National Coding Week - Meet Our Web Development Experts

13th September 2021

To celebrate National Coding Week 2021, we wanted to ask the clever developers here at West Midlands Media to share their journey into the world of coding and what they love most!

What made you want to start coding?

My handwriting was never very neat and home computers/internet was just becoming a thing, so I gravitated towards IT and pursued this through college and Uni. The coding modules were always what I enjoyed the most and I started to create little hobby sites based on my interests, found this to be an outlet for my creativity. Also - you get to wear headphones and be antisocial!

Well originally, I wanted to be a teacher (people who know me still laugh at the notion of this), but I first took an interest in coding when me and my younger brother built an HTML quiz. I used Dreamweaver and had no idea what I was doing but the challenge of figuring it out got me hooked, one apprenticeship and 5 years later and I wouldn't change a thing.

Honestly?...Money.

I was doing an IT apprenticeship at the time and half way through the course we looked at making websites for a week using Dreamweaver, wasn’t the best way to learn to make websites so after that I wanted to look into how to develop websites properly and that got me started on coding for the first time.

Where did you learn to code?

I taught myself basic HTML/CSS whilst at college, there were a couple of VB modules that further helped, then at Uni, we did PHP so I ran with this.

I learnt most of what I know during my apprenticeship at WMM from more experienced developers and a lot of trial and error. I also spent a lot of time using resources like Udemy, Code Academy, YouTube, HTML, CSS & JS books, and much more. But the one resource that I have used more than any other is Stack Overflow the dev who built that carries the world on their shoulders.

Everything I know and have learnt has been from online resources and all self taugh

Various places.. mostly YouTube really, I looked into some basic HTML, CSS and JavaScript lessons which is what I started with, after that I used a lot of Dummy books and used other online resources like Udemy to learn other bits and pieces and after that just taught myself through trial and error. For backend web development however, I learnt a lot from my work colleagues at my first job, they taught me a lot of how PHP worked along with SQL and other different programming languages, once they taught me the basics I started picking up other new skills as I worked on various jobs.

What is your favourite platform to work with and why?

I’ve always primarily written PHP and prefer to create bespoke code rather than work on a platform. However, in recent years I’ve learnt to appreciate Laravel as a framework, mainly due to it’s organisation, the amount of functionality it automates and the quality of the libraries available. Also, it’s closest to how we develop sites on our bespoke platform.

As I’m mainly a FE developer, that dabbles in BE (PHP & MySQL) from time to time when required at work or to help the FE build of a site, but since I started learning Vanilla JS ES6 & up, I have started to discover the JS side of development and I am loving it. Specifically, React/ Gatsby there are loads I like about working with it, but my favourite is styled-components, which makes writing clean, reusable components so much easier.

Wordpress - It's easy peasy to use.

Linux / Mac OS, a lot of web servers utilise Linux OS’s for hosting sites so coding on these types of platforms makes it much more fluid and easy to use, this is the same for Mac OS as well, working in a local environment on a Mac makes development even easier as both Mac and Linux are similar to one another and Mac OS has a decent UI interface.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to start coding?

Experience and humility is key, you can never learn enough by doing a single course or watching a Youtube video, it’s only by practising daily, learning from your mistakes and taking onboard the feedback of your peers. Never be too arrogant to ask for help or advice from your fellow devs.

Don’t try and learn everything at once, pick a code stack and learn that from the ground up as it will help transition to different ones later in your career. A lot of the time while the syntax changes between languages the concepts are the same which is usually the hard part of the two to grasp. Just take your time, practice, and create projects about topic you enjoy as this help massively with stopping burnout, and keeps you interested while coding.

Stack Overflow is your best friend! ;D

Once you’ve picked a programming language you want to learn, just keep at it and use all the resources available, YouTube and Stack Overflow are the best, YouTube for the various lessons and courses (which are also free) and Stack Overflow can be very helpful when your stuck with code as the people on there can be very helpful. Another good resource is Udemy, there are a lot of courses published mostly by official lecturers and its not that expensive, but once you find the programming language you want to start with I would recommend creating your own little project and learn as you go along that way you wont loose interest and will learn a lot from it.

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