When she first embarked on her career, all that web developer Angel Garbarino knew was that she liked working on computers and liked the job opportunities available to people who wrote code. She also knew the salaries in the field seemed pretty good. But she barely knew what a web developer was, and definitely didn’t have programming skills.

“With this half-formed idea in my head, I started by reading blog articles,” Garbarino said. “Then asking friends in the field for advice, reading more blog articles, purchasing all sorts of relevant and not so relevant books. I took online courses and spent a lot of time Google’ing trying to connect everything I was learning together. The process was more convoluted, stressful, and exhausting than it needed to be. A large part of that was because I had no idea where to start, what questions to ask, and the best way to learn the material.”

She added that most of the sources she tried to glean information from made assumptions about her knowledge, used too much jargon, and didn’t start at the very beginning.

Garbarino applied for a position in quality assurance at a software company and once she got the job, she studied everything the developers at the company did and tried to understand the tools and technology they were using. She then applied to be a front-end engineer at the company, and that’s when she started writing her book, How to Become a Web Developer: A Field Guide.

“If I had this book five years ago, it would have taken a fifth of the time and energy to get to where I am now,” she explained.

How to Become a Web Developer is published through a company called newline.co. The publisher puts out many books on programming but this is its first programming book for beginners.

“They took a risk investing in it, and I’m happy they did,” Garbarino said.

Garbarino, who is something of a perfectionist, spent an estimated 900 hours over 11 months writing the book. For every five words she wrote, she probably kept one or so. Once the draft was finished, ten beta-readers combed through it to confirm that it was accessible to beginners. After more editing, revising, and re-reading, the book was published.

Programmer and Victor resident Aaron Gardner confirmed that Garbarino had achieved her aim with the beginner’s manual. “I could have really used this book when I was starting to transition into technology and coding websites on my own without a technical background,” Gardner wrote in a review.

The book includes such basics as an explanation of the components of a web page, how CSS and JavaScript work together to create apps, the difference between front-end and back-end, and, as Garbarino puts it, “the everyday skills that real web developers use in their jobs.” She introduces practical exercises in each chapter and also offers an advanced package that includes four interviews with software developers who provide their own perspective on how to make it in the industry.

“I think what initially prompts people to seek a career in this field is three-fold: pay, opportunities, and accessibility,” Garbarino said. She works remotely and describes her coworkers as fantastic and amazing. “Because we’re a remote company, my colleagues come from all around the world. Expanding your workforce pool means you raise the potential quality of your employees.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and IT occupations are the fastest growing of all U.S. occupations, and in this country the average salary for a developer is over $100,000, according to an annual developer survey by Stack Overflow.

Not content to simply write about the fundamentals of web development, Garbarino enlisted Driggs resident Abby Broughton to illustrate the book, a task that ballooned to over 30 illustrations. Garbarino remembers laughing out loud Broughton’s potato Christmas cards at Barrels & Bins before she met and became friends with Broughton.

“One of the things that we initially bonded over is a corny sense of humor,” Garbarino said. “So when I first started the book and realized my stick-figure drawing skills would not suffice, I asked Abby if she would be interested. Abby’s illustrations are fantastic. I can’t name a favorite, because I have too many.”

How to Become a Web Developer is available at www.newline.co/web-developers-field-guide. Garbarino will give a presentation on her book at the Driggs library on Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m.


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