Front end web development seems a good place to start, but what is it?

Becoming a programmer: Diary entry #3

Image by Vivienne Nieuwenhuizen, available on

After a few weeks of hesitation, floundering around trying to find an entry point to the vast world of programming, I settled on HTML (because its the simplest place) and frontend web development (because it logically progresses from HTML).

But what is front end web development and what does it entail?

I immediately heard voices in my head shouting: “Which skills should I learn? In which order? To what depth? From which of the myriad of online resources? How long is this going to take?” I kept reading.

Front end web development, it would appear, is everything you see of a website in your browser, and a little (a lot?) more...

You’ll need to be fluent in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript as a minimum.

Front end web design also includes a plethora of non-code skills that you’ll need to become adept in.

  • understand user experience principles and conduct user testing;
  • design and present wire frames, story boards, and user and process flows;
  • understand and take decisions relating to information architecture;
  • factor in search engine optimisation to ensure users can find your website;
  • manage projects and client relationships;
  • work in an ‘Agile/Scrum’ development process;
  • manipulate and manage the images you want to use on a website using software such as Gimp or Photoshop;
  • factor in accessibility considerations to ensure sites can be accessed by users with differing abilities (e.g. visual, mobility, and cognitive impairments);
  • handle visual design elements, possibly including the creation of a style guide for a site;
  • draft content and outline and manage a content strategy;
  • and more…

For now, here are my three favourite resources for better understanding front end web development.

This website playfully demonstrates the range of skills a front end web developer needs to have through an ‘RPG-style talent tree for web developers’.

2. Web Developer Roadmap — 2020

This web page presents a chart demonstrating a path a front end web developer could take in 2020 and gives an idea of the landscape. Don’t be put off: the page is very extensive and covers more or less everything there is to learn — you don’t need to know all of this in the beginning (and perhaps not ever).

3. Three Web Dev Careers Decoded: Front-End vs Back-End vs Full Stack

This web page clearly and succinctly explains the differences between front end, back end, and full stack.

And with this, I continue with my career transition, in a state of trepidation about the amount there is to learn, and pressured by the want to get working right away.

Overcoming a fear of public displays of writing (PDW) while teaching myself coding and hoping to make a career transition.

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