What are the basics of front-end development?
Entering the web programming world can be difficult for brand-new people. So many concepts sound strange and become problematic at the writing stage. How to write: software developer or front-end developer? Maybe a front-end developer, or rather a front-end software engineer? However, the most common is the hyphen entry. Front-end developer—the person responsible for the visual part of the application (what we see, we = users of the site).
Usually, the front-end developer works with a graphic designer (web designer) who provides the graphic design. Often, front-end developers have the opportunity to work with a UX designer who proposes and creates a prototype of interactions that will take place on the websites. The role of front-end developers is to put it all together. It is popularly said that a front-end developer is tasked with cutting a graphic design—dividing the design into smaller parts and coding (HTML and CSS) into websites that users ultimately use.
Front-end developer positions will vary greatly. The work of a front-end developer in an interactive and creative agency, a front-end developer in a software development house company, will look different, and a different job for a person working on the front-end development of a start-up.
Is Front-End Development Easy?
- You can see the effect quickly; unlike learning web development/back-end development, creating pieces of code even in pure HTML immediately gives us visual effects, which motivates us to continue working.
- Low entry threshold—relatively few front-end skills are required to start a professional career in an internship or junior position at the very beginning.
- Lots of job offers for juniors—especially when the holidays are coming up, and there are lots of summer internships.
- Independence—we can take care of creating websites for ourselves and then catch orders as a freelancer. After all, in the basic scope, we should be able to set up simple websites from A to Z.
In any case, learning the basics to start your professional career at a satisfactory level will take you anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. If you do not have, for example, 5 hours every day, and only a few hours on weekends, then at least six months will come in handy. You will receive your course for a front-end developer. And yes, this is enough to understand the topic properly.
What do we need for front-end development?
Here's the recipe for success. To create a website, you need:
HTML + CSS
These are the basic ingredients for building a website. HTML provides the structure of websites—the described elements, and CSS tells the browser what these elements should look like. Once you've mastered HTML and CSS, you can recreate any (graphic) design and turn it into a website.
Where do I start with front-end development?
Learn regularly, and try to apply each new skill in practice, even in tiny pieces of code with only one purpose—to show what you have just mastered. Share them on the web. Limit your motivational groups on Facebook. After only 3 hours of reading motivational stories, you are often not 3 times more motivated. You usually have 3 hours less for your study.
What is a front-end development example?
HTML + CSS
Three are probably the most famous sites with interactive web front-end development courses. Free, well-organized, they convey knowledge to beginners very easily. They hold interactive courses in the browser. We do not need to install anything at home, we just do the course, and our progress is measured immediately.
Khan Academy, Codecademy, and Homeschool
Codecademy has much free stuff and interesting pre-built front-end development paths that are only available to professional users.
Code School - in our opinion, the most organized course. They consist of videos + an interactive part with front-end development tasks. The first level of each course is free, but unfortunately, you have to pay for the rest. However, even the free parts (usually around 1 hour) are worth a look.
How to choose a course to take?
See all three web platforms. The topics overlap, but it is worth going through some duplicate topics. First, repetition consolidates knowledge, and second, each front-end platform has a slightly different approach to teaching. The choice is yours. So many people want to pay for a monthly Bootcamp or web development course, as they have everything for free at their fingertips. Nothing unusual.
The worst thing is that we have many materials and want to learn everything we need quickly, without checking or selecting—get everything on the tray and go one step further beyond the basic materials. Therefore, we understand that if you do not have time for all the front-end courses and decision-making is not your forte, check out Khan Academy: Introduction to HTML CSS—Web Development.
One more step on our front-end way, but extremely optional. Currently, a front-end development course can do without jQuery. Especially since there are many exciting new options for front-end developers today, we've looked at job offers, and it's still worth having in stock.
Yes, Khan Academy and Codecademy have jQuery courses. However, in this case, I would like to recommend—an hour-long and completely free try jQuery Pluralsight (former Code School) front-end development course.
At this stage, you can choose front-end materials yourself and assess their suitability to your knowledge. When it comes to the Bootstrap framework, building a website is based on a 12-column grid, and this knowledge is fundamental to understanding the rest in practice. Bootstrap allows you to create responsive websites (RWD) quickly—i.e., adapted for mobile devices. If you prefer learning in the form of a tutorial: The bootstrap course is available at Code academy, and with Daily Web, you will create your first bootstrap slider in 30 minutes.
There are many of them. The choice is difficult, and getting to know them all is impossible. Whichever you choose to start with, just stick to it. Don't jump from flower to flower because after a week of learning web development; someone will tell you that another is better. Learn the first one and write a simple web application on it. Usually, applications such as planners, to-do lists, and rank news are recommended for starters. All you need is the name of the framework and the name of the web application you want to create.
Examples of free courses:
- Angular 2+ (currently 6—but 4/5 are just another front-end development version)
Is it the end? Not! This is an excellent start and a firm foundation for the Junior Front-End Developer.
What's next after these courses?
Start by working on your web projects. As we wrote at the beginning, document your work from the very first front-end development steps, and put the code on GitHub, even if it is far from ideal.
Do you want to test yourself?
The best way to consolidate what you've learned is through practice. Going through the front-end course is one thing, but only working on your web projects teaches you to code—to solve problems yourself. Create a form (landing page) through which you can email the page's author.
How long does it take to learn the basics?
It depends on you. Discipline is the most important. Most people find it harder to learn a web programming language but to take the time to take courses that cost nothing. Mastering the basics to set up your first website can take about 1-3 months, depending on how ambitious you are in the front-end development.
Look for help online
More than once while learning, you will have problems: How to center an element? Why is this script not working? HTML and CSS look different on Chrome than on Firefox. How to become a pro in front-end development?
This is normal, but those who ask do not err.
- Google—ask Uncle Google, preferably in English.
- Stack Overflow—will probably be the first to pop up responses from Stack Overflow. It's a web developer portal where users post web programming language-related questions, and others (usually more experienced web programmers) try to give you an answer about front-end development. The former best solutions are points, and the question's author can mark a comment that solved his problem. Sometimes there are several or a dozen solutions, so it is worth reading all of them and checking them at your place. If any of the solutions helped you, vote—give it an up arrow.
- Facebook—front-end development groups on FB for beginners can help you a lot, especially when you don't know how to ask about your problem. Upload a screen and your code. Do not expect someone to write it for you, but the comments will surely lead you on the right path. Unfortunately, with trivially simple questions, people will always write something unpleasant—it's hard, be patient. We recommend the Web group—start support is best for questions related to start-ups, and moderators make sure that there is no hate.
- CanIUse—if your issue is related to CSS not working on one of your browsers, make sure that what you are using is supported for the version you are checking. This way, you will avoid long and tedious searches for ghost front-end issues.
So, in this article, you have learned more about the IT world, and we would be happy if we could help you with direction. The front-end world is enormous, and it can be easy for a beginner to get lost in it, but we focus on helping people get on the right path. But also note that in addition to traditional web languages, there is a no-code web programming language. Until code-free tools became widely available, web application development was exclusively done by web programmers.
Fortunately, time is running out, and now any student versed in the material can create their web application or landing page. After learning the basics, even at the level of knowledge, HTML, and CSS, you can already find your dream job. Many scientists have noted that web programming language improves human abilities and contributes to developing soft skills. In the end, this is your financial independence. We know different guys from the front-end world who launched their start-ups and did necessary things for our planet's good.
And, of course, such an approach has advantages:
- Ease of use and great power.
- Great template library.
- Support setting various parameters.
No-code or visual programming language is a fresh approach where you don't have to write code from scratch. We encourage you to use tools with a graphical interface, which is the future of web development. Traditional front-end web applications are cool stuff, but we think you need to innovate, so our product may be useful for you. We sincerely wish to find the right path to mastering the profession of a programmer. This path is thorny, but if you master it, it will satisfy you all your life that you spent in this time.