Best Online Resources for Learning Web Design & Development

As the online population continues to grow and more businesses strive to improve their digital persona, the demand for web designers and developers is forecast to keep rising. Companies are willing to pay a premium for web professionals and the average salary for front end web developer is now approximately $74,000 in the US. For the averages of other countries check out this infographic created by staff.com.

The freelancing community has also grown exponentially with websites like Odesk.com, Elance.com and Freelancer.com advertising thousands of web design and development projects each week. Many of the freelancers taking those jobs are self taught and the talented one often make in excess of  $5000+ per month working from home.

If this is a career that interests you, you don’t require a college degree or savings to invest in an expensive course. Anybody with a computer and an internet connection can be learn to become a fantastic web designer or programmer from the wealth of free and cheap resources online. It only requires you to have a very strong self-discipline to master the art of creating websites.

There are several sites that offer self-paced tutorials on different aspects of website creation and most of them are free. However, some premium teaching sites charge a fee for more intensive training. These subscription-type tutorial sites require payments because they offer curriculum-based tutorials via video lessons. Paid members-only sites also charge because they offer an interactive method of online teaching. They have instructors who regularly interact with students – usually via Skype so students can ask questions directly with the experts.

If you don’t mind reading long lines of text-heavy lessons, then the free sites are good enough. If you want a more comfortable and a faster way of learning, you should sign up for a subscription from any of the members-only tutorial sites. Although many will argue a web designers should have some HTML and CSS skills, I have split the learning resources into sections – one will deal with just design elements (i.e. photoshop, mock ups etc) and the other section will be more about coding. Some of the online resources will be in both categories.

Online Resources For Learning Web Design

TutsPLus

TutsPlus Tutorial Website

The Photoshop tutorials on TutsPlus are almost obligatory lessons for any person who wants to make a career in web design. Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard for creating online graphics and whilst some web designers may use another graphics software package, the vast majority will be a whiz with photoshop. This software is used to create mock-ups of sites including navigation buttons, banners, backgrounds, and other user interface graphic elements.

Treehouse

Team Treehouse Tutorial Website

Treehouse is a commercial site that charges a $25 monthly fee from its silver members ($250 annual subscription is also available) although you should check out their latest discounts out Treehouse coupon codes and discounts page. The membership privileges include access to all the 1,000 video training library of Treehouse. This site has an interactive element designed to challenge its members. It has quizzes to test the progress of members. Those who excel are awarded badges of excellence.

Udemy

Udemy Online Learning

Unlike Udacity, Udemy requires people to spend money in buying individual video-based courses on web design and programming. The site has a huge library of design courses created by experts. Course lessons are priced from $ 5 and up, depending on the complexity of the required training.

UI Patterns

UI Patterns Website

Websites also need to be user friendly. No matter how good a website looks or how cleanly it was coded, site visitors won’t come back if they have a poor user experience. UI Patterns will train designers on how to create  effective user interfaces for different types of target audience.

Online Resources For Learning Web Development

WebMonkey

Webmonkey Tutorial Site

Webmonkey is a free resource site for beginners interested in learning web development. The tutorials on this site are made by seasoned programmers and designers who already knows what works best in real-world website creation. This site is backed by www.wired.com.

W3Schools

W3Schools Tutorial Site

W3 Schools is also suited for learning the basics of HTML, CSS, and PHP programming. It is free and offers laddered lessons on various web programming languages. This site has a nice interactive feature that let students do live markup coding on the browser.

WPBeginner

WPBeginner Tutorial Site

WordPress is a very user-friendly platform for designers who are not yet confident with their HTML, CSS, and PHP coding skills. WPBeginner has step-by-step tutorials on how to use WordPress to create simple blogs, dynamic company sites, and complex database-driven e-commerce websites.

Treehouse

Team Treehouse Tutorial Website

Treehouse teaches all the main elements required to create websites and mobile apps. Due to the size of quality of its learning resources (i.e. a 1,000 video training library) it charged a flat fee of $25 a monthly or $250 for annual subscription. There teaching methods are interactive and there is a strong community feel. It is recommended if you want a structured learning process with plenty of support.

LearnCMS

 LearnCMS Tutorial Website

This site provides tutorials for all the popular Content Management Systems (CMS) available in the market today. It offers detailed lessons on Joomla, Drupal, DotNetNuke, Moodle, vBulletin, and Alfresco. LearnCMS also offers training on several web frameworks like Zend, CodeIgniter, and Django.

CodePlayer

The CodePlayer Website

The CodePlayer has free video walk-throughs detailing the steps on how to create web apps in HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript. The videos show a split-screen view of the live code inputs and and preview of what the codes are creating in the browser.

Codecademy

Codecademy Tutorial Website

Another free site that’s full of high-quality tutorials is Codecademy. The site asks new learners to sign up for an account but does not require any fees. Members enjoy a progressive set of interactive lessons which covers most of web programming languages. Codecademy also have quizzes and a badge reward system.

Code Avengers

Code Avengers Learning Website

Code Avengers has a fun approach to teaching web programming. Although the site only offers lessons on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, it has won much praise because their free tutorials are very engaging. The site offers mini-games after each completed lessons so learners get to relax in-between lessons.

CodeHS

CodeHS Programming Tutorials

CodeHS  has an unconventional method towards training people in web programming. Absolute beginners learn how to program via the site’s Code with Karel the Dog interactive lesson. The said lesson demonstrates to beginners that computer programming is just like giving commands to a pet dog. In spite of its non-formal way of teaching,the site has a progressive curriculum that helps students learn coding in a fun way.

Udacity

Udacity Tutorial Website

Structured like a university for web development courses, Udacity requires people to enroll and attend virtual classes like they do in a real brick and mortar college. The courses on this site are only available according to the announced schedule. Udacity is free and all the highly interactive courses are created by technology professionals . The site also offers high-quality video lectures.

Udemy

Udemy Online Learning

Unlike Udacity, Udemy requires people to spend money in buying individual video-based courses on web design and programming. The site has a huge library of design courses created by experts. Course lessons are priced from $ 5 and up, depending on the complexity of the required training.

Lynda

Lynda Online Learning

Lynda is one of the biggest portals for online learning. They offer a vast range of topics and they have some very excellent video-based courses on web design. You can pay $ 25 per month to get unlimited access to their entire course catalog. People can also sign-up for a 7-day free trial first before committing themselves to a subscription.

Infinite Skills

Infinite Skills Online Learning Portal

Another commercial video-training website is Infinite Skills. It is similar to Udemy, people can buy HD-quality video courses on various topics. Infinite Skills’ video training products are all project-based. People learn programming by watching the lessons and then replicating the step-by-step procedures shown on the videos.

Code Racer

Code Racer Tutorial Website

This site provides another unorthodox way of teaching web development. In Code Racer, a person learns HTML, CSS, and JavaScript by playing a racing game. The  lessons are gradually taught by letting users finish programming challenges before the enemy cars does. Code Racer is a great fun way to master the codes behind website creation.

Code School

Code School Online Learning

Code school has a freemium tutorial service. Most lessons are free but people can upgrade to a paid account to access mode advanced lessons. Code School also uses the highly interactive “learn by doing” approach for its training courses. Members are given four different learning paths towards learning web development: Ruby, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, and iOS.

Learning jQuery

 Learning jQuery Tutorials

While most of the other sites offer various courses on several web programming languages, Learning jQuery is singularly focused on teaching people how to use jQuery to empower websites. The lessons are mostly text-based but they are free.

SQLCourse

SQLCourse Tutorial Website

Another single-topic website is SQLCourse. Sequential Query Language(SQL) is the database language of choice among web developers for creating database-driven sites. SQLCourse offers a highly interactive training for learning SQL. The site has an online SQL interpreter so people can immediately see how SQL statements are made.

Conclusion

Learning web design and programming need not be expensive or frustrating. Beginners can quickly equip themselves with the necessary skills at their own pace without overloading their brains. The websites mentioned in this articles have thousands of lessons.

People who are just starting need to focus first on mastering the fundamentals of Photoshop, HTML5, CSS3, and PHP. Once you are proficient with these core skills or an expert in one of them, there are plenty of potential clients that will pay for their expertise.