Welcome to the Treehouse Community

Want to collaborate on code errors? Have bugs you need feedback on? Looking for an extra set of eyes on your latest project? Get support with fellow developers, designers, and programmers of all backgrounds and skill levels here with the Treehouse Community! While you're at it, check out some resources Treehouse students have shared here.

Looking to learn something new?

Treehouse offers a seven day free trial for new students. Get access to thousands of hours of content and join thousands of Treehouse students and alumni in the community today.

Start your free trial


10,616 Points

Roadmap Webdesigner?


I´ve began for some months with modifying some phpbb3 files and became interested in WebDeveloping .... 2 weeks ago I started to learn it from the scratch to be able to play out of my ideas.

I was getting stunned with alle the possibilites and the freeom as WebDesigner, that I´m no planning to work as web-designer.

Im really enjoying fixing bugs/problems and find my way on my own to create the sites I´m reaching for. 2 days ago I noticed teamtreehouse and Im pretty impressed about the possibilities to learn programming languages that cool way.

But as I´m looking forward into my future I got some questions,hopefully you guys can help me =)

1) I´m planning to learn the Front-End-Developing first (HTML,CSS,JQuery,Javascript) ... but what is else required to become a freelancing webdesigner? illustrations?photography? CEO?

2) Which CMS are recommended for Designers? I read a lot of customers want CMS ... so it would be wise to begin as fast as possible to get into one, or?

3) It is recommended to perfectionate single programming languages or are allrounders the better Designers?

4) Are you learning every new language you are interested in from the scratch or are you growing with your projects?

5) Which platforms are recommended for beginners, where you can show your work and ppl are giving you feedback to your code ... ? Also I´m looking for a platform where I can begin to design homepages for customers without getting payed ... only for learning purposes ... getting used to the work as designer and getting more experienced till I`m enough experienced for getting payed.

6) My main goal is to work as a freelancing web designer. Have you got any recommended roadmaps from a beginner to a freelancer?

7) When you`re interested to work as an freelancing webdesigner in the future ... is it recommended to study webdesign or is it more recommended to teach everything yourself and grow with your project?

I would be very thankful if you could answer my questions =)

My English isn`t the best currently ... so if you got problems reading and understand me .... just tell me.


2 Answers

I'm not a full-time web designer by a long shot, so take my advice with a grain of salt. Also would be happy for others to offer insight too, in case I'm missing something obvious.

1) - What's required for a freelance web designer? Basically, you need a) knowledge b) tools c) actual projects and d) lots of persistence and grit to came out alive victorious. Treehouse offers a fairly complete coverage of entry topics in web design - you definitely would benefit from being fluent in JavaScript and jQuery, since every interactive website will need some of that. Backend programming is optional - you want to be a web designer first, right? You can use JavaScript for writing a backend to hook the client-side part of the site up with, but if programming is your cup of tea, knowing at least two programming languages (so no HTML or CSS) is a great start. It prevents developing a tunnel-vision of knowing only one way to deal with things in first and only language.

2) - Which CMS? I don't know. Wordpress is an extremely popular choice, but as long as you can find a niche where you can excel at, it should be good. Advice: choose a platform and learn it thoroughly, whether it be wordpress or developing Tumblr or Django-CMS themes.

3) - Focus on one language or several? You need to know at least one language really well. Having a shallow understanding of several languages at once is confusing, and inefficient. With that being said, while learning, say, JavaScript, there is a point where you can move onto learning another language in parallel - if you have mastered the basic syntax and can write scripts that are actually useful, that might be a good starting point for branching out a bit. To me JavaScript together with either PHP, Ruby or Python seems like a decent choice.

4) - Learning every new language from scratch or growing with projects? Not sure if I understand this correctly, but -- it's fairly safe to say that with every new language learned (especially of similar programming paradigms), it gets easier to get in touch with new languages, which means you no longer need to spend a lot of time taking introduction courses aimed at complete beginners (i.e. explaining what a variable is) - but it's a good idea to not skip on reading too much, since every language has some quirks and gotchas that can backfire if overlooked. Definitely work on own projects, especially after being done with the courses here on Treehouse. Some things can only be learned with practice like that.

5) - Platforms for showcasing work, code & getting feedback? The most popular 'social coding' website out there is GitHub. If you haven't yet, you have to check it out. Many web designers enjoy the community of Dribbble - it's aimed at the visual side of things, do don't expect to have much showing of actual code there. Finally, for showcasing complete solution for a specific CMS (Wordpress, Tumblr, Ghost, etc.) or other... thing, it's a good idea to launch a sample website using that code and visuals - this is good for complete work and convincing the client in your favor. Ultimately a live example is the strongest. For showing off JavaScript in the browser, JSFiddle is a good choice.

6) - Roadmaps to freelance career? Sorry, I don't know any thorough ones. Spending a weekend researching and saving links, blogs, sites for later reference is a good way to get started though.

7) - Study web design or teach everything yourself? Again, I don't know. A study environment can prove to be a stimulating experience that leads to accelerated growth, but learning X yourself is also an option - furthermore, financial questions depend greatly on your social status on country of residence.

Would love to hear if others have to add anything.

10,616 Points

Thank your for your answer!

4) I mean if you are in need of a feature a new language can provide ... are you just getting the code snippets or beginning the language from the scratch till you understand the whole code.

6) I´ve spended a lot of hours/days in researching ... but didnt found any clear answers. So a answer from an experienced freelancer would be nice =) Want to know which road is eligable to get work later on. I think going to study for 2 years with just a few hours insight into the web development is kinda senceless ... in that 2 years you couldve learned so much more =)

But hopefully I(we) get some more answers here =)