Front End Development for Beginners

Front end development for beginners

This post is your first step towards becoming a front end developer.
Every website has two parts the frontend and the backend. The front end is the visual aspects that you see on your browser and you interact with. The back end is the part that’s behind the scenes and it powers the front end. It’s essentially about storing data in databases and providing it to the front end.
Web development jobs fall into three categories:

1 - Front end development
2-Back end development
3- Full stack development


Full stack development involves both the front end and back end.
Front end developers mainly use HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build front ends while back end developers usually use Node.js, Express and MongoDB.
HTML is the building block of web pages and it stands for HyperText Markup Language.
CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet and it’s used for styling web pages and making them beautiful.
JavaScript is a programming language and it’s used to give functionality to web pages.
To understand these concepts let’s use the following analogy.
Let’s think of a house: 
The bricks are the HTML because they’re the structure of the house.
The CSS is the paint or the wallpaper that you put on the walls to decorate the house and make it look prettier.
The house may have air conditioning which you can turn on or off by pressing a button, this would be the JavaScript.
Now let’s look at a real-world example the Alida School website.
The layout, headings and text are all HTML. The styling, this is the colours are all CSS. When you click on the Apply Now button, fill the application form and then click the Submit button that’s the JavaScript part of the website.
JavaScript is a programming language while that HTML and CSS are not. This is we can use JavaScript to tell the computer what to do while we cannot do the same with HTML and CSS.
We only use HTML and CSS to define the building blocks of our web pages and for styling.
Every webpage that you’ve seen on the Internet is built with these three languages.Hence the better you learn and master HTML, CSS and JavaScript the better you’ll become as a front end developer.

Learning path

Your front end development journey should start with HTML and then be followed by CSS. If you spend 3 to 5 hours per day every day studying and coding each one of them, within 4 to 6 weeks you’ll attain a reasonable level of understanding about HTML and CSS.
Once you learn HTML and CSS then you need to learn JavaScript. Learning, understanding and being able to apply the fundamentals of JavaScript should take you approximately six weeks.
As you can see the first three months are all about learning the fundamentals of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. When you start working on projects, you’ll learn more libraries, packages and frameworks.

Frameworks
Building websites often involves many repetitive and boring tasks. To solve this problem programmers created frameworks and libraries.
Frameworks and libraries come with a lot of code that we can reuse in our websites, so they help us to get the job done faster and makes coding less monotonous, boring and tedious.
That’s why a lot of companies nowadays use popular frameworks such as React, Angular and Vue for software development.
Technically speaking React is a library and not a framework.
Frameworks and libraries serve the same purpose: they help us build applications faster.
React is a JavaScript library for building fast and interactive user interfaces. React was developed at Facebook in 2011 and it’s currently the most popular JavaScript library in the world for building user interfaces. Hence if you want to increase your job opportunities as a front end developer, you should learn React. This is the main reason why React is one of the two frameworks we teach in our front end development course and the other is Vue.
There are dozens of frameworks and libraries available, the good news is that you don’t have to learn all of them to get started. Different companies use different frameworks and libraries for different projects so as you grow as a front end developer and work on numerous projects, you may want to learn about the other tools.
As a beginner or junior front end developer, I recommend you to get started with React because it’s the most popular tool in this space.
Once you learn React, then you can move on and learn the other tools that you need. Depending on your learning method and how many hours you put in per day, learning React should take you approximately one to two months.

Version Control Systems
We use version control systems to keep track of our project history and to work collaboratively with others.
There are many version control systems, the most popular among software developers are: Git, Mercurial and Subversion (SVN).
Git is the most popular out of the three: Git is used by 70% of software development teams that’s why you’ll see Git in almost every job description. It should take you about 2 weeks to learn Git.

In summary, the essential skills for every front developer are HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React and Git. You’ll see these tools listed in almost every job description. For now, keep in mind that less is more and just focus on these five skills and tools.
Different jobs and companies will require a different set of tools but you often can learn these new skills on the job and once you know a specific programming language, framework or library well, it’ll be easier and faster for you to pick up and learn a new one. Speaking from my own experience: Don’t try to learn too many things quickly, you’ll end up not learning anything and just wasting your time hence better to be master of one trade than a jack of all trades.

Happy learning!!

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