Whether you’re looking to become a frontend developer, or simply to dabble in a bit of code, these might be the first questions that pop into your mind.
Today, we’ll go over a few strategies to get you started on your path to becoming a fantastic frontend developer. I’ll also attempt to give you a realistic idea of how long it takes to learn a new programming language.
I’ve divided this guide into the following sections:
- Final thoughts
There are plenty of frameworks, including Angular, React, Vue, and MeteorJS. If you’ve been mucking about in code for a while, you’ve likely heard of them. If you want to learn more about these in general, then check out our beginner’s guide to web frameworks.
To start learning this or any other programming language, it’s essential to understand the syntax of the language first. Learn what the following are:
- Statements: JS statements are “instructions” to be “executed” by the web browser.
- Comments: To create a single line comment, you place two slashes “//” in front of the code or text you wish to have the JS interpreter ignore.
Once you’re familiar with these, try building something! Write a “hello world” webpage or create a contact form to submit basic information. Both of these exercises will help you appreciate the big picture and put newly acquired skills to use.
If, for example, you’re good at math, create a calculator app. If you’re good at marketing, create a landing page for lead generation. The main goal is solving a real-world problem.
First things first—an important note.
Don’t start off trying to learn a framework.
These foundational web development languages are the building blocks of every JS framework around. Learning them will make it easier for you to learn about frameworks and harness all the awesomeness they provide.
Angular has changed so drastically over the past few years that Angular 1.x has almost nothing in common with Angular 6. Libraries and tools come and go, but your capabilities and the skills you develop are here to stay.
Don’t waste your time
When I was a young frontend developer making websites for small and medium enterprises, jQuery was the best! All websites and animations were made with jQuery. If you didn’t use it, your website was old and didn’t offer much to the user. Naturally, developers who knew it made more money than those who didn’t.
So, I made my very first coding purchase: a book titled jQuery in Action. This book taught me everything about the jQuery world, from selecting an element from the DOM to creating complex AJAX calls to REST APIs. I felt like I was a ninja in the coding arts. But guess what? jQuery was replaced by HTML5 and ES2015 and modern browsers’ support of a new set of native APIs that soon will render jQuery useless.
The moral of the story is: invest 80% of your time in learning fundamentals like clean code, design patterns, domain-driven design, and object-oriented architecture. Like frameworks, technologies come and go, but these fundamentals will remain. What you learn will be portable across companies, teams, and domains, and your knowledge will be less likely to be rendered irrelevant.
What about the other 20% of my time? Leave it for frameworks, libraries, and tools such as package managers like npm. Be smart about it: the longer a technology is on the market, the safer the investment it is. Don’t rush to learn new technology—we don’t know its lifespan. Let time show you which technology is worth investing in. Time is your best advisor. Learn to wait.
4. Final thoughts
Build your exercises around real-world problems to gain an understanding of the language and its applications.
Be patient and don’t give up! Learning any new skill takes time and dedication.
This approach definitely works—our graduates are the proof. Before taking the CareerFoundry Full-Stack Web Development Program, Julio was trying to study by himself:
I did a lot of self-studying, which involved a lot of guesswork from tutorials. When I started trying to do my own thing, I found myself wondering: ‘What if there is another way of doing this, and I’m doing it the wrong way?’
So having one-on-one support from a tutor and mentor at CareerFoundry—actual programmers with experience, was great. Having someone look at my code and say ‘Yes, it’s right’ gave me a huge feeling of relief, knowing that I was doing it right.
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a frontend developer, check out these guides:
- What Does It Take To Become A Web Developer? Everything You Need To Know Before Getting Started
- The 7 Essential Tools For Frontend Web Development
- A Guide To Landing Your First Job As A Junior Web Developer