Despite the complex exterior of the heavily abstracted web industry, HTML and CSS still remain core technologies that fuel all websites and web applications, past and present (and probably future). Whether one seeks to build a personal website or the next big social media platform, we owe to these two technologies.
Admittedly, our knowledge of HTML and CSS has limited applicability in today's (practical) web projects. One rarely takes on a project to build a website from scratch, unless one explicitly decides to create a website with minimal dependence on third-party solutions; instead, one is often tasked with a job to customize an existing WordPress or Squarespace-based website.
However, the biggest benefit in learning HTML and CSS is that one can now communicate much more effectively with traditional web developers. There will be no more of blindly handing off AI files to the programmer (only to be disappointed later). One can now take charge in the web development process as well, as one now understands the challenges in codinga website layout. All in all, it's a step towards the middle ground between design and programming: a gap that seems ever-so-difficult to bridge.
As empowering as HTML/CSS knowledge may be, we may have simply scratched the surface of a much larger question: what other technologies are out there? Sometimes dubbed the "holy trinity" of modern web development, the following is the list of technologies that fuel the majority of today's web-based projects:
As mass-market paperback books evolved into the Kindle-fueled ebook market augmented with iPad's multimedia experience, there are many other technologies beyond HTML/CSS that address challenges that HTML/CSS alone cannot handle --- and they are all indispensable in today's modern web projects.
Available as part of the popular LAMP stack, PHP and MySQL are responsible for processing user input and requests, running complex calculations, and saving and retrieving user data. MySQL is a spreadsheet-like database system that handles a large amount of data, and PHP bridges the gap between MySQL and HTML so that otherwise "boring-looking data" can be displayed as per the developer's layout.
Responsible for back-end needs in web technologies, it is also important to note that PHP and MySQL are not standard technologies certified by the W3C, but remain most popular in the market of web technologies.