10 Rookie Web Developer Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Published on
July 25, 2022
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As a web developer, it's important to understand the basics of your craft so you can avoid making common mistakes. This blog post will discuss 10 rookie errors that beginner web developers often make. We'll also provide tips on how to avoid these mistakes and improve your skills!

Don't Ignore the Basics

When you're first starting, it's important to learn the basics of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP. These are the core coding languages that all web developers need to know. Without a solid understanding of these languages, you'll be disadvantaged when trying to build web projects.

There are plenty of resources available to help you learn these languages. I recommend starting with Codecademy's web development courses. These courses are designed for beginners and will teach you everything you need to know about the core coding languages.

Once you've mastered the basics, you can start learning more advanced concepts.

Form Over Function

I often see beginner developers choosing a project that looks cool versus a project where they can further exercise recently learned skills. But, you wouldn't build a house without a solid foundation, right? This mistake can lead to frustration and wasted time. It's important to start with smaller projects that you can complete successfully, then move on to more challenging tasks as your skills improve. This will help you build confidence in your abilities and avoid getting overwhelmed.

If you're unsure where to start, plenty of resources online can help you find beginner-friendly projects. Check out my blog on The Best Online Resources for Learning Web Development. Once you've completed a few of these, you'll be ready to tackle more complex tasks!

Choose a Development Focus

This isn’t the most intuitive step, but the web development field has specialties like a doctor or lawyer. You wouldn’t want a doctor who only knew how to do brain surgery trying to deliver your baby. The web is the same way; you don’t want a web developer who focuses on front-end design working on building a secure database for customer information. This means you need to decide whether you want to specialize in front-end, back-end, full-stack, or another area of web development. Once you've chosen a focus, you can start learning the specific skills and technologies you'll need for your chosen area.

If you're unsure which focus is right for you, that's okay! You can always experiment with different areas of web development to see what you enjoy most. Many developers start as generalists and eventually specialize in a specific area.

Designer reviewing hand drawn layouts of a mobile application.
Photo by Amélie Mourichon on Unsplash

UI Design Basics

Another common mistake beginner web developers make is skipping the basics of UI design. UI design is an important skill for all web developers, as it determines how users will interact with your projects. Without a solid understanding of UI design, you won't be able to create user-friendly interfaces for your web applications.

Why is this important? Because a great user interface can make the difference between a successful web application and one that fails. If your web application is difficult to use, people will simply give up and go find something else. That's money lost for you (and potentially a client!) and a bad experience for the user.

Accessible For Most

The WCAG 2.0 was released in December 2008. It’s a set of guidelines web developers should aim to follow to make their web content accessible for people with disabilities.

In practice, this means using semantic HTML code to structure your web pages. Semantic code is code that is easy to read and understand. It helps screen readers interpret web content correctly and makes your web pages more user-friendly for everyone.

Creating accessible web content is important for two reasons. First, it's the right thing to do. Everyone deserves to be able to use the web, regardless of ability. Second, accessible web content is good for business. By making your web content accessible, you'll ensure that everyone can use it, including people with disabilities, which will help you reach a larger audience.

Smash Those Bugs!

As a webd evloper, you'll often need to troubleshoot your own work. This process is known as "debugging" and it's an essential skill for all developers. When you're first starting out, debugging can be daunting. But with practice, you'll get better at identifying and solving problems.

There are a few different techniques you can use to debug your code. I recommend reading this article from FreeCodeCamp for an overview of different debugging methods.

Comparison Is the Thief of Joy

Often contributed to President Theodore Roosevelt, I see this sentiment captured in almost every new web developer. It's easy to look at other developers and think, "I'll never be as good as them." But the truth is, everyone starts somewhere. We all have to learn the basics before we can move on to more advanced concepts.

So instead of comparing yourself to other developers, focus on your own journey. Set small goals for yourself and celebrate each accomplishment. When you compare yourself to others, you'll only end up feeling discouraged. But when you focus on your own progress, you'll feel motivated and inspired to keep learning.

Can You Explain it to a 5th Grader?

As a web developer, you'll often be asked to explain your work to non-developers. This can be challenging, as web development is a complex field with a lot of specialized jargon.

When explaining your work to non-developers, it's important to use simple language that everyone can understand. Avoid using technical terms unless you're sure the person you're talking to will know what they mean. And if you do need to use technical terms, be sure to explain what they mean in plain English.

It's also important to be patient when explaining your work. Remember that not everyone is as knowledgeable about web development as you are. And if the person you're talking to still doesn't understand after you've explained it, try explaining it in a different way.

You're Never Done Learning

The web is constantly changing, which means there's always something new to learn. As a web developer, you need to be a lifelong learner if you want to stay ahead of the curve. And, you have to enjoy that aspect of the field to truly be successful. If change scares you, web development may not be the right field for you.

But if you're excited by the prospect of constantly learning new things, then you're on the right track. Embrace the change, enjoy the journey, and you'll be a successful web developer in no time!

Practice Makes Perfect

As with anything in life, practice makes perfect. The more you code, the better you'll become at it. And as you become more skilled, you'll be able to take on more complex projects.

One of the best ways to practice web development is to build your own projects. Come up with an idea for a web application or website, and then build it! This will not only give you the opportunity to practice your skills, but it will also help you learn how to turn an idea into a reality.

If you're having trouble coming up with ideas for projects, try looking for web development challenges online. These challenges are designed to help you improve your skills by building specific types of projects. I'd also recommend checking out goodbrief. It's a generator for unique design briefs that can provide endless projects for you to build from.


Web development is a great career choice. It's a growing field with plenty of opportunity for those who are willing to put in the work. And it's a field where you can make a real difference in the world.

However, web development is not without its challenges. It's important to be aware of the common mistakes that beginner web developers make, so you can avoid them in your own career.

If you focus on learning the core coding languages, practice often, and embrace change, you'll be well on your way to a successful web development career! And if you need help along the way, don't hesitate to send me an email. I'm always happy to help! If you want more content like this, check out this helpful post on how you can supercharge your front-end service with Webflow. It's full of great advice for beginners and experienced coders alike! Happy coding! :)

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