The Webolution: How learning minimal code can help kick-start your freelance web design

If you are looking to start a career in web design, then you are on the right track to a fulfilling career in which you’ll create tangible results. Most web developers will tell you that the pleasure of seeing the end product from your contribution to designing a website is incredibly satisfying. On top of that, you will be working in an ever-evolving industry with new codes to learn, new ways to design websites always being released, and what’s more, you will get to choose your career path. Want to become a high-paid Java developer? Want to become a game developer? Maybe you want to work for one of the big web builder firms or become a freelance web developer. Or you could just shift your career to graphic design and design Editor X style websites or vice versa. The choice is yours!

As many already working in the industry will tell you, becoming a web designer opens the doors to a world of career opportunities, and one of the most popular career paths today is gaining experience and then doing it alone as a freelancer. However, the question is where to begin? Well, the best way to get your foot in the door and kick-start your freelance web design career isn’t necessarily to learn every language under the sun. By learning just a small amount of coding techniques.

What is minimal code?

Minimal code is the very basic level of the code’s language

In short, ‘minimal code’ for a beginner is just learning the basics of a coding language. Notice the key phrase here? ‘Coding Language’. Before you begin learning code, you need to choose a coding language to practice with. This is where your journey into learning code will begin. When you begin, be sure to set your goals (a few outlined below), find a resource, download an editor, and then start to code. If you are still stuck for ideas, then why not check out one of the ‘Coding for Dummies’ resources or books to get you started.

Here are some things you should try to create when you begin learning code:

  • Start to build a website (you can modify it as you learn)
  • Find a web template & redesign it
  • Try to design a basic JavaScript game
  • Design a basic app (anything simple)
  • Create an RNG program
  • Use Python to learn web scraping

What about learning minimal code using HTML?

The most prolific coding language out there is HTML. If you want a good introduction to coding, then HTML is a great place to start. You can start with simple steps such as learning how to edit text and create links on a web page. When you use an HTML editor, you can immediately see how different combinations of letters and combined code can alter the look of a webpage.

Here are a few simple challenges to get you started:

  • Learn how to format text (bold, italic, underline) using HTML5
  • Learn how to create a link to another page on your website
  • Learn how to add parameters to the link to open it in a new tab
  • Learn how to create headers

What career paths can learning minimal code take me through?

There is no definite answer to the career path you will take in web development. Different contracts, jobs, or freelance opportunities all have the potential to take you on different paths. Even graphic designers will tell you the same thing. Many graphic designers end up learning minimal code and then find themselves coding using Java, Python, Kotlin, going deep into frontend development, or even getting into blockchain tech.

One thing is for certain unless you pick a coding language and start to learn how to use its minimal code parameters, you will remain on the fence. That’s the hardest part. Sitting down and beginning. Just remember, everyone has to start somewhere. Even if you work an hour a day on a new type of code or project, you will be amazed how far you’ve come in 1 month, 6 months, and/or a year.

How can I land my first web development freelancer job?

There are plenty of websites that allow you to sign up and apply for freelance web development work. Some are marketplaces where you put up a service and wait to get notices, while other websites will require you to find available freelance work and send in an application to the person advertising the job. However, before you start to apply for freelance jobs, be realistic with yourself when it comes to your level of skill. The worst thing you can do is oversell your abilities and then find yourself stuck. Learning on the job is all very well, but you certainly do not want to get stuck. As such, your first freelance job should be something along the lines of supporting other web developers. This way you will be working with skilled pros who can teach along the way.

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