Getting into front-end development
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"Where should I start if I'm thinking about getting into front-end development?". It's a question I've been asked a few times by people considering a career change into tech. When I realised I had a go-to list of resources, I thought it would make sense to share with a wider audience too.
Of course I'm no expert, and the below recommendations are only based on my personal experience so your mileage may vary!
Free online courses
This is an excellent video-based course to help you understand fundamental programming concepts. You can be 100% complete beginner, or you may even have surface-level understanding of programming concepts already. It took me from kind of understanding arrays, objects, loops, events to being able to conceptualise and explain them to others.
Paid online courses
*Pssst - I was recommending Wes Bos's courses so often, I decided to sign up as an affilate. If you click the link and end up buying a course I can buy my doggo extra treats! 🐶
CSS learning fun:
Learning doesn't have to be hard work! Solidify your new CSS layout skills with these fun games.
Help bring froggies home to their lilypads by mastering CSS flexbox alignment, spacing, and wrapping of elements.
Tend to your garden by watering carrots and poisoning weeds through mastering CSS grid columns, rows, and grid template areas.
I've found podcasts really useful for learning new topics, tips, and keeping up with new tech trends while getting on with other life things. Here are a few I recommend.
CodeNewbie (less technical)
Introduces a broad range of topics such as test driven development, accessibility, data science, and app development through interviewing a new guest each week and their journey into tech.
Learn to code with me (less technical)
Interviews and advice for learning how to code front-end, back-end, software and apps, and building your technology career.
Syntax FM (more technical)
This (mostly) front-end development podcast covers beginner to advanced topics with a light and fun tone. Highly recommend getting started by queuing up episodes with "Fundamentals" in the title.
ShopTalk Show (more technical)
A weekly podcast covering all the topics about building the front-end of websites.
Toolsday (more technical)
20 minute episodes on the latest front-end development tools, tips and tricks.
Events & Communities
Below are some of the community groups and events I recommended for my local area (Perth, Australia), but many cities will have similar groups.
Runs free one-day workshops, one-week courses and 6-month part-time bootcamps for women learning to code in Perth and Brisbane.
A community meetup for front-end developers that runs regular casual events, presentation nights and workshops to improve the skills of the Perth web community and as a very active and friendly slack group.
Sydney’s only group dedicated to all things CSS. Regular get-togethers (in-person and more often recently online) to discuss the latest tips and techniques.
I can't overstate how beneficial getting involved with the web community can be for your personal and professional development. Not only can it build a support network that will help keep you motivated when you get stuck, it could also help you find your first (and subsequent) developer roles.
Thought I would add a sprinkle of tidbits here before I leave you 😄
- Figure out your learning style. What medium do you learn best from? Videos, books, blog posts, in-person classes? Find a teacher that uses your preferred medium who explains concepts in a way you understand! For example I learn best with structured video content with a light, conversational style.
- Learn by doing. Focus on building real things that interest you (like creating a website for your hobby), over following tutorials that code something you don't feel invested in.
- Join Twitter. Twitter is the platform for following the tech industry, and if you curate your feed well, it can be a fantastic source of interesting dev content.
Jess is a senior software engineer and web accessibility nerd. When she’s not writing, speaking or tweeting about tech, you’ll find her putting together lego or going on walks with her doggo.