Past few years have seen a lot of developments (improvements) in web development, as well as the quality of interactive web applications. The demand for stylish, functional and dynamic web apps was strong up until 2022. That should continue into 2023. However, starting a career in front-end development isn’t as easy as some people will have you believe.
The importance of front-end developers’ work
Web developers spend most of their time building user-facing features of a web application. Intuitive, easy to understand interfaces can make a big difference and significantly contribute to web application’s success.
Good UX can’t guarantee success of a web application, but it’s essential. In 2023, there are dozens of websites competing for user’s attention, often times users choose the one that feels familiar and is easiest to understand.
Quality of individual front-end developers can make a big difference, so companies are willing to developing their people.
Starting a career as a front-end developer in 2023
Most of the blog posts, videos and vlogs about becoming a front-end developer are usually created to promote a certain course, book, or an expensive bootcamp. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but their authors tend to underestimate the challenge of finding a front-end developer job with no prior experience.
First off, let’s talk about academic credentials. Most employers will look at your ability and set of skills (JS, HTML, CSS), not your bachelors degree or university prestige.
However, there are a lot of employers that require a Computer Science or related degree, even for junior positions. As a self-taught web developer, your best option is to ignore these companies and focus your energy elsewhere.
Learning essential skills
At the beginning of your journey, you might feel like you have the necessary discipline and motivation to learn web development. I’ve helped many people on their self-learning journey, and only few make it to the end. Learning web development isn’t so pleasant when you are stuck on an error for hours on end.
Alternatively, you can enroll in a bootcamp or a course where you have a community of other aspiring web developers. Most likely you’ll be an assigned an instructor. When you get stuck, one of your peers or your teacher can help you, and you will have an easier time.
Bootcamps are expensive luxury, but some of them have excellent placement rates. In other words, finishing a good front-end development bootcamp can significantly increase your chances of landing a job.
Practice makes perfect. When you’re learning web development, you are usually reading an author or listening to instructor. That’s good, but in my experience, humans learn most effectively by doing. My biggest recommendation is that whenever you learn something, use it in practice – write actual code.
Last piece of advice
If you feel like the job hunt is too difficult, update your resume. Enrich your portfolio with more challenging and impressive projects.
Take any opportunity – even unpaid internships. Not everyone can afford to work for free, but unpaid internships can help you get your career started.
Most of the time you won’t be effective web developer right away, and getting that initial expertise is very important. If a company spends valuable resources on training you to work on their stack, soon enough you’ll become very valuable member of the team and command a decent salary.