9 Tips for New Front End Developers on How to Get Ahead

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9 Tips for New Front End Developers on How to Get Ahead

As a new front end developer, you may feel like there’s a lot to learn and not enough time to do it. Front end development is still a relatively niche field, which means that the available resources can be limited. Whether you are just starting out as a front-end developer, or you’re switching from another role, it’s never easy to break into a new field. It’s especially challenging when that field is changing rapidly and demanding more from its practitioners than ever before. But don’t let that scare you! The growing demand for front-end developers means there will be plenty of job opportunities if you know where to look. To get started on the right foot as a newcomer to this field, we’ve outlined 9 tips for new Front End Developers on how to get ahead and tackle your new role with confidence:

Have a growth mindset

For many people, there may be a misconception that since they’ve never been to code school, they don’t have what it takes to be a “real” developer. Luckily, the field of psychology has given us a lot of insight into how to combat this mindset and go from feeling overwhelmed to feeling prepared. One of the first things you’ll want to do is identify your strengths. Take some time to reflect on what drew you to this field in the first place. Why did you choose front end development over another tech skill? What do you find interesting and enjoy doing? Within the field of front-end development, there are tons of sub-specialties. Knowing which type of work interests you most will give you a better idea of which skills you need to learn in order to get there.

Learn to code and understand the fundamentals

The first step in learning any new skill is to figure out what the basics are. While it’s impossible (and not advisable) to learn everything there is to know about front-end development, it’s important to know the core concepts behind each tool and language you use. If you’re just starting out with coding, it’s a good idea to start with HTML and CSS before moving on to JavaScript. Don’t move on to the next language until you have a solid foundation in the one you’re currently learning. You’ll want to familiarise yourself with the basics of each language, including syntax and common issues you may run into while using it. There are tons of free resources online that can help you get started, and becoming familiar with the basics will open up a whole new world of online resources that can help you take your skills to the next level.

Focus on JavaScript fundamentals

While it’s important to have a solid understanding of HTML and CSS, the truth is that JavaScript is what makes the entire web function. As the language continues to evolve and become the backbone of many of today’s most popular applications, it’s more important than ever that front-end developers are up to date on the latest developments. A good way to start keeping up to date with JavaScript developments is by following a few popular blogs. Corners of the web like Smashing Magazine, SitePoint and CSS-Tricks are great places to start, and will give you an idea of what’s new and important in the world of JS.

Learn HTML and CSS as well

As the language that forms the basis of all webpages, even those built with JavaScript, it’s important to learn HTML along with CSS. While it’s true that JavaScript has become more commonplace in the field of front-end development, it’s important that you know the fundamentals of HTML for a few reasons: It’s also important to learn how to write clean and semantic CSS, as this will help you write better HTML. Once you’re comfortable with the basics of these core languages, it’s much easier to expand your knowledge and start exploring JavaScript and other tools that are used in the front-end field.

Don’t neglect UX and design skills

While it’s true that front-end development is mainly a technical field, it doesn’t mean that you should completely ignore the design side of things. Design plays a huge role in the success of any website, and the most successful websites use design to strengthen their brand and tell a story. While you may not be the one creating the site’s design, you will certainly be responsible for making sure it looks good once it’s been built. This means that you will need to know how to use design software like Photoshop and Illustrator, and also have a good grasp of design theory and best practices.

Find a mentor or coach

As you start to explore your new role, you’re likely to hit a few roadblocks along the way. This happens to everyone, no matter your experience level or field of work. Find a mentor or coach who can help keep you on track and make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. A mentor or coach can be someone you meet in person or someone you’re connected with virtually. This person should be someone who is at a similar stage in their career as you (ideally a little further along) so they can offer you advice based on their own experiences. Find a mentor or coach who has expertise in the field you’re interested in, has a background in working with newcomers, and is actively helping others achieve their goals. It’s important to find someone who is actively helping others and has time to devote to working with you.

Find a volunteer opportunity in your niche area of interest

Even if you’re not yet making a living as a front-end developer, there are plenty of ways to gain experience and network with people in your field. Find a nonprofit or charitable organisation that you’re interested in and see if there’s a way you can get involved. You can usually find a way to help out that doesn’t require any special skills, and will let you explore the organisation from the inside and meet other people in your field. You can also consider volunteering for a company. Many large companies offer internships to students, and this is a great way to get your foot in the door and make connections with the people in your field.

Find an apprenticeship or internship in your niche area of interest

In addition to volunteering, you can also look into finding an apprenticeship or internship in your area of interest. This is a great way to make connections with people in your field and get hands-on experience while still in school. Alternatively, you can look into applying to a coding bootcamp and pursuing a full-time course of study. If you choose this route, make sure you research your options carefully and select a program that will give you the skills and experience you need to succeed in your chosen field.

Conclusion

While it can be challenging to break into a new field, it’s important to remember that everyone has to start somewhere. The key is to start early and stay focused on your goals. Find ways to learn as much as you can from scratch, and don’t worry if you don’t know everything there is to know about the field. Some of the most successful people in the world have made their mark by being able to learn quickly, and many of them started their careers outside of their chosen field. Ready to get started on your journey to becoming a front-end developer? Great! Remember, there will be plenty of challenges along the way, but if you have a growth mindset and focus on keeping an open mind, you’ll be well on your way to success!

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