This blog post is 100% directed at my past self. I have failed to see the light in blind hope of speeding up my learning curve. I have learned that I can’t use plugins, framework’s, or WYSISYG’s until I understand how those things are built. Really, this applies to most things when trying to learn something new, but for me, I am learning front-end development. I have been trying to learn front-end development for some years now. I see people all around me who are the same age and have it understood and day in and day out I fail myself by comparing my level of understanding to their success.

If you’re learning how to front-end develop, hopefully, this post resonates with you to save you hours of fruitless work.

  1. Understand how everything works.
  2. This class is useless to me, I hate gen eds, let me work on stuff I will use in the “real world”!
  3. Focusing on the fundamentals has given me peace.

 

Understand how everything works.

Learning how websites, applications, and other online mediums work saves you years of learning. I’ve learned this the hard way, I am going on my 7th year of being a self-taught front-end developer. Technology moves so fast that you want to be able to keep up and you want to do it now, not 7 years from now. There are so many different languages to master and all you want to do is build and get your work out there. That is fine, do it, I am all for shipping your work. However, don’t try and ship something that relies on other means for support. If it breaks, and it will, you want to be able to fix it quickly without too big of a headache. Don’t turn your passions into burdens.

If you have ever taken a beginner art class you don’t start you off with oil paints and a canvas, you start by learning color theory, what your different brushes are, and how to clean them. When learning front-end development think of HTML, CSS, and Javascript as color theory and hosting/cpanel as your brushes. Once you take the time to study and understand the basics, you can develop your own workflow. Establishing a workflow is very healthy for a front-end developer. Today, I feel as though the internet is saturated with resources to help speed up workflows.  When you are just starting out, get over yourself, you don’t have a workflow, your learning. Those resources are only meant for people who understand the basics and have formed their workflow with experience working on projects. Trust me on this one, using these tools first before fully understanding what they do or even how they are helping have a bad effect on the integrity of your work for today and tomorrow.

 

giphyThis class is useless to me, I hate gen eds, let me work on stuff I will use in the “real world”!

Have you ever said this to yourself in high school or college? Have you ever felt that your time was being wasted learning something you care nothing about to get to the classes you do care about or courses that taught you things that you were going to learn in the “real world”? I know I have, that is what is so great about learning code on websites like teamtreehouse.com or www.codecademy.com you can choose what you learn when you want to learn it. Here is the problem with that, if you’re anything like me you half ass the basics and jump right into frameworks like bootstrap or genesis and try to learn languages like python or php. I told myself over and over, “I am not a master at Javascript but I know enough that it is probably okay”. I thought that if I learned the code language or framework I wanted to use, I would get better at HTML, CSS, and Javascript by default. I was wrong, all I ended up doing was bouncing around from lesson to lesson. It turned into a complicated never-ending web of half-assed knowledge, knowledge that led to a 7-year kick in the pants! If you’re going through this like I was, stop the madness, you’re just going in circles you must understand the basics first!

 

giphy (1)Focusing on the fundamentals has given me peace.

When I first made the decision to zoom in and focus on the basic languages everything became much easier for me to understand. I suddenly wasn’t being so hard on myself, and I could write code more fluid than before. I am still learning how to front-end develop but today I understand how to write a great foundation of code that makes my development stronger than before. I actually had a faster learning curve and I feel more confident knowing I will get where I want to be as a front-end developer if I take it one step at a time. I was beginning to feel like I would never understand, my work would never be what I wanted it to be. Now I understand that I was just absorbing too much of what the internet and my peers had to offer.

If you’re feeling stuck in your journey toward becoming the front-end developer you want to be, it’s okay I felt this way too, try shutting the noise off, focus on understanding how things work at a fundamental level. Once you understand this the noise turns into music you can jam out to.

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