How to start your Front-end adventure in 2022/2023

We live in a time where technology accompanies us at every step. With its development and ubiquity, the industry market is also developing, where the number of job offers is constantly growing. Many people strive to rebrand themselves or start working as programmers, driven by high salaries and good employment conditions. Many companies promise future software development adepts a rapid path to finding their first job – often even after one or two months of workshops. So, is getting started as a programmer that easy? If so, what skills do you need to start working as a front-end developer? In this article, I will answer these very questions.

At the outset, programming is a vast field of knowledge in which one can specialize in many areas. In this article, however, I will focus on the front end, where I work daily. Some of the advice, however, is universal, and even if you are planning your career path in a different direction, it may be helpful to you in getting your first job.

Universal advices

A key point at the beginning of a career is the right attitude. Getting your first job is not a sprint but a marathon. Set yourself up for systematic work filled with small successes and failures. Just as it’s hard to become a professional soccer player in a few months (especially if this is our first exposure to soccer), we will need time to develop the skills necessary for the software development process.

The second important thing is to know English. Why? By speaking only one language, in this case, Polish, we have access to only a tiny fraction of the information on the Internet. In the work of a programmer, English is used at every step, from writing code, reading documentation, tutorials, and articles, listening to conferences to communicating with clients and colleagues. A huge plus is that English will be helpful at work and in other areas of life, more and less professional.

The last universal tip is to take care of soft skills. Communication in a team is essential. We exchange insights with many people daily – we work closely with designers and especially with the client. In our work, we all play to the same goal, and it is worth ensuring that this joint work is pleasant and that communication is transparent. That will make life easier not only for you but also for the rest of the team.

Front-end roadmap

The skills I have listed are just the beginning of the road, and my tips are just one signpost for getting your first job as a programmer. The next signpost is much more structured and deals with technical skills for a front-end developer’s job. I will use the roadmap at https://roadmap.sh/frontend to chart my path.

On the roadmap, I have indicated you will find all the crucial areas of knowledge in the work of a front-end developer. Since we are designing web applications, the first portion of expertise will understand how the Internet and web browsers work since they are the ones where applications are most often run. In the following stages will come learning the tools that are the pillars of web applications. We are, of course, talking about the trinity of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Once familiar with them, you can create a website or a simple application. Before starting your first projects, you should also expand your knowledge by working with a version control system. We often talk about Git and uploading your work to any remote repository (such as GitHub). 

After assimilating and putting into practice the above knowledge, it’s time to learn your first JavaScript framework. To begin with, I suggest getting acquainted with each of the most popular solutions and choosing the one we like. Before selecting a tool, however, it is worth checking whether it is popular on the job market, as more ads for a particular technology will make it easier to hire us. At the stage of learning the first framework, it is worth expanding our knowledge with TypeScript, which is becoming a standard in software development, and mastering it will make us a more attractive candidate on the job market. At this stage, we should know how to create applications that can process and display data for the user using an external API. Finally, it’s worth investing some time to learn about application testing and writing tests for it, as any company focused on quality will have writing these tests as a standard.

The front-end developer’s path continues even after this stage, but the skills described in this article should already be a solid foundation for finding your first job. Keep in mind that you will be able to start working in the IT industry during the described path, so I encourage you to participate in recruitment. Before starting your search, however, it’s a good idea to prepare some larger independent projects that you can present at the interview. 

At this part, you can ask: Should I use the free materials available, or should I invest money in another form of education after all? The article you are reading is intended to answer the question of what skills should be acquired to enter the IT world. I will answer the question of where to find this knowledge in one of the next episodes of our #90secondswithMoodUp series published on LinkedIn. Feel free to share any of your personal experiences as a front-end developer on our LinkedIn profile!