What are the Web Development Prerequisites?

I’ve spent some time over the last year watching folks try to get into web development and struggle with the list of things you need to understand before you can even get started.

One essential that I know for sure is:

git (version control) - I’d say version control in general, but right now that just means git.

What are some other essential precursor skills that all web developers need to have?


I’m probably a bit hardline basic on this question: IMO pre-reqs are access to a computer and the ability to write and save an index.html file. Ideally also whatever is needed to deploy that index.html file (you can drag/drop to netlify or whatnot), but only because shipping things is extremely useful for keeping people interested.

I don’t think git makes my list. Maybe learning the difference between a text editor and microsoft word (but only enough to write your first index.html file).

There’s at least three worthwhile conversations here I think. Getting Started precursors (like, truly getting started from scratch), what makes you an employable person, and what makes you a person who can build what “you” want to build.


When I think about teaching my kids. Here’s the list of stuff that came up:

  • general skills
    • use a computer. Turn it on, log in, launch apps, quit apps, etc
    • use a browser. Tabs. History.
  • specific skills
    • browser devtools. Know they exist. Open it. Execute 2+2
    • code editor. Have one installed. Or know about Codesandbox.io or whatever
  • concepts
    • relationship between apps, windows, tabs, and files
    • networking. connection, request, response, header, body, error, success
    • urls. querystring, GET, POST
    • security. What should I be afraid of? What should I not be afraid of?
      • e.g. don’t copy & paste random stuff into your terminal or your devtools console
    • difference between files and folders
    • file extensions
    • file types: text vs binary
  • and a million other things I can’t think of right now

I’d love to see an exhaustive list of the things you need to know before learning web dev.

  • Identifying blocks of code: <></>, {}, etc
  • The concept of a “project” and how files link together
  • The concept of “execution”, that something, somewhere calls your code
  • A “let’s see what happens!” mentality. No fear of breaking things
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What about starting at a MUCH MUCH lower level?

I don’t want to sound junkie but,

All we need is One Line

For example:
1 Open your browser.
2 Right Click … Inspector
3 Start coding on that Console first

Do a couple of sums, append text, loops, json notation, even some regEx

Just to try to get that “Let’s see what happens mentality” @john is talking about.

Then, we could start “hacking” Google,

I mean change it’s CSS or switch the Logo to Youtube’s

Go to Google and hit this on the Console:

elemento = document.getElementById("hplogo").setAttribute('srcset',"https://www.youtube.com/about/static/svgs/icons/brand-resources/YouTube_icon_light.svg?cache=1009f61")

"All I need is One Mic "
– 1998, NAS

When I think about this, I think about, “What did I need to know in my very first job as a web developer?” (think intern).

  • git (version control)
  • basic command line stuff (cd, rm -rf for node_modules, mkdir)
  • basic terminology (client/server, how a website actually works)
  • basic text editor/ide usage
  • deploying a site (how it works)
  • basic DNS management knowledge (where do I get a domain, what is a CNAME file)
  • how to google (knowing how to write good queries)
  • basic task management (how to break down a feature)
  • debugging techniques

I think with all that, an entry-level web developer would have enough to get a website out the door.