I sometimes get approached by friends who are thinking of getting into the web design/development field and have no idea where to start. I usually recommend reading blogs like CSS-Tricks or NetTuts+ to get them started, but the best piece of advice I can give is simple:
When I wanted to learn something new, I used to find myself saying “I was thinking about starting” or I would try to learn as much as I possibly could before writing a single line of code, effectively get me nowhere fast. To be honest, this principle can be applied to anything you’re interested in, but I feel like it especially applies to our industry.
I think people get too caught up in the idea that because they don’t have industry-standard tools like Photoshop or the latest and greatest IDE, they feel they’re unable to get started. One of the best parts about our industry is that the barrier to entry is so low. The fact is that you don’t need to go to college to become a web designer, especially when there are sites like Treehouse and Code School available to you for a fraction of the cost of a college education (though I still think everyone should go to college – that’s an entirely different post). There are a plethora of free ways to learn our craft, but it’s not going to be handed to you.
Want to try creating your first website? Read some articles from the blogs I mentioned above (or just Google it), open up a text editor on your computer, and write some code! Who cares if it doesn’t work at first, getting it to work is where the learning happens. Besides, nobody ever makes the first jump.
Are you a designer that can’t code? Jump over to CodePen and play with some markup and styles. See what others have done and try to replicate it for yourself.
What else have you been thinking about learning? Jumping in right now is the best place to start.