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    Could learning a markup language before an actual programming language be harmful?


    Hey guys, aspiring programmer here.
    I'm young, only a freshman in high school, and attempting to get a jump on the game.

    I was thinking about learning HTML to do freelance work and get some cash, but I wanted to know, would it be harmful? By this I mean could the fact that it's so drastically different impede my learning later on?

    Or is it simply just not a wise decision, which languages are most needed? I wish to be easily hired.
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    Learning something new like this is never going to impede any future learning. At best, you'll know more then everyone else. At worst, you'll have seen a bit of what goes on before you get "recognised" training in it.

    The big thing to remember is that you need to figure out what you want to end up doing with what you learn. HTML is great if you want to start on web development. However it's pretty useless if you're wanting to get into application development where you'd need something more like Java or any one of the C family.

    If you are looking at web development then start with HTML, and in that process you'll also learn CSS. Well, you should at least because the two are pretty much set to go together. From there, start on JavaScript to add some more functionality, and a server-side language like PHP, Python or even .NET so that you can do things dynamically. All of these extra languages will need you to know HTML in the first place otherwise you won't have any idea of what you are trying to output, so learning HTML is defiantly going to be the best place to start.
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    Originally Posted by Catacaustic
    Learning something new like this is never going to impede any future learning. At best, you'll know more then everyone else. At worst, you'll have seen a bit of what goes on before you get "recognised" training in it.

    The big thing to remember is that you need to figure out what you want to end up doing with what you learn. HTML is great if you want to start on web development. However it's pretty useless if you're wanting to get into application development where you'd need something more like Java or any one of the C family.

    If you are looking at web development then start with HTML, and in that process you'll also learn CSS. Well, you should at least because the two are pretty much set to go together. From there, start on JavaScript to add some more functionality, and a server-side language like PHP, Python or even .NET so that you can do things dynamically. All of these extra languages will need you to know HTML in the first place otherwise you won't have any idea of what you are trying to output, so learning HTML is defiantly going to be the best place to start.
    Well, the thing is I'm not really too interested in web development, I think its really cool and I would like to learn it, however I'm really short on cash and HTML had waaaay more job opportunities than anything I was seeing. Mainly because almost every company needs a website.

    That's why I was asking, in the long run I likely won't be using HTML much, I'll likely be moving on to actual languages.
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    If you don't even know HTML then don't think about trying to earn some quick cash doing websites. While you might be able to do this, you'll soon come up against a whole lot more then you thought of at the start. What would you do if someone wants a dynamic CMS-based site? What would you do if the client wants to change the colours on the site? There's a lot of questions like this that I could throw at you, all with the same result. Really its like asking how you can make money fixing cars when you're not a mechanic.

    I also don't believe that any job only requires HTML. All web development or designer jobs will want that because it's such a global starting point. Unless you also know CSS and javascript you won't get a job with a company that does it professionally, and any company that you approach about you developing a website for them will not be impressed by you really not knowing what you are doing.

    If you are going to do it yourself... then what is your pricing structure based on? Where will you get your designs from? What will you do about hosting and domain names? What about email systems? Do you have any experience with producing graphics? Where will you get images and photographs from?

    Unfortunately there's a whole lot more to getting paid for a website then just throwing some HTML together. People can do it without knowing what they are doing and get paid for it, but that is a really short-sighted approach because no one goes back to a developer/designer that doesn't know how to answer the basic questions.

    After all this... I'm not saying don't learn. I'm saying don't go and sell yourself for a service that you are not sure that you can provide. Go and learn the basics, do a few websites for free for family, friends or whoever, and when you have a couple of sites in your portfolio and you understand what you are doing a bit more, then go out and try to get some paying customers.
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    Originally Posted by Catacaustic
    If you don't even know HTML then don't think about trying to earn some quick cash doing websites. While you might be able to do this, you'll soon come up against a whole lot more then you thought of at the start. What would you do if someone wants a dynamic CMS-based site? What would you do if the client wants to change the colours on the site? There's a lot of questions like this that I could throw at you, all with the same result. Really its like asking how you can make money fixing cars when you're not a mechanic.

    I also don't believe that any job only requires HTML. All web development or designer jobs will want that because it's such a global starting point. Unless you also know CSS and javascript you won't get a job with a company that does it professionally, and any company that you approach about you developing a website for them will not be impressed by you really not knowing what you are doing.

    If you are going to do it yourself... then what is your pricing structure based on? Where will you get your designs from? What will you do about hosting and domain names? What about email systems? Do you have any experience with producing graphics? Where will you get images and photographs from?

    Unfortunately there's a whole lot more to getting paid for a website then just throwing some HTML together. People can do it without knowing what they are doing and get paid for it, but that is a really short-sighted approach because no one goes back to a developer/designer that doesn't know how to answer the basic questions.

    After all this... I'm not saying don't learn. I'm saying don't go and sell yourself for a service that you are not sure that you can provide. Go and learn the basics, do a few websites for free for family, friends or whoever, and when you have a couple of sites in your portfolio and you understand what you are doing a bit more, then go out and try to get some paying customers.
    Sounds good, thanks.

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