My journey so far as a Web Developer Student

Five months ago, I left the software developer career to embark on a new journey as a web developer student at Humber College. The education system is different and the professors are great mentors. Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and my past work experience as a .NET developer played a vital role in the adaptation process.

Time flies too quickly and I am through the second semester already. Just one semester has been completed so far, but the learning curve has been tremendous. We have been introduced to all the web technologies that work on the client side of the client-server architecture. I started with a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS, and the course carried me a long way ahead as we learned a lot about HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. Before starting the web development program, I was not even aware of something which is very important, accessibility. I can now create web pages that not only have nice designs but also have the correct semantic meanings which are accessible to people with disabilities. I also gained valuable CSS3 skills to create responsive websites as well as experimenting animations using CSS and JavaScript. Being a passionate programmer, I really enjoyed learning JavaScript through the semester, solving different programing problems, learning about JavaScript built-in functions and manipulating the DOM. As part of the JavaScript team project, we have built a restaurant website and I had the opportunity to experience the new HTML5 canvas element to create a rigged contest, and made use of GIT for versions control.

For the database course we used Oracle, which remains the most popular database today. The course was a review for me, with some minor syntax changes compared to what I used to do in Microsoft SQL Server. Nevertheless, the professor managed to bring a great momentum starting from the basic Data Manipulation Language (DML) statements, going through Data Definition Language (DDL) statements and finally anonymous PL/SQL and stored procedures. Of course it would have been a bonus if we covered triggers and views, but we did have a time constraint of 15 weeks. We were also introduced to ASP.NET web forms using C#. For the final assignment we had to build a simple Content Management System (CMS) using web forms. This has been all the technical skills acquired so far during the first semester.

Finally, I am very glad that there is a project management course as part of the semester. We are all learning how to create web applications and CMS systems. But, apart from having the necessary technical skills to fulfill the job, it is also important to know how to convince the client to give you the project, or most important of all, how much are you going to charge them for the project and how long it’s going to take you to deliver the final product. That’s where we got to learn the role that a project manager plays in a project, how to come up with a good strategy for the client’s product, how to prepare or write a project proposal, how to estimate the budget and timeline of the project, and the importance of having a good contract.

What is coming next this semester is in depth server side programming. The two main areas will be: to work on a CMS project using ASP.NET MVC5 with C# and a second project using PHP as the server-side scripting language. Furthermore, we will learn how to write well-formed XML and how to create web services. Again, on the non-technical side we will be guided how to write a requirements document.