What Programming Language Should I Learn in 2015?



We live in a peak time of information technology.

What Is The Biggest Mistake Web Designers Make The Most Often?

We have written and grown a lot with you during these years in this web design industry. As year 2015 has arrived, you must think about where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. It is time to learn from the past years mistakes and with new-found inspiration start trying new things again.

For me this 2015 is the chance to be foolish again after being bruised by business failures (lessons). As Steve Jobs says –

“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.”

As you have noticed here at 1stWebDesigner, we don’t go into teaching hardcore programming or anywhere deep in graphic design (but we care a lot about converting and usable websites). We know that if you really want to learn, there are more than enough good resources to learn deeply about programming, web designing, and becoming a high level graphic designer. However, we have noticed the main reason why most web designers don’t succeed is because they fail to see their freelance web design venture as a business. They think that if they learn good skills and the right web programming languages, clients will come magically.

But this rarely happens!

Consider this – Most people despise salesmen, most especially a used car salesman. A lot of people always cast them in a bad light – opportunists. But why do you think sales people often get paid the most in the company?

Even the best products need to have a marketing campaign because they need to be sold. The same way goes for your freelance career. For it to become successful, you need to understand that once you start working as a freelancer, you become your own boss – you own the business.

Owning a business means, you need to manage the finances, you need to sell your services to clients, and you need to actually do most of the work. Most designers fail in this area – they cannot find clients, they don’t know how to stand out from the crowd, and sell their services.


Do you stand a chance versus big agencies? Oh yes, you do!

Big Brands Prefer To Work With Smaller Agencies

The good news is that, now, once you know what you are doing, you can get contracts from big brands.  That is what we are focusing here at 1stWebDesigner. Giving you the business knowledge you need to land these high level clients and become a true 1st Web Designer – a professional who takes control of his life, is successful, and financially stable.

Your biggest strengths that will make you attractive to big brands are SPEED and PERSONAL ATTENTION. You are fast because it is just you or you have a small, agile team.

What are your strengths compared to big agencies?:

  1. You are fast – you can give all the time you have to the big client and nurture him to provide the best results. Big agencies have a corporate setup. It takes time for them to make decisions and move forward. On the other hand, you are small allowing you to change direction in moments and immediately provide changes after your client asks them.
  2. You are flexible – you can work on different times and make adjustments for whatever big client wants. Why wouldn’t you? It’s your opportunity and if you are true professional, you love what you do and you love to do the work you are proud of. You want to deliver great results. You also don’t need to staff a team of designers in-house. You can just ask a friend or a contractor to help out with the things that aren’t your expertise. The key, however, is still the fact that you can move forward fast.
  3. You are cheaper –  your expenses likely will be much lower than any big agency. You don’t have excess weight, you are agile, and you can afford to charge less than the big agencies. While this isn’t your best selling point, you have the power to be cheaper while the big agencies don’t.
  4. You adjust to technology faster – big agencies likely will have processes and systems in place to ensure a faster working pace within a big team. You, on the other hand, can easily adjust and use new technology where needed. You have no barriers and you love to try new things. You know that it is your competitive edge.
  5. You are personal – while big agencies will get a project manager to work on their project, you are the CEO of your own business. You know you are awesome and you will do everything to please the client and willingly take the extra mile to satisfy him. Big agencies usually cannot afford that because they have too many clients and they need to spread their attention.

Clients love speed, quick turnover, and they love to see their agencies #deliver. Are you one of these agencies?

What technologies, programming languages to use?

These are the regular questions often asked by people at 1WD

  • What are the best programming languages I should learn and use?
  • What is the best graphic software to use?
  • How do I learn web design?
  • Should I use WordPress?

You always want to find the next great tool or the shiny app of a new programming language that will help you have a competitive edge in the web industry and show that you are true ambassador of new technologies.

Ruby on Rails web application framework, Ghost, Craft content management system built with PHP and C, Java, C++ for mobile app creation are super trendy right now. Before you decide to learn a new language, however, decide what you truly want to achieve.

Do you want to spent countless hours coding and designing, or you want to run a web design business? There is nothing wrong with being a hardcore programmer or true artist, but we are here to educate you about having a bigger impact, scaling, and helping clients to create a CONVERTING website. Programmers will solve technological issues and designers will make everything pretty but a 1st Web Designer will know the basics of programming and designing but will look beyond that by helping clients create an effective, converting website.

Make sure you know the basics of design and business.

Make sure you know the basics of design and business.

What does creating a converting website means?

It means you know about internet marketing. You know about A/B testing. You know what drives sales, how to set up a mailing list, and you how to create a landing page that is beautiful as well as converts visitors to sales. You will not let technology stand in your way.

As you learn the business skills, you will understand what the client truly desires when he looks for a designer who will build the website for them. Your client won’t be technologically smart and that’s why he needs you. However, your selling points aren’t – “I will apply the latest web design trends, use Ruby on Rails, and create a responsive great looking website for you!”

Your selling point is to understand why the client is hiring you, what results he is looking for and then, deliver him the results with your skills. You might not use the sexiest JavaScript plugin or latest programming language for that, but nobody cares except you. Your client just wants results and he wants them fast. He doesn’t care how they are achieved.

We are proposing you a world of delegation, automation with great tools, so you can focus on solving difficult problems by using your designers and business knowledge. This is the way of a professional. This is the principle we embrace.

Can you imagine how this world would look like? We have two great case studies with Lauren Gray and Ouida Mac, who learned how to delegate and serve their clients better. They become smarter and they were making more money. Who wouldn’t want that? By delegating and having a team, you can basically make several copies of yourself and have a much bigger impact and faster results.

The Podcast Episode with Lauren Gray

Listen To A Success Story From Lauren Gray

Only those who have been in the freelancing business long enough have seen its dark side – cheapskate clients who give little value to your talent and work. Such was the case of Lauren Gray, who used to charge just around $300 for a web project but is now charging 10 times the amount of what she used to charge.

From being one of the freelance web designers in the sea of the web design industry, Lauren Gray has successfully transitioned herself to become a market leader who found her own niche and go on to establish her own company. Read the original article here.

The Podcast Episode with Ouida Mac

Listen To A Success Story From Ouida Mac

Ouida was able to transform herself from someone else’s contractor to becoming her own manager hiring other designers to do the work while she focuses on the more important aspect of her business. From $15 – $20 an hour, Ouida now charges $75/hour, an amazing 200% increase from what she used to charge. Read the original article here.

The best way to grow your business is to learn the business skills, delegate, and get contractors and partners to help you out on a per project basis.

But wait, wait, don’t run before you can walk.

Have The Foundation of Web Development First

In order to hire and delegate people successfully, you still must know the foundation of web development. What’s behind building a responsive website, what’s behind the styling and designing, how to build a functionality in the website your client needs. Don’t become a ninja god at it. Just learn the basics so you can effectively delegate and realize if any of the contractors and your helping hand is messing around with you, taking too long time, etc.

To help you do that, we have developed a web design course for you where we teach every aspect of creating a successful website, starting from design, concept, styling, deployment, etc.

course promo

Get the foundation you need to have as a professional web designer.

Get The Ultimate 2015 Web Design Learning Course

We recommend that you rely on the proven tools which let you work quickly and effectively. By using proven and tested programming languages for web development, you will save time and will be able to provide fast results to your clients.

That is why, we recommend learning these top programming languages and graphics tool:

  • Adobe Photoshop for web design creation
  • Be an expert in HTML + CSS – basic programming languages you need to know to work with anything web related. HTML5 + CSS3 nowadays
  • WordPress – this is the most popular CMS with serious power and functionality which is more than enough to build the functionality clients need.
  • JavaScript to know bits of adding style to the website, but it’s optional to learn

All of this is enough, so you can focus on learning how build a website, that leads to results client desires. By delivering high level results, you will be able to charge more much faster. You will become irreplaceable. It is true that clients can find another good designer or programmer much easier but they will have difficulty finding a professional who understands what they need and will create a converting website.

Our recent course will allow you to learn the fundamentals you need. We spent a year in 2014 to learn from the previous course feedback; thus, we are able to build even better training course the second time around. Here is the live demo preview of the site, so you can see what you will build from scratch if you join us.

We believe we have created The Ultimate 2015 Web Design Learning Course, which will teach you how to build your own WordPress website which is 100% responsive and flat.

In 9 hours of video content, you will learn how to build website from scratch in Photoshop and then convert your PSD design to HTML5 and CSS3. Finally, we will also teach you how to use Bootstrap magic where you will learn how to convert website to fully responsive and functional WordPress website.

We throw in some business lessons, interviews and many bonuses as well to amplify your learning and help you get some clients as well! To learn more about the course, visit RockingCode.com.

What you are waiting for? Take your skills to the next level right now! Make sure 2015 is the year of changes and great achievement for you!

What is your opinion about learning new programming languages versus learning business communication skills and delegating?



  1. Jerry

    will .net be effective for web designing…if given a choice which language is more efficient for web designer jobs? thanks..great article!

  2. Nayan

    I’m started web design with html and css. I know basic html and css but i can’t php & . net. html and css code is very easy. your article is very exclusive and really good. thank for writer.

  3. Prateek

    I am starting my career after 8 years of my graduation. What IT skills should I need to learn in order to get a job as per the current trend and market requirement?

  4. Karc

    I am totally new to web design and google brought me here. I am concerning what I really need to learn. My goal is create my own travel and photography blog. I have one with the wordpress but I want to make my own custom theme, maybe something look cool on the site with responsive pages or a good mobile site.

    But I don’t know how/where to start. I’ve been googling a lot and people have different opinions. should I learn HTML, CSS and PHP? some people say ruby or javascript? Dreamweaver or Edge? I mean Im not a pro and possibly I won’t designing web for living. Im just curious and I want to get the best of my site.

    I don’t want to spend lot of time to learn a language which will outdated soon or not helping me at all. hope someone give me some ideas and advices to help me start :)

    • Dainis Graveris

      Karc, listen to this post. In your place I would just look for a premium WordPress theme you like, customize it (most themes nowadays has customization options where you can just click and get functionality you need)..focus on WordPress. This post’s advice is for you, but if you dont want to use web designing to earn living. Just go straight to WordPress and customize theme. I would recommend X theme for you..just learning how to use one specific theme..and you will get all done. http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/best-wordpress-theme-2015/ – this sounds the best option for what you described.

    • Prithviraj

      If you do not wish to end up with Web design as a living and do not want to learn programming languages, then my friend you should not go with developing your own theme. It requires these languages: HTML, CSS, PHP and lil bit of JS (depending on the usage).
      You can search for free beautiful wordpress templates on Google, or check out themeforest.com for one free premium template each month.

  5. I started my web design journey by learning html,css. Eventually i had to teach myself more efficient language like php & .Net. There is actually no beginning, you just have to start with something and stick with it :) Great article though!

  6. Anthonii

    I remember the days when I wanted to learn programming. I even went as far as purchasing books and trying to learn on my own. However, I have to agree with one of the commentators above. With powerful content management systems, is learning programming truly necessary? Maybe, but not as much. Also, I find that the Internet makes programming even less relevant. The reason I say this is because whenever I need a line of code I simply Google it and tweak it accordingly. On a side note, one of the things this site has helped me with though, is considering WordPress. I’ve been a die hard Joomla fan, but I am now open to WordPress.

  7. Petar

    Since the popularity and sophistication of CMSs such as WordPress has soared in recent years (which gives you the ability to perform complex tasks without being an expert programmer), it seems to me that selling and marketing skills have surpassed the need for hardcore programming knowledge. To be more precise: it is so easy nowadays to create a beautiful website, that being able to sell and differentiate yourself from cheap labour on oDesk & Elance has become a crucial skill.
    But this begs the question: why learn hardcore programming at all ??

    • Dainis Graveris

      Petar, high level programmers are in much bigger need than graphic web designers for example. But then it’s different market – it’s market for startups, who have bold ideas. As a freelancer, you must love programming and absolutely hate marketing to learn it on high level. If you want to work and be able to scale your own business, then yes business skills + amateur knowledge of programming and design will do far much better. Good thought, Petar.

    • Why learn a programming language at all? I’ll tell you why: when someone else’s code hits the fan, you can swoop in and clean it up. I’m not saying you have to be a super hardcore know-php-inside-and-out but I’ve seen this before, especially with WP based websites. Every grandmother with a computer seems to be freelancing their design/WP skills these days but don’t know a lick of code or how any of those pieces really fit together. Or they left a client high and dry because they got a better 9-5 that pays the bills and being a “web designer” was just something to do on the side.

      Especially as those “smaller” businesses grow out of their brochure based websites designed by said amateurs, and need more functionality (custom forms, certain e-commerce integration, etc.), knowing how to program will open yourself up to more possibilities. Knowing the basics of a CMS can only get you so far, at some point you have to write some logic to support a client’s business model.

      What happens when the plugin(s) you’re using don’t support a feature or the client needs them to do some other (custom) wrinkle? You can hire out but wouldn’t it be better to do that work yourself? It really depends on what you want to do as well or how big you want to get.

      And more importantly, how do you stand out these days by using the same theme/plugins as everyone else is using? You don’t. I can spot an X Theme or Divi from a mile away. Enough will the animated “skills” or percent based progress bars already.

      As far as the agency vs freelancer thing, in my experience, you need to get some experience before you start selling yourself to fortune 500 companies. Big companies, unfortunately, do like to work with bigger companies. It’s hard to compete with a big, established agency if you have zero experience. When it comes to 5 figure websites, it’s less about cost and more about risk. “Are wasting our time with this freelancer or will he do great work?”

      Sometimes the difference between a $5k and a $20k site is the experience of the people bidding it out and more importantly who’s doing the work and why the company hiring you believes you’ll do good work.

      I think the sweet spot is having a small team (under 5) who will do great work. You’re not a big agency but if you put the right people together, you can make it seem like you are. As someone how’s been on both sides of the hiring table, it’s hard to find great people.

      • Dainis Graveris

        Dave, thank you for chiming in the conversation. When you are talking about fortune 500 companies, Divi or X standard features of course won’t make a cut. But when you are on that level, you can do custom work anyway by having a small team as you suggest. I must agree with you on having a small team, as I learned the lesson the hard way, by going too much in quantity ( thinking quality). Having few great people with right values, will always outperform any low level team, no matter how many members there are.

        I would suggest finding great people on AwesomeWeb, as we have noticed some collaboration starting to go on there and of course we encourage it. Of course, finding great people is any business life-long challenge.

    • Dainis Graveris

      here we go back to old conversation about definitions… That’s not the point of the article, Jackson.

  8. There are so many tools that you can use to design web sites from Dream Weaver to Artisteer.
    Although these tools do make it possible for people with no programming know how to create web sites I do still believe knowledge of basic html and CSS is essential.

    Learning HTML is not that hard at all and if you want to succeed as a freelance web designer then HTML is a good place to start. Even if you can just manage a bit of HTML,CCS and WordPress knowledge it will help make using tools like Dream Weaver a whole lot easier.

    • Dainis Graveris

      Completely agree with you, Michael! Thanks for sharing the chart! JavaScript has the longest raise over years!

  9. I am thinking about learning the android gaming development this year. And I guess for this I really need to learn some java etc? Maybe a PHP is also a good choice. By the way already started the web designing course Hope to get something return from it!

    • Dainis Graveris

      Hey Saqib, either way what you are doing, make sure you don’t be distracted. If you will be learning our course with WordPress and Java the same time, and then android gaming development, it might be a heavy bite. Java is for mobile app development, PHP/WordPress for website development.

      No matter what you decide on, decide on one, give it a real chance. From your website it looks like you are more of a designer, in which case WordPress website development with help of premium themes or frameworks, could be the best choice to get started off, if I may so suggest!

      Either way – thumbs up for taking the leap and planning to make 2015 life changing and year of the growth!

  10. PHP is one the best and open source language that everyone should learn. Even most popular CMS wordpress, magento,vbulletin are build using php language. It we learn this php language we can save hell lot of money that we spent by giving to developers to customize small things.

  11. Derek

    I used to visit this site to get ideas and get in touch with the article’s authors. I’m sure this was a website filled with a lot of different writers. Now I can’t find the names of the authors. I am sure that others find it weird too, there is no attribution/byline/biography. I actualy find it frustrating, because I am sure that it’s not just one person who wrote all of these. Some are well-written, some are full of errors, and the writing styles are different. I am sure that people want to know who wrote each article as well, for extra credibility and authenticity. Otherwise we will jut all believe that you hired $250 per month ghost writers somewhere in developing nations. IMO that was a bad move. Even big web design and web development websites like smashingmagazine, alistapart, and others list the name of each author, and those are bigger sites than this, maybe you should consider emulating them – since they know what is best.
    I read someone’s article here which was published I think 2 years ago, now I can’t find that person anymore to read more from him. It’s ridiculous.

    • Dainis Graveris

      Hey Derek, author always engages in the comment section. Right now it’s just me writing articles and James doing videos and podcasts.

      Yes, we did have many guest writers and quality was much worse, so we stopped. If article is written by a friend, not our main team, we mention that after the article – http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/freelance-design-rates/ like this one.

      Derek, I guess it’s up to you what you want to believe in. If you feel like this article was written by ghost writer, then definitely I cannot write interesting enough content and lessons for you. Ghost writers for 250$ write terrible articles and you would never visit here again if you see this.

      This article may have errors, as our proofreader has internet problems and I am from Latvia, I am not native English speaker.

      We are trying new things, maybe after a year it will seem ridiculous as it seems for you..if we read more such feedback from others, we will put author section back. I appreciate your feedback, Derek. Idea was that article author leaves the first comment himself and asks question to readers. I haven’t done that. Will think about this..thank you Derek for feedback!

  12. Thanks so much for the article. I prefer to learn Android, PHP and wordpress. Java is the most good but for learning java lot of skills needed also MNC’s are going for java language. Using PHP and WordPress we can explore lot of areas. Small business are done using wordpress and all. The future of mobile application is rich so learning android is good.

    • Dainis Graveris

      Yeah, not sure John, how far will mobile applications take over. Predictions are that yeah, most people will use internet on mobile, less on computer. But yes, still i have a good friend who scaled in few years a million dollar mobile app development company.

  13. My first choice is Java: Because it’s easy to find a job, you can pretty design simple to complicated websites and you can also get into Android app development with it! Objective C also a good choice.

      • Hey Dainis, in most of the service sectors like insurance, healthcare and banking Java is the dominating language. Because it’s open source and platform independent. But, I should agree that when it comes to front-end, Java have very limited sources.

    • Don’t forget about Swift! It’s slowly replacing Objective C in the world of iOS; it’s definitely something to pick up right now.

  14. Amazing, I just finished listening to Steve Jobs giving his speech at Stanford. He ended with “Stay Hungry Stay Foolish” and I started reading this article, only to find this quote at the very beginning. Nice!

    Nice article, lots of truth and good points! Thanks for sharing.

    • Dainis Graveris

      Hey Clarice, I am considering for several years to make a tattoo on my arm with it as a reminder. So important to stay hungry and foolish as we get bruised by life and failures.