My favorite resources for learning frontend development

When you’re teaching yourself how to code, the amount of resources you can find online is just overwhelming. I found that it’s a journey (and, quite often, an obstacle) in itself to pick the right resources and not get sidetracked into watching yet another Youtube tutorial. Moreover, just because your material says “for beginners” doesn’t mean that it’s all on the same level. Unfortunately, most of the time nobody tells you if something is for beginner-beginners or for beginners who worked through an entire book about, let’s say, HTML and CSS already. You’ll be considered a beginner for a very long time. What makes finding the right resources for you even more complicated is that everyone is different, and so everyone’s learning path, progress and needs are different. Some things just didn’t work for me. That being said, I wanted to share what did work for me in the past and what I’m currently working with.

The Head First books

My very first programming book was “Head First HTML and CSS” and I loved it. I got it from my local library and it made learning so much fun and so easy! After I had finished it, I continued with “Head First JavaScript Programming”.

freeCodeCamp

The content on freeCodeCamp is, indeed, free and structured into different certifications. I started with the Responsive Web Design Certification. You solve a lot of guided coding exercises and will be prompted to work on a few projects yourself in the end for your certification. It was good to go back and forth between the Head First books and lessons on freeCodeCamp, because it’s definitely tempting to just go over the exercises in FCC and by the time you’re asked to work on your projects, you forgot most of the principles taught already. I definitely learned the most when working on the final projects. Eventually, I got stuck on the algorithms part of the JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures Certification and it took me a couple of very frustrating weeks to understand that I needed to find different resources to make progress here. I also started the Front End Development Libraries Certification because I was so frustrated by being stuck – which I wouldn’t recommend. In hindsight, it doesn’t surprise me that I didn’t really understand a topic when I already had issues understanding the topic that it is based upon.

Brad Traversy’s courses and tutorials

Eventually, I found Brad Traversy’s course “20 Web Projects With Vanilla JavaScript” on Udemy and completed it. I loved it because it had a ton of hands-on tips that helped me a lot with working better with VS Code (reading books and even freeCodeCamp doesn’t really require you to use a code editor at all). What really helped me to improve my skills was to build the projects of the tutorials and then go back and code them without any help/watching the tutorial video.

I also took a lot of his free tutorials on Youtube and I have yet to find one I didn’t like. I think it very much comes down to personal preference with video tutorials; how somebody talks and how they explain things just needs to be right for you.

You don’t know JS (yet)

The “You don’t know JS” book series by Kyle Simpson is really in-depth and not considered beginner friendly in its entirety, but the first book, “Get Started”, is a great way to do just that. And you can read all of the books for free on his github. Thanks, Kyle!

I’ve also just started another JS book that is recommended often, “Eloquent JS”. I have to report back on how I like it.

Frontend Masters

After another while (=weeks) of feeling stuck again, I decided to take some courses on Frontend Masters. I was hesitant at first because the membership is $40/month, but I’m so glad I went for it! The instructors are extremely knowledgeable and the courses are super well made. They also offer courses for all kinds of levels.

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