Close

Web Development

Learning your first programming language… quickly

When I played high school basketball…

And, I wanted to become a better shooter… my coach and I spent hours analyzing film of the best shooters at the time. Hand placement, elbow position, follow-through, on and on.

Breaking them down.

Figuring out WHY they were so good.

You start to see trends.

When I first started learning copywriting… one of the pieces of advice I got was to take an ad I knew worked well and write it out by hand myself. It helped embed the flow of a good ad into your muscle memory.

And, again, you start to see trends.

You get a “feel” for what’s good and what’s not.

Sooooo…

What’s one of the best ways to learn a new programming language?

As John Sonmez says:

“I think the best place to start is by looking at the source code of an actual working application. It’s going to feel uncomfortable. You might not feel like you’re understanding anything. [That] is ok. By starting out this way, you are going to have a serious head start over most programmers who have no idea what the programming language they are trying to learn even looks like. It’s always a good idea to get a lay of the land before embarking on any journey. Programming is no different.”

Even better?

If you can get inside that programmer’s head and learn the reasons WHY they made the choices they did. It gives you a depth of understanding that’s hard to rival… and does more that just teach you “what to type”.

It imbues the “spirit” of that programmer into you.

To grow and adapt and make your own.

And, have your own point-of-view and perspective.

Which is what an artist is.

In any case, that’s been my goal with my teaching from the very beginning. That’s why I always say, “It’s less about the code…” It’s more about the why behind it and learning how to be an artist.

Someone unique.

Who can bring something new and fresh into the world.

Not just someone who can regurgitate a block of code…

With no real idea why it’s written the way it is.

Anyway, if you want to dive into PHP and MySQL, HTML, CSS, JavaScript and the like… in this way, then give my web development curriculum on Skillshare a look, because THAT is how I teach.

And, you can get access to all of it for free.

All the details on that are at: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

Later,

John

April 9, 2019

The 80/20 rule of web development

I once did this YouTube video.

It was called the “Exact PHP Skills You Need to Learn to Get Paid to Code.” The idea was there’s all these things you think you need to learn or you get told by some ranting know-it-all that you need to learn…

But, in reality…

You only use a small fraction of those skills on a regular basis.

So, I made a list of the things you’ll use most often as a PHP developer.

The things that make up 90% of the coding I do.

Variables, arrays, loops…

That sort of thing.

It’s been funny to watch the comments over the years. Predictably, a hoard of know-it-alls have chimed in with their “but, but”. “You need to learn OOP and form security and Laravel…”

It always turns into this massive “wish list”.

And sure… learn those things.

But, that wasn’t the point.

The point is… what’s the absolute bare minimum to get started?

Because, the reality is with any language or technical skill, there’s a 20% of all the skills you could learn that you’ll actually use 80% of the time in your work. So, why learn some random thing you’ll use twice a year… when you’re starting?

And ignore or spend less time on something you’ll use over and over again?

You shouldn’t.

Of course, the trick is figuring out that 20%.

Which was the point of the video.

Thankfully, most people get it.

I’ve had probably 10 times as many positive comments like this:

“I’ve been coding for two years, read almost every book you could read cover to cover. I knew the languages and even how to use them, but I felt as if I had to be perfect and and that I needed to remember every tag, property and function to be considered a professional. I was anxious that my skills were not up to par, but listening to your podcast had helped me realize I have the skills to be professional web developer. Thanks man.”

Which was the entire point.

To free you up from that “perfection trap”.

Thinking you need to learn 1000 things before you can get hired.

You don’t.

In any case, I think that’s why my students tend to have success coming out of my PHP course. Because, I teach them the things that they’ll actually use in their jobs, not 1000 obscure things they’ll use once or twice…

But, that make me look smart.

I don’t care about me.

It’s YOU that matters.

Anyway, if you wanna take my PHP course, you can get access to it for nothing over on Skillshare. And yes… when you’re done with it, you can jump into my PHP OOP course and the other advanced PHP courses I have, as well.

They’re all over there.

And, you can access them all for free.

Link for all the details on how is here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

Later,

John

March 21, 2019

The fastest way to learn development

I’ve mentioned before…

How PHP was my first language and it took me nearly five years to learn it to a point I could perform job-wise with it. Yeah, that was in the early 2000s when training resources were pretty much non-existent.

But still…

I made a lot of mistakes.

And with the way things are now…

You can’t afford to spend that much time learning a language.

Hell, React is just 5 years old now.

And, it’s all but taken over the JavaScript world.

In any case, I learned my lesson with PHP and when it came time to learn jQuery (back in the day), it took me about 30 days to get functional with it. These are the things I changed that made the difference.

Scope.

The first thing you need to do is figure out the “what”. The big picture “these are the skills I need to learn” to do XYZ with this language, framework, whatever. Big thing here is to be realistic.

You don’t need to learn everything right now.

Chunk it out.

And, keep the scope small enough you can actually get through it.

Next, you need a metric.

This is maybe the most critical part. Too often, I see developers get caught in this endless cycle of learning. Never really knowing how far they’ve come or where to stop or pause. It’s just on and on.

Waiting for some magic moment…

When they’ll feel “good enough”.

It doesn’t happen that way.

For each “chunk” or “phase” of learning, you need to have some way to determine IF you’ve learned the skills you set out to learn. So, “If I can build an HTML form that successfully submit data to a MySQL database without help.”

Or, “I can build a website template from scratch.”

Whatever it is.

You need some way of knowing you’ve finished that “phase”.

Next is resources.

HOW are you going to learn these skills? YouTube videos, Udemy courses, signing up for a site like Lynda or Skillshare, books. Again, whatever resources you prefer. But, map this out BEFORE you just dive into a bunch of courses.

Make sure they’ll teach you what you need to learn.

And, don’t get distracted by “bright, shiny objects”.

A big part of learning fast is discipline.

Next, is your final plan. “I’m going to learn these XYZ skills. My metric is ABC thing I will be able to do. I’ll be taking the GHI course to learn how. And, my goal is to learn all this in 30 days.”

I’m telling you…

IF you can get that straight in your head BEFORE you start…

You’re going to learn so much faster than you’re used to.

The final thing, then, is to “learn by doing”.

Development is not a spectator sport.

You can only do so much reading or watching. The #1 trait a developer has to have in order to be successful is a willingness to break things… then, figure out how to fix them. That IS the underlying ethos, so to speak, of our industry.

A bunch of people breaking existing things…

In order to make new things.

So, there you go…

Like I said.

You follow what I just showed you…

And, I’m telling you…

You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can learn new things.

Speaking of the resources part, this is one of the reasons I really love and put all my courses over on Skillshare. We are in an industry that is constantly evolving and new things are coming out all the time.

And, we have to keep up.

Having a learning platform where you just get access to everything (over 21,000 courses) makes it a lot easier to stay committed to constantly learning and upgrading your skillset… without paying through the nose for it.

Anyway, as a teacher there, I can give you an *exclusive* 2-month free trial of the site. You’ll get full access to all my web development and freelancing courses (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL, WordPress)…

Plus all 21,000 other courses on the site.

If you’re interested, you can learn more about it here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

Later,

John

March 12, 2019

Why you’ll never make it as a developer

I was watching this YouTube video the other day.

Guy was a home-builder and he was talking about siding… some of the stuff he does to insulate and protect homes. And, when you look at his stuff, the finished product, it’s obvious… guy knows what he’s doing.

The homes look amazing.

The videos are really good.

He has several hundred thousand subscribers.

It all seemed amazing.

And then, you check the comments…

What a horror show. 300 response threads of people arguing over what he said at 5:18. Or, one-liners like “Idiot”. Several hundred comments and there were maybe a handful of positive ones.

Even though the like to dislike ratio was extremely positive.

Video had millions of views.

That should tell you something about people.

This is something you’ll have to face as a developer. A client, a co-worker, a customer, friends, family… as someone who creates things and puts themselves out in a vulnerable way for others to evaluate…

The majority of what you’ll hear will be negative.

It took me a long time to figure that out.

I used to get so upset and insecure about it.

When I’d create some thing, proudly show it to a client… and they’d give a quick “Oh nice.” And then rattle off a list of 10 things they’d like changed or “fixed”. It’s tough. But, you gotta learn how to handle it.

Primarily, you have to learn how to ignore most of it.

You can have all the talent in the world.

But, if you let other people’s opinions get to you…

You’ll never make it as a developer.

You’ll drive yourself nuts.

The big key to that is having your own perspective.

Developing your own opinions with time.

Having your own standards.

Being an artist with what you do.

When you do that, you naturally don’t worry what others think.

You only really care about what you think.

Because your standards are higher than theirs.

In any case, take that for what it’s worth today. Just struck me as I came across the video. I remembered all those little moments of pain I went through and how learning to ignore them made such a difference in my career (and life).

Speaking of careers…

If you’re in the learning phase of yours and HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, OOP or MySQL is on the list, let me give you a hand. My curriculum on SkillShare will teach you those things and more.

And, you can get access to it for free.

All the details on that are here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

Later,

John

March 8, 2019

What languages and frameworks to learn as a new developer

One of Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Effective People” is:

“Begin with the end in mind.”

When you do, what you need to do now becomes much more clear. It’s the same with your web development career. A lot of people ask me what languages they should learn and what order they should learn them in.

The real answer is:

I don’t know.

That depends on your end.

Here’s what I mean.

If you want to work at Google, for example, Golang might be something you wanted to learn since it’s developed by Google. If you want to work at Facebook, you might dive into learning Hack and React.

But, if you’re a freelancer…

None of those languages will help you all that much.

A lot of start-ups use Node.

Java is big in the corporate world.

See where I’m going with this? Depending on what career path you want to take, different languages are going to be more or less important. The truth of this is there’s no one path… contrary to what some of the know-it-alls in the dev community say.

But, even taking a step back from that.

Frameworks and applications affect this, too.

If you want to work with WordPress, you’ll need to learn PHP.

If you really like Django, then probably oughta learn Python.

Node, Angular and Vue? Learn JavaScript.

The thing to think about is this:

“On a daily basis, what are the kinds of projects I want to work on? Who do I want to work on them for? And, what tools do I want to use?” When you figure that out, the languages you need to learn become obvious.

And no.

Your answers probably won’t be perfect the first time.

You’ll try this and hate it.

Realize you love this other thing you thought you’d hate.

Etc.

But, if you just keep assessing it.

Keep asking the right questions.

You’ll settle into a groove.

The one thing you absolutely DO NOT want to do is waste your time trying to find the “one right path” or over-worrying about career prospects and all that. COBOL is almost 60 years old and largely obsolete.

Yet, there’s still over 1,000 COBOL jobs on Indeed.com right now.

In any case, if you think it through and HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and MySQL are in your “stack”, then check out my curriculum over on SkillShare. I’ll teach you all that and you can get access to it for free.

Link for all the details on that is at: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

Later,

John​​​​​​

March 7, 2019

What tricks most NEW developers

There’s a saying:

“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

Wise words particularly for new developers. By far, the most common questions I get about becoming a developer relate to getting started… what languages to learn, courses to take, tools to install, etc.

But, the truth is…

Picking “right”, on any of these questions, is not what separates successful developers from unsuccessful ones. It’s having A plan and executing on it, not spending forever devising the “perfect” plan.

Take Lynda.com, for example.

When Lynda Weinman first started the site back in 1995, it was built to let her communicate with people who’d bought here book, Designing Web Graphics. By 1997, it morphed into a sales site for in-person classes.

It wasn’t until the dot-com crash that they considered doing online video.

In 2001, after the crash, business started to slow up.

They were forced to lay off 75% of their staff.

And, THAT’S when Lynda.com, as you probably know it, was born. Then, in April of 2015, it was acquired by LinkedIn for 1.5 billion. Point is, her plan wasn’t perfect. But, she got started.

And evolved and adapted along the way.

THAT is the name of the game.

So, early on in your career, you should be dabbling.

Trying all sorts of things to figure out what you really enjoy…

And, what you’re really good at.

ACTION brings clarity… not endlessly thinking and re-thinking.

In any case, this is why SkillShare is so appealing to me, especially for new developers. Unlike Udemy and other similar sites, you get access to the entire library of courses for a low monthly fee.

So, you can dabble without worrying about wasting a bunch of money.

Or, obsessing over which courses to take.

It’s like the “Netflix for online learning”…

And, a perfect fit for today’s constantly-evolving technology environment.

Anyway, if you wanna give it a try and get FULL access to all 21,000 courses, including my own web development curriculum, I can give you an *exclusive* 2-month free trial of the site.

Link with all the details on that are here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare.

Later,

John

February 11, 2019

How to start your web development career on a rock-solid foundation

Two terms you’ll want to write down for today.

First one: Skill-Stacking.

You know this, but probably haven’t thought of it this way. A lot of developers ask me what they should learn. The real answer: ALL of it. The more skills you stack in your arsenal, the more valuable you’ll be to employers.

And, more importantly, the more adaptable you’ll be when s!@# changes.

And, s!@# changes… a lot.

You shouldn’t be stingy about what you learn in the beginning.

Learn it all.

Stack, stack, stack.

Second term: Credibility-Stacking.

This one I don’t think near as many people think about. A lot of times you’re just desperate to get a job or get paid to do this. But, you need to have discipline. And, patience. Stacking your credentials properly early on will make this WAY easier.

There’s several different “categories” of credibility to stack.

It starts right off the bat with your training.

If you’re going to a college or university, pick one with a prestigious name. Or, clout in the industry you want to get into. Going to the #1 tech school in America sounds way better than going to A school with A tech program.

Think strategic right from the start.

Next companies and clients.

Really think about who you work with.

Pick companies with a brand name or clients who are well-known. Yes, I know… you gotta GET those jobs. But, here’s a simple one. IBM tends to hire like crazy, hires junior developers with little experience and has a good brand name.

So, if all else fails… apply there.

Next is volume.

Saying you’ve built 113 membership sites has a certain ring to it.

An whiff of credibility.

You don’t need to tell anybody that 60 of those were sites you built just to build so you could say you built 113. Actually build them and do the work… but a build is a build is a build is a build.

In any case, hardly anybody thinks about this stuff.

But, the start of your career shouldn’t be about money.

It should be skill-stacking and credibility-stacking.

Do it. Do it aggressively. Do it right.

And, by year 5… things will start getting REAL easy.

AND THEN, the money will come.

Anyway, you know the drill. I’ve got a curriculum of coding courses if you need help learning HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP or MySQL. CSS Grid, AJAX, CSS transitions, OOP. Whatever. It’s all there.

And, you can take it for nothing on SkillShare.

All the details on how are here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

Later,

John​​​​​

February 7, 2019

How to THINK like a developer

What makes a developer truly a developer?

I’ll give you my answer in a second.

But think about that as you read this…

So, I got this email question from Mike:

“I’m stuck at a beginner level. I’ve followed tons of tutorials and did a 3 month full time web dev boot camp. But I cant seem to get past the hurdle of being able to write a program myself. I consistently fail interview tests as my programming logic skills are low. I seem to be stuck at this beginner level. I need to learn how to think like a programmer…. Any ideas or tips?”

Think about that.

It actually doesn’t make sense, does it?

How does someone spend that much time learning and still not be able to sit down and crank out an application? Shouldn’t be that way. And, I’ll just tell you from the emails I get… he’s not alone.

Is this something YOU have struggled with?

If so, let me tell you how this happens.

It’s one of the “dirty secrets” of the coding tutorial industry.

I know that sounds a bit “Ok, whatever”…

But, I really, truly believe this.

It’s the problem with project-based courses, which I absolutely think have their place, BTW. But, when you follow along as someone else builds a program, you don’t have to solve all the little programming problems that come up.

They’re solved for you.

It’s very rare that an instructor even mentions those problems…

Let alone makes YOU solve them.

They just run through the code and show you what to type.

A good one might mention them off-hand.

But, almost nobody labors over those points.

Because, frankly, coding students don’t like it.

They don’t think they need it.

When they absolutely DO.

So, what happens is you never learn how to connect problems to applications and vice versa. That’s WHY you can go through a crap-ton of training, but feel lost when you sit down to write an application.

If all you’ve ever done is project-based courses…

Or, haven’t specifically learned application design…

Then, you’ve actually never done this part of it.

And, here’s the kicker… that’s the most important part.

This is the analogy I use…

Imagine a painter who learns all the technical parts of painting a landscape. Trees, mountains, water, grass, etc. That’s good. You need to know those. But, will knowing those make you good at composition?

At putting all those things together into a painting…

That elicits emotion?

That makes people say “WOW”?

That has a perspective?

Does a well-executed tree make someone a true ARTIST?

It’s part of it, but it’s not all. It’s not the main thing. It’s the ability to capture moments and elicit emotion. To have a point-of-view AND THEN be able to execute on that point of view.

It’s having an “eye” for it.

It’s similar with web development.

What makes you a developer…

Is your ability to identify problems.

Come up with new ideas for solving them in better ways.

AND THEN, execute on those solutions.

And, that’s what you miss with most project-based courses. To me, the answer is to learn application design. To understand how to connect problems to their solutions and how to design applications from scratch.

This is precisely why I named my OOP course, Build Professional Applications With Object-Oriented Programming. Object-oriented programming IS the/a method for application design. And, a damn good one.

When you understand it…

And, how it connects to object modelling.

And, database structure.

The code almost literally writes itself. Again, I know that sounds hypey, but that’s WHY so many people swear by OOP. Because, it gives you a way forward for designing your applications.

You don’t have to guess.

Or wonder.

Or stare blankly at your code editor.

You know where to start and how to proceed at every step.

There’s still problems to work through.

Always.

But, you have a road map for how to get your application built.

Anyway, all this is what Lesson 11 in my object-oriented programming course takes on. Teaching you how to design applications in the most scalable, modular and efficient way possible.

If you’ve found yourself dealing with “blank screen” syndrome…

I truly believe this will help to cure you.

In any case, you can take the course for nothing over on SkillShare. All the details on the course and how to get free access are here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/oop

Later,

John

February 4, 2019

Web development isn’t that important

For real.

Think about it.

When you lay your head down at night and think about all the things you want for your life right before you doze off… yeah… you dream about PHP 8 I’m sure. You see yourself chained to a desk, typing code…

THAT’S what you really want outta life.

Uh-huh.

Or, Thanksgiving.

When you’re sitting around the table with your family, big spread of food you’re about to rip into and you’re telling everyone what you’re thankful for… I’m sure it’s “Well, I’m thankful for CSS transitions, React… definitely react… Node…”

No!

Of course, you aren’t.

Cause you’re a normal human being.

Not some code-obsessed psychopath.

Point is… coding, web development, design… all of it… is a MEANS to an end. Not and end in and of itself. The trick is not to fall TOO in love with learning it and become a permanent student.

Like I see so many do.

Learn it.

Learn it quick.

And, USE it to build the life you REALLY want.

With the things you’re REALLY after.

House, car, husband/wife, kids.

Whatever that is.

Coding is your vehicle to get it.

Don’t forget that.

That’s also why my coding curriculum is designed the way it is. To help you learn how to code FAST. To teach you the “muney-makers” you’ll use over and over in your career so you can get hired, get clients or build that next big app.

HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL… freelancing.

It’s all in there and you can get access to it for nothing on SkillShare.

All the details on that are here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

Later,

John

December 17, 2018