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Starting out as a great Junior Frontend Developer

Numerous friends and people I know love the idea of programming but they don't love the process. So, they never end up really going through with learning and they let their wants stay wants.


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Petros Kyriakou

2 years ago | 5 min read


Lately, I have started feeling burnt out since I had a startup on the side, a full-time job and a part-time while also taking a once-off project, it's understandable that this would happen sooner or later. So I decided to cut down on jobs/projects I am working on (and feeling much better thank you very much - more on that topic in another post).

In the process of cutting down jobs/projects, I realized I could help my brother to get his first job as a paid junior frontend developer in my part-time gig and he actually was able to earn it!

To give you perspective, my brother is still in university studying Electrical Engineering which has very few subjects in common with web development. However, in his free time (and maybe I pushed a bit **cough cough**) he studied on his own different programming languages and I onboarded him on a project I was doing just to get his hands dirty, and even before finishing university he already had a job, how cool is that?

So where I am going with this you wonder. These are the words I would say If I were to mentor myself. So here goes.

Wishful thinking

Numerous friends and people I know love the idea of programming but they don't love the process. So, they never end up really going through with learning and they let their wants stay wants. On the other hand, what got them to having this wishful thinking is knowing that I am making some good money as a developer.

It is OK if it's hard

I am all in for helping people even give them resources and sometimes mentor them. But a month or two later they come back saying that it's either hard or they don't have the time, or they don't believe they are smart enough to be developers. I am like, seriously?

Nothing is **EASY** and takes **TIME** if it's **WORTH** it.

You have to really want it

You have to love the process, you have to really want it, you have to be patient and curious and a whole lot of other things to be a great developer starting out.

What to focus on

Now, let's say you have the attitude, you really understand what you are getting into and you love the process. How the hell do you start?!

Frontend at the super junior level is only about the following three pillars

1. HTML (the skeleton)

2. CSS (make it beautiful)

3. Javascript (bring it to life)

DO NOT use any frameworks, libraries like bootstrap, tailwind, react, jquery for the first 3-6 months. Nada, start reading and cross-referencing what you learn by reading multiple sides of the same coin.

E.g you are learning about flexbox. What's good about it? What's NOT so good about it?

This way you will start forming opinions. However, you have to test them in practice to actually know what you are talking about. If you talk the talk but don't walk the walk then you are going to fail, hard.

If you do the mistake of using e.g bootstrap then immediately you stop learning CSS and start being a user of a library. You will have no idea how bootstrap does what it does.

After 3-6 months - depending on how much time and effort you have spent learning each day, start adding a few libraries and frameworks into your projects.

The goal is for each project to contain at least one new technology/library/framework.

After a year time, start looking into libraries like `React`, `Angular`, `Vue`, or `Svelte`.

You will now get new ways of looking at code and you will expand your view on things. Maybe even make your own mini framework.

By this point, you should also have `git` enter your life. Version control is very powerful and a mandatory requirement for joining any serious company. So learn it and use it every time you work on projects. Consequently, use Github or bitbucket to deploy your source code and keep it safe.

Useful resources

There is a virtually infinite number of resources nowadays and since we are becoming a content creator market it will reach even higher numbers so this is not a concern.

However, you should direct your focus and not tip-toeing all over the place. What I mean by that, is focus on learning one thing at a time.

For example, let's say I want to learn the super basics and go from there.

The best resource that I know of for early starters is [FreeCodeCamp](https://www.freecodecamp.org/). It's a platform where you learn by doing and it takes you from amateur to some deep stuff if you actually make it that far.

So for starters, it should be great and it will give you a great intro to web development. From there, you will start hearing buzzwords like React, NodeJS, algorithms, X, Y, Z.

If you are intrigued to learn something you should focus on one thing at a time, learn the basics see if you like it, **see if it worth learning and will add value to your career**, and then start finding resources to expand your knowledge on that topic.

E.g I want to learn about react

You can purchase a couple of courses from udemy and start learning.

> the most important thing is to actually write code not only watch

Power of having a mentor

Another very important aspect that could help speed up your journey is to get a mentor.

A mentor as a description is someone who at that point in time has more experience under his/her belt than you. Thus, they can help you speed up the process of learning, keep you away from pitfalls, and even put you on a successful career path.

For my younger brother, I serve as his mentor in this case and I was able to speed things up for him and actually managed to find him a job, which he earned by himself. He had zero input or help from me during the interview rounds.

Power of a community

Having other people in the same boat as you are a very powerful force for driving each other forward. Having a coding buddy will help keep your and his spirits up, lift each other up when becoming demotivated to keep going. They will help you learn new things and vice versa.

Do not give up

The most important thing to remember is to never give up. Programming is hard, it is really hard. It needs a special kind of motivation and the learning curve never gets easier. You will stumble, you will fall, but you should always stand up because nothing worthy in life comes for free or easy.

However, even if you fall and never got back up, it is still OK. Programming is not for everybody and that's OK.

---

I hope you found this useful and if you want to keep in touch you can always find me on Twitter


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Petros Kyriakou

Web developer by trade - Ex-founder at http://bookis.io . Sharing my learnings building bootstrapped tech micro startups plus some general opinions on things


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