Learning Web Development in Cape Town

Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
15
#1
Hi there folks

I am currently studying an llb law through Unisa, which is going quite well. I will soon have the opportunity to move to Eastern Europe (not sure where yet), and have hit a wall in realizing that at nearly 23 I still have no practical skills to speak of.

The reason for this is that I would like to have only a simple skill which I can use to earn a very basic living and register a business in whichever country I will be in. Unfortunately an SA law degree is of no real use here. After some critical thought, the closest thing I have to a skill is being somewhat "good with computers" for what it's worth.

Therefore, I figured that creating very simple websites for small businesses and asking a fee is my best bet at ever earning my own bread. (that is, outside of South Africa)

I have played around with intro to programming before, such as java, html, and have enjoyed it and managed to understand these concepts very easily, I do feel naturally comfortable with grasping them.

Are there any courses in Cape Town where I can be taught all the skills necessary to create basic websites, from start to finish?
Does my plan sound viable at all?
 

DarkDragon

Active Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Messages
81
#2
Have a look at the following places:

Codecadamy
Freecodecamp
Udemy - The complete web development bootcamp by Colt Steele

Good luck.
 

ronald911

Expert Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2007
Messages
1,475
#3
Hi there folks

I am currently studying an llb law through Unisa, which is going quite well. I will soon have the opportunity to move to Eastern Europe (not sure where yet), and have hit a wall in realizing that at nearly 23 I still have no practical skills to speak of.

The reason for this is that I would like to have only a simple skill which I can use to earn a very basic living and register a business in whichever country I will be in. Unfortunately an SA law degree is of no real use here. After some critical thought, the closest thing I have to a skill is being somewhat "good with computers" for what it's worth.

Therefore, I figured that creating very simple websites for small businesses and asking a fee is my best bet at ever earning my own bread. (that is, outside of South Africa)

I have played around with intro to programming before, such as java, html, and have enjoyed it and managed to understand these concepts very easily, I do feel naturally comfortable with grasping them.

Are there any courses in Cape Town where I can be taught all the skills necessary to create basic websites, from start to finish?
Does my plan sound viable at all?
The thing with web development - demand for certain technologies change all the time and there's no real "create website from start to finish" kind of vibe.

I'm a freelance full stack web developer. I learnt by building my own little websites and GOOGLING every single problem that arise - that's probably the biggest skill any developer needs - how to Google. From how to make this button work, how to CRUD from my database, how authentication works, how to install this dependency, to why the hell am I getting this error?
Just keep making. It's gonna be a grind. You're probably gonna wanna throw your computer out of the window at some point when you just cannot figure out why something isn't working the way you want it to.
Your first website is gonna suck.
Second website also gonna suck, but will be better than the first website. And it goes on like that.

My current stack is Python (with Django or Flask) as my backend language and regular HTML, CSS and Javascript frontend. I'm currently learning React.

If I were to start from scratch now, I would most probably learn NodeJS and React as the demand from a freelance point of view is a lot higher than Django/Flask. But if you were to build things for yourself, try a few languages and see which one works for you.

Buy a domain name for, build a portfolio website.
Learn to host it on a Linux VPS - Vultr is nice, you can run a server for like $3/m and have a few sites going at the same time.
Please do stay away from shared hosting its not cool, not flexible and you'll generally have to run outdated technology to make it work.

Share your findings on your website, what you made, what you're learning, what you're doing etc. Share them on twitter, forums and even Product Hunt.
Yes, Twitter. Twitter is great for Devs. Join dev communities like Work in Progress.
Be aware though, you'll probably lose your social life for the first few months (or years) - but your online connections from all around the world will grow even faster. Lots of people from eastern europe in the tech scene - see this as an opportunity to make connections while you learn. Eastern European governments are spending a lot more on developing their internet connections than in Western Europe, so the startups scene must be booming there.

Good example is Romania... Worst roads in Europe yet amongst the best internet in Europe.

Get a coffee grinder + buy coffee beans (R170 / kg) at Checkers. Works out R2 to make a plunger. You're gonna need good REAL coffee and a lot of it.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Cheers
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
15
#4
Thanks for that thorough advice Ronald, I appreciate it.
The thing is, I don't know anyone who does any coding, and the prospect of taking on something like this on my own without some sort of support / guidance in the beginning seems very daunting.
I just found this place online for instance and I thought this could help to get the ball rolling, but at R30 000, it's pricey.
 

ronald911

Expert Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2007
Messages
1,475
#5
Thanks for that thorough advice Ronald, I appreciate it.
The thing is, I don't know anyone who does any coding, and the prospect of taking on something like this on my own without some sort of support / guidance in the beginning seems very daunting.
I just found this place online for instance and I thought this could help to get the ball rolling, but at R30 000, it's pricey.
Don't do courses, coding bootcamps, etc. They're a huge waste of money, unless you really cannot teach yourself because you can learn EVERYTHING online when it comes to coding and for free too. (Nothing against PHP, but that course is gonna be teaching you PHP for R30k when we live in a time when everything is moving towards Javascript)

There's better teachers online in forums and chatrooms with hardcore practical knowledge than you'll ever find at Universities, Courses etc.

I also didn't know anyone coding except for my brother but we rarely code together - sometimes work on the same projects for fun but that only started after I started finding my feet.

I kinda felt lonely in the space too and at times unmotivated as you mentioned but then I started finding developers (or Makers) via Twitter who kinda inspired me to get into coding, Pieter Levels and Yongfook were HUGE inspiration!

Here's a whole list of the cool peeps.
https://twitter.com/yesnoornext/lists/wip-family/members
 

PrinceVlad

Active Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Messages
73
#6
I can echo everything @ronald911 said. I started web development in April last year after practising law for 13 years. Initially I also looked at doing a bootcamp, but soon realised that it is just to pricey.

I have tried different platforms for courses i.e. Pluralsight, Datacamp, Codecademy, Udemy, Edx and Coursera. I have personally found that I have benefited more from the courses on Udemy.

The Colt Steele course mentioned is very good and he has a follow up course now as well. I am currently busy with https://www.udemy.com/the-complete-web-developer-zero-to-mastery/ which I find also find to be very good. Andrei, the instructor also has a follow up course which seems to be good.

It is good to do and complete a course but in the end it comes down to how much you code. The way I like to think about it is that the course gives you the "background" info or foundation and the coding thereafter cements what you have learned.

Hope this helps.
 

HennieWelkom

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2018
Messages
658
#9
You learn by doing, fortunately, it does not take that much to start building a portfolio of websites. I would say you really need to be familiar with 5 core technologies to be a basic web developer. HTML5, JavScript, CSS3, Bootstrap and JQuery.

There are loads of CSS and javascript libraries you can get into but that is the core, as for PHP I would start working on a server-side language when I know I have a paying gig that requires it.
 

ronald911

Expert Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2007
Messages
1,475
#10
as for PHP I would start working on a server-side language when I know I have a paying gig that requires it.
I would however say, get used to a server side language regardless. Gotta learn how to let the frontend communicate with the backend. That was my biggest learning curve to be honest.
 
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