Creating my new portfolio – WebDev 101

I have always picked up bits and pieces of coding of all sorts since high school. The pieces never got to assimilate to provide me with enough confidence in my web development skills though.

Since undergrad I have been ‘trained’ to be a UX designer, which included a higher aesthetic appreciation for the usage of every pixel on any screen, but never really much about coding those pixels into place.

Whether a UX designer is to be limited to only curating and outlining experiences or should he/she also be able to get his/her hands dirty by coding prototypes out is quite debatable.

Nevertheless, a couple of months ago, I set out to re-learn the tools that would help in sharpening my web development skills.

I soon realized that I did not need a book, given the vast resources available online. I would like to share the links to what helped me over the past two months:

General

The web developer roadmap

Stack-overflow (Of course)

W3Schools (The cheapest and best way to learn the basics)

HTML5 / CSS3

Google Code University – HTML, CSS, and Javascript from the Ground Up

CSS Tricks (This site proposes multiple pure-CSS solutions for every CSS related question you may have)

Lynda.com – CSS (Subscribing to classes on Lynda.com costs about $32 a month, but it was worth every cent to me! )

HTML5 for dummies (Good tips here, scattered all through the book)

JavaScript ( & jQuery)

Douglas Crockford’s JS videos (Just sit through these. You are bound to learn a thing or two)

Codecademy – JS Fundamentals (Free, intuitive, magnificent)

.appendTo (Video series for JS and jQuery –  Very organized and well instructed)

Great references:

Mozilla Developer Network (very well documented for JS and CSS)

jQuery main site

Though befitting knowledge sources seem to vary a lot from person to person, I hope the above links are of some help to someone out there.

I used the above online resources to continue learning and refine what I knew, but the best way to learn is to just dive in and try to create something from the ground up!

I tried doing that and re-created my site last weekend using CSS/HTML?JS (jQuery). You can find it here:

www.vikramchatterji.com

If YOU sir/madam, my occasional reader, could spare a moment and provide some feedback and/or criticism for my portfolio, I would really appreciate it so that I can improve upon it further.

The résumé of the future

When it comes to open education, I am somewhat of an incorrigible optimist. I believe knowledge should be free and experts should facilitate this by trickling down their words of wisdom into the minds of those interested.

This is finally happening. The right to quality knowledge shall no longer be hinged on the condition of having a good bank balance, or speaking the ‘right’ language.
The right to quality knowledge, soon, shall be hinged on only having a decent internet connection.

Open source knowledge and learning platforms are phenomenal for a lot of things, but I can’t see them being called an ‘Education’.

They can only be facilitators and helpers in the pursuit of learning. An education is so much more. An education includes learning from others through exchange of dialogue. An education means learning to be humble and courteous in your exchange of ideas. An education, for me, can only be achieved through a physical institution.

So when wonderful initiatives like Coursera, Udactity, The Khan Academy are called the future of education, I have to disagree.

They can be facilitators for learning hard skills, but can hardly match up to the experience of a tangible university full of diverse personalities.

So, if I put on my clairvoyant hat,  I feel the résumé of the future would have to be something like this :

It would have cost me another fortune (Like an education at CMU) to have been instructed by Sebastian Thrun! But now it’s really available for free! It’s incredible.