My Web Development Journey

A path to learning web development and programming from my own experience

I am a self-taught amateur web developer. I picked up web development as a serious hobby about five years ago, but I’ve been fascinated by the World Wide Web since the mid 1990’s.

Back then, this newfound ability to share your thoughts with the world instantly (and at virtually no cost) blew my mind. If you were around back then you may probably remember the excitement of hearing the sound of a dial-up modem, and accessing the black and green text-based screen that usually followed it.

Since those early days, I’ve been trying to learn everything I can about the technologies that make the WWW work.

I first started making websites with Microsoft Frontpage and hosting them in Geocities. Again, if you were around those days you probably know what I’m talking about. Both Frontpage and Geocities endured their share of criticism and ridicule as the web evolved, but to many of us those were the best days of the web.

I later became familiar with the process of registering domains and uploading basic websites to shared hosting services via FTP. As the web evolved and Web 2.0 came along, I learned to deploy Wordpress blogs and delved into the intricacies of SEO.

Not much later, however, large platforms that came to be known as social networks entered the playing field aggregating Internet traffic at a furious pace. I spent a couple of years getting acquainted with some of them, only to become disillusioned as they morphed into sophisticated surveillance engines built to spy and profit from their users. Some people even refer to those days as the death of the world wide web.

After a small hiatus, I discovered static site generators and got excited about the web again. Soon, with the help of static site generators and some basic HTML and CSS, I was designing web pages from scratch with just a text editor, the Linux command line and my bare hands.

It was at that point that I decided to approach web programming in a more structured way. I enrolled in Treehouse, an online coding school, and completed their Front End Web Development and JavaScript tracks. I also took courses on a variety of subjects, like React, Node and Python. I deeply enjoyed Treehouse’s teaching style.

From then on, it was off to the races: I took CS50, the Introduction to Computer Science course from Harvard, offered by edX, where I learned about algorithms, C, JavaScript and back-end development with Python, Flask and SQL. At around the same time, I also learned to deployed virtual private servers.

As an introvert with a bias for logic and rational thinking, programming and working with computers are two activities that match my personality better than anything else I’ve tried-I just wish I had discovered it earlier.

If web programming sounds like something you may enjoy, I would suggest starting with CS50, where you will learn the basics right. After that, you can keep learning specific languages, libraries and frameworks in sites like freeCodeCamp, CodeCademy, Coursera or Treehouse. Also, I recommend taking a course on the Linux Command Line, since you will be using it all the time for web development.

Best of luck!

Last updated: Jun 3, 2020

© 2022 Mario Sanchez Carrion