Front End Development

How long does it take to learn front end development?

Jesse Somer
Jesse Somer
Calender Img
Getweb Inc - Full-Cycle Web Design And Development Services

Front-end development refers to the process of creating the visual aspect of an interface that helps the end user enjoy and interact with the interface. Unlike many other professions, the barrier to entry is really low in this uprising tech field. Almost anyone with the right mindset and dedication can get into front-end development.

This article will focus on how much time and effort it will take to learn front-end development. If you are interested in learning front-end development, come along on this roadmap to prepare yourself for the upcoming challenges.

What is front end development?

Front End Development

The job of a front-end developer is to create the user-facing elements of a website/app that users see and interact with. Once the web designer creates an interface/layout, a frontend developer is responsible to bring that design to life using coding languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Additionally, a frontend developer also has to interact with the end-users to find out what they like and what not.

After thorough research and analysis, front-end developers will create a solution combining their programming skills, user experience skills, and design thinking. They’ll decide what color a button should be, what typography to focus on, or how to place interactive visual elements throughout the interface.

Roles and responsibilities of a frontend developer

Front-end developers are responsible for designing and implementing a wide range of user interfaces. In simple terms, frontend developers are programmers who specialize in website design. They are expected to be multi-talented professionals who can combine the creativity of a design with the logic of programming to create seamless visual aspects that the end user experiences and interacts with.

Some of the key responsibilities of front-end developers are mentioned below:

  • Having a sound knowledge of basic design principles
  • Familiarity with technologies like HTML, CSS, JS, jQuery, and Bootstrap
  • Creating responsive and adaptive designs that work flawlessly in every device
  • Writing clean, reusable, and easy-to-understand codes
  • Familiarity with design tools (like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.)
  • Developing and optimizing user interfaces based on user research
  • Finding and eliminating visual and usability issues
  • Optimizing the design and structure of a web page
  • Combining cool aesthetics and functional design to achieve balance
  • Maintaining brand consistency throughout the designs

How long does it take to learn front end development?

It will take roughly 3-12 months to fully grasp the basics of frontend development. If you want to be prepared enough to land your 1st front end development job, that timeline will be sufficient. However, If you want to master it, you’ll need to invest significantly more time and effort into it.

Let’s break down the complete timeline based on your experience level and timeframe so you get a clear picture of the whole learning process:

Depending on your experience level

Beginner

At this stage, you have no professional experience whatsoever but are interested in making a career in front-end development. You may enjoy how your favorite websites/apps look visually stunning while working like a charm. And you want to learn how these things work.

Every seasoned front-end developer started their journey here at some point. This stage will require intensive effort and learning about the process, the resources, and the tools. You’ll get the best result out of the beginner stage if you are a student. You’ll have the freedom to explore the niche without any preconceptions.

It’ll take roughly 6-12 months for a beginner with zero experience to be able to grasp the basics and the more you practice, the better you’ll become.

With some experience

At this level, you are already familiar with the basics of front-end development and have some technical expertise. You know how a website works and have related experiences, but haven’t had an official job, and you’re interested to learn.

If you start your front-end development journey at this stage, it’ll take roughly 3-6 months to get yourself familiarized with all the responsibilities, tools, and resources. Practicing more and more should be your primary concern at this stage.

You can develop your own fake projects or provide free client work to improve your skills, create a rich portfolio, and land your first front-end development job. Joining open-source communities can enable you to create a strong network over time.

Experienced in related fields

Maybe, you have professional experience in a related tech field, but not in frontend development. You can also dive into front-end development by refining your skills and using your experience to your advantage.

For example, if you have coding knowledge or UX design expertise, the educational timeline to learn markup languages and web programming will become shorter. You’ll also be able to use your design thinking in the development process for better output.

However, it will still take you about 3-4 months to get your head around front-end development. After that, you’ll be ready to get into your first front-end development job. Remember, the learning part never stops, not even if you become one of the industry’s best designers.

Depending on your timeframe

3-month

If you can’t afford more than 3 months on learning functional-level front-end development, you’ll need to utilize every bit of time you can to learn. If you are short on time and have no real experience, a coding Bootcamp might be the best option for you.

Bootcamp is a dedicated, intensive program designed to prepare individuals for professional jobs within a short time. This is usually a full-time learning environment that runs 3-5 days a week. Coding boot camps are becoming increasingly popular as most recruiters value these programs.

According to a Hacker Rank study, 72% of recruiters value boot camp graduates to have equal or better skill sets than fresh college graduates. Bootcamps can also be virtual. By the time you graduate from your boot camp, you’ll have an arsenal of industry-relevant skills, a strong network, and a decent portfolio.

6-month

Some boot camps offer more flexibility than others. You can try self-paced courses or attend part-time boot camps if you have at least 6 months to invest. This is the standard time required to become decent at front-end development regardless of your level of experience.

The biggest advantage of coding boot camps is that they provide structured lessons, instructor support, and hands-on curricula essential to build mastery over time. They will also focus on imparting marketable skills necessary for your job. Self-motivation is the key to progress in such an environment.

Alternatively,  you can also try self-directed learning. There are numerous online resources to build your front-end development skills in a more relaxed, self-paced environment. This is especially useful for those who have to attend a part/full-time job besides learning. Online platforms like Udemy,  freecodecamp, W3schools, etc. can offer formal knowledge in coding fundamentals.

If you need a bit of flexibility and cheaper education, a self-paced environment can be a good option. However, most of them lack efficiency, education quality, and learner support. As a result, you’ll need to be careful about choosing the right environment for your growth. Additionally, these online learning programs won’t give you certificates upon completing the course. So, you’ll have to put extra effort into making your portfolio stand out.

1 year or more

If you have a little more flexibility on your hands, the best option would be to combine self-paced learning with a full boot camp program. With this, you’ll get all the structural information essential for your first front-end development job. You’ll also be able to pick up some specialized skills or dive deeper into the topic.

You can also get an academic undergraduate degree if you have more than one year to invest. If you can achieve a 4-year computer science degree, your employability will increase significantly. This way, you’ll be able to gain a comprehensive background in web development and programming. This will also help you enhance your portfolio, create a wider network, and even manage internship opportunities.

However, enrolling for a college degree might not be practical for everyone. That’s why you have to understand your own strengths and weaknesses. Evaluate your current position and resources to determine the best course of action for your front-end development journey.

Complete timeline breakdown

Grasping the basics (10-days)

The first step in your learning process will be to familiarize yourself with the theoretical knowledge and the basics of design principles. This will take about 10-15 days and by the end, you should have a sound knowledge of how a website works, what is a static/dynamic page, and the best design practices.

Go through the vast amount of information available online or learn from the boot camp. Go through some books and watch video instructions to build a strong base. If you have time on your hand, you can learn some basic SEO knowledge as that’ll come in handy later.

Here are some necessary resources (free) to get started with:

Learn HTML, CSS, and JS(1-3month)

Front End Development

At this stage, you’ll have to start learning the building blocks of front-end development. HTML is used to structurize the webpage, CSS is used to decorate the page and JS (JavaScript) will create interactive web applications. HTML is the easiest to learn and JS requires the most effort.

However, you’ll also need to get busy with hands-on practices. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at it. Take your time, learn the syntax, and practice coding regularly. You’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come if you keep the practice on regularly.

Try to solve unique problems with JS to get better at it. HTML and CSS will take you 7-10 days to master, so it would be better to put extra effort into learning JS and related frameworks/libraries. However, there is no hard and fast rule that you must complete this stage within a month. As long as you keep learning and practicing regularly, you’ll improve.

If you are looking for a one-stop solution for your front-end development journey, platforms like Mozilla Developer Network, Khan Academy, and W3schools can help you with extensive documentation and hands-on problem-solving tasks.

Other Web development tools (15-20 days)

As front-end developers have to work with design elements and programming, the tools they use span across these particular fields. There are 3 main types of tools used in front-end development and they are:

Code editors

The first thing you’ll need is a code editor to practice your HTML, CSS, and JS skills. There are a number of code editors available and you can use anyone you want. These tools will help you write clean codes and check the output in real time. Atom, Notepad++, Sublime Text, and Brackets are some of the most widely used code editors.

Graphic editors

As you’ll also have to deal with graphic elements of a web page and communicate with the designer, it’s imperative to have some knowledge on graphic editing tools. With these tools, you’ll be able to create pixel-perfect designs for your web pages.

Adobe Photoshop (PS) is currently the most popular graphic editor in the world. If PS seems too complicated, you can also try other alternatives. However, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are the industry standard for graphic design.

Mockup tools

Last but not least, it’s better to have some knowledge about mockup tools. This will enhance your prototype design knowledge. They will help you create high- or low-fidelity mockups through easy drag-and-drop action. Some most widely used mockup tools are Adobe XD, Mockplus, Balsamiq, etc.

Build your own Website (1 month)

By now, you should have a pretty solid knowledge of front-end development. The next step is to apply all those knowledge and skills to create real-life solutions. You can design apps or websites that will solve user problems and look cool doing it.

If you don’t want to launch your private website at this stage, you can try Jekyll + GitHub Pages to create sample pages. Build a static blog or your portfolio website yourself using all the knowledge and skills you’ve gathered so far. Evaluate your favorite websites and try to add better functionality to your pages.

Never stop learning

People’s choice changes over time, and so do the design trends. As front-end development is a user-oriented and skill-based position, it’s imperative to keep track of the latest design trends and practices.

The best practice for a rising front-end developer is to go through web development blogs, books, videos, and other resources available online. It’s better to build up a habit of spending 1-2 hours every day reading and watching new concepts that will keep you and your work relevant.

College or self-paced or boot camp: which one to choose

Having a college degree in front-end development isn’t required in all organizations. Most companies will prefer a better skill set over a better educational background. Practically anyone with the right mindset can become a front-end web developer.

To become a professional front end developer, you can either choose a college degree, join a boot camp, or learn in a self-paced environment. Each method comes with its own perks and drawbacks. You’ll have to choose the path you’re most comfortable heading towards. Here’s a comparison between a college degree, a boot camp, and self-paced learning:

Learning typeTime neededCost neededJob opportunity
Self-paced learning12 – 14 monthsCheapest, can even be freeModerate
Bootcamp3 – 6 months$4,000-$20,000Moderate to high
Academic/professional degree1 – 4 years$37,000 – $91,000High

Is front end developer a good career?

Yes. Front end development is one of the best careers you can choose in 2022 and beyond. There are plenty of job opportunities with good pay. The job usually also comes with additional perks like work from home, free lunches, and healthcare.

Plus, the field is constantly evolving and growing, providing endless opportunities for growth and development as a professional. Front end development work is highly in demand as more and more businesses turn to websites and web apps for their operations.

Overall, a career in front end development can be very fulfilling and rewarding both financially and personally. It’s definitely worth considering if you have the skills and interest in this field.

Skills required

Front-end designers are required to have multiple skills. Aside from developing, a front-end developer also needs to be an effective communicator, creative, organized, and visionary. Here are the most useful skills for a front-end developer:

  • Coding knowledge in HTML, CSS, and JS
  • Good communication skills
  • Graphic design tools basic
  • Basic understanding of SEO
  • Problem-solving
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Practical knowledge about frameworks, libraries, and typescript
  • Knowledge about CSS Preprocessors and programming patterns
  • Cross-browser and responsive development
  • The basic idea of APIs and RESTful Services
  • Version control system
  • Familiarity with using the command line

Payroll

Front end development is one of the fastest growing tech sectors out there. People are more connected with each other than ever through their online presences. Web development is a sector that will stay relevant as long as the internet itself, creating countless job opportunities with a good payroll in the upcoming years.

According to Glassdoor, a front-end developer in the USA earns around $87,240 a year. If you’re a newcomer, you can expect an average annual income of around $49,000.


Jesse Somer
VIP Contributor
Jesse Somer
Senior Frontend Developer

Specialized in web-based enterprise management solutions, such as task trackers, calendars, planning tools, project management boards, data visualization, and more, Jesse’s domain is mainly frontend development.

But he also has a good understanding of database solutions and backend development. Writing clean and stable code, developing new features, and solving complex problems make his heart beat faster!


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