There has been much buzz for a long time about how journalists should relate to web development–but this week a particular post by Boston Globe webster Andy Boyle caught my eye. He wrote three posts on the issue: two for journalists and one for programmers, all saying that all parties involved should do web development for journalism. There are jobs there, they are well-paying, and it’s a good need to fill. (Maybe it’s the magic bean to save newspapers! Just kidding. There are no magic beans.)

I asked my band’s Twitter fans – who are mostly nerds – for their advice on getting into web development. Before the Tweets are lost to the Internet, I’d like to share what they said.

The basic lesson from all the responses was this: Teach Yourself Web Development.

With the exception of one person (my friend’s mother, who decided to take up web development by taking a year of classes at a community college) people seemed to have taught themselves how to “make internets.” @BrendanAtkins (who is just awesome in so many ways), @AlaskaRobotics, @sparCKL, and @ghalidrim all echoed that statement in their own clever generation-specific ways.

@Mariafi also seems to be self-taught, and recommended “Head First Html,” a book with a scary lady on the cover, but part of the “Head First” series that I’ve heard much about. Andy Boyle recommended one of the books himself.

I think this is probably the right way to go–of course, I don’t know web development (is that a thing? “I know web development!”?) myself at the moment so I can’t say first-hand if this works. I did dabble in the CSS early this year in a teach-myself sort of way to make this site, an early version of my band’s website before I just gave up and went with WordPress. At the moment I have some journalism-y web projects (database-based) I’m going to explore, though I’m still trying to decide whether to try out Django (Andy Boyle’s tutorial here) or something else. I’ve realized that asking the Internet for the best language to start with, like asking my boyfriend and his friends for a language to start with, is overall a terrible idea and just results in nerds nerding around unhelpfully.

Watch this space for updates. There might be some.

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