Start learning web development - Self-taught Roadmap

August 16, 2021

Note: younger guy, 18-20ish, asked how he could get his feet wet in software development and possibly turn it into a career. My advice is simple: if you want land jobs as a web developer, first become a web developer (ie start by learning how to code and build actual real life website projects).

My general recommendation is to dive into the most fertile soil. Go where there’s plenty of support to find tutorials and get your coding questions answered, along with plenty of work that can be done on a freelance basis. That’s website development.

You can build a basic website for someone, cheaply or freely if that’s what gets you in the door, without investing a ton of time or committing to the responsibilities of a large project. You’ll be getting real world experience that you can snowball into a full-time career.

Without further adieu, the roadmap:


Here’s a roadmap to get you started. I recommend web app development (learning advanced website/ browser based app development) because that’s where most of the freelance work is at, it’s also the quickest to get started with and the most abundant in terms of educational resources/ documentation. Once you’ve got this down you’ll be in a better position to decide where to focus next.

Here are a few videos to get you started, in order. These tutorials are for the fundamentals of building websites from scratch. They cover the structure of websites, which can then be made dynamic with data and custom functionality.

I recommend watching these videos and coding the course alongside the video to get your fundamentals down.

HTML Crash Course: https://youtu.be/UB1O30fR-EE

CSS Crash Course: https://youtu.be/yfoY53QXEnI

Build An HTML5 Website With A Responsive Layout: https://youtu.be/Wm6CUkswsNw

HTML/ CSS playlist for further learning/ exercises: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLillGF-RfqbZTASqIqdvm1R5mLrQq79CU

HTML/ CSS are the structure of all websites and web browser apps. Next comes behavior, making that structure dynamic. Javascript creates the functionality which reacts to the user’s actions, and also deals with changing data.

Javascript Crash Course: https://youtu.be/hdI2bqOjy3c

Javascript playlist for further learning/ exercises: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLillGF-RfqbbnEGy3ROiLWk7JMCuSyQtX

Take time with these and digest them, get to know them well.
W3Schools.com is a great reference website for HTML/ CSS/ JS

Once you’ve got a good grasp on these skills, and have used them to build a few real or educational/ simulated projects on your own, move on to learning the Javascript frameworks that are used in production.

Vue.js and React.js are the primary Javascript frameworks used today to build (front end) user interfaces. Nuxt JS (for Vue) and Next JS (for React) are frameworks on top of those frameworks and should be used for most websites for SEO, better organization, and some backend functionality without building an entire backend from scratch.

Become proficient in these frameworks and you will have a good base to spring from when deciding where to look for continuing education.

The most common server-side (back end) protocols/ languages are PHP and Node.js (javascript on the backend). Back end development is for dealing with databases and dealing with business logic that you don’t want to reveal on the front end.

StackOverflow.com is the most widely used forum for asking questions about specific coding problems you may face as you branch out on your own projects/ experiments. Always search there first when you’re trying to figure out any particular issue. If the question hasn’t been asked, ask away. I’ve found there are many helpful people ready to chime in.

Best of luck





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