Learning Frontend development with Skillcrush

For the most part, the beginning of my coding journey was focused on the fundamentals of computer programming and as such it dealt with a lot of backend logic and projects. When I restarted my journey back to learning to code I wanted to focus on the more visual side of websites...the frontend. For this, I decided to invest in the Skillcrush courses.

Skillcrush offers a variety of courses from design to development. Many of their courses are broken up into specific topics that allow you to take only the pieces that you need. For me, I decided to go ahead and invest in the Break into Tech course which covers basics, design, frontend development, backend development, and WordPress development as well as career guidance and information on how to be a freelancer.

Skillcrush logo

The entire Skillcrush program is taught from the perspective of wanting/needing to be employable so they focus on the skills that are most needed on the job. They are also a program owned and operated by women, which is a bonus. The emphasis on being employable appealed to me since I had already lost time due to my detour and I wanted to hit the ground running.

The beginning courses were more of a refresher for me, which I needed since I hadn't coded in over a year. Once I got to the section on Git and GitHub there were new aspects introduced including how to work on projects with others. I had pretty much only used Git for my own isolated work to that point, so learning this skill (and having the course material to go back to when needed) was valuable.

Flexbox graphic

Next, we went over how to make a website responsive using CSS Flexbox. The perfectionist in me really enjoyed this as I wanted to show others the work I had done so far, but since it was all built for desktop only to this point it looked terrible on mobile. I liked that they stressed the advantages of building from a mobile-first point of view since so many people find a website on a mobile device first. I found that transitioning up from mobile was such a nicer experience than transitioning down from desktop.

The next section was on JavaScript was new to me. As I said before, I had been using Ruby in Launch School and C in CS50. I was happy to see my foundational knowledge really help out here. It really is true that once you learn a language on a deeper level it makes it a bit easier to switch to another language. Of course, there were challenges but with perseverance I was able to get through those pretty quickly.

Retreat website image
Hero image of one of the Skillcrush projects

Along the way there were project assignments to build which ranged from simple static pages to pages incorporating JavaScript functionality, to a multipage, responsive website using the skills taught up to that point plus a few thrown in for good measure. All-in-all, these assignments made for nice portfolio additions (which, by the way, the portfolio page was one of the assignments...which was very helpful).

From here the Break into Tech course offers ways to continue building up your skills with advanced courses in design (if you went the design route) and development. I chose to take the WordPress development courses as I wanted to be able to make changes to my blog and saw an opportunity to use the knowledge gained over the previous year with my knowledge of WordPress to obtain clients.

The final part of Skillcrush's Break into Tech is the career and freelance information sections. This proved to be of great value as I found myself with the opportunity to implement a WordPress site for a local startup company and was able to use this information to professionally tackle the bidding, the billing, and the overall communication with the client.

All in all, I am very happy with my choice to use the Skillcrush courses to further my journey into the world of coding professionally. I did find that there were a few areas that were a little shallow, such as the JavaScript section, but those gaps were easy to fill with free resources such as FreeCodeCamp and others. Plus the career and freelancing information make up for that shortfall as that is information that is not as readily available.

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