Contrary to what you may have heard you do not need a Computer Science degree in order to be successful in this industry.As a matter of fact sometimes the best solutions come from those who have the most diverse backgrounds. This is not to say that those that have studied Computer Science are unable to approach problems in novel ways only that the best solutions come from those that are varied in their approach. Innovation is usually the path less traveled because it is the path that is harder to see and not the conventional route we are told to take. This being said, if you have a passion for development and the drive to succeed then welcome to your first step into a new world.
So how do I get started? Well, I’m glad you asked! Start coding, pick a language and start. My personal suggestion for this is, of course, HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). These two languages are the ABCs of Web Development and the best place to start. Think of HTML as the A-frame of a house, it gives the website structure and allows you to map out what the floorplan will be. You can’t build a house unless you have these elements just as you can’t build a website without HTML. In the same line of thought, you don’t actually have a house if you only have the A-frame. You need drywall, flooring, baseboards, windows, a roof; this is the CSS! CSS allows you to add style to the structure you set up in your HTML. With CSS you can set backgrounds, text color, padding, spacing, ect…
Your next step will be to find a text editor, this is the program you will use write your code.I highly suggest Notepad ++ because it is free and comes with a great feature set that will assist you in writing your first website. I personally use a mixture of Dreamweaver and Notepad++ to write 90% of my Web Development work. Familiarize yourself with the app of your choice, don’t be afraid to click buttons and see what everything does. At this point Google is your friend, look up everything and start creating a good functional knowledge of the application.
OK, great! You now know what languages to focus on and the text editor you will be using! What now? How do you begin? My suggestion is that you first take the Code Academy course on HTML and CSS. It is a free tutorial based website that gives you the very basics and is a good starting point if you have no coding experience. Once you have a basic working knowledge of HTML and CSS start finding sites that you like. Create a list of bookmarks in a folder called “Inspiration” and start figuring out how they work. Right click on your inspiration pages, select “view source”, copy this HTML code into your text editor and see what makes the page tick. Make changes to these documents based on what you have learned on Code Academy, save them then open them with your browser to see what your code has done to the layout and style. Get creative and don’t worry if you break the page, this is the time to make mistakes and figure out what is going on in the code of a real site.