Ask Brad: Help me reach my goal to be a web guru

by Brad Isaac on January 15, 2010

Dear Brad,

My name is Dusan and I am living in Serbia.
My dream is to become IT professional in the field of network and web.
I am in college and I learn computer science.
My problem is that I learn only the basic of the programs, nothing advanced.
And when I read the blogs of IT I can not discuss because i know only the basic. And that’s killing me.
Can you help me?
What is the  programs that I must learn ADVANCED to become web guru.
Web Guru is my favorite word and I want to feel very good when said that.

You are right about college teaching only the basics.  But don’t be distressed.  College is a beginning where you get a taste of many different things.  From there you can decide what you like and dislike.  And then you can focus.

Computer science is a huge field with many different specialties.  Even within the term “Web guru” you have Web server expert, ASP.NET programmer, HTML programmer, CSS designer, Java programmer, Ajax expert, Ruby on rails…. and the list goes on.

It is good that you have a fairly specific goal and you are highly motivated to get there.  However, I think you need to get more specific.  So what I recommend is you spend 5 or more hours per week in self study and working examples in books.

You may find you like ASP.Net, or you might like PHP better, who knows until you dive in and work through some good books on the subject?

For instance, when I started programming heavily, it wasn’t due to college.  It was because I spent a year every night working examples in the book VB.NET How to Program by the Deitel brothers.  I loved it and had a blast doing it.  But it’s like a 1500 page book filled with problems.  So it took a long, long time.

I recommend you spend some time browsing Amazon for the higher rated web technology books.  Pick a title that seems interesting to you.  Ask if your school will loan you a copy.  Then (and this is most important) WORK through the book.  Don’t just read it.

Work problem 1 – 999 all the way through.

It might take you 6 months to get through a book completely.  Do at least 20 example problems or scenarios before you decide you want to try something else.  Because it often takes 20 scenario problems before the light clicks on and we say “ohhh I get it now!  I really like this!”

This type of advanced learning is hard for most people.  It takes discipline and focus.  But if you really want to be a guru, you’ll do it.

After you’ve done a few books, you’ll start to feel your expertise and will be motivated to show that experience.  You’ll build a site or a hot Ajax gadget.  That’s where your ‘guru’ reputation will come.  Through building something.

So to sum up.  Use your college as a buffet where you can taste many technologies.  Try to pinpoint 2-3 specific technologies you’d like to master.  Then do the hardcore book learning I describe above.  The rest should come naturally.

If you have a question about your personal goal, send a confidential note to Brad via his contact page.  It might be featured on Persistence Unlimited.

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Yonathan Zarkovian January 16, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I’m not a programmer nor do I want to be one, but this seems like a really good, practical advice.

January 19, 2010 at 11:44 am

take your time.. if you`ll gonna stay all day long and try to learn…no good.. just an advice,keep your mind clear for full receive informations

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