How To Become a Front-End Developer (2020 edition)
How do you want to work in world-leading companies, and make an impact through a beautiful front-end development at the same time?
There is a great demand for exceptional artists on the modern web, and this guide will show you how to get started.
And since the people who work in the software are among the best-rewarded people, it’s worth thinking about this new skill. You never know if it could eventually become a career for you.
The first section of this guide is dedicated to answering urgent questions about front-end development. If you know about responsibilities, salaries, and other aspects of a front-end developer, you can skip the second part. The second section of this guide is dedicated to resources, tutorials, and tips.
What is front-end development?
You can also imagine it this way: Every website you browse, including this one, was created in some way by a front-end developer. At least on the client-side.
While front-end is one of the most accessible paths in website development, it can also be one of the most challenging.
The technology for creating websites is constantly changing, so developers need to regularly adapt their skills to the latest practices. It can be annoying for beginners but will be better after a year or two of solid development practice.
Can you learn front-end development for free?
You can absolutely!
Learning web development becomes much easier, especially thanks to the huge influx of new resources, tutorials, and open-source projects.
Projects like freeCodeCamp help millions of people to write code for their first programs. And the freeCodeCamp blog is full of exciting articles not only about the front-end but also about other aspects of web development. It’s worth putting a bookmark!
The premise of this guide is that you can learn for free. However, we cannot overlook the benefits of the paid courses.
Many startups care about the determined crowd, and we’ll highlight some amazing course platforms that will even give you a certificate in the end.
What is the average salary for a front-end developer?
A front-end developer with previous knowledge can expect to take home more than a thousand dollars a year if you live in the United States.
That’s not a bad number!
Junior developers can expect to take home anywhere with .60,000 and above.
And salaries in Europe also seem to be quite reasonable; Germany has an average of USD 50,000 per year.
Remarkably, the popularity of distance work has exploded in recent years, meaning developers are trying to adapt their pay to international standards on a broad front. This is more the reason to become a front-end developer!
How do I find a job as a front-end developer?
Technically, a job should be the last thing we talk about. First, you need to accumulate the skills and then think about possible possibilities. However, because this article is structured as a guide, you can always return and review this section as a reference.
Here is a list of the most popular job exchanges for front-end developers:
- Authentic jobs
- GitHub Jobs
- Front-end developer jobs
- CSS Tricks Jobs Board
- CodePen Jobs Board
- Stack overflow jobs
- Remote-friendly startups
- Working Nomads
- Setting hacker messages
This is a somewhat compressed list of websites that contain recommendations for finding your next front-end job. You also have the opportunity to work on a personal project to make it profitable or to spend your time with freelance appearances.
Resources: Where should I start?
The following resources are about getting started. In this respect, we are taking a somewhat linear approach. And for the simple reason that there is an enormous amount of resources out there.
To get you started quickly, we focus on platforms and front-end tools that fit into the modern workflow. As a result, you can learn the basic to medium encoding syntax while understanding the tools that control the modern developer’s workflow.
It is highly recommended that you take time out with these resources as they prepare you for courses and tutorials in the second part of this guide.
If you spend even a few minutes searching for resources to learn to code, Codecademy is undoubtedly one of your first hits. This code-learning platform is well known and has served over 100 million people in seven years.
At that time, Codecademy with its dynamic and interactive coding interface was quite revolutionary. And while many have gone the same way, Codecademy has had a consistent track record.
Nowadays, you can get a certificate after graduation, and many have used this certificate to secure a job in a top-level startup, as a junior developer no less.
All the time there is the argument that Codecademy is not enough.
From an experienced developer’s point of view, this platform may be too simple. However, if you only learn about front-end development, there is nothing more satisfying than following step-by-step instructions with real-time results.
As a front-end developer, you will spend a reasonable amount of time with the layout. The layout is the canvas on which you structure a website. This blog text is in a series, which is part of a larger container.
And this applies to all website designs. Learning CSS Layout gives you a basic understanding of how containers and rows work, as well as how content is positioned exactly where you want it.
The layout is a pretty important topic. So take a few hours to dive deep into your layout. The best way to learn is through practice.
Once you understand how layouts work, it’s time to do some concrete experiments. Of course, you can try to develop a custom UI as the first project, but that might stop you from doing more than just encouraging you to continue.
So you need to familiarize yourself with one or two frameworks. A framework is an easy way to start with any kind of web development. You’ll get the tools and documentation to start creating interactive Web sites on the first day. And one of the best is bootstrap.
Bootstrap is widely used throughout the web and is without a doubt one of the most popular front-end frameworks in the world.
Heck, a good percentage of the websites you visit daily, use some bootstrap features.
One of the fantastic things about Bootstrap is how fast you can get started. The documentation pages are full of examples and use cases. And best of all, the Bootstraps layout system is designed for responsive design. So your bootstrap-based sites are automatically created mobile-friendly.
And if you like Bootstrap’s offering, here are additional resources for common front-end frameworks:
- CSS Frameworks for 2020: Overview and Comparison – Part 1
- CSS Frameworks for 2020: Overview and Comparison – Part 2
Despite the technology you use to create your websites, you must follow certain rules and regulations. Of course, such requirements can be ignored, but at the expense of user experience and digital compatibility.
A front-end checklist is a great tool that allows you to specify your website URL. The platform checks your website for best practices in front-end development. This includes checking whether you have optimized your images or if you follow the best SEO practices.
You should try to use this app until you know what modern requirements are being placed on professional websites and apps. Also, the non-intrusive and smooth user interface is an absolute pleasure at work.
Vue.js is a great example that shows how a small idea/concept can become one of the most famous things in the world. In fact, Vue.js has taken the front-end community by storm.
The framework is fully supported by the community, both financially and on the development side.
It’s the perfect example of how open sources can come together and do great things. And as a front-end developer, you should learn more about open source and why it matters.
Here are some highly recommended readings on Vue.js:
- Vue.js tutorial for beginners
- A curated list of great things related to Vue.js.
- Vue JS – The Full Guide
And last but not least, take a look at the various projects created with the Vue.js Showcase website.
Everything we’ve looked at so far has been mostly free and open source. All you need is to grab sublime text, and you can be on your way to front-end experimentation, and that’s what you should be! Reading tutorials and framework documentation is only half the price.
The actual learning takes place in your text editor and browser. The only drawback of this approach is that it is not entirely systematic. You work in a free-for-all mode, and the results may depend on your ability to discipline yourself.
Unless you choose an investment, I want to spend a symbolic sum to buy one of the front-end books of A book apart. These guys are among the best in the industry, and experienced front-end developers repeatedly recommend their books.
GitHub is your digital office for everything to do with coding and development. It is the largest open-source platform in the world, home to most of the world’s most popular frameworks and tools.
With GitHub, you can host your projects and welcome others to submit their contributions. And you can submit your own contributions to other projects.
You can also explore GitHub and everything it has to offer. For example, GitHub contains the famous Awesome lists, which contain extensive collections of tutorials, resources, tools, and others for specific frameworks and technologies.
For example, Fantastic Front-End List This includes up-to-date information on the latest information about the front end and its orientation.
Stack Overflow has the infamous reputation of being the strictest Q&A programming site in the world. And that’s really the case.
Stack Overflow users do not ask easy questions that have not been researched or properly analyzed. And while this may seem repulsive, it helps to create a strong sense of meaning.
You can see that whenever a user sends an answer to a question, other users can sign in and rate that answer positively. In the end, you will receive several “verified” answers that will answer users’ questions thoroughly. This keeps the hierarchy of the site clear and consistent.
As a beginner front-end developer, you want to use Stack Overflow to understand specific topics, but also to ask questions when you need to. For most beginners, however, you should be able to find precise answers within seconds.
Tutorials & Courses: Get a grip on the ecosystem.
The first section was dedicated exclusively to resources and platforms to help you get started. You should spend a reasonable amount of time on each resource we list to get a sense of what you can expect from front-end development.
Once you’ve done all this, you can turn your attention to tutorials and courses. These are strictly organized resources with a strong focus on learning.
It is worth noting that some of the following courses are not available for free. However, we assure you that the following recommendations are absolutely top.
Also, platforms like Frontend Masters will familiarize you with all the technologies used in the world’s most successful startups.
The goal of this article is not to promote front-end development as a hobby but to provide you with tangible resources so that you are on your way to building a career out of all your learning.
MDN (Mozilla Developer Network) will make your acquaintance in one way or another. This web documentation platform is dedicated exclusively to promoting the functioning of the Web. Learn more about developer tools, web technologies, and web development.
When you search for specific details in CSS or HTML, MDN is often displayed as the first result on Google and other search engines. The instructions, specifications, and general insights are structured to make sense for front-end developers.
As mentioned in this guide, following a strict curriculum is a very linear way to learn and customize. And to start the courses, you need to find out about edX’s offer. You can not only obtain certificates after graduation but also learn at your preferred pace.
If you want to get the full front-end certificate, you’ll need to make a modest investment of 500 US dollars – but this also gives you direct access to the instructors and more. Many companies have used edX to enroll their employees in this particular program.
Frontend Masters is similar to a Bootcamp experience. The courses you will find on this platform are extremely thorough, with a focus on long-form content and project-oriented learning.
Learn more about technologies like React, Vue, Angular, Node.js, and more. The production quality is extremely high, so you can enjoy a similar experience to an actual Bootcamp course.
As a registered user, you can track your progress on the Learning page. This page tracks your learning progress and shows percentages for each technology individually, but also percentages for whole batches. It’s fun to motivate yourself.
Last but not least, your employer will not go unnoticed that a front-end master’s degree is completed on your CV.
Egghead is very similar to the platform mentioned above but is characterized by stronger and more compressed lessons. For example, the lesson “Creating Dynamic Lists in Flatters with ListViews” takes only 2 minutes, although you get enough learning material to really understand the concept.
Egghead offers tutorials and courses on frameworks, libraries, languages, tools, and platforms. Would you like to learn more about mobile development? No problem, Egghead offers course material for iOS, Android, and other platforms.
The annual price is a modest 250 US dollars. However, this gives you access to each course and tutorial on the website. You may also debate each lesson with other members of the community. The investment is worth it!
Chris Coyier is an absolute legend in the CSS community. Not only has he kept pace with CSS tricks for over a decade, but he is also a co-founder of CodePen – a popular code-sharing platform for web developers.
One thing you can rely on for CSS tricks is that they are constantly updated and stories are published based on current topics and technologies. This allows you to quickly expand your skills using the tutorials provided by many of the site’s authors.
In short, it is a useful website to save your bookmarks and check once a day. You will benefit immensely from the tutorials themselves, but also from the recommendations that are part of them.
Scotch is as much a learning resource as it is a place for the latest events in web development. The website has been in existence since 2014 and has an enormous fan base in addition to thousands of free web development tutorials.
For the most part, you’ll be creating real and tangible apps. Example: Do you want to learn how to create a Twitter clone Vue and Adonis? No problem, just sign up for the free course and you’re done.
Wonderful site and can’t recommend it enough for new and existing front-end developers!
Tips: If there is no fight, there is no progress.
Since you have made it to this point, you can also treat yourself to some of the following tips. While front-end is a lucrative career choice, it involves a fairly steep learning curve and quite a lot of headaches as you wrap your head around the current timeline.
Still, it’s worth the hard battle for the number of opportunities you can put on!
Learn within the framework of reason.
Why do you learn to program? Want to get a better job? Do you want to create creative websites? Find out your reason, because it will be useful. It will be useful in those days, even weeks when you hit your head against a wall and wonder if any of it is worth it.
Find your tribe.
You should make at least a few connections to like-minded people and, if possible, even mentors. When I borrowed a Pascal book from a CS teacher at my old school, he was very kind and open to the idea of helping me with problems I might have. Consider a similar route by finding either a local community or other developers in online communities. It’s much easier to learn when someone points the finger at where you need to look.
Avoid learning everything.
If you want to know more, read this post by Ali Spittel There she shares more than 25 tips for new developers.
Get out of there
What are you waiting for? Go out and start learning! Make sure you check for new updates and tips every few months in this front-end development guide.
Rahaf Ebraheem Itechonics - Web Developer