Self Education Web Design/Development


I’ll start with some background info, I’ve been teaching myself web design for a little while by reading books and doing practical examples. Somehow now though I feel like I’m not learning as much as I could and there’s a lot to catch up on (html5 and css3 now).

There’s a lot of resources I can read/watch/do but I don’t really know which way I should go about it. I have a day job too which takes a lot of my time up and it’s not related to web work heavily. I know that you have to invest a lot of time to get really good at web design and or development and right now it’s difficult for me to do so - when I get home at night time I’ve lost the motivation to do much as I’ve been at work all day.

Basically I’m unsure whether it’s a lost cause for me, I really enjoy web design and development but feel like there’s so much to take in and catch up on I’ll never get up to scratch or on par and be able to create some great sites unless I enroll into a course or something similar. Even my own website is very basic.

I’m thinking having a mentor or someone to guide me along would be a great way of learning but I wouldn’t know where to go for that sort of thing.

I’m curious as to who has done this in regards to web design/development and how they went about this process. What would you recommend I do? Is it worthwhile? How else can I overcome the situation I’m in right now?

Personally, I’ve found the best way to get better at stuff is to use it. It is very easy to become demotivated when learning stuff, especially if it doesn’t have any particular relevance to your day to day life.

What kinds of things do you use your web know-how to do?

Well at the moment I’ve got my own website and also redesigning a website for my girlfriends works. Apart from that I use my html and css knowledge at work but not very often.

Well, for what its worth, once you have the basics of CSS and HTML down, you can probably get along without learning much more other than what you have to learn to do specific things that you would like to do, either as a job or as a hobby.

Not to discourage you from learning, but if you have the skills you need to upkeep your site and the one for you GF, then what is your reason for wanting to keep at learning more?

Or, rather, how much more is there left that you need to learn before you can do what you need to do with the web?

There is an infinite amount of stuff you could learn, but mostly it only matters in the context of what you need to do.

…and there’s a lot to catch up on (html5 and css3 now).

Don’t worry about those.

fwiw, I was lucky enough to learn on the job… I did not learn FROM my job, but that they paid me to sit and tinker in a text editor and read forums and articles all day.

I went through two books at the beginning:
Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way Using HTML and CSS by Ian Lloyd. I really was a beginner-beginner so this was perfect for me. However it leaves you with a lot of questions (can’t help that, it’s a beginners’ book).

Second was HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables Using CSS by Dan Shafer and Rachel Andrews. This book I actually just read: the first half was basically a recap of Lloyd’s material (incidentally) and the second half was taking valid sematic (x)HTML and doing different designs with it, which was just fun to see how they did that. Unfortunately I was listening to a certain CD while reading this, so there’s forever a song that now I associate with CSS. Lawlz.

After that it was building, running across bugs, looking them up, reading the article sites like Juicy Studio, 456 Berea Street (which used to kick butt because of the comments; unfortunately removed because of excessive spam : (, A List Apart,, Anne van Kesteren’s site, SitePoint forums, CSS Creator forums, and lots of googling. Lots and lots.

So long as you’re getting correct information, it doesn’t matter so much where you go. As Bob said, it’s a lot in what you build. You run into new and old problems every time you build something, and over time you learn how and why it’s doing what it does, and you learn.

It’s taken me 4 years and I’m still learning HTML (4) and CSS (2) so now you know it’s ok to take years to learn this stuff. The simple stuff IS simple, but it’s not all simple.

Learning HTML and CSS is like learning cement and paint. You can know everything about different types of paint and the perfect way to mix your cement, but that doesn’t make you a builder.

Like building, the front-end development that is a part of Web Design (HTML, CSS, etc) is a vocational task, and it’s something that you really need to learn by doing. When it comes to back-end development (programming) then theory can be very helpful in learning why the things you make work.

If you want to learn front-end development then by far the best thing you can do is write web pages and read the code of great web pages. If you ever see a nice web page, open up Firebug and see what makes it tick.

HTML & CSS both are Foundation for Web designing. If You want to create your own website than you must have knowledge of HTML & CSS. You can find lots of learning Stuff from Internet.