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Best approach to learning web programming

I am extremely interested in web development though I know very little about code. I did not read computer sciences in my college/university. Now I find myself very determined to learn the server side development and want to have a career in the field, where should I start from? I have got almost an year of free time and can work very hard, guide me please, thank you.

marked as duplicate by Tom Squires, Telastyn, GlenH7, Ryathal, gnat Aug 9 '12 at 15:25

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  • First step? Get a degree. Will help you beat the HR filter. – Rig Aug 9 '12 at 15:18
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    I started out taking on contract work I found on Craiglist and word of mouth. In the beginning I knew 25% of what I said I did, and once I got the work I googled, read and asked questions on Stackoverflow. A year later I found a full time salary position making great money. If you know what you're doing, and an employer won't hire you for lack of a degree you probably don't want to work for someone like that. – The Muffin Man Aug 9 '12 at 16:32

We can't really tell you what to do.

The fact is, we don't know what tools you would rather use, or what will work better for you. I'm going to be really general here, so bear with me:

  1. Learn HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Before you do any kind of server-side programming, this is a must. You can't build a webpage without HTML, CSS makes it look pretty, and JS makes it dynamic. Also, it wouldn't hurt to add on some jQuery.
  2. Install a web server, or find a free web host online. You don't need to pay for one. You're still learning. Personally, I have a WAMP server running on my desktop since I don't put anything into production, and I advise you to do the same.
  3. Learn a server-side scripting language. Now to get down to business. You have a lot of options here. Python is said to be the easiest to learn. PHP is the most well used server-side language. Ruby is an up-coming phenom. ASP works flawlessly with it's .NET counterparts.
  4. Get coding! I cannot stress this enough. The only way to learn is by doing. You can't just read a book. If you want, do a few projects (e.g. a forum, a phonebook, etc.) to make it fun!

This was a very general walk-through of what you need to do. There is still the matter of learning SQL before a server-side language, and how to use a database, and all that good stuff. But that's fairly easy to figure out with Stack Overflow and Google! Until then, good luck!

A few extras to learn about after the above:

  • Nice answer...also, once you feel really comfortable with all this, in the last few months, you should make a fully functional website – karan k Aug 9 '12 at 14:58
  • I agree with all but #2. I think having some money on the line, and the potential to make money, can be motivating. Plus, 'free' hosts are often poor quality, poor performing, spam hubs. It also gets one used to moving a site from development (your local setup) to a real production site. Since decent shared hosting can be had for under $10 a month, it's a small investment, even if you buy both LAMP and .NET accounts. – jfrankcarr Aug 9 '12 at 15:24
  • @jfrankcarr In my experiences, free hosts are fine for learning the basics. Once he actually does try to build something, I would encourage him to go with a paid host, and possibly a domain name. – Dynamic Aug 9 '12 at 15:26
  • I use VMWare with CentOS for dev, and move to another VMware Centos for testing. The second one has security and settings exactly like a production server. Problem with shared hosts is the root access, but I guess starting out, you should stay away from Root lol – user60812 Aug 9 '12 at 20:43

You basically have several options to choose from depending what platform you are familiar for web development.

Here you are some options to look for:

However, keep in mid that to become a well-versed software developer you would need contently learn new things and invest your personal time to it.

In addition you may reference the open-source projects. They are good to look for source code and get good practices to learn from:

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