualified for, especially in the beginning. By challenging yourself, you’ll expand your skills rapidly out of necessity, and be able to apply your new knowledge straight away. Just make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew; for example, don’t apply for a job that requires working Python knowledge if you still think pythons are long, yummy, gummy snake lollies!
Challenging jobs also help guide your learning - with new frameworks and languages coming out seemingly every second day, it can be easy to get lost and not know where to devote your energy.
By applying for work at an early stage, even ones you’re not quite ready for, ensures you’re learning how real companies work, and what tools they use.
The great thing is there are tonnes of resources and great communities out there, so if you do find yourself slightly out of your depth, you can find help wherever you turn. We recommend often uploading your code onto sites such as Stack Overflow so that other developers can give you pointers. Just don’t forget to return the favour when you become a bigshot yourself!
BONUS: If you’re one of our alumni, you’ll get unlimited lifetime support for any of your web development endeavours! That means you’ll never be alone :)
3. Embrace mistakes and resourcefulness
Many of us have been raised to avoid mistakes and failure. However, in the tech world, we embrace mistakes and failure as one of the best ways to learn - so long as we’re failing forward.
In the beginning, there will be many frustrating nights, where your website just won’t co-operate, or you find yourself unable to do even the simplest of things.
It’s moments like these you need to push through, because the cold, harsh reality is, things don’t necessarily get easier. While your overall skills will improve, you will always come across new things that will challenge you. Even the most seasoned developers will need to check Google, W3 School or Stack Overflow from time-to-time!
Earlier, in point number one, we mentioned starting is always the hardest part, and that’s because the fear of getting things wrong often cripples us from taking action. There are so many rules to remember, and even the boilerplate stuff can look intimidating, so we develop this mental block.
But in the end, remember it’s just that - a mental block, rather than a lack of skills on your part. As long as you’re not afraid of making mistakes and Googling things when you’re not quite sure, there’s not a lot that can go wrong.
Those are 3 things that’ll help you learn web development faster! Web development is a long learning journey, so be prepared to grow fast! What do you find helps you learn faster? What are your favourite resources? Let us know!
Written by: Josh Li
Digital Marketer at Institute of Code