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So, you want to be a web developer

So, you want to be a web developer

Web developers are so hot right now. The job market is on the rise, even here in Oklahoma. Demand for developers are expected to increase by 20% by 2022.

Maybe you want a new career, or to build your own site/startup. Maybe you're just hoping to pad your resume a bit and be able to effectively communicate with the team you already have. Maybe you're thinking "If I become a web developer, I can grow a beard, wear skinny jeans, listen to mumford and sons and get all the ladies." All of these are great reasons (except the last one because thats called a Brogrammer and we dont tolerate that kind here) to want to be a developer but you may be thinking "I'm not smart enough to do that" or "Where do I start? Developer talk sounds like a whole different language to me". Well actually they talk in several different languages. If this intrigues you more than it scares you, continue reading.

So, you want to be a web developer

Before I was a developer, I was a suit. I managed several web dev companies and startups out in Las Vegas. I did it all. From securing new clients, keeping old ones (sometimes firing them but that's a different blog post), developing our new direction, hiring talent, firing talent, keeping the company above water and, as often as I could, take my teams out for beers.

The question I always kept asking myself when around my development team was "what the actual hell are they saying?".

There were those nights where we would have to stay late to deploy a project or crunch to fix bugs before a deadline and the only thing I was capable of doing was ordering pizza. This wore on me to the point that I began the long (not really that long) road of becoming a web developer.

In my experience, there are a couple ways one can go about a becoming a dev.

1. The conventional route of going to school and getting your CS degree.
I did not go down this path. I went to a small private school in upstate New York where I majored in "business" (read: drank beer and acquired a private school amount of debt).

2. Teach yourself
This is where I started and I think everyone should do the same. There are plenty of free resources out there like codeacademy.com. I also used Treehouse but there is a small monthly fee for their service. Both are great tools and I highly recommend them. (I would recommend that you do not teach yourself for too long. You WILL learn very poor habits.)

The reason I think everyone should start here is because it allows you the opportunity to start getting your hands dirty with a low cost of entry. You'll be taught, in stages, everything from HTML and CSS, jump to some JS and JQuery and then to some back end languages like PHP, Python and Ruby.

If you enjoy going through these tutorials but occasionally find yourself stumped and little frustrated, that is perfectly ok. I made it through several of the courses but would always end up googling how to fix something in my code (little did I know that googling answers is approximately 79% of being a developer). If you're frustrated but still love what you're doing then the next step is definitely for you.

3. Apply for a coding bootcamp.
Just typing in "coding bootcamp" in to google will leave you feeling overwhelmed. There are so many to choose from.

So, you want to be a web developer

Some are free* while others are not. Some last 3 weeks, others last 12. You'll have to find the one that works best for you.

I chose a bootcamp called CodingDojo. It has 3 location but the one I chose to attend was in Mountain View, California. It was a 12 week course that started around 9am and lasted until 6pm but due to the amount we were learning, most of the time we didnt leave until 9pm. They dont call it Bootcamp for nothing. These are rigorous courses where advanced topics are taught, discussed and implemented.

The first day we spent about 30 minutes getting to know each other and from there on out, it was all code all the time and the people that were in that room wouldnt have had it any other way. The courses that I went through via online tools definitely helped me within the course but they were nothing compared to what we learned and the project/problems we had to tackle everyday. At these types of boot camps they are teaching you what you'll really need to know to become a real life web developer, not some guy that "sorta kinda knows how to build a wordpress site".

If you're serious about becoming a developer, and don't want to enroll in college all over again, then a bootcamp is definitely the way to go. It isn't easy, or cheap, but what you get out of it will be well worth it. If you have any questions about development bootcamps, feel free to reach out to me!


DAN FRANCEAugust 20, 2015