One of the smaller things that irked me about the Computer Systems Technology program as I attended my first few semesters was the emphasis on web development skills. In your first term in the program you are required to take a web-dev course, and my project course in the following term happened to also be web-based. As someone who did not initially intend to spend so much time opening and closing html tags, I began self-evaluate the usefulness of the web material. How much breadth the skills I learned in the class applied to the other aspects of becoming a software developer. I had to know the time I was putting into it was worth something. Upon introspection and reflection, I realized how much I could not avoid learning about web development if I wanted a greater understanding of developing code as a whole.
Grasping Design in Code
Admittedly, one of the things I had always struggled with was my art skills. To be able to design without the use of steady hands but with code is a blessing to me. However, learning Python or Java (non web-development languages) graphic code as a beginner was particularly frustrating as I was still really new to the concepts of development. That’s where web-dev comes in. When coding HTML and CSS elements, there is almost always an immediate feedback system once you’ve made changes. Changed the background colour? With a quick refresh you can tell whether or not you applied the correct syntax if the colour as changed. I would argue it is the easiest to design with code like structure than any non-web development languages. The staples and nuances of design carry over however, so one does not lose out on time spent if you didn’t want to focus too much on it like me. Now when I design applications in mind (in particular mobile applications), a lot of the graphic elements of web pages coincide with what happens to look good for mobile applications as well. Although it was not my original intention, I found learning web development a great enhancing to my understanding of software development in general.
Getting Your Ideas ‘Out There’
Outside of making its own social media page, creating a website about the thing you are making (even if the website itself is the thing you are creating) is the easiest way to put your idea on the map. Even if you developing a product, how else will you direct people to access your product? Most would deliver it via website, so why not have the skills to understand and create your own? The idea of a web developer developing their own personal portfolio page from is a great way to show off your skills to potential employers. And for a primarily software developer developing their own portfolio? That just shows even more skills to potential employers.
Flip Side: Why Waste Your Time?
That being said, both these points are applicable to if you were to use a service such as Squarespace or WordPress. A user who is interested in making a blog might not want to go through the process of learning complicated frameworks, or even just basic HTML or CSS functionality if they only are interested in writing. A user with a product already in hand might also not want to waste time website building as opposed to using a service to get their website/idea from zero to deployed in one sitting. The answer to this counterpoint is simple: you are a developer.
Just like in any other code, you are understanding logic, hierarchical structure, and correct syntax to get a particular result. Any time spent in this manner, regardless of the specific language, should be maximized if one’s goal is to become the best possible developer you want to be. And although I want to get out into as soon as possible as someone who develops code, I know there is no shortcuts to competency. I’ll be taking any chance I can to improve my skills. So even if I wind up in a different context developing outside the web browser, I know my time was still well spent.
Don’t think one should spread their skills so thin? Want to ask a question about CST or ask about any potential articles about CST in the future? Leave a comment below!
So as we go,
Benedict Castres Jr