As some of you may know, I’ve been studying a course on Web Development for some time now. With the abundance of free time medical retirement has offered me, I have restarted this course which had been left several months back for reasons of health, work and then no work. It’s called “Become a Web Developer from Scratch” and it’s taught by Victor Bastos. This is my review of the course so far.
“Become a Web Developer from Scratch” Udemy course review:
I’ve, admittedly, only completed one Chapter of this course, but thought I would give a review of how it’s going so far and my thoughts. First, some stats about the course:
- The course cost $199 (£125/€159).
- There are 8 sections (or chapters), each of which is a different web development language to learn.
- The course teaches Basics, Back end development and front end development.
- There are 233 lectures made up of 37 hours worth of video presentations, PDF’s and code examples
- No “Death by PowerPoint”. All videos are screencast’s where you watch Victor explain the subject
- The course is self paced and you can ask questions to the 44000 strong community of learners on the same course.
The entire course is set up of Lectures, one after another, most about 5 to 10 minutes in length. Each video is a different topic about the language you are learning. Victor Bastos, the lecturer, will take you through the examples and explain how each part of the code works together. Examples are given throughout the videos which you are encouraged to try to improve on yourself. The last source code is available to download for each video so you can check your code to his.
Should you run in to any problems, each lecture has its own discussion board, where people can post questions which will either be answered by Victor himself, or other users further along the course than you who may well have come up against the same problem. If there are any major problems, you can message Victor personally who will get back to you ASAP.
As you progress through the section, you learn more and more complex skills of the sections’ language. By the end, you’re ready to put it all together to build a final project. In the first section of XHTML & CSS, you learn how to write a very modern looking website from the ground up. Every aspect of the final project is designed to use all the new skills you have learned in the section.
The course is structured as such that you learn the very basics first (XHTML & CSS) and then add to it by increasing the complexity and usability of your skills. In all, you learn ten separate and essential languages to help build modern and dynamic websites:
- XHTML & CSS
- PHP & MySQL
- HTML5 & CSS3
Some may wonder why you learn the outdated code first, and the most modern standard last. The explanation from Victor is simple: many websites you see out there today are still coded in older styles of HTML. If you learn the old code first, it makes it easier (and makes more sense) when you learn the new standard of HTML5. Personally, I agree with this. You learn the old (often harder) way first, then find out there’s now an easier way of doing it. Isn’t that always the way?
There is no previous knowledge of coding, HTML, internet or anything to be able to take part in this course. As long as you can handle a browser (which, if you’re reading this, you can) and a text editor, you have the necessary skills to start.
No one is perfect:
Considering this was Victor Bastos’ first ever course teaching through videos, it’s fair to say there are some rough edges here and there. First off, as you may have guessed by the name, Victor is Portuguese, so he is teaching this course in a second language. He has an accent, but speaks very clearly so that nothing he says is a total guess. My main quibble about the course is that unlike some more commercial or professional videos (from other resources such as Treehouse), the lectures to have a feeling of improvisation about them. By this, I mean that Victor will often write out code and then change his mind about what to right and start again. There are the inevitable mind blanks whilst he tries to think of what to type, and, of course, code errors. Hey, no one’s perfect. That being said, the code errors are good, because not only does it give you a chance to spot them before Victor does in the video, but also shows you what little errors in code can throw up, and potentially save you hours of searching for errors in your code down the line.
Personally, I’d like to see the lessons build towards a bigger picture. For example, to be shown the final project at the beginning of the section, so that when Victor cover’s something you can visibly see on the page, he could refer back to it saying “see, this is how we can use tables for these individual text boxes” etc. My final critique is that there are sometimes subjects that Victor will glance over or not explain as clearly as I would like. This is where broader study has to come in. I have read books on the subject alongside the lectures to help reaffirm what was covered or even find things that were missed out. For HTML & CSS, I highly recommend the HTML & CSS book by Jon Duckett, or one of the Head First books by O’Reilly.
Future of the course:
I’ve had this course for nearly two years, and it’s already been refreshed and updated once since then. Victor, along with some of the first students to take the course, are setting up an online training academy called Onclick Academy which is currently in Beta. All the videos are there from the Udemy course, but with some nice updates where user feedback has pointed out improvements. Victor also recently announced that he is working on “Become a Web Developer from Scratch 2.0”, which will be a completely new course with updated lectures and explore other languages for web development.
I may not have finished the entire course yet (I’m only 25% of the way through), but I do find it very useful as base for learning. However, I would recommend that you also read supporting books on each subject which may explain subjects in more detail or new subjects that Victor may have missed out. I also use the W3Schools website to back up the lectures as this is also a good resource for learning and code examples and has lessons on 6 of the 10 languages covered.
If you’re a budding Web Developer in the making (like me) then I would highly recommend this course. For the price, there are few out there to match it with such responsive teachers and such a large community. The course has a promising future too, so it’s not likely to go dead any time soon.