Web Development: #2 – What to Learn First?

One of the most popular questions most people have when they first start on their journey into web development is which language to learn first? There are many options out there and the quick Google search can be absolutely overwhelming. So let’s look at some common themes that tend to run in the beginner’s circles of web development.

Web Development #2 - What to Learn First

The Basics

HTML

In my experience (the whole whopping two months of it) is that the best language to start learning is not actually a programming language at all. I’m talking about HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). HTML is not a programming language in the fact that it doesn’t program anything. It is simply the structure layout that all web browsers look at to display information online. The heading sizes, the paragraph spacing, the navigation bar, the text at the top of your browser tab, all of this and more is contained within the HTML document. HTML is very easy to learn and can make you feel accomplished rather quickly. Let’s face it, you don’t want to dive into a complicated programming language only to be overwhelmed by the complexity of it and give up before you even really get started. HTML consists of tags such as <p> for paragraphs, and <title> for titles, etc. So jump into HTML first as you are going to need to know this basic structure before you dive into anything else.

 

CSS

CSS (cascading style sheets) is the beautification of HTML. Lets use an analogy of a really nice sports car, my favorite is the Chevrolet Corvette. If HTML is the chassis, axles, and frame of the car, then CSS is the leather seats, the stylish logo plates, sparkling chrome rims, and accented racing stripes. CSS can be a lot of fun to learn as well. Without CSS, your HTML will look like a website you barfed out of the 90’s when internet just started to take off. There are a lot of things you can do with just HTML and CSS alone! CSS consists of controlling what your tags in your HTML document look like. The color, positioning, size, font, etc. A lot of local small businesses are usually looking for just this alone. Something simple to look nice and professional to advertise their business online. If you can manipulate HTML and CSS well enough to accomplish this, you can start working relatively quickly in web development.

 

JavaScript

To continue the sports car analogy, if HTML is the structure, and CSS is the styling, JavaScript is the cruise control, the programmable radio stations on the stereo, the automatic transmission (I know you’d want a standard but work with me people), and the keyless entry. JavaScript is most likely the first actual programming language you are going to come across when first starting out. It’s the language that I am currently learning at the time of this writing. With JavaScript you can start animating things on the website. Making things “pop” if you will. You can make CSS styled HTML tags zoom in, fly of the screen, program a navigation bar to stick to the top of the screen when scrolling, and most importantly program a website to be responsive to mobile. A bit more on that here in a sec…

So with these three things in your toolbox, you can create most of the sites you find online. So if you’re looking to get started and don’t know where to go, I would recommend starting with those three things, in that order. Now, keep in mind, I am not a professional web developer yet. You can throw all of my advice out the window and go your own way, and chances are you’ll still end up on top if you stick with it. I’m simply saying that these three are the things I have found so far to get my foot in the door.

 

Other Languages

The list is seemingly endless. PHP, Java (not to be confused with JavaScript), C, C++, C#, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Angular, NodeJS, jQuery, AJAX, yada yada, on and on… Where to go? You’re guess is as good as mine. No seriously, as bad as that sounds, I believe that’s actually a good thing. Speaking as the all-knowledgeable two-month web developer that I am, I’ve researched and looked into enough language options to know that there’s pretty much something out there for everybody willing to invest some time and energy in finding and then learning one they like and are interested in. My plan after I finish learning JavaScript is to try out PHP, a back-end server-side language that uses database information to render things into websites.

 

So as short and simple as this post is, I hope that at least gives the complete newbie (such as me) some way to point their compass. I wish I would have had a complete newbie blog to read to guide me even through these past two months, and that’s why I’m writing this one. So please continue to join me in my journey, as short-lived and newborn as it is and I look forward to hearing from you. Questions, comments, or suggestions? Leave them below and keep following me on this journey!

New Career Path! Web Development?

So if you can’t tell by the title, I’m getting into web development. Why web development? Why not continue to pursue my engineering degree further? What does it take to get started? How much does it cost to get started? All this information and more if you keep reading below.

Web Development: #1 How I got started.

Why Web Development?

So, why am I getting into web development? Well first, I’m sick of my job. No really, I’m tired of it. I have been working at a local factory for almost 13 years at the time of this writing and I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere anymore. I don’t have a college degree, I have several thousands of dollars of student debt from attempting to get a college degree, and I’m pretty much topped out at the top of the pay scale for my profession. I’m tired of watching people get promoted that don’t deserve it, and I’m tired of watching people who deserve to get promoted get placed in the same position over and over, year after year, because they’re “invaluable.” Am I talking about myself? Well if the shoe fits then wear it, right? I went halfway through an engineering degree before I was unable to complete it due to work/school/family scheduling issues. But I took most of the courses I needed to fill an engineer’s position. I had 10 years of machining experience plus college level courses to include drafting, solid modelling, business statistics, etc. However, I had to drop out before I could take the major work-related courses like Biology, and Art Appreciation 101. Both of which are applied all over the place in the engineering office at a metal production facility… So yes, I’m a little irritated. Yes, I’m a little frustrated. And yes, that’s okay.

Now, I’m not trying to get all leftist, liberal, “I deserve to get mine” on you, but seriously, what happened to the “results get promoted” concept? I mean, if you can do the job, does it really matter if you have a $40,000 piece of paper with your name on it telling others that you can do it? Call me crazy, but I have a better set of ideals and morals than that. I truly believe that results is what should matter, not how much debt you can go into for a piece of paper that literally says, “I can memorize material and regurgitate it on a final exam in a few weeks.” I’ve seen too many “engineers” come straight out of college and crash a machine because “It worked in the program.” I’ve seen machinists refuse to press the start button on a machine because they KNEW it would crash the machine, only to have the “engineer” press the button for them saying it would work, only to have, you guessed it, the machine crash. But HEY, that guy has a degree! Sure man, whatever. The only thing you are guaranteed out of a college degree is debt. You’re not promised a career in your field of study. You’re not even promised a career at all. The only thing that is promised to you after graduation, (or in my case after your first couple of semesters) is a monthly payment to something that has no real value if you don’t get a chance to use it. The risk to reward factor is largely weighed against us.

So why web development? Well first of all, you don’t HAVE to have a computer science degree. You simply have to know how to produce results. A local business looking to get a website made really doesn’t care if you have a degree. They don’t care what programming languages you know, what school you graduated from, or what fraternity/sorority you were in. Can you deliver a functional and professional website or not? This industry is really based on results, and that is what appeals to me the most. You can start out at a decent pay as an entry-level programmer/developer and the investment into it as you will see in a moment if a tiny percentage of what a degree will run you.

How did I get into Web Development?

So how did I get into web development? At the time of this writing I’m only two months into it. I’ve successfully created a mock website for a fictional company, and it’s really amazing what you can create after just a couple of weeks of learning to code. I started by trying to learn PHP first. This may have been a mistake on my part, as you need to know at least basic HTML and CSS before diving into an actual programming language such as PHP or JavaScript. So what is my monetary investment into it so far? Here’s what it took me to get started.

Hardware Investment:

I’ve spent roughly $300 getting into it. Now before you get all, “I can’t afford that!” on me, please realize that, you don’t HAVE to. Here’s what my investment into web development looks like:

  1. Refurbished computer – $140
  2. Refurbished dual monitors – $140
  3. New keyboard – $15
  4. Computer Desk – $10

Computer:

You see? Chances are you don’t need a new computer. If you already have a desktop or laptop, you can use it. The software and files you are going to be working with are extremely simple and take up very little HD space. You don’t need a super high end graphics card or a 3TB hard drive with 16Gb of RAM. a simple computer will suffice. The desktop I bought is pretty minimal, and you can find it here.

Monitors:

I bought dual monitors as a luxury. It is not required. Most of the tutorials you are going to find online are created using a single screen. However, it’s much better to be able to have a tutorial video going on one screen and follow along on the other. Or, if I’m not doing online tutorials, it’s really nice to have a coding program on one screen and have the browser I’m working in on the other. This way it is possible to see exactly what is going on at a glance. You can change colors, sizes, shapes, fonts, etc as you code without having to minimize or switch between programs. Here’s a screenshot of what I’m usually looking at:

dual desktop monitors showing code editor on one screen and live browser in second screen

Other Stuff:

As far as the keyboard and desk, I bought them because the keyboard that came with my refurbished PC was really bad. I mean, the kind that has the huge buttons that clack very loudly and the backspace button was tiny. I make a lot of mistakes when I’m typing and it was really frustrating when I went to erase something and got a string of equal signs instead. The desk I bought at Good Will. I’m not ashamed to shop there. You can find some really good stuff, and when you’re trying to get into something like this, every dollar saved helps.

Online Investment:

I get my learning courses at Udemy. I am enrolled in the following courses and I would recommend taking them in this order:

  1. The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 by Rob Percival* (See my footnote)
  2. Build Responsive Real World Websites with HTML5 and CSS3 by Jonas Schmedtmann
  3. The Complete JavaScript Course: Build a Real-World Project by Jonas Schmedtmann
  4. PHP for Beginners -Become a PHP Master – Project Included by Edwin Diaz

*footnote: I recommend using Rob’s course first because he hooks you up with free web hosting for a year so you can mess with a real server and get your projects live on the internet for free! So take Rob’s course just long enough to get the hosting, then take numbers 2-3 and then decide if you want to take PHP or dive into the complete web development course.

I recommend these courses in this order because I started with program 4 (PHP) first. Then I realized you need to know some basic HTML and CSS before PHP. So I signed up for program 1, and it was a shotgun blast of so much information it had my head spinning. So I took program 2, which made me confident with HTML and CSS. So sign up for program 1 first to get your year of hosting, then take program 2, and so on.

A bit about pricing. You may have already clicked on these links and seen the whopping $200 price tag on most of them. You can get coupons! I haven’t paid more than $19 for any of these courses. Most of the coupons I got from listening to The John Morris Show podcast (which I highly recommend) and Udemy usually has promotional deals going on so check around. I’ve gotten roughly $1000 worth of Udemy courses for only $60!

One more thing, if you’d like to see the website I’ve created by following along with a tutorial, you can check it out here.


Well, that’s all I have for now. Keep following me to see how my journey proceeds and join me if you want to. What do you think? Do you have comments, suggestions, or questions? Just comment below!

Is Israel Still God’s Chosen People? Part 2: The Three Promises

In continuing my posts on the fact of whether or not modern Israel is still favored by God today, I would like to look at another point. I believe there are many justifications on the belief that modern Israel is in no way a biblical Israel and a good quick study on this issue would be my previous post about the Veil. (You can find it here.) However, let’s look at another aspect that many false teachers use to make it seem that the Jews are still protected and that modern Israel is still a chosen and favored people of God: The Promises made to Abram/Abraham.

The 3 promises

The Three Promises

God made three promises to Abram in Genesis. To keep track of all three promises I will color code them. The Land Promise will be in green, the Great Nation Promise will be in blue, and the Seed Promise will be red. So let’s look at the first two promises in the text:

14 And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15 for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. 16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.

God makes the first two promises to Abram, first, the Land Promise to give his descendants the land which he sees, and second, the Great Nation Promise that he will multiply his descendants as the dust of the earth or as the number of the stars (in the next chapter Gen 15:5)

Now there are many false teachers that will get the audience hung up on the word “forever.” And that this land will ALWAYS be the Jews’ right to own and inherit for all eternity. These false teachers always love to quote the blessings Israel will receive from God, but usually fail to ever quote from the curses and warnings to Israel if they are to turn away from God. Take for instance Deuteronomy chapter 28, there are 14 verses of blessings that these false teachers love to quote, yet they neglect the next 53 verses of curses and warnings. In fact throughout most of the Old Testament, there are exponentially more curses warned than blessing promised to Israel. It is true that God will never back down on his end of the deal, but if you read through the Old Testament in its entirety, you will come to know that it is man that fails on his end of the bargain repeatedly, and not God. Now as far as the Promises go, there are several repetitions of these promises to Abram/Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. To see the full list of these passages, check out the chart at the bottom of this post. However, now that we have covered two of the three promises, I want to fast forward a little ways and cover the last promise made from God to Abram, The Seed Promise.

The first glimpse of this is in Genesis 18:18

18 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

Now all three promises are referenced when the Angel of the Lord comes to Abraham in Genesis 22:17-18 and says:

17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

Now it’s very clear that God has promised Abraham that he will multiply his descendants, give him the Promised Land, and bless all nations of the world by his Seed. (Notice the word “seed” is singular, not plural as in “seeds.” This is very important later on…)

 

Have they Been Fulfilled?

So let’s fast forward through the scriptures. Have all of the promises been fulfilled? Or are the “End Times Prophetic Preachers” correct in that they have not been fulfilled and still need to be? If the fact is that the promises have not been fulfilled, then the Jews are very much correct in idea that they are still a chosen and protected people of God. So let’s check out these promises one by one and see what scripture has to say…..

 

The Great Nation Promise

Let’s first look at the Great Nation Promise. If we continue to follow this promise through the scriptures we will eventually come to Deuteronomy 10:20-22 but first, let’s get some CONTEXT in the story. (Context is extremely important to keep in mind. For more on this check out my blog post on context here.) Now up to this point in scripture, the Hebrews went into Egypt with Joseph, were led out of Egypt by Moses, came to Mount Sinai, received the first tablets of the ten commandments, however, Moses broke them and had to deal with the Israelites committing idolatry with the Golden Calf. Moses goes back up the mountain, receives the second set of tablets and is now speaking to Israel about the law that they are going to be required to keep in order to REMAIN God’s chosen people. So with all that understood, let’s look at the verse:

20 You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. 21 He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. 22 Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitude.

Notice the word “now.” They had not previously been “as the stars of heaven in multitude” until this point. It is also interesting to note that the great nation promise is always referred to as a future event up to this point in scripture. After this passage, it is always referenced as it has already happened in the past.

 

The Land Promise

If we follow the Promise God made to Abraham about the Promised Land, then we will be lead all the way from Genesis to the End of Joshua. To get some context from our earlier reading to this point: The Israelites have wandered the wilderness for 40 years, and right before Moses dies, Joshua is chosen to lead the people into the Promised Land. Moses says himself in Deuteronomy 31:7 that Joshua WILL cause Israel to inherit the Promised Land. If this promise has not yet been fulfilled to this day, then how will the modern-day Jews ever have Joshua to divide it for them as scripture says how it must happen? So Moses dies on Mount Nebo and Joshua leads them into the Promised Land. The entire book of Joshua is pretty much a war story of how this was accomplished, and when you get to the end of Joshua, there is an interesting verse in chapter 21 verse 43:

43 So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. 44 The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.

I think it’s safe to say that Israel very much received the promise God mad to them concerning the land.

 

The Seed Promise

But what about the Seed Promise? Well, there is a great deal of reading from Genesis through the scriptures before you get to the fulfillment of that one. As a matter of fact, its fulfillment is not in the Old Testament. You won’t find it until after you’ve read 46 books after Genesis, in Paul’s epistle to the Galatians. But first…context, context, CONTEXT! Okay, there’s a lot to cover here so here we go:

  1. Israel inherits Promised Land
  2. Israel goes through the Judges Period
  3. Israel goes through the United Kingdom Period
  4. Israel splits and Goes through the Divided Kingdom (Israel in the North, Judah in the South)
  5. Israel enters captivity
  6. Judah enters captivity (Daniel foretells that the temple and the wall will be rebuilt)
  7. Judah Returns and Enters Restoration Period (temple and wall is rebuilt in Ezra and Nehemiah)
  8. Jesus is born
  9. Jesus crucified
  10. Jesus Resurrected
  11. Jesus Ascends to Heaven
  12. Holy Spirit Falls on Apostles on Pentecost

Ok so now that we’ve covered almost 1000 years of Israel’s history in a couple bullet points, I hope you see where we are at now. In this letter Paul is calling out the Judaizers who were Christians that thought the Old Law still had to be observed in order to receive salvation. The act of circumcision is directly called out, but it can easily be understood that all aspects of the Old Law to include tithing, burnt offerings, incense, etc. are to be included in this idea of the Old Law not applying to Christians. One of the greatest arguments Paul makes to these Judaizers is all the promises made to Abraham were in fact fulfilled, to include the Seed Promise. He shows this in Galatians 3:16:

16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.

Just in case there is any confusion to this idea, Paul confirms this idea a second time just a few verses later in verses 27-29:

27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

The Seed Promise was fulfilled by Jesus himself. If you check out my post on the Veil, this adds tons of content to this idea. (You can find it here.)

Conclusion

Well there you have it. It is clear that all three promises made to Abraham in scripture have been fulfilled in scripture. There is no need to keep looking for the fulfillment of these promises today, tomorrow, or any further in the future. Jesus really did die once for all (this would include Jews). Jesus really is the ONLY way, and no one will come to the Father except though him. (Not through obeying the Old Law and living in the Old Land) This study should show that it is even more important to reach out to Jews as they think they have security in the Old Law but will in fact perish if they do not come to the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The book of Galatians is also a good text to realize that once one is baptized, there is no longer a label such as Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. I would go as far as to argue that the only label one is to have placed on himself would be a Christian. Not a Jewish Christian, or a Messianic Jew, or any of the like. Simply a Christian is what we are called to be. I hope you have found this study as fascinating as I have, and I hope it will help mistaken Christians on this issue find the courage to reach out to our Jewish neighbors, and silence the false teachers that use these promises to lead people in thinking the Jews are still God’s chosen people.

 

Complete chart of Promises:

Nation Land Seed
Gen 12:1-7 X X X
Gen 13:14-17 X X
Gen 15:5-21 X X
Gen 17:2-8 X X
Gen 18:18 X X
Gen 22:17-18 X X X
Gen 24:7 X
Gen 26:3-4 X X X
Gen 28:4 X
Gen 28:13-14 X X X
Gen 35:12 X
Gen 46:3 X
Gen 48:4 X X
Ex 6:2-8 X
Exod 12:25 X
Exod 13:5 X
Ex 23:31 X
Exod 32:13 X X
Exod 33:1 X
Fulfilled Deut 10:22 Josh 21:43 Gal 3:16, 29