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Choosing a career path, especially in IT, is difficult in the world where everything changes so quickly. Are you looking for an answer whether front-end development is a good thing for you? Let me help you with that.
There are many articles concerning the knowledge and skills required for the first job as a front-end developer. There are many online courses as well. But that’s something you get interested in once you make a decision to pursue the career path in front-end development. What if you’re still ahead of making that choice? Here are a few insights from front-end developers who named the best parts of working in this field and what you should be aware of before you consider learning frontend.
I asked many developers to say what makes them happy at work and why they chose this particular field of web development. With all these insights, you will be able to confront your thoughts and personality with the results and see whether you and front-end development would make a perfect couple.
On several front-end development groups on Facebook, I posted a simple poll and asked members to answer the question:
What made you choose front-end development?
The answers I included were:
- Seeing the results of your work quickly
- Low learning curve in the beginning
- Freedom of choice (frameworks, tools)
- No place for boredom, quick changes in the field
- Ability to work remotely
- Learning Design and UI/UX along the way.
- Other (describe)
After 5 days of publishing the survey on 2 Polish and 2 international Facebook groups, I found out that:
- 105 front-end developers enjoy seeing the results of their work instantly
- 76 front-end developers appreciate the ability to work remotely
- 58 developers never get bored thanks to frequent technology updates, and they love it
- 41 developers are satisfied with their remuneration and consider it an important factor
- 29 developers found it great that they can learn UX/UI design simultaneously
- 21 developers value the freedom to choose from many frameworks, tools, and packages
- 19 developers like their job because of plentiful learning resources and quite low learning curve in the beginning
Now it’s time to answer a few really important questions, and be honest with yourself!
Before You Choose to Become a Front-end Developer…
Do I like seeing the results of my work quickly?
Not every job lets you see the results of your work instantly. I believe we all like it and the fact that this point got the most votes proves it. We are all lazy bastards! There is nothing wrong with that, though, it is just a reflection of our brain wanting continuous motivation. Front-end development will provide you with that and personally, working on something similar to a living organism also made drew my attention to front-end development.
Would it be nice for me to be able to work remotely?
Front-end development gives you a chance to work remotely. The intensity of it always depends on the company values and culture. Some of us work better from home, others prefer working in the evening. Our friend, here at 10Clouds, works remotely every month from a different country. This can be considered real freedom.
Do I feel good in a quickly developing world with the need of constant learning?
If the rule of learning your whole life applies somewhere, it is front-end development world. If you want to work with stable technology, this may not be the path for you. Everything changes rapidly here and some of your skills will be outdated in a year or two. If you don’t learn new concepts like Progressive Web Apps or creating native apps with JS frameworks like React Native or Weex, you will become less attractive on the job market.
Do I want to earn good money?
Let’s face it, you want it 🙂
Do I like product design and would like to be better at it?
Being a good front-end developer means you need to be interested in web design. Design trends change quickly and being up-to-date makes your daily life easier. If you only want to focus on code, you will lag behind.
Do I like to have a choice of tools that I can work with?
Front-end development is a world of freedom. It is both a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, there are many JS frameworks, many HTML/CSS preprocessors, task runners, bundling tools, which means you can work with things that suit you best. On the other hand, diving into front-end development means being overwhelmed at some point. You just can’t know everything and it is probably the best to acknowledge that as early as possible.
Do I like to learn from online courses, books and make my own projects to develop as a person?
There are many resources to learn from. Most of them require determination and perseverance. Finishing a course isn’t enough. You’ve got to put the new knowledge and skills into some sort of a project to get a grasp on new technology and its features.
Do I consider myself as a problem solver?
It all starts with an idea of a feature or design that needs to be applied. Building valuable products means creating something original which leads to finding new approaches and spending time on solving complex tasks.
Do I have the courage to work with designers to provide a pixel-perfect product?
Don’t get me wrong, working with designers is a fantastic experience and my 3-month stay in 10Clouds has proved it. Nevertheless, design bugs can pop up in many places. Sometimes easy things get messy when it comes to different breakpoints. This requires patience and mutual understanding between developer and designer as design tends to be final, but web development is an ongoing process in the Scrum-oriented environment.
Do I have the patience to work with numerous web browsers?
Web browsers can be a nightmare. If your project assumes testing on 6 browsers (let’s even say the newest versions), two desktop operating systems and three mobile operating systems, there are many spots where you may make mistakes. Or just simply omit something, because as developers, we just don’t know everything. Only continuous learning and patience can help you win. But trust me, that feeling when you overcome bugs and difficult features is just amazing.
I hope this was a helpful guide for you. If you answer ‘yes’ regarding most of the questions and you’re not scared about the difficulties, I will be more than happy to welcome you to our world. It’s been a nice journey, but I have to get back to work now. Don’t worry though, I’m not going to leave you totally on your own. Check these links to find out more about how to land your first job as a front-end developer:
- Free Code Camp – Fantastic and free resource to learn HTML, CSS and JS. It allows you to practice algorithmic skills and build sample projects.
- CodeCademy – Interactive resource for absolute beginners. They’ve introduced a paid version some time go but it is worth it.
- Code School – Website containing a little bit more difficult interactive tutorials.
- Skill Crush – 10 skills to land you your first job.
- SitePoint – It’s good to know where the industry is heading.