How I quickly learned web development

How I quickly learned web development

– or how to learn anything quickly.

Many years ago I learned programming and scripting languages required to build a basic website. I taught myself HTML, CSS, Javascript, XML/XSL, and PHP all quite well. I had learned these to the point that I was being asked to create websites for others which soon become my first business creating websites. This all happened rather quickly.

My ability to aquire the knowledge of web development languages quickly did not come from natural talent. Rather, these programming skills came from hard work, time invested, and the right mix of learning methods. Those learning methods are what made all the difference.

Apply what you have learned immediatly.

I was always creating web pages I could immediately apply and test anything new that I learned. Far more time was spent creating real world examples than was ever spent studying and note taking.

Constantly push yourself beyond your current skill level.

Challenge yourself daily to create code that seems difficult. This can be in the form of an ongoing project that takes days or weeks to complete, or a small piece of code that takes a few minutes.

I would often decide on what I wanted to create code for, without any idea of how I was going to do it. Then began the task of finding out how and making it all work – sometimes with great difficulty at first.

Repetition and exposure.

You may already be aware that spaced repetition is vital to efficient learning. This certainly does apply here.

Code at variois times during the day, every day.

Write code in the morning, mid-day and evening. At one point I became so obsessed with this process that if I did not have a computer near me I was using a pen and paper to write code that I intended to test.

Constant exposure to the coding or scripting language was a huge help. For example, if I wasn’t writing or researching, I would be viewing source code of existing websites to analyze their work, or reading a book about Javascriptn PHP or C++. My eyes were always on some type of source code.

Seek a veriety of resources.

Probably one of the best resources are reference websites or tutorial websites. The ones that cut through the BS and aren’t cluttered with ads and words meant to fill up space. W3 Schools is a great example of such a place.

But that alone is not enough for rapid learning. Tutorial websites must be combined with deconstructing existing codes/scripts and reading books, and watching videos. Notice I wrote codes, books, and videos in the plural form. You will never rapidly achieve knowledge from a book. Use many, skimming through for the important information.

What I would NOT do…

I learned HTML, Javascript, PHP, CSS, and XML very well and to a lesser extent some C++ as well. This was at a time when smart phones were not invented yet. Therefore using mobile apps was not an option and probably for the better.

In my experience the pace at which one can read is far greater than the speed in which an app can progress you. Through books, informative websites, and analyzing existing source code, you can intake far more information than an app can give you. Be cautious of online videos for this same reason. Although useful if of good quality, limited acquisition speed and distracting ads will stifle progress if you are aiming to learn quickly.

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