4 Skills New Developers Need to Succeed in Web Development

For those of you who dream of sitting at a computer, with your VS code editor open, writing the code for the software/program that will eventually be the next Google or Netflix, let me give you some useful advice. Here are 4 skills new, aspiring coders/programmers need to succeed in their quest of becoming awesome web developers:

Pay Attention to the Small Details

Coming from a creative writing/editorial background, this should be a no-brainer for me. In the editorial field, much like in the technical field, checking manuscripts and articles for small details is a huge part of my job. Missed periods, run-on sentences, or misspelled words are things I know to look out for when writing an article or editing a book. Because I’ve been doing it for so long, it’s almost second nature now.

And yet…

Make Sure Your HTML is Linked to the Right CSS File

I just spent the last 1.5 hours reviewing my code in VS Code editor, Googling “how to add background color to border HTML”, and copying and pasting color pallets off Paletton trying to figure out why my webpage wasn’t updating with the changes I was making on the CSS style sheet after repeatedly refreshing the page.

I had my HTML file linked to the wrong CSS file!

Originally, when I first linked my HTML file to my CSS file, it was saved as “practice-style.css” but I changed it to “style.css” in my file directory. However, I forgot to go back and change it in the HTML file. Thus, all the changes I was making weren’t being reflected in HTML because there was no file named “practice-style.css” anymore. Once I realized my error, I changed the linked CSS file to “style.css” in HTML, refreshed the page in Google Chrome, and gave a shout of victory that I figured out the problem! The small details really do make a difference!

Always Check the RGB Numbers for Color Codes in CSS

And speaking of small details making a difference, adding color to a webpage is part of the fun of web development, especially when using an outside source. Sure, you could use the preset colors in VS Code but I personally love using Paletton to get my choice of color. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve played around with it but as my mentors always tell me “the best way to get better at coding is practice, practice, practice.” So I did. I opened up VS Code and Paletton and, after finding a color I wanted, I copied the RGB number and pasted it in my CSS file.

I refreshed my Google Chrome tab and… nothing happened.

color code from Paletton in VS Code without #

Naturally, I grew frustrated and finally decided to review my Udemy course to figure out where I had gone wrong. It took me all of 15 seconds to find the CSS video in the course and determine where I messed up: I had forgotten the “#” in front of the color code.

color code from Paletton in VS Code after “#”

If I hadn’t reviewed my course, I probably would have wasted more time trying to find an answer on my own. This is why reviewing the material is important. Software engineer Scott Bromander recently told me, “You may forget a crucial skill as you’re learning. You can’t watch a video for the first time and expect to duplicate the same results on the spot without going over the material and practicing; that’s a setup for failure.” He’s right. This is why practicing and taking time to understand and learn the fundamental concepts and building blocks are essential.

Give Yourself Time to Learn and Practice

Programming is hard; everyone knows this. But it is a skill and the great thing about skills, especially technical skills, is that they can be learned. It’s often said in programming circles that practicing every day, even for 10 minutes, is better than not practicing at all. I’m putting myself on the chopping block, as I’m getting back into practicing with my Udemy course, after not being able to for about 2 weeks. If you find yourself in a similar place, just pick up where you left off and start again.

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