For some reason, I’ve been asked this question more times than I’ve been in a Starbucks in the past month (trust me, that means a lot). I’m answering here so that I can copy and paste a link from now on And because it might be cool to come back to this post in the future.
Although I had dabbled in python as early as 2000, I really didn’t start learning about web technologies, programming languages, or any of the other cool inner workings of the computer until 2009. It was in June 2009 that I really began learning about how to build things. Below, I’m outlining (sequentially) the resources I’ve used to develop my skills, although nothing is more important than just coding.
Become a Blogger.com is a series of free video tutorials about…blogging. Created by Gideon Shalwick and Yaro Starak, this resource was where I started. While you will not be learning how to code, it is a great place to start if your ultimate goal is the ability to create awesome, beautiful, functional web applications.
With a focus on wordpress, Gideon and Yaro cover everything from the most basic of web terminologies (domain names, servers, FTPs, etc.) to some of the more blogging specific technologies (RSS, feedburner, etc.). This is a great foundation to start out with because once you have completed this tutorial, you will have the ability to create awesome blogs and websites with wordpress without even writing a line of HTML. It’s a quick way to develop a very useful skill!
This is an online textbook used to teach Princeton’s introductory java programming course. Why do I recommend this tutorial? Written by Robert Sedgwick and Kevin Wayne (my advisor freshman year of college), it provides a very firm foundation in programming. Data types, conditions, loops, arrays, and many other programming elements are taught in a way that a beginner can understand. And because java is such a strict language (in comparison to a language like PHP), it helps you to develop good habits with respect to programming.
By the time I began Michael Hartl’s Guid to Ruby on Rails, I was already 9 months deep in coding. 1 month after reading this, I had built my own functional twitter. This is a great first-time MVC web development framework. Moreover, there’s a large community so that when you run into problems (and you will…that’s part of coding), a friendly assist is just a google away.
From there, things diverge dramatically. Remember, the more you learn, the easier it is to learn more. My advice: just do it.