Which Programming Language to Learn for Web Development in 2021

Which Programming Language to Learn for Web Development in 2021

So many people who start their way to web development ask this question, “which programming language is the best for web development”. There is a lot of confusion about this, and what web development is.

Let’s decrypt what “web development” means first.

What does “web development” actually mean?

Probably the simplest definition of web development is “it’s building websites”.

So we use HTML, CSS, and maybe some Javascript and create a website, and that’s it, right?

Well, there is actually a bit more to it. There are web servers that generate HTML for us. There are CSS preprocessors. There are Javascript frameworks like Angular, React, and Vue. There is jQuery, PHP, Python, and everything else.

Yes, it’s all included in web development, and definition on Wikipedia confirms that.

So if you are after becoming a web developer, you have to find your way through all these technologies, choose something that makes sense, market value, and become master of your craft.

Is web development means “a lot of money”?

I assume that at least half of your motivation to become a software developer is about money, and you heard that programmers earn up to $200k or so.

Well, let’s look at some job board services like indeed.com, and you will notice something frightening. Most of the jobs for “web developer”, are paid far less than the average market. Do this experiment, and check what pops up. These positions don’t pay much. So I ask you not to call yourself a web developer ever. It will put bad karma on you.

Web developer means not much money in the bank.

Is there any hope for web developers?

The good thing is you can still do web development and be well paid. How is that possible?

You can do it by being more specific. When you are a web developer, you are ambiguous, too generic, easy to replace with someone cheaper, because there are thousands of similar individuals. And they used to work for scraps.

But there are terms like frontend developer, backend developer, full stack Developer, DevOps and so on. These are the keywords where skills meet fat wallets, something that poor web developers can only dream of.

Win good salary by being more specific

So if you plan to work in the web industry, ask yourself this question “what part of the web development I’m interested in?”

Is it solving problems on the server-side or related to security? Is it building APIs? Is it test automation? Is it building amazing user interfaces, or being an expert in some fancy framework? These all sound like different universes, and they are.

Which programming language to learn for web development in 2021

Ok, we already have a clarity what web development is, we can focus on our theme question.

The thing is when you are just starting, everything is new, and programming is hard. So to make things simple, the best thing to do is to simplify things.

And this is where many people do it wrong and fall into the trap made of frameworks like Django, Ruby on Rails, Laravel, or Node Express. These are great, they speed up the development process, but only when we have a foundation at a place.

If we know all the technologies that are involved undercovers, we can benefit from using these frameworks. Otherwise, you will get confused, acknowledge the failure, and announce it to everyone you meet “O yeah, I used to do programming, it’s a tough rocket”. Pretending that we know what we are talking about, which is total BS.

Avoid preprocessors and frameworks based on them

The same thing with starting to learn ES6 or some other language that is preprocessed, and the actual code is generated on the other end. So skip any Javascript, CSS, and other preprocessors and generators. At this stage, your only code generators should be your own fingers.

Ok, so what actually learn to be successful?

If you want to learn programming for the web, the best thing to do is to learn fundamentals, which are HTML5, CSS, and Javascript, in that order.

When you will get confident with using HTML blocks to structure websites, learn CSS to create layout and styling. Only then, when you know these two, it makes sense to start learning Javascript, which is the most popular language of the web, and in general.

Why? Because Javascript is language to program user interactions with the elements, server communication, and page structure manipulation. So before interaction with element could happen, there have to be an element first.

Javascript also can help us do some animations and transitions, but before we jump into doing it with Javascript, we should know what the limitations of CSS are.

Most of the styling, transitions, and animations can be done using CSS, so it’s good to know it well before we using Javascript as a tool for the wrong job. (sometimes we can create some effects that execute faster than CSS is processed as well). In website development, everything has its own place.

If you learn these three: HTML, CSS, and Javascript, that you can jump into learning a bit of server-side stack like Node, PHP, Python, or learn one of the modern Javascript frameworks like Angular, React, and Vue.

It’s pointless to start learning web programming with Angular, React, Vue, Django, Ruby on Rails, even if their documentation is impressive, and they are plenty of tutorials on the web. It’s pointless because you would not know what any of the terms there means.

So before jumping into deep water, build strong foundations first.

The best thing when you learn to do web development

The best thing about learning web development is that you can start earning money even if you know only HTML and CSS. You can find gigs and also full-time jobs while knowing only HTML, CSS, and Javascript. So you can get paid for getting more experience and learning things along the way.

You can also try working with platforms like Webflow, Squarespace, or Wix. And learn to craft better website designs while earning money as a freelancer.


If you expected I’m going to tell you that you should learn to React, Angular, or Vue, Python, or whatever, sorry for disappointing you. It’s just not the way it works.

There are some shortcuts to learn web development, and you are very lucky. You have all of these amazing learning resources available for you.

When I started to learn to code, there were only books and little to no internet.

So use all the resources you can, but first, learn the basics, and then you can decide which other language or framework you will start learning next.

So this is my answer to the question “Which Programming Language To Learn first For Web Development in 2021”, they are HTML, CSS, and Javascript in this order.

If you found this post helpful, consider sharing it, so I will be motivated to publish more posts that will help you get the IT career you want.

And as always, stay focused!

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