Free Road To Website Development
Choosing to be a website developer for your career is an excellent choice. You don't need school to get started. You can get started completely for free with just a desktop/laptop and internet. With a low barrier to entry, you can get a very livable starting salary of $45k. Over the following years, as you advance in your career, you could potentially look upwards to $90k.
You don't need to commit to such a dedicated study schedule. You can study anytime you want for however long you want. If you already have great experience working with a Windows computer, you could potentially find your first job with as little as 6 months of studying. That short of a time frame assumes you can dump several hours in a day for 5 days a week like a common college student. Otherwise, it could be two years, which is still great for getting into a whole career.
This might sound like a unicorn career, but I can vouch with friends who have similar success stories, including myself. I'm going to give the steps that I've followed to lead up to my success.
As long as you have a good computer and internet, you should be good to go. You don't need a powerful computer or very fast internet to learn and work as a website developer. If your computer can handle Google Chrome with tabs open like YouTube and Facebook at the same time, then you're probably good to go. That's almost every cheap, but modern PC you'll find in stores.
Start by learning HTML and CSS
I started by learning how to write HTML and CSS. Remember, you do not code HTML and CSS, you simply write it. HTML and CSS are used to construct the visual elements of a website. Such as the text, pictures, and locations of paragraphs found on this blog post.
I started learning HTML and CSS almost purely from free courses on Codecademy. To get started with HTML, I used this course. To get started with CSS, I used this course. I say get started because really, they only teach the foundations. That does not mean your education will be cut short with nowhere to go. They will show you resources for you to refer to. Such as W3schools, which was and still is one of my best friends as a website developer.
As you learn, try to apply what you've learned. Seriously, make a small project. Simply writing what you're told to does not encourage your brain to remember what you did. Purely with HTML and CSS, you should be able to make a basic website. If you can't think of one, try making a portfolio of yourself. Maybe even a website displaying pictures of birds and describing them. Making your own project is a great way to further build an understanding of what you learned. Be sure to use HTML and CSS that wasn't specifically shown by Codecademy. You can find some by looking through W3schools.
Apply everything you learn.
It's easy to just read up on a new topic, but remembering it for the long term is the hard part. When you learn a new huge skill, try creating a brand new project that largely incorporates it. If you learned something minor, try to add it to one of your existing projects. Research shows that applying what you learn helps to significantly reinforce your memory of it. You also may build a stronger understanding of the topic by doing so. In other words, practice makes perfect.
Do not burn yourself out.
It is normal to be frustrated with code or designing systems. It is normal to get bored of studying or working for long periods. However, you shouldn't push yourself too hard. Otherwise, you might start to unnecessarily hate the career. If you do not need to study or work on projects every day for several hours straight, don't do it. Like a muscle, even your brain needs to take a break and rest days when under constant stress.
Use your resources
Even the most competent developers refer to their resources. This includes Google search, Stackoverflow, forums, notes, etc. You don't need to perfectly remember every single topic you learn. Often, you won't even need to learn every little bit of new technology. When learning to code, you will eventually get to the point that you know exactly what to search on Google. This is especially the case when you would at least skim through the technology's table of contents.
It is great to have a large skillset, but you should not expect to master multiple fields at once. To set your goal to become a full-stack website developer within a few years is a lot to expect. In the end, successful companies usually have teams working together for their websites, not a one-man army. Teams will have people who specialize in certain areas. That said, it may be a waste of your time and effort to masterfully study for a position that you won't be placed in. At the start of your career, I would at least suggest that you pick between becoming a front-end developer or a back-end developer. Maybe specialize even further and be a React.js developer. You can always expand later.
Start your own production project
Knowing how to code is an incredibly powerful skill to have these days. Especially as a website developer. You can create an entire business just from your laptop. Such as blogs, drop shopping, or business analysis websites. You can easily solve the largest expense, which is often the labor spent on development and maintenance. All you would worry to spend money on is maybe a few dollars a month on hosting and a domain.
Becoming a website developer is an excellent career choice. It has high potential peak pay and a comfortable potential starting salary. It's okay if you don't have money because there are so many free courses online. Once you learn the incredibly powerful skill to code, you can get right up and start your own business or join an existing one.