How To Become A Web Application Programmer

How To Become A Web Application Programmer

Postby Richard Akindele » Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:02 am

Who is a Web Application Programmer?

This is a computer programmer that creates dynamic web sites.
Simply put, a dynamic web site allows visitors to create their own account, and then login to interact with the website.

Typical interactions on a dynamic website include posting messages, searching for information, sending email, uploading images, etc.

This website: nairaland.net is a good example of a dynamic website. Websites such as this one are created by Web Application Programmers.



Compensation

How much do Web Application Programmers earn?

A beginner might work for USD10-20/hr. A seasoned programmer can easily earn USD120/hour. That is US Dollars/hour.



What knowledge is required to become a Web Application Programmer?

It'd be helpful if you have previous programming background. Any programming language has the following basic parts: Variables, String, Operators, If...Else, Switch, Arrays, While Loops, For Loops, Functions, that you won't need to re-learn.

If however, you don't know any programming language previously, you can still survive by just working hard. It'd take longer to become a web application programmer, but eventually you will get there.

I've broken the learning process into categories below to simplify things. It consists of three categories: Basic-Level, Mid-level, and Advanced-Level. The Basic level is quite easy to learn, particularly HTML, CSS, and XML.

Basic: HTML, CSS, Javascript, HTML DOM, XML, DTD.

Mid-level: Ajax, JQuery, DHTML, XHTML, XPath, XSLT, SOAP, WSDL.

Advanced: PHP, Apache, MySQL, Linux.

Alternatives:
ASP instead of PHP
Microsoft IIS instead of Apache
MsSQL instead of MySQL
Microsoft Windows instead of Linux

Extras: Photoshop, Flash.


Let's look at each level in turn.

Basic-Level: HTML, CSS, Javascript, HTML DOM, XML, DTD.

Your journey begins from here. You have no choice than to learn these first. Don't waste your time learning programs like Dreamweaver. Just learn these subjects and you'd be able to do anything that Dreamweaver can do.

Learn them in the order listed, i.e. learn HTML first, then CSS, Javascript, HTML DOM, and finally XML+DTD.



Mid-level: Ajax, JQuery, DHTML, XHTML, XPath, XSLT, SOAP, WSDL.

The mid-level stuff are nice to know, but not essential in the initial stages. In fact, I would suggest that you skip the mid-level, and go to Advanced. You can then return to mid-level anytime at a future date.

Note: Do not even touch mid-level, until you have mastered the Basic-Level: HTML, CSS, Javascript, HTML DOM, XML+DTD.



Advanced-Level: PHP, Apache, MySQL, Linux

When you have understood the basics, and possibly gone through the mid-level, you should now be ready for the advanced stuff.

In the Advanced-level, you start by finding a web server that provides PHP and MySQL services.

Alternatively, if you own a computer, you could install PHP and MySQL servers on it.

You can learn a lot by visiting: http://www.php.net/ and http://www.mysql.com/

Once you've learned PHP and MySQL, you're now ready to tackle Apache.

Finally, you can delve into Linux, which is the glue that ties everything together.


Alternatives.
Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP is one path to follow to become a web progrogrammer. However, it's not the only path. You can learn alternatives as shown below:

ASP instead of PHP
Microsoft IIS instead of Apache
MsSQL instead of MySQL
Microsoft Windows instead of Linux

In other words, instead of the set:
PHP, MySQL, Apache, and Linux,
you could learn a different set, such as:
ASP, MsSQL, IIS, Ms Windows Server.

Both sets allow you to do the same thing - build web sites, and the learning curve is pretty much the same.

If both sets are the same, how does one decide which set to go with?

The set:

PHP, MySQL, Apache, and Linux
is comprised of 100% free programs. They are referred to as open source programs. You simply download the programs and install them, free of charge.

On the other hand, the set:

ASP, MsSQL, IIS, Ms Windows Server may cost you some money to purchase the programs.

Many reasons exist to be for or against a particular set, but the fundamental difference between the two sets boils down to money. One is free, the other costs money.



Extras: Photoshop, Flash, A+, Network+.

After you've learned how to program, you can then learn Web Design.

Usually, Web Design is a separate specialty. Most web programmers don't know much web design, while most Web Designers don't know how to program.

In any event, as a Web Programmer, it's useful to know a bit of Photoshop and Flash. The more you know of these programs, the more well-rounded you'd be as a web tech person.

Web programmers almost always know hardware and networking too. A+ certification teaches you hardware, while you learn computer networking with Network+ certification. These are not essential in any way to programming. Well, maybe that is not entirely true, since Networking will teach you TCP/IP, which comes in handy in some programming tasks.



Learning Curve

How long does it take to become a Web Application Programmer?

The answer depends on how much time you devote to learning the various components, and how motivated you are.

If you work hard, and are long-suffering, you could learn everything in about 2 years.

You then need a few more years of continuous experience to become an expert.



Education

Do you need a Bachelor's Degree to work in this field?

You generally do not need a Degree. However, people with degrees in Computer Science, are often paid better.



How does a Web Application Programmer look for work?

There are positions advertised all over the Internet.
Just search online for the appropriate keywords, e.g. web application programmer php mysql

You can also look for jobs at places like:
http://www.elance.com/
http://www.freelancer.com

You bid for posted jobs, along with other programmers. If the client picks you, you would do all the work from your home.



Recommended books

Books are good to read, but you generally don't need books in this profession.

You should just search online for the keywords related to the subject you want to learn.

Example, if you want to learn PHP, you would search for: "php tutorials".

A good site to start with is: http://www.w3schools.com/

However, it's not a bad idea to read books. You often obtain a fuller knowledge that way.

The following are good books to read:

MySQL by Paul Dubois
MySQL Cookbook by Paul Dubois
Javascript by David Flanagan

Books published by O'Reilly are very good. So you're unlikely to go wrong with books written by their authors.

As a rule of thumb, before you buy any book, go to http://www.amazon.com/ and read reviews on that particular book.


If this article helped you, do let me know.

If you have questions about the info presented, don't hesitate to ask.


Good luck on your journey toward becoming a Web Application Programmer.
Richard Akindele
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1120
Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:33 pm
Location: USA

Postby fw12 » Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:36 pm

This is an excellent article by the Admin.

A profession like this is one that any serious person could go into, without even going to school. The compensation is excellent.

Instead of ruining the nation's reputation with 419, all these 419'ers should actually consider a career like this.

India is known for getting Information Technology outsourcing jobs that earns India Billions of Dollars yearly. Nigeria on the other hand is known for 419 fraud.

We need career professionals in Nigeria, not career crooks.

The good thing about becoming a Web Programmer, is that you can be employed by anybody in any country. You're not limited to employment in Nigeria alone.

Kudos to the Admin for a fabulous job.
fw12
Nairaland Junior
 
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:35 am

Postby fw12 » Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:44 pm

Are you a professional?

Write a How To Become A ... article, same format as Admin's.

Sometimes people want to go into a particular field, but don't have a clue how to get started.

You articles would help the up-and-coming off the ground.
fw12
Nairaland Junior
 
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:35 am

Postby Richard Akindele » Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:21 pm

[update]

Frameworks
In addition to the programs I listed already, if you are going to learn PHP, you must also learn PHP Framworks.

Employers are increasingly demanding knowledge of Frameworks. There are many Frameworks, the most popular among them being: Zend, CodeIgniter, Symphony, Yii, Kohana, Prado, Cakephp.

OOP
While you can use procedural programming techniques to develop websites, OOP is increasingly becoming indispensable. It's not a bad idea to start learning oop techniques, especially since it is required for using Frameworks.
Richard Akindele
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1120
Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:33 pm
Location: USA


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