Tag, your it! – Begin learning the basics of HTML and CSS

When I first looked into getting into web development, I researched several options into how I could learn the different technologies required to created web pages. I first thought about going back to school to get some sort of computer science degree, but I was pretty sure my wife would think that the three college degrees I already possess would be plenty. Then I looked into the offerings of my local community college. They offered several non-degree programs into which I could enroll, but I saw two negatives (at least for me) about those programs. First, the campus was too far away from my house and being married with two young boys limited the amount of time I could afford to be away from home. Secondly, the cost. It was not very expensive, but it was more than I could afford.

Another option that exists in my area where corporate training programs. These sounded like a good idea, but they ended up being more expensive than the local community college program. They offered financing options, but increased debt did not sound appealing. That left only one option. I had to teach myself. For me, it was not a hard decision. Self-learning has always come easy for me. So I set out to teach myself web development.

I decided the best way for me to learn was to utilize the free resources available on the web. I could have purchased books from the local bookstore, or even ordered some used books online, but I found several free web tutorials that I thought were sufficient to at least get me started.

Before I share with you a couple of the resources I used in learning to create web pages, one thing is very important; learning the technologies sufficiently is going to require hard work on your part. I naturally pick up skills easily, but I still had to spend many hours on the computer using the languages. Also, you learn by doing, so simply reading articles will no teach you all you need to know, but we will discuss that in another post.

One of the resources I though was most helpful in beginning to learn web development was the Opera Developer Community’s Opera Web Standards Curriculum. This is definitely the place to start. Begin with lessons 1-38. These cover the basics of the web, HTML and CSS.

Another resource I still use often is w3schools.com. It find it most helpful as a reference. I think its lessons are not as beneficial as others, but it’s layout and presentation in referencing different language attributes is the best I have found. One nice tool it possess is the “Try It Yourself” feature which allows you to create a bit of code and see its results instantly in the same browser window.

Start by working through these two sites, focusing primarily on HTML and CSS. In the next post, I’ll describe how you can begin creating web pages on your own computer.

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