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Choosing Which Web Development Language to Learn 10th October 2017

Choosing Which Web Development Language to Learn

Choosing which Web Development Language to Learn.

Considering a career in web development? You may feel intimidated by the sheer number of programming languages to choose from. Whether it is front-end, back-end or full-stack you want to learn, there are a daunting number of options to choose from.


I wanted to write this blog post about my experience of learning to code and what not to do. I’m not going to go into any detail about which web development language, in my opinion, is the ‘best’ to learn. This post is more about the (or my) process of learning rather than what to learn. For the sake of brevity, the word ‘languages’ includes frameworks and libraries.


Since learning to code I have dabbled in a number of different languages. The first two being HTML & CSS. The barebones of front-end web development. For any aspiring front-end developer, this should go without saying, is an absolute must. You wouldn’t get far without them. Thankfully, it’s fairly simple to learn the basics and as a result, shouldn’t take up too much of your time. I first started learning web development around the age of 12 or 13. Back then I had no recollection of CSS even existing. Therefore, I was able to focus solely on HTML and picked it up reasonably quickly.


You’ll notice that the key theme of this blog post is going to be ‘focus’. Regarding what next in terms of your skills, you could look into HTML & CSS pre-processors as well as CSS frameworks. Word to the wise, pick one and stick to it. My problem was that I decided I was going to learn them all which isn’t necessary. SCSS, Sass, Haml, Pug, LESS, Stylus (look them up). All of these are pre-processors and can make your workflow as smooth as a vaselined otter. However, they all do the same job. Likewise, CSS frameworks are as abundant as manure in a cattle field. I would suggest avoiding bootstrap as it’s a bit monotonous. Try, skeleton.css, foundation or materialize or have a read of this other medium post (This article has now been removed from Medium by the author). Again there’s no need to learn them all.


Jumping Ship


Having learned HTML & CSS I was ready for my next challenge. Javascript would have probably been the most sensible option. Thinking it wasn’t that important, I put it on the back burner. PHP was the next thing I was going to conquer. No sooner than I started learning PHP was I jumping from one language to another and back and forth between frameworks. I found myself starting to learn Javascript before fully grasping PHP but no before looking at Python and Ruby.


As a result of my search history on Google and Youtube, I was being re-marketed with similar content. Since showing an interest in development, articles, websites and videos about different languages would pop up on my feed. 3 different database languages then Node, React, Angular, Vue, Meteor, Ember, Express (all JS frameworks/libraries). Not only did I want to learn them all but I thought to be a good developer I had to. I was trying to learn javascript frameworks when I only had basic knowledge of javascript itself. Not before long I was back trying to remember how to code in PHP for a project I was working on and learning frameworks such as Laravel and CakePHP. Needless to say, this project would have been quicker and easier to produce had I focused on learning PHP properly.




I’m sure most of you realise that this isn’t the way to go about learning a web development language. I was like that fat kid Augustus Gloop from Willy Wonka. Wanting it all. In the end, all it really did was cause me to have massive burnout. I lost interest in web development and moved on. Since returning to web development a few years ago I focused my attention on learning one thing at a time and doing so until I was confident in my ability.


It is easy to get distracted and there will be times when you believe that learning to code is an insurmountable task but focusing is the key.


When thinking about which language to choose, first of all, ask yourself, “For what purpose am I learning this language?”. Do you want to become a web developer? Or are you just looking to develop a single project?  You’ll have to do a bit of research into what language is best for the project you want to build. Sometimes there are multiple options available to you.


As is with my case, if you’re an aspiring web developer wondering what to learn next, it’s perfectly acceptable to move to a new language.


My advice is simple. Finish learning a language to a standard that you are happy with before moving on. When learning a new language, go back every so often and build a quick project in a language you’ve previously learned.


Keep the focus, don’t get distracted. Happy Coding.