Where to from here?

Hi everyone,

Just thought I’d pick some your brains as I need some advice,

No long boring stories ,I’ll try to keep it concise =)

I’m 34 years old and have recently spend about 3-4 months of self-taught study on web dev basics (html, css,a bit of bootstrap),my end goal is simple, get in into a FED position as soon as feasible.

I realise I have only scratched the surface here and I have miles to go in terms of reaching the above goal.

1)My question is, with time a very very limited and precious resource, how should I best spend my time learning. I realise the next step is learning vanilla JS, but before I invest heavily
In this I wanted to know. Will it be worth it?..I don’t want to spend 6months – 1 year learning a language only to be told in 2-3 years its superseded.

2)What resources or books do you recommend for a total and absolute newbie to programming, I have tried Codecademy and a few Udemy course but they didn’t work out for me. They always assumed prior knowledge even though they claimed they were “beginner friendly”.
I’m a kind of learner who wants to start slowly at the ground floor and build my way up. I’m not looking for those BS claims to learn a language in 3 hours while sitting on a toilet.

As some of you who are older know we don’t have the luxury of spending 8+ hours a day studying with family and a fulltime job etc,

Thanks in advance and keen to hear any feedback from “old men” like me trying to make it in the dev world.


I think it’s a safe bet that HTML, CSS and JS will be around for a very long time.

Can’t say the same with Frameworks and Libraries as they can easily go out of “fad” when something new and shinier comes along. But the good thing is these frameworks and libraries are based on HTML, CSS or JS so if you know the basics, it will be easy to learn new ones.

If you want to be a FrontEnd dev, don’t limit yourself to just programming books. A good FrontEnd dev is more than just a coder. Expand your knowledge, learn also about Design, Graphics, Fonts, Colors, User Interface, User Experience.

I’d suggest know also some Backend… as you may have to do both Front and Backend development… or at least know what’s going on at the backend so you can communicate clearly with your backend engineers what you need/want for your Front End application (know some basic SQL, and some noSQL tech like MongoDB).

I don’t have specific book recommendations for you as each person’s preference is different. I’d suggest hit your local bookstore and browse around. Technical Books can be either

  • reference manuals
  • step-by-step tutorials
  • cookbooks
  • “bible”, tries to be everything - breadth not depth
  • coding or design philosophy
  • theoretical

There’s no one size fits everybody.

I think the curriculum on fcc for the frontend is really good. That’s what I realized I needed for being self taught. A solid linear curriculum and fcc was the best I had found.

I’m on the last couple of projects for the front end cert and I’ve learned a lot and have come a long way. Only regret of course is not starting sooner.

I started the fcc frontend and supplemented it with the popular Jon Duckett books and later withe the You Don’t Know Javascript series which is freely available online and has a great reputation.

I’ve done some codeacademy and others but FCC’s system is the only one I’ve stuck with.

One tip I can’t stress enough is to take on some personal projects that you have interest in while you are going through your curriculum. The most lines of code I’ve written are for some personal projects with the skills I’ve learned here. You’ll learn a lot this way and really drive in what you’re studying.

Here are a couple links that will give you some info about language trends.



Javascript isn’t going anywhere anytime soon simply because its the programming language of the web. (and is getting more popular in other areas as well) Also Javascript has been around since the web’s inception, so its already been around a long time and gone through a huge number of iterations.

I personally believe Javascript is better to learn than HTML+CSS simply because learning programming can be applied to many areas, rather than just web development. (html and css skills are pretty much only used for web-development)

The only true way to learn Javascript, is to use it. A lot. Unlike learning HTML and CSS, which are more learning the syntax and rules. Javascript is more of the same (syntax and rules) with the programing in general.

But as you said you don’t have as much time, and that’s the difficult part, since learning Javascript alone will take a lot of time. Saying you “can learn Javascript in 3 hours” is a joke. Now it also matters how much depth you want of learning Javascript. The more the better, especially the core programing concepts so you can jump to other programing languages. If your goal is to just learn the basics then you don’t need to invest much time and effort, than if you want to learn everything from basic syntax and concepts to much more complicated concepts. (FCC teachs most of the basics pretty well. Id recommend skipping the jQuery section and using vanillajs if you don’t plan on using the JQuery library in the future.)

Now I believe in throwing yourself in the deep-end to get awareness so you can manage your own time, rather than giving you one of those “learn JS in 3 hours” sort of shallow links. As such I’ll provide an extensive webpage that provides a huge amount of resources to learn Computer Science. Now I don’t think you will have to time to go through all of this (Plus you won’t need to know it if you plan on sticking to front-end web-development) so consider this the “top-end” of possible work you could learn for programming in general.

Now for something more relevent for front-end web development I’ll provide MDN’s resources, since they are great, getting better everyday, and very great as a day-to-day reference guide. I learned most of my basic javascript knowledge going through mdn daily, and using it.

Finally I would recommend saying away from frameworks for a while, they go out of fashion very quickly. Javascript is pretty deep, flexible and expansive language as it has years of changes/ideas/approaches baked in. Its both a pro, and a con, but its safe to say learning it in depth is probably the best thing you can do as a Front-end Developer. (Plus, you don’t want to be just a Designer right ;D)

Learning a programming language won’t ever be a waste of time.

Besides the syntax, the basics of programming are the same across different languages; that’s why for many employee is more important that you show you know how to “reason in computer language” that being the best at that specific language; that’s why many companies let you choose the language for the technical interview.

Besides the case where a company wants someone already trained and self-efficient in a specific technology; for many of the others is important that you show how you think and try to solve a problems.