If you're a young person finishing high school, you had good grades, you're sharp, you love computers, and you have financial backing … you might just be headed off to college to master the art of higher learning. However … let's say you're not. Let's say that the college opportunity door opened, then closed, and you're still standing where you were without having gone through it. SURE, you can go to college now, but do you want to?
Let's say instead that there were a way to earn very good money in the real world, but without having to spend the next 3 or 4 years of your time (learn to say that may or may not pay off) for you. Let's say that you could simply apply yourself to being your own teacher, and still come out on top. That is strictly what is possible in our day and age, and fairly what you'll need to do to make yourself a web developer without going to college.
Okay, it's time to talk details. Let's start with basic computer skills. If you're not computer literate at this point, then you're not necessarily in the wrong place (ie, wanting to become a web developer), but it might just be that you're here at the wrong time. First, become computer literate. There are other classes that are built for that. Go do that, then come back here. However, if you are computer literate, take the first step towards becoming a web developer … and this will involve a trip to Borders, or Barnes & Noble, or whatever bookstore is close by.
# 1 – Buy yourself a coffee, then go look at the Computer Programming section of the bookstore. When I first took this step, it was recommended to me that I buy Sam's Teach Yourself ASP.NET in 21 days. I bought it. It's a great book, but nobody told me that page one of that book is still like Greek to a true beginner. Thus, first pick up the newest teach yourself ASP.NET for true beginners and you'll be off on the right track. Then find Sam's Teach Yourself ASP.NET in 21 Days, or some such "instructor's manual".
# 2 – Now, organize your schedule. You'll be needing the next few months to BEGIN to teach yourself this trade. Decide on a truly reasonable schedule that you can live with over a reliably long period of time. It's much better to study for one to two hours daily than for 12 hours straight on the weekend. Find the time … then sit down in front of your computer, open the first book to page one, and begin to read.
# 3 – Be a kind teacher. The really cool teachers that we remember from school were the ones that were kind, but at the same time, could really teach us something. Be that way with yourself. When you've been studying for a few days and you shut your book, drop your head into your hands, and say, "I'll NEVER get this!", Then be kind to yourself. Recognize that nobody got it in the first couple of days, weeks, or even months. It takes time, but you have to keep moving forward. When you get worn down, depressed, or just feel like giving up, take a break! Go make a coffee, take a nap, or whatever relaxes you. Then come back and before opening the book again, stop and ask yourself this one, simple question: What do I know right now about this subject that I did not know when I started? Chances are very, very good that you will answer that question with quite a few things that you've learned. Thus, you ARE INDEED learning.
# 4 – Find a way to enjoy what you are learning. When we actually enjoy something, we will keep doing it. Thus, when teaching yourself to become a web developer, do not forget to isolate what it is that you enjoy most about the tasks that the books / manuals give you, and then capitalize on those! Share them with your family and / or friends. Live it up. Enjoy yourself.
# 5 – Once you have worked hard for months at this "project", chances are that you'll be wanting to start earning money at it.
Stay tuned for the following article about how to take your training to the next level … and actually earn some money!