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What are the Best Programming Languages if you DON’T have a Degree?

June 10, 2018

Without a degree, your best chances of getting work is with a small business. Over 80% of small businesses use PHP to power their websites. So that makes PHP the #1 choice for those with no degrees.

WordPress is also widely used by small business, and WordPress is created with PHP, some JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3. Together, these coding languages are part of what is called the ‘web stack’. Learn the web stack and you will open up MANY job opportunities.

PHP is old and sucks – no?

LOL! No! Old PHP from the 1990’s wasn’t very good, but much has changed since PHP4. Today PHP is at version 7 and it has all the ability and security as any of the other mainstream languages including:

  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • Java
  • C#
  • Ruby

… So don’t let uninformed nerds convince you that somehow PHP has problems. It doesn’t.

If PHP is the top language, what are the others?

JavaScript is #2 and Python is #3.

How to pick the best language for you?

After 23 years of writing code and building real software, my philosophy is to be language neutral … all programming languages have their strengths and weaknesses. The choice of language just depends on:

  1. What KIND of programming you want to do.
  2. If you have a degree or not.
  3. The job options in your part of the world.

… You may love Java, but if there are no Java jobs where you are, what’s the point? So the best approach is to learn the fundamentals of programming and then with your new nerd-eyes, you will be better able to judge which path to go on. I recommend learning the web stack and Python.

… All my students will tell you, you can’t go wrong with that! Check out what my students think about my courses:

– Click on the above image to view the testimonials.

I created a video on the best programming languages if you DON’T have a degree:

Stefan Mischook

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Talk on Optimizing a Website’s Performance

June 9, 2018

For database driven websites (web apps,) typically the biggest bottleneck is the database. So be sure your database is optimized. With SQL based databases, that starts with proper table design and smart indexing. That will handle 98% of websites performance needs.

In terms of client side code (HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript,) it comes down to lazy loading strategies, the use of CDNs, and being sure you don’t have boatloads of JavaScript slowing everything down.

How about image optimization?

Back when I started building websites, in the day of the dinosaurs (1990’s)we used to be concerned about image size, and how ‘big’ the webpages were in terms of kilobytes … but we live in the YouTube generation now, with high speed mobile internet, HD and 4k video being watched on smartphones. That means that a data limitation is typically NOT the bottleneck anymore … it’s processing (of code) on both the client and server.

If you are reading this, you probably want to learn modern web design and development, or you may already know how to build websites, but you want to become really confident in your web skills … just like all my students who took my unique web design and programming training course.

After you take my course, you will be amazed at how much you know! Below, you will find a few student quotes, screen captured from YouTube comments.

Thanks!
Stefan

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Will Wix Kill Web Design?

June 1, 2018

Evil, evil, evil Wix!! That is the cry of many web designers. Will Wix kill web design? Short answer: nope.

Why won’t Wix just kill web design?

Simple answer: Wix doesn’t do it all, and frankly, professional web designers should just embrace Wix as an optional tool. Yes, some small business will opt for Wix (or some other web builder,) but many will realize sooner or later, that it does have its’ limits. When small business owners figure this out, in comes the modern web designer of 2018 and beyond!

Consider this:

There has always been an evolution in the software field. What I have seen over and over again in the last 23 years, is the promise of amazing leaps forward, where we ONLY end up with gradual improvement.

These days we can produce web apps and websites in a fraction of the time it used to take us, but the work for well trained web developers is still there, because the bar for modern websites is just simply higher today. The tools, push the bar up. Which is good!

So yes, some older practices/jobs go, but they are just replaced with new specializations in the field. To point, Wix. Yes, a non developer / amateur can put out a basic site with Wix, but they will often lack good UI, and especially UX skills, that make sites successful.

… Wix cannot account for good UX. Yes, Wix can make a site look good. But any experienced designer knows that UX is far, far more important than UI.

In terms of extended functionality, Wix now has a programmatic JavaScript layer for more advanced website customization. But you have to know JavaScript. So here is an example of how a good JavaScript coder who has UX skills, can work (and bill) in the Wix world.

For me, Wix is just another tool of the trade that smart web designers embrace.

If you want to learn web design and programming in record time, take my IWD course! It will make working with Wix, WordPress and vanilla web design, as easy as slicing an apple pie.

Stef

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Google Flutter vs Swift, Java and Kotlin

April 23, 2018

Mobile app development has moved toward hybrid apps, using the web stack (HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript,) and frameworks like Phonegap or React Native.

But when it comes to the development of high demand (in terms of performance) mobile apps, using native languages like Swift for iOS and Java for Android is still the way to go. This might change with Googles Flutter framework.

Check out the video:

https://flutter.io/
https://facebook.github.io/react-native/
https://phonegap.com/

Thanks!

Stef

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3 Yuugly Powerful Programming Hacks

February 19, 2018

Someone asked me, if I had to pick the most important things you can do to improve your programming, what would it be?

  1. Have a consistent self describing naming convention. This saves you yuuge time because you will make less mistakes and be able to code more quickly.
  2. Keep your code fine-grained. This means you write functions and methods that do only 1 thing … Not five. This will keep your code easy to understand, to debug and expand.
  3. The first thing to do when starting a new project, is to see what others have done. Perhaps there will be libraries to leverage, perhaps even entire open-source software you can use as a starting point. This is yuuge!

Check out the video for details:

Learn Python 3 fast: http://www.killervideostore.com/python/
Learn web development: https://shop.killervideostore.com/

My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stefanmischook/?hl=en

Thanks!

Stefan

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7 Web Design Teaching Tips for TEACHERS

January 31, 2018

In the video below, I go over my top 7 web design teaching tips for teachers. Here are the bullet points:

1. Use the spiral teaching method
2. Self paced learning is best
3. Encourage students to use online training resources
4. Web Design software is NOT important

…. Watch the video to learn the rest.

The video:

Thanks!

Stefan
StudioWeb

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Blockchain Jobs in 2018

December 14, 2017

Given the big moves in the cryptocurrencies this year (Bitcoin, Ethereum, LiteCoin etc,) I figured there must some programmer / developer jobs in blockchain! So I checked out a job site to see what was out there, and what skills companies involved with blockchain are looking for.

Programming languages

In terms of programming languages, it’s not just C++. There is a demand for a whole slew of languages including:

… And others. So when looking for blockchain related jobs, knowing the core of programming, regardless of the language, is the key. This will make you a much more valuable asset if you know your fundamentals well, so you can jump in and learn whichever language that is needed to do the job.

Frameworks and other support technology

Besides the programming languages, when working with crytpocurrency based business, you will likely be needing to know some of the following:

…. Again, depending on the specific job.

What’s a budding crypto coder to do?

My advice is to be sure you have a firm understanding of the foundations of programming, once you have that, the rest comes easy. Then you can learn about blockchain and supporting tech depending on the job you are interested in.

The key is to get past the hurdle of learning the foundational concepts and techniques in programming.

Hope that helps,

Stefan Mischook

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Teaching Code through Visual Web Design Courses

December 13, 2017

 

Now that coding is widely recognised as a core skillset that students should learn, schools around the world are looking for code curriculums.

Too many code courses!

There are plenty of code courses out there, but unfortunately, the vast majority are created by coders who have no teaching skill, or experience. For adult students, you can get away with that, but when it comes to middle school and high school students, you need a set of courses created by experienced teachers.

What makes a great coding course for middle school and high school students?

It comes down to a few things:

  1. The lessons have to be video based.
  2. The video lessons have to be a reasonable length, otherwise students will quickly get bored.
  3. A code teaching platform should provide instant feedback, and other incentives to engage students.
  4. Code courses should breakdown concepts into small chunks that students can learn.
  5. A teaching platform should provide flexible lesson plans and other materials teachers need.
  6. Most of all, the courses have to fun!

Why use web design to teach code?

I am now going into my 7th year of working with schools to teach code, and I’ve seen great success with coding courses based on the coding languages of web design:

  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • JavaScript

Web Design based coding courses are a great fit for schools for several reasons:

  1. The web design languages teach 3 different TYPES of computers languages: markup, styling and programming.
  2. Web Design can be taught on any type of computer. Compare this (for example,) to Apple’s Swift, you need to have expensive Apple hardware. Whereas with web design, you can teach it on Chromebooks, Windows, Macs, Linux computers and tablets!
  3. Free web design code editors – so many to choose from! In fact, you can teach web design just using a simple text editor … every computer has one!
  4. Web design is visual …. students see their work come alive on screen.
  5. Web design is real! Watch student engagement skyrocket when they see their code do real things.

For schools and teachers who want to give their students an amazing coding experience, there is no better way than using the web design languages.

Full disclosure:

StudioWeb provides a fun interactive training platform and curriculum designed with the help of  many teachers and their students across the US, Canada and places around the world.

Thanks for reading!

Stefan Mischook
StudioWeb

 

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Speed up Web Development with BugReplay

December 6, 2017

I’ve been using video to send bug reports to my developers for years. That said, I’ve been doing it the hard way with screen casting software, and manual uploads to cloud storage, to share my videos with the developers. With BugReplay, it takes care of all that for you … and it’s super easy!

What is BugReplay?

BugReplay is a browser plugin that makes it easy to record bugs, and send video reports to your developers. It is a huge time saver for web app developers.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Browser recorder with developer console logs (JavaScript logs), network traffic
  • Facilitates communication between devs and non-devs; and between companies and their end-users
  • Available as a Chrome extension and Firefox add-on- very simply browser extension install and quick setup
  • Network requests and responses are synced with the screencast
  • WebSocket data is displayed alongside HTTP requests
  • All the environmental data is there so you don’t have to ask the basic questions to get the information you need (e.g. what’s your browser, operating system, geographic location, system memory, are cookies enabled, etc, etc)
  • Unlimited screenshots (and you can add helpful notes to them)
  • Integrates with Slack, GitHub, JIRA
  • You can create a shareable URL for the video bug report and share with anyone (they don’t have to have a BugReplay account)
  • With Feedback By BugReplay, our consumer-facing product, you can also send requests to your customers/end-users, and they can very easily submit video bug reports without creating an account
  • Unlimited users (we don’t charge per team members)

Thanks!

Stefan

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Should you learn C++ in 2018?

November 21, 2017

In 2018 C++ is still a very viable programming language to learn. In fact, many programming languages are worth learning in 2018:

  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • Java for web apps or Java for Andriod
  • PHP
  • C#
  • Swift
  • C++
  • C

… And others. Although, the above would be my top picks.

The key to choosing a language comes down to two things: market viability of the programming language and what KIND of programming you want to do.

Kinds of Programming

You have many choices in terms of marketable programming languages … there is plenty of work for the languages listed above. Each language though, means a different kind of programming, and that often means a different type of person would enjoy programming language ‘A’ vs programming language ‘B’.

For example, C++ programming is a low level language, and that means you will be writing code that requires lots of management by the programmer of little details. It reminds me more of math.

On the other hand, JavaScript is much a higher level, meaning you don’t have to concern yourself with low level details that you do with C++. With JavaScript (and other high level languages,) very little code gets a lot done. But, at the cost of speed of processing and control over the finer details of how your program runs.

Choosing your language

I could write 10 pages on this, and still scratch the surface. Regardless, the key is to explore a little on your part, check out which TYPE of jobs you get with C++, and which type of jobs you get with Python … and the other languages. Again, different programming languages mean a different type of job.

The good news is that you don’t need to worry about your choice too much because you can always switch languages later. It’s easy to switch over, because all the above languages share about 90-95% of the same principles and concepts. The code looks different, but learning the code is the easy part.

Suggested first programming languages?

I would suggest either Python, JavaScript or PHP. All 3 are powerful, and have lots of jobs open to them. But, they are easier to learn than Java, C# and especially C++.

Hope that helps!

Stefan Mischook

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