Grow your CSS skills. Land your dream job.

After years of client work, I’m ready to grow my skill set. Any tips?

  • # June 27, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I know enough web design and development to land clients and get paid. But client work has stunted my growth.

    Over the next eight weeks, I want to significantly beef up my best practices and arsenal of skills, specific to front-end development and UI design.

    Here are things I know well enough to teach them:

    • HTML
    • CSS
    • WordPress
    • Photoshop
    • HTML5 Boilerplate, Bones, 960gs

    Please point me in a direction that will mature my ability to create efficient, fast code and mockup UI designs more effectively. I am open to new schools of thought, technologies, best practices, etc.

    All I’d like to clarify is that I’d prefer to focus on learning skills that are already proven in a real-world production environment vs. early-adopted methods and technologies.

    I hope this helps some of you out there as well. Thanks in advance.

    # June 27, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Huge whole in that set of skills is definitely JavaScript.

    # June 27, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I’ve come to that realization also.

    Where is a good place to start?

    # June 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    If you want to code UI you’ll want to go with JavaScript. I would personally start with jQuery and once comfortable give some JavaScript consideration. You’ll might want to straighten your HTML5/CSS3 skills as well, with transitions and all these CSS features, it’s a great asset and ability to realize when to use CSS for something like simple animation/transition instead of using JavaScript. And vice-versa.

    # June 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    For anyone interested, I found a great article that covers this question here: http://rmurphey.com/blog/2012/04/12/a-baseline-for-front-end-developers/

    # June 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    jQuery – https://tutsplus.com/course/30-days-to-learn-jquery/

    NIX
    # June 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I would check out http://www.codecademy.com/. Their courses will by no means make you an expert in anything but it will give you a solid foundation to build on. If nothing else, you will know more about a language and what it’s good for.

    Plus… it’s FREE!

    I would recommend learning Javascript or jQuery but I would also learn PHP. Love it or hate it, it’s becomming more prevelant everyday and it’s power really can’t be ignored.

    I know you said you want to focus on “front end” but I think at least a working knowledge of PHP is a good thing. It will allow you to more effectively leverage what you already know.

    Also, I totally agree with @AlenAbdula that you should get your hands dirty with HTML5 and CSS3. I’ve found that CSS3 replaces a lot of the functionality of Javascript, jQuery and Flash. Especially for things like animations and transitions.

    NIX
    # June 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    > For anyone interested, I found a great article that covers this question here: http://rmurphey.com/blog/2012/04/12/a-baseline-for-front-end-developers/

    I think this article is a bit intimidating. There is a lot to master there. However, I think it does a good job in pointing people in the right direction.

    I am a proponent of the command line/terminal/shell. If you are interested in learning that, here are some great resources:

    http://cli.learncodethehardway.org/

    http://linuxcommand.org/lc3_learning_the_shell.php

    # June 27, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Javascript for sure man. Lynda has been a great learning resource for me but there’s so many great resources floating around out there.

    # June 27, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    When I was in high school I was working as a gas station/convenience store attendant. And every single shift I used to take (steal) one soft drink out of the cooler. My boss knew about it and never said anything ever. Why?

    Because all the other things I was doing right–that made him money, he could care less for 5 drinks he lost per week. Now if you apply same logic to web awesomeness. Why do you think they’re hiring you? To give you money? No! To make money on YOU. It’s that simple. So whenever I’m interviewing I’ll ask about the specific issues they’re facing and explain how I would solve these issues. And you always want to present the information with thinking of “How will I make money for this company”, because essentially that’s what they care about.

    All in all, I totally disagree with the article linked. Our industry in fragmented enough that you don’t need to know all those things to have a decent paying job. The baseline is whatever the employers requirements are. You don’t necessarily have to be expert in each area, however you should strive to have working knowledge in things that are required when working within a team. For example, you might not need to know all Git commands, learn only the necessary ones to make a commit, if you need to do something more advanced like merge a branch or rollback changes, someone can help within your team, and by working like this, you gain the knowledge over time.

    I hate articles like that, because it takes years of experience to master any sort of skill. Article sound like, “hey look at me I know all these things and if you don’t get the fuck out”. No wonder it’s intimidating.

    NIX
    # June 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    That’s is the absolute truth.

    # June 28, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    you might want to check out SASS if you’re looking to speed up your workflow. it’s more than doubled (maybe even tripled) the speed in which i can build sites.

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