What should I study after learning HTML and CSS?

Completing a course in HTML and CSS (Web Fundamentals) Opens Many Career Paths

After learning HTML and CSS, what’s your next challenge? Well, that likely depends on what you liked most about learning HTML and CSS languages. HTML and CSS may be your first coding languages and are a great introduction to the coding world. At the same time, learning HTML and CSS teaches you to design websites.

Answering this question may help to see your best direction. When you were learning HTML and CSS, which did you enjoy more?

  • The satisfaction of solving a challenging problem (in other words, beating the boss, like on a video game level)
  • Choosing colors, fonts, and images and seeing how they worked together to design the web page

One of the great things about studying HTML and CSS as a first coding language is the fact that it is partly design and partly coding. You can see which part you enjoy more and use that new knowledge to make course and degree decisions.

I loved the problem solving!

There are a lot of directions you can go if you loved the problem solving. A great next step is to learn PHP and mySql, the server-side programming for web, or JavaScript, client-side programming for web. Generally, programmers will make more money in their careers than designers, especially if they have excellent communication skills.

Saint Paul College offers Server-Side Programming in the fall each year, and Client-Side Programming in the Spring. If you are interested in learning more about either of these classes, reach out to Darren.Pearson@saintpaul.edu.

I loved designing websites!

If you enjoyed the website design, there are many directions you can go. To be confident in HTML and CSS, first, you will need more projects to practice on and gain experience. In addition, to design websites you need rock solid Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator skills.

Saint Paul College offers a course in Web Design. In the course you will get more experience making websites with Bootstrap and with WordPress (WordPress.org, not WordPress.com). The focus will be on learning to make websites rather than coding, although coding is an essential part of process of making a professional website. Contact me, Susan Metoxen, if you would like to learn more about the course. At the present time, the course is only offered in the Spring semester.

Saint Paul College also offers courses in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

I just want to make video games!

If you enjoyed both the problem solving in HTML and CSS as well as the web page design, chances are that you enjoy learning to make video games.

Rather than just play video games, why not learn how to make them?

You can learn Video Game Design at Saint Paul College.

When you learn to make video games, you learn graphic design, audio design, HTML, CSS and Javascript, skills that are in demand in today’s careers. Contact t darren.pearson@saintpaul.edu if you have questions. To see all of the games you can learn to make, go to DarrensCorner.com/games.

You can learn to make games like these:

What should I do if I am a programming student but really enjoy design?

In my opinion, the programmers that don’t care about design won’t do as well as the programmers that do care about design. Design and user experience is critical in most programming projects. Except for the most esoteric and academic projects, the end result of your work as a programmer needs to esthetically pleasing to the end user.
If you end up working at a smaller company, you may be expected to do design as well as development.
If you work at a larger company, the roles will be more spread out. There may be a designer who drafts out the web pages in Photoshop, a front-end developer who does the CSS, and a back-end developer that does the programming. Even so, they will all work together on the design, so having a strength in design will be very helpful. 

You could work towards being a “Full-Stack Developer” which means that you work on both the back-end and the front-end of a website. Microsoft .NET developers often call themselves full-stack.
If you are going to Saint Paul College, a programming student could consider at a Web Design Certificate as an add-on or the Web Design course as an elective. In the Web Design course we start out learning more Bootstrap, and then we switch over to WordPress. 40% of the websites in the world are made with WordPress, so its a great skill. The WordPress community needs PHP and MySQL developers.
The most important thing is to pick up as many skills as possible during college to make yourself the best candidate for a Programming Internship. If you are interested in design, you will likely veer that direction in your career regardless of what classes you take.

Susan Metoxen, the owner and lead developer for White Buffalo Websites, is a part-time instructor at Saint Paul College in the Computer Science department. If you have questions about your career in web development, you can reach out to her directly at susan@whitebuffalowebsites.com.