HTML—HyperText Markup Language—is one of the most important languages you’ll need to learn if you’re interested in programming. It’s become almost indispensable and universal in the programming world, since the development of most web applications and web pages involves the use of HTML.
So you know you need to learn it. Now the question is: how to master HTML quickly and effectively, without losing your mind. We’ll lay out your options for learning and practicing HTML, so you can choose the best one for you and start your coding career.
HTML: A Brief History
HTML was created by English engineer and computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. Hypertext simply means text that contains references or links to other texts that users and viewers of the page can access instantly. Since its inception, HTML has grown rapidly in popularity and is now considered the official web standard.
How Is HTML Used?
HTML allows you to format and organize documents, almost like Microsoft Word but using code. Once you’re up and running, you’ll be able to create sections and paragraphs, structure them, add headings and links, and ultimately create an entire web page - one bracket at a time. A web developer can do a lot with HTML, but it’s important to remember it’s not a programming language—you can’t use it to create dynamic functionality.
Simple code structures like tags and attributes are used while working with HTML to mark-up a webpage or document. For instance, if you want to create a paragraph using HTML, you place your text within a beginning <p> and a closing </p> tag. The same process is repeated to formulate subsequent paragraphs in the document. The tags that go into building a page are also referred to as elements, and are seen as the building blocks of webpages.
Skills Required for Learning HTML
Let’s take a look at some of the foundational skills needed to excel in HMTL.
Besides technical knowledge, you have to develop strong interpersonal skills to become a successful developer. In your day to day role, you’ll work with a team of other developers, designers, and content developers. So you need strong communication skills to help you coordinate with different professionals across various departments. Together you’ll discuss designs, problems, plans, strategies, and share feedback.
It helps to be creative, quick-thinking, problem-solving, and intellectually curious to maintain relevance in the field. You need to well-versed in translating designs into code, writing technical documents, and meeting deadlines for projects. The tech industry is a notoriously fast-paced environment, where you’ll need to stay on top of trends and develop new relevant skills with pace and ease. By the same token, you’ll need to keep an eye on what’s becoming obsolete.
Traditional Learning Options for HTML
There are many different learning routes to acquiring HTML skills. Below is a snapshot of some of the most popular options.
A bachelor’s or associate’s degree in web development, web design, computer science, or computer programming, will all have HTML as one of their course components. A bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete, while an associate’s degree is generally finished in two years.
There are a range of certification courses in HTML that can be completed online. These paid courses are taught by professionals from the industry. Some certification courses require you to already have some basic coding and programming experience. An exam at the end of the course enables the institute to certify your proficiency in the subject.
Bootcamps are another option if you’re looking to save time and money on learning HTML. Bootcamps take place over a much shorter time than traditional education options, with some as short as a couple weeks. They offer intense training in a particular area and focus on the fundamentals.
Teaching Yourself HTML
It is possible to learn HTML on your own, as many successful programmers will tell you. You can watch video tutorials on YouTube, or try out some free courses to get acquainted.
You can get involved in online groups and communities of like-minded self-learners and amateurs who are trying to make it on their own. This will help you build an amateur network in the field and will be a source of motivation and accountability (which we all need sometimes). Practice makes perfect, and HTML skills are no different.
Self-learning will save you time and money, as well as give you the flexibility to practice at your own pace. But a self-learner is likely to have a few gaps in theoretical knowledge, as the key missing element will be expert guidance. It’s almost always better to go for a structured education option as a foundation, and pursue self-learning and practice further down the track - after you’ve had some guidance to help you through the initial frustrations.
Key HTML Terms
There are some key terms that all HTML developers need to know. It’s worth getting acquainted with these terms before you set out on your HTML learning journey.
- Alt-Text – This is the description of a graphic in text form, which appears before the graphic is uploaded into the browser.
- Angle brackets – These are less than (<) and greater than (>) signs that enclose an element to create a tag.
- Element – In HTML, there are two types of elements. An element may refer to a tag, such as <head> (for a headline), or <p> (for a paragraph), or it could be an element of a document’s structure, such as body, title, and paragraph.
- Tag – Tags are the fundamental aspect of HTML code that controls the appearance of the document’s content.
- Browser – Any program used to access and display HTML documents is known as a browser. Some common examples of a browser are Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer.
- Document content – This refers to the parts of the web document, such as graphics and text, that developers intend the user to see.
Career Options for HTML Developers
Now that you have an understanding of the skill sets and learning options for HTML, you might be wondering if it’s a good career choice to pursue. Demand for web developers is increasing day by day, so it’s certainly a safe choice in terms of employability. And with salaries ranging from $50,000 to $120,000 a year, a web developer with HTML skills can easily turn their coding prowess into a lucrative career.
Many organizations work on a project-by-project basis, so you may also want to consider freelancing. This will allow you to learn new skills with each assignment, and work with a range of different companies.