Becoming a freelance web developer: which language is best?

Choosing web development as your profession is a wise choice if you are someone that has an eye for detail and a flair for creativity. In fact, some people find success in the industry without the creativity side of web dev because they work with others that look after the aesthetics. As a freelancer, most of the time you will work within a team to bring the final web design online. So long as there are creative minds within that team, all you need to do is master a web dev programming language and use strategies to ensure you pay attention to detail. It is the single most important skill involved with launching a successful career and harnessing a solid reputation as a talented freelance web developer.

If you feel confident enough that you can organize code, templates, scripts, and document your work, never leaving out the fine details involved with web development, then the next step is to learn a programming language to get your freelance UX designer career underway. The big question now is which language is best?

What is the most common programming language for freelance work?

These days, you will need to learn a mixture of different codes. Websites today use HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, and more. These are the 4 most common web development languages used, and as a result, they are in hot demand.

  • HTML: It will not take you long to get to grips with the HTML programming language. There’re tons of resources out there, plenty of software to practice on, and there is a high demand for HTML developers.
  • CSS: CSS goes hand in hand with HTML. If you are going to learn HTML, you may as well do so in the same breath as HTML.
  • JavaScript: JavaScript is a useful skill to have, and if you master this programming language along with HTML and CSS, you will be in high demand as a developer, which also means you can charge higher rates.
  • PHP: PHP is extremely easy to learn. The only problem is that it is not always very well paid because PHP developers are a dime a dozen. If you are looking for low-paid work, but plenty of it, then PHP might be the router for you.

Note: Choose whether you want to learn front-end or back-end web development using these codes. There is Front-end web development for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, while PHP is commonly for backend development.

How do I practice learning the codes?

You can buy software, but often this can be quite expensive. In general, there are not many ways to learn for free, unless you have someone with a web server that will allow you to jump on and set up a new directory on their host server to practice. Certainly, don’t try buying cracked software because you will open up your computer and internet to all kinds of trojans–cracked software is a hacker’s paradise to getting full access to people’s computers.

Luckily, there are plenty of resources out there that will guide you. As this topic is far beyond the scope of this article, one of the best publications out there right now is ‘11 Best HTML & CSS Code Editors for 2022’. This guide is perfect if you want to get started in web development because HTML and CSS are the 2 languages you should tackle first. JavaScript should come later due to its complexity. Also, as a side note, once you have HTML and CSS under your belt, you will already be in a good position to begin landing freelancer jobs.

What about other programming languages with the potential to charge higher rates?

The key phrase here is ‘one step at a time’ or ‘learn to walk before you run’. Yes, you are keen, and you want to hit the ground running. However, finding jobs for, let’s say, Java development in Android or Swift for iOS mobile app programming where you can charge higher rates is difficult. If you are a freelancer, you need to build up a profile first. To do this, one of the above 4 mentioned codes will be the best place to start. Once you have a good grounding in coding, you can then investigate learning other programming languages used in web development.

Just like people say, if you learn to speak a foreign language or already speak one, it is much easier to pick up another language. Technically speaking, the principles apply to coding. That said, if we made a direct comparison, most spoken languages have a structure behind them like Latin, while computer coding languages can be vastly different in structure from one to the next. However, learning a new coded language when you have already mastered another is certainly less daunting than starting fresh.

Key tips to choosing the best programming language to start your web dev freelance career

Weighing up the information in this guide, to become a freelance web developer, you will need to have an eye for detail, while creativity is a bonus, however you can also bypass this by working in a team. Your next step is to choose whether you want to become a front-end or back-end developer and then choose the programming languages you want to learn. Once you have a few projects under your belt, to stay competitive as a freelancer, start to look at other programming languages you can learn so you can apply for higher-paid contracts and increase your worth as a freelancer.

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