A Beginner’s Guide To Becoming a Front-end Web Developer

I know your problem and you’ve just got to the right place to find the solution. I am going to teach you what you have to learn in order to become an experienced front-end web developer. When I was a teenager I always wanted to have my own website, I love websites a lot. I got introduced to website builders and other simple tools to help build a website within few minutes. It was fun and very exciting but I wasn’t satisfied with the way I developed those websites. I always wanted to build everything from scratch, to get dirty with the codes.
I was introduced to the programming language used by web developers from a good friend and I decided to take the hard way to learn everything on my own. My spirit got high from that moment because I was embarking on a journey to become a self-taught front-end web developer and I going to teach you the best possible way of fulfilling your dreams too.

Who is a Front-end developer?

A front-end developer can also be known as a client-side developer, he is responsible for building and maintaining the final looks of a website. This very website you are seeing was built by a front-end developer. They use various tools and languages to achieve the designs they have developers or design made by graphic designers. Apart from building good looking websites they also make sure you have access to their web pages across all devices. The life of a front-end programmer is never easy and it’s also a very interesting job.

What Do I Need To Learn To Become A Front-end Developer?

To learn front-end development you have to learn its 3 pillars. That is HTML, CSS and JavaScript. These three language are the core requirement needed if you want to live and survive in the world front-end web development.

learning front-end web development - html, css and javascript

HyperText Markup Language (HTML)

Every website you visit has HTML, HTML is the backbone of all websites. HyperText Markup Language is not a true programming language like Java or JavaScript. It is made of tags or markups which are used to build the structure of websites. It serves as the building blocks of all websites. With the aid of HTML, developers are able to add images, links, build forms, add paragraphs, heading to their webpages. HTML acts like the bricks and mortar used for building a house.
HTML has been through several stages with the latest version being HTML5. HTML5 is very simple and easy to learn. HTML5 has got a lot of advantage and learning it will benefit you a lot. The latest version permits developers to add audio and video files to their webpages without writing any complex codes.

Cascading Style Sheet (CSS)

Websites cannot live without CSS just like the same way we cannot live without food and water. The main purpose of CSS is to add some visual presentation to webpages. With CSS you can change the appearance of a webpage, change the font format of text, add background images and colors, building navigation bar and even create buttons to for pages. CSS straightforward and very easy to learn. But using it in your development process can be a bit tough.
Just like HTML, CSS has different versions as well, with CSS3 being the latest. CSS3 has change and helped the way front-end developers build. It has simplified difficult tasks and has made the development of websites very cool. The latest version permits front-end web developers to add animations to their websites, drop shadows and transitions to their webpages.

JavaScript

JavaScript is a true programming language used in web development. You should know that JavaScript isn’t related to the java programming language. Though the language can be used for websites it can also be used to create desktop applications. JavaScript is higher level client-side scripting language which can easily be embedded in HTML document to add some interactivity to websites. JavaScript does not use any compliers like other programming to run the codes. The web browsers interpret and executes any code written in JavaScript within your HTML document.
What JavaScript does is to bring your webpages make your pages respond to user actions. JavaScript has got a lot of uses on the web. Those web games, image sliders, image rollovers and animations are built with JavaScript. JavaScript can be a little bit tricky when learning but not difficult at all. It requires concentration and hard work to study and use its full powers.

Aside The 3 Pillars, Other Things You Should Know.

Front-end web development is not restricted to only HTML, CSS and JavaScript. There are other things which most front-end web programmers use when building stylish websites. Frameworks and development tools are those thing I am talking of.

Frameworks

Frameworks are developed to help programmer complete numerous task within a short time span. They are developed and managed by a group of experience programmers. Web frameworks aid web developers to complete multiple and difficult task quickly and easily. They also reduce the presence of bugs (errors) in your codes. CSS and JavaScript have got some popular Frameworks to which can be of great benefit to you if choose to learn them.
Angular.js, React.js, Ember.js, Meteor.js and Backbone.js are some of the popular JavaScript frameworks for front-end developers.
Bootstrap, Foundation, Skeleton, Ink, and Cascade Framework are some of the best and popular CSS frameworks you can choose to learn.

Development Tools

Development tools are tools to assist you when building. They include text editors, color pickers, image optimizer, responsive test tools and font converters. These tools shouldn’t be ignored by any web programmer because they help you spend less time when creating websites.

Challenges Associated With Front-end Development

Front-end developers face a lot of trials when creating those stunning websites. A java programmer builds his apps with the java programming language but a front-end developer has to build with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, then use other tools as well. So the life a front-end web developer isn’t easy at all.

Cross Browser Challenges

All web browsers render webpages differently. The manner in which one webpage looks in one browser will be different when viewed in another browser. Internet Explorer is the only browser that need special attentions when designing your page appearance because it is the only browser that cause problems to developer. Web developers have to struggle to test and tweak their designs in order for them to look equally in all major web browsers.

 Different Screen Size

The significant increase in the use of smart phone also means web programmers have to shift their attention to smart phones uses as well. Neglecting this means losing potential customers and clients for your business or your web app. Likewise, web visitors access websites with varied screen sizes. As a front-end developer it is your duty to test how your pages look across different screen size because someone might be viewing your website with a screen either smaller or bigger than your screen size.

Website Performance

We now live in an era where our access to information must be provided within a few seconds. No web user will for more than 10 seconds to read or purchase a product a product from your website. And this problem can go against you massively. As a front-end web developer you must ensure that your website or applications performs actively and very responsively. Your images and codes must be well optimized to guarantee your website loads very fast.

Tools Used Changes Constantly

It is often advised not to learn all the tools used by all front-end web programmer. As time goes on new tools will be built and old ones will begin to fade out of the system. When learning how to use frameworks and other useful tools try to stick with the popular ones and also be ready to adapt to any new changes that are developed in the future.

Resource to Help Your Learn HTML, CSS and JavaScript

1. Codecademy.com – Codecademy is an online learning platform that helps beginners to learn web development. Lesson taught by Codecademy are for free.
2. W3schools.com – W3schools is similar to Codecademy. The learning platform offers a step-by-step guide to teach beginners everything they need to learn about Front-end development.
3. Head First HTML and CSS second edition – this a wonderful book I will recommend to anyone who want to learn about HTML and CSS. This is a great book and I still rely on it.
4. Head First JavaScript second edition – this book has taught me a lot about JavaScript. I used this book when learning JavaScript. Written in a simple format, any beginner can easily learn JavaScript with this notable book.

Conclusion


Becoming a Front-end developer has always been my dream. Front-end development is a straightforward course. It takes time and effort to learn everything about front-end web development. My advice to you is start with the HTML, CSS and JavaScript before tackling frameworks and other development tools. Also do not forget about cross browser issues, web performance and different display size. I wish all the best of luck.

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