The Most Unconventional Ways To Learn Web Design and Development

When Myspace used to be really popular a few years ago, everyone had an account, including our favorite celebrities. The coolest thing about Myspace was its customizability.

The Most Unconventional Ways To Learn Web Design and Development

If you know HTML coding or even if you don’t, you can personalize your profile by adding pictures, videos, widgets, among others to make it stand out. Being ambitious (in regard to having a cool Myspace page), I did my best to make my Myspace page the coolest in the circle. Since numerous resources were available to decorate Myspace pages and are readily convertible to HTML format, it was a piece of cake.

Myspace Profile

But one fine day, I hovered into a guy’s profile, and wow, it was unlike any Myspace profile I have ever seen! The layout was different from the pages my eyes looked on and there were some really cool tweaks.You cannot see those in others’ MySpace personalization site. It took me some time before I realized that this person was a web designer, and probably the coolest stranger I have ever met on social media.

Years have passed and the sites that lent us CSS for our profile became defunct. No more Myspace but there are still web designers whom I consider the coolest people (atleast for me, they are). In fact in recent years, there is a very evident substantial growth in web designing and development sector so no need to mourn for a now-deserted site.Your flair to learn web development can get you so much more than a ‘nice profile’ compliment so if you’ve been contemplating about learning the art, read on.

Unconventional ways to learn web design and development

The Conventional Method

Now naturally, the most popular place to learn web design is a certified, higher level educational institution. Most colleges and universities these days provide a degree in the discipline which usually involves taking up computer science, digital media or a similar field as a subject. Although this option is more expensive than the others, it is also one of the best since most of the employers look for web designers who are graduates in the field.

The Conventional Method to learn web design and development

If you’re starting to feel like giving up on web designing because the idea of college is too far-fetched for you, wait. It is not absolutely necessary to have a degree to make it in the web-design market, although a formal degree in the discipline has its own sheen. Many employers really don’t care about a college degree as long as you know your art and is really good at it. Besides, a degree doesn’t really guarantee you a job. Without a well-paying job, your college education is basically money down the drain.

The Conventional Method to learn web design and development

What’s really important in the Web design and development sector is to be skilled with your craft, as required in any field of profession. The next most important thing is imagination and insight. Colleges and universities may teach you HTML, CSS and hordes of other languages but they don’t really teach you how to get creative with it. Hence the creativity and imagination part is for you to learn it by yourself anyway.

Feeling relieved? You should be! Even if being a web developer is not your life goal, it is always a plus having it in your list of skills since it is quickly emerging as an important employability skill. If you want to know some of the not-so conventional ways to learn the art of web designing, read on!

Now, you can learn web design and development in many ways. They may not provide you with a paper announcing you can code for website pages (I mean a formal certificate of degree), but I assure you, if you follow these unconventional ways seriously and unfailingly, you’ll be as polished as the ones who do their own one.

1. Textbooks

Unconventional ways to learn web design and development

Before the era of Google, books were the most popular means of the resume-worthy knowledge. But now, it is the era of Google and if you just search e-books on web, you’ll find innumerable results worth hundreds of search pages. You can find a large number of some really good books on the internet, in the form of e-books or the classic hard-copy form.

Since this is constantly growing in demand and is gaining popularity, there are a large number of books for release on this topic everyday. A quick search through Amazon or any other book selling sites will give you a long list of books on this topic written by different authors. There are also a number of sites which provide free educational e-books like free-ebooks.net, Gutenberg.org and the Google play bookstore which have some really good titles on the subject. While choosing the books you want to learn from, keep in mind that they are the latest and revised editions or are new on the shelf. As with any discipline in the technology sector, web design and development is a rapidly progressing sector but remember that what may be a breakthrough today may be obsolete tomorrow.

Unconventional ways to learn web design and development

Some really good titles worth reading are Adaptive Web Design by Aaron Gustafson (paperback/kindle), for the digital age by Kim Goodwin, Design is a Job by Monteiro (paperback, e-book). Remember that whatever you read, you must practice on the computer. The whole point of reading books is lost if you lack in practicing the learning. Read good books and practice in code. With the right amount of hard work and determination, you’ll be a master of code.

2. Online Classes

You don’t want to go to college and that’s pretty understandable for a multitude of reasons. It doesn’t mean that without a degree in college, you can’t come to your doorstep, or to your computer screen to be more precise. Thanks to the efforts of some good men and some generous universities. You can now gain university-level knowledge taught by professors at the comfort of your home for a nominal fee, or even free.

Khan Academy (khanacademy.org) is one such non-profit site that provides various resources for learning in the form of YouTube videos, practice exercises, and education tools. The site has learning materials for a large number of interesting subjects and a number of languages including English, Indonesian, Swahili, Norwegian, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Portuguese, French and Italian among many others.

Unconventional ways to learn web design and development

Another site is Code School (codeschool.com) with a fee of $29 a month. It allows access to a number of interactive lessons including videos and coding exercises. Another great feature of this site is allowing businesses to enroll their entire teams for the courses thus many giant firms like IBM take advantage of it.

Unconventional ways to learn web design and development - Online Classes

There is another site, Udacity (udacity.com), run by professors from the university of Stanford and Virginia and this is completely free. The only catch is that the site is not an on-demand but it provides lessons taught according to schedule, so you have to check it first and enroll accordingly.

Unconventional ways to learn web design and development - Online Classes

Other sites that are really worth a shot are W3schools (w3schools.com) Google Code University (https://developers.google.com/edu/) and Opera Web Standard Curriculum (dev.opera.com).

3. Video Tutorials

A quick search through YouTube will get you a number of videos on web development and some of which are really good. Tutorial videos are good means of learning codes although they give better results when combined with other methods. Now YouTube has a large video library of tutorial videos. Some are not so good while some are decent. Some are great ones so be wise in choosing.

Unconventional ways to learn web design and development - Video Tutorials

There are a number of other sites that specialize in videos on web development and design. They have a large number of videos with a wide viewership which are easy to follow. Treehouse (teamtreehouse.com) is one such site which provides tutorial videos on web design in HTML and CSS, web development in HTML5 and Javascript, and also iPhone apps.

Unconventional ways to learn web design and development - Treehouse

Killer PHP (killerphp.com) and Lynda.com are among the other popular websites for beginners to learn web design. Lynda.com founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman provides thousands of videos by experts in the field which viewers have unlimited access to learn web development.

Among the YouTube channels that provide video tutorials on how to learn web design are TheNewBoston, Mike Locke, Phpacademy and Adam Khoury. The videos are easy to follow and simple for beginners to learn the basics of coding.

Unconventional ways to learn web design and development - Video Tutorials

4. Interactive Coding Exercises

This is where the fun begins. You’ve learned the basics and are eager to try your newly-learned coding skills. But wait, you’re not THERE yet. So how about some fun interactive multimedia to test your coding skills?

If you thought it is fine using cheat codes in Grand Theft Auto or Counter Strike, you’ll feel like the King of awesomeness once you start playing with code in these online games!Try Rails for Zombies (railsforzombies.org) that helps you practice your website application framework in the form of a code-geeky way. It basically employs rails on ruby where you use codes to get through five levels of zombie-themed adventure.

Unconventional ways to learn web design and development - Interactive Coding Exercises

Code Avengers (codeavengers.com) offers courses in HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript. At the end of each lesson, you get to play a mini-game, which needless to say, is Avengers-themed. This site has been specially designed for beginners to ensure easy, efficient learning and immediate revision in the form of an exercise game. It is also a great hangout if you happen to be a fan of Marvel’s Avengers.

Unconventional ways to learn web design and development - Interactive Coding Exercises

So there you have them, the unconventional yet highly effective ways to learn web development. What is the best method of them all? You might ask. But then this question has no specific answer. Everyone has different learning processes and capabilities so the most effective method for person A may not be as equally effective for person B.

Regardless of whichever method works best for you, it is always better to employ all of these in your learning process. Be dynamic and practice regularly. Now your code may not always work and you may have to debug and start from scratch many times but keep working on it and you’ll definitely get better. Watch out for the works of other people to open you new ideas. Keep the horizon of your ideas wide and employ it to your coding. Most importantly, love what you are doing.

Now, are you ready and open to learn through new unusual things in this new age? I hope, you are. Good luck!

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3 Comments

  1. I disagree with the idea that is conventional at all to go to a school of higher learning to be a web developer. In fact after 20 some years in the field I thought it would be a good move to go back and see if I could expand my skills by attending school. After 4 years and two different schools I found what they are teaching in these schools is outdated obfuscated crap! Even after I made it perfectly clear to admissions my goal was to learn new techniques and code and was promised I would. The fact is either the admissions officers are totally clueless what is being taught or I was flat out lied to. Top that off with instructors that I would not hire on my projects because they had no clue how to do what they was supposed to be teaching us. Perhaps that is why in both cases I was given one to three year subscriptions to Lynda.com. Yea thats right, I was paying high dollar for school and they was sending me to a $35 a month website to get my education, while all they did was test me on what I learned there.

    So save your money on school and go out and learn from the best. School is a lie and you are going to get out of school with an education that will never land you a job with a real design firm, because what you think you know has been deprecated and is no longer viable.

  2. I certainly agree. School curriculums are quite outdated in today’s fast paced industry. There is a strong demand for short term specific courses on web design and programming.

    Just to add to it below are certain online platforms that I feel can help achieve the same:

    tutorialspoint.com

    simplilearn.com

    udemy.com

    Do have a look and share your thoughts.

  3. Very informative! Excellent post. Thanks.

    Thanks Eve Haugen. Good job done. Nice article, in future every one use this technology for web design and web developing.
    Again Thanks and keep it up.

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