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General Discussion

Randell Purington
Randell Purington
9,992 Points

How do I know if I am ready for a Front-End job?

I have gone through the Front-End course where I learned HTML CSS JavaScript but I don't feel like I am ready, I don't know why. Maybe because I don't know what to expect in the field. So I have a few questions that I hope some professionals can answer.

1) Is everything built from scratch or do companies use templates? (where the bulk of the code is done and all the developer has to do is edit the info inside of it and change things as needed)

2) Where do I start and how do I know I am ready?

3) Do companies train employees or is it "Welcome, now start coding"?

1 Answer

Ryan S
Ryan S
27,276 Points

Hi Randell,

When I was just starting out in this industry, I had similar feelings, not knowing exactly what to expect. Although I haven't been working as a dev for that long (a little under a year at a small startup), hopefully I can offer some insight for you. Keep in mind that companies vary quite a bit in how they operate with regards to hiring and expectations and all that, so my experience is just that, my experience.

I'll try to answer your questions, although out of order in the interest of flow.

1) Typically, when adding a new feature to an existing codebase, you will be building that feature from scratch, but it is still in the context of the existing code, so it's not like you are building it in the dark without any sort of reference. Companies will have their own standards of practice and ways of doing things so in some cases there may be boilerplate code to serve as a starting point. But to get familiar with the codebase you will probably start out fixing bugs or modifying existing features.

3) By training, if you mean get you up to speed with the code base and company practices, then I have heard that many companies do this, although I personally did not go through any formal training when I started. I read somewhere that Facebook has a 6 week training period before you are put on a team. In general, it seems to be the case that new startups typically don't have a lot of resources to spend on training so they usually look for people who can hit the ground running. Established companies will better be able to formally train an employee.

2) It is tough to know when you are ready. I was unsure myself. If you are aiming to be a front end developer, to start I would make sure you have a good understanding and experience with the following:

Learn a front end JS framework

The front end of most web applications now are built using a framework, like Angular, React, or Vue, etc. I would recommend really diving into at least one of these and create your own applications from scratch for practice. Also, really focus on getting a good understanding of javascript as a language, regardless of the framework. Javascript is a big one for front end devs, so you should treat it as your main language. Take a look at Treehouse's full stack javascript track if you haven't already.

Learn Git and Github

You should definitely have an understanding of how git works. Treehouse has some good courses on it. It is difficult to realize the true power of it until you experience working on a team, but here is a good article on how you can make the best of github while working by yourself. You should definitely create your own projects from scratch and put them on github too so you can show employers what you can do.

Get a basic understanding of the backend

I wouldn't say you need to dive too deep into the backend as a front end dev, but it does help to have a basic understanding of how it works. You should be familiar with how REST API's work, and how the front end would interact with them. When you are building your own front end applications with a JS framework, you can use static json files to mock responses from the server. Again, the full stack javascript track may suit you well for this because you'll get more experience with JS and you'll get some experience with the back end.

Hopefully this gives you a bit of clarity on the subject. Again, this is just based on my personal experience and the people I've talked to in the industry. It also varies by location too. I'd recommend looking for job postings in your area and see what the common tech stacks are. That might give you some direction in picking a framework to learn.

Let me know if you have any other questions. Best of luck.

Randell Purington
Randell Purington
9,992 Points

This was perfect!!! Thank you so much!! I feel a little better because I didn't know what it would be like in the field. I will study full-stack JavaScript. I have been having a difficult time with JS but I need to know it if I want to do FED.

Thank you again!

Mike Hatch
Mike Hatch
14,940 Points

Ryan S gave you a Treehouse feature article worthy reply, and you were very lucky to receive such a detailed response. I will add that we all struggle. Even now I still wonder if JS is above and beyond something my brain will ever understand. I was working with the _.each method earlier and I was like "oh my gosh.. isn't the forEach method good enough for you! You want me to learn this each, too!"