How to Learn Front-End Web Development

February 5, 2021
laptop screen shows a website with a yellow couch

Front-end web development is what takes a boring stack of text and transforms it into a dynamic, beautiful website. It’s a fun and lucrative career. It’s also a rapidly-changing one with lots of moving parts that can make it overwhelming for beginners to know where to start, especially go-getters learning on their own. 

If you love aesthetically-pleasing webpages, if you’ve ever visited a site and thought to yourself “I could do a better job designing this,” then front end web development may be right up your alley. But you probably already know that.

So how can you learn front end web development? We have a few tips to help you begin. 

Front End vs. Back End vs. Full-Stack

Let’s make sure you’re in the right spot before we dive into how to learn front end development. There are three primary branches of web dev that anyone can learn to specialize in:

1. Front end

2. Back end 

3. Full-stack 

Front end web development, which we’ll discuss in this piece, involves working with the face of a website, the visuals and behaviors that web users like you and I interact with on a daily basis. Front end developers ensure that a webpage is organized, easy to browse, and that it displays properly on different devices and operating systems. They integrate markup languages, frameworks, designs, and scripts so sites run smooth as butter on the user end.

Briefly, back end web development is the tech work behind a website that keeps it operational, like its servers. 

Finally, full-stack web development is the top-to-bottom creation of a website, both its back end and front end.

Each of these branches varies from the others and has different challenges and rewards. As we mentioned previously, front end development can be especially challenging because the strategies and tools to make the front end of a site operational are constantly evolving. Many of these tools are easily accessible to anybody wanting to learn on their own, and there are myriad resources available online. It’s important to learn about foundational components before you get in over your head. 

Pro Tip 1: Learn about HTML, CSS, and JavaScript first

We know you’ve heard this a billion times in a billion different contexts, but the best way to learn anything is to learn the ABCs. Such is the case with front end development.

The ABCs of front end web development are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. These are three very important coding languages that run inside the user’s browser and allow them to navigate, engage with, and view a website more easily. Each one plays a different and significant role in making the magic happen, and you need to know them well to be a good front end developer.

HTML (which stands for HyperText Markup Language) determines the architecture of a website—its layout and its formatting—and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is the language that gives a website its flair, like colors, fonts, images, and presentation. Without HTML and CSS, you’ll have a boring white page of unformatted text.

JavaScript gives a website more functionality by arming it with features like interactive films, moving graphics, maps, etc. It also makes it so a website’s user interface is easier to navigate.

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript work in concert to help you create basic web applications, and there are plenty of bootcamps and online tutorials that can get you well-versed and well-practiced in using them. Sites like Codeacademy and freeCodeCamp give you a pretty solid gateway education on web development languages. Codeacademy offers free courses and quizzes, and freeCodeCamp gives you over 6,000 tutorials on languages, frameworks, algorithms, libraries, and more, including basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

If you’re looking for a wider and deeper education on front end web development, one that will take you beyond the basics, Bloom Institute of Technology’s (formerly known as Lambda School) Full Stack Web Development program is a fantastic option. We give you an in-depth learning experience to help you master coding languages as well as the frameworks and libraries you’ll eventually want and need to know later in your career. You’ll also have ample opportunity to apply these skills in real-time. More on that later.  

Pro Tip 2: Practice, practice, practice

Once you have a grasp on the basic languages of front end development, the next best step is to practice using them. Programs like Visual Studio Code allow you to practice creating and running your own code, and you can also collaborate with others as you work. There are also plenty of website builders you can use to start from scratch, like WordPress or Squarespace.

Maybe you want to build a website for family updates, an online portfolio to showcase your work, or a blog about the best restaurants in town. Pick an idea, run with it, and start building. The more you build, the better you’ll get and the stronger grasp of languages you’ll have.

You can find inspiration all across the web. A great place is the CSSDesignAwards, which showcases the best in front end development.

Pro Tip 3: Network with other developers

Web developers are a tight knit and supportive community willing to jump in and help you solve complex problems or answer your questions. While you can learn quite a bit on your own, working with other developers can teach you far more than a siloed experience can.

There are many forums online to connect with developers who have a whole lifetime of experience to tap into. Explore Stack Overflow, where you can get answers to more than 16.5 million coding-related questions, or Coderwall, where you can find the latest design tips and tools from the web dev community.

If you’re ready to commit yourself to mastering front end dev, pick an online coding course  where you can work right alongside other web developers and learn one-on-one from professionals in the field. They know their stuff, and they can teach you everything you need to know yours, too.

Pro Tip 4: Go deeper

As you’ll quickly find out, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are just the shallow end of everything there is to know about front end dev. There are libraries and frameworks and algorithms and a whole other world of concepts and tools out there that full-time web developers work with daily. And while the internet can show you a lot of things you’ll need to know, you might consider a more structured, deeper education if you want to do this full-time.  

Take BloomTech’s full-stack web development course

Maybe unstructured learning doesn’t do it for you, but universities are too expensive. Maybe you don’t know if front end development is your thing or if you’d enjoy back end development more. Maybe you just want to expand your knowledge to find an even sweeter developer job. BloomTech’s full-stack web dev course is a great option for you.

At BloomTech, we teach an immersive, online course that both deepens and widens your coding skill set. We start with front end development and wind you through everything you need to know about HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Node, React, Python, Redux, SQL, and more. Our course will challenge you, pushing you to try new things so you can succeed in a career, but it’s also a lot of fun. You’ll contribute to real-world projects with a team and on your own, and you’ll develop your own portfolio to wow potential future employers.

We offer a full-time course option for those ready to dive in, or weekly free mini bootcamps for those just starting out. With our popular income share agreement, or ISA, you invest in yourself, too. When you pay for your BloomTech education with an ISA, you’ll start by paying for a fraction of your tuition up front. Once you graduate, we’ll help you land a well-paying job—and then you’ll pay for the rest of your tuition with a percentage of your income for a limited time.

At BloomTech, we are committed to providing more people with a direct and lower-risk path to a rewarding tech job. That’s why we offer flexible options to pay your tuition—and launch your new career.

To get started, apply online for BloomTech’s full-stack web development course today.