Web Development is an ever-changing field — the way we build websites today is completely different from how we used to do it a couple of years ago. With the plethora of tools available and the new ones popping up every day, most of the time developers find themselves confused about which way to go.
In this post, I am going to recap a bit and share with you the motivation behind making these roadmaps, a few disclaimers if you decide to follow these roadmaps and finally have a breakdown and tips on how to learn if you were to become a modern frontend developer in 2020.
Before you get started with the roadmap, bear in mind a few disclaimers
The purpose of this roadmap is to give you an idea about the landscape and to guide you if you are confused about what to learn next and not to encourage you to learn what is hip and trendy. You should grow some understanding of why one tool would be better suited for some cases than the other and remember hip and trendy never means best suited for the job
And secondly, do some research your job market
Do not ignore the fact that languages and tools can be very market dependent so do some research on the market that you are targeting.
Thirdly, you don’t need to know everything listed here
You don’t need to learn all of the things listed here to land your first job. The roadmaps might seem humongous but don’t let them scare you if you are just stepping into the web development. I have just tried to cover everything that you will eventually be learning or using. You can learn the bare minimum and keep learning the rest while you start building things.
If you are a beginner and just stepping into web development, there is a different roadmap for you. Have a look at the roadmap below and stop reading any further; complete the items listed in this roadmap and come back once you have made a few projects using them
Just learn the listed items and you should be able to call yourself a web developer and find a job in the market. I know a lot of people who have been doing just these and making decent money from freelance or a day job. Spend some time on all the items listed in the roadmap, get a solid grip on all of these and practice a lot. Make lots and lots of projects; here is the list of some of the ideas that you can make
Once you are done with this, learn about version control systems, learn the basic usage of Git and create your profile on GitHub
Once you have covered the basics, move on to the next step and learn how to write maintainable CSS and use CSS frameworks. Here is how the roadmap should look like
Once you are done with this step, go ahead and do the following tasks on the projects that you made above in phase 1
You will start getting the taste of the modern frontend development by the end of this week. Once you are done with this phase, go ahead and do the below steps to get a good grip on the build tools
Next step is learning about some frontend framework. There are multiple options but the ones most commonly being used these days are React, Angular and Vue. I would recommend you to go with React.
First of all learn React, then have a look at redux and after that learn about CSS in JS; which isn’t required but have a look at Styled Components and CSS modules if you would like.
Once you have learnt react, go ahead and read about Progressive web apps. Now that you know frontend frameworks, it shouldn’t be that difficult for you. Have a look at the PWA checklist, read about service workers, measuring performance, using lighthouse and look at the different browser APIs that you can use to your advantage e.g. Storage, Location, Notifications, Device Orientation, and Payments. Also read about RAIL model and PRPL pattern.
Once you are done with this, you should be able to call yourself a modern frontend developer. Make sure to practice what you learn. Here is the list of tasks that you may pick from if you are looking for ideas.
Learning to write automated tests for your applications is going to save you a lot of headache in the future and is going to put you in a better position when looking for a job. Fir of all, go ahead and learn what are the different different types of testing, different concepts such as mocking, stubs, etc. After that, go ahead and learn Jest, Enzyme, and Cypress in a respective manner. Also, learn to calculate the test coverage.
For the tasks, go ahead and write unit, integration and functional tests for the application(s) that you created in Phase 4 above.
Type checkers allow you to make your code more maintainable as it grows, increases your agility when doing refactoring, provide better support in the IDEs and are the best form of documentation that you can have. There are mainly Flow and TypeScript in this domain. However, there is more push towards TypeScript and I would recommend you to go with that.
Server rendered applications allow achieving better performance and improved SEO as compared to the client rendered applications. Although not a requirement it would definitely help you in crafting better frontend applications. There are different options available, based on the frontend framework of your choice; but if you picked React.js then you should go with Next.js which makes SSR a breeze.
For the Tasks, convert any applications that you made above to be rendered on the server-side using Next.js
Everything shown in this phase is optional and is not really required for you but if you would like to try them out, go ahead and have a look.
Please note that for the sake of brevity, I haven’t gone into the nitty-gritty and have tried to give you a bigger picture; go and figure out while you learn.
The complete chart for the whole roadmap is given below with some additional details written inside it.
There could be things still missing in the roadmap but this is all of what you need for any “Frontend Engineering” role. And remember the key is to practice as much as you can. It might look scarier in the beginning and you will feel like you are not grasping much but that is normal and over time you will feel that you are getting better and better. And don’t forget to ask for help if you are stuck, you will be amazed by how many people are willing to help.