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Thread: Learning to program at age 30: Want to get into web development

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Learning to program at age 30: Want to get into web development

    I'm 30 and pretty overeducated already with a BA and Masters degree. I work in a generic backoffice type job, not technical in nature. I want to learn programming, initially as a hobby and MAYBE (if I have interest/aptitude) as a jump to a different career.

    I've enrolled in an Intro to Java class at a community college, taking it online. But 3 weeks in, I'll probably drop it as between 50-60 hour workweeks and everything else going on, I shouldn't have taken a condensed 6 week summer class. My main reason for taking this class was to get a feel for what programming is and whether I'd enjoy it, as I've never programmed before. 3 weeks in, I am enjoying the class and want to learn more, but right now I just don't have the time. So here are my questions going forward:

    (1) Is self-learning effective? This online class is basically self-learning off a textbook anyways, so I'm thinking going forward if I want to keep learning Java or any other language, might be better picking up a book and self-learning at my own pace. Or is a classroom setting preferable?

    (2) Learning HTML/CSS/Javascript: I mentioned my interest in programming to a web developer at our company. He said they could use some more help, and recommended I learn HTML/CSS/Javascript and he may be able to give me some stuff to do (although no promises). My own boss in my department seems pretty open to it. So I might be better off learning web development right now. Our company's website is very similar to this one: http://phoenix.gov/#a3. What languages would I need to learn, and how long would it take me, to be able to create a website like that from scratch (with working links and all that) if I wanted to do so?

    Could you recommend some good resources for self-learning web developing? I'm guessing books would be a good start, and also maybe some websites/forums to go to for help/questions?

    (3) If I eventually want to go beyond that and learn a language outside of web developing, would Java be a good one, or something else?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    To start with the Phoenix site is not a god place to learn from it is riddled with errors and non-standard code.

    (1) Self-learning for web development is actually the norm for most of the developers I know. It is one of those things where you need to get your hands dirty to learn. That said there is no substitute for learning the basics and online tutorials do that very well. Here is a place to start:http://www.htmldog.com/guides/

    You might also find that you can learn a lot by participating in tech forums and help sites. You will find that you can learn by participating in threads, and every once in a while you will realize you know how to solve a problem someone is asking about.

    (2) Don't just try to mimic things you see. Explore! At the very minimum you need a detailed understanding of HTML and CSS. You can do static pages that are extremely complex and beautifully presented with just those two. Then you need to learn scripting with javascript and at that point it is a good idea to learn how the DOM (Document Object Model) is the underlying structure that the browsers build to render a page and allow scripting to manipulate it. At that point you need to learn some of the backend pieces... primarily a scripting language and database. The most common scripting languages are PHP and ASP and going forward you will need to know one or both of them. There are other less used scripting languages like jsp, perl and python that you might want to learn later.

    (3)Java or C++ are the two I would consider for the kind of development being done today, but you want to keep yourself open to others and be ready to pickup whatever you can use to exploit an opportunity to move ahead.

    BTW, I have bee programming for almost 50 years. You either love it and would not give it up for anything; or you will just not get it. You will know which fairly quickly, and if you don't love the work; don't beat yourself up, just look to what else you might like. Life is too short to spend a large part of it doing stuff you hate.
    one of my toys And my repository and my old self ranting plus a bonus Getting the most out of Q/A sites
    Code that is 100% standards compliant is 100% correct 100% of the time... anything else is just a hack

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Cool Bro, you made a right choice~~~
    The more you learn, The more you know.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    hey bro good for you for picking something new up. html css and JS are very common langauges pretty much the code of the web. you web. you will pick them up quick.

    if you want to learn fast i have a few things to help you. I train a few people a few times a week on google plus. I have found that classses and certificate courses suck in
    my experience and find them to be a waist of money.

    You should sketch out a website with paper and pen and then start with laying our file and folder structure for the site. once that is all set naem each folder and save each file as
    the type of file that it will be in the website. such as JS html or css.

    start with the first page at the top and work your way down. Learn to build a navbar and a header. learn to make a boy anda footer. once you have css and html with JS you will be owning.

    From there you could even pick up php. working on a site will allow u to run in to problems and then ask us help with each problem u have. hang in there dont give up

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