You’ve learned HTML & CSS, now what?

5 recommendations to push you past beginner and into WOW

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Have you made the jump and learned HTML and CSS? Great! Now what? Check out these 5 recommendations to push you past beginner and into WOW.

1. Practice, practice, practice! And track your progress!
Ever heard of “use it or you’ll lose it?” Well it’s certainly true with HTML and CSS! Once you get the fundamentals down, it’s important to keep practicing. Check out websites like 365psd and try to re-create one of their sample designs in HTML & CSS. This will not only flex your coding muscles, but help you learn to translate a design from a PSD into code, which is a KEY skill to have as a frontend developer. As you practice, you’ll sharpen your existing skills and learn new ways of doing things. Your workflow will get streamlined over time and your pace will quicken. Think of it like working out. It may seem futile at first but you can’t ignore results over time. Feeling pretty good about your knowledge and speed? How about your portfolio? Make sure to spend time crafting a GORGEOUS portfolio of your work as you practice. Don’t worry if you don’t have a ton to show yet. 3-6 well-chosen pieces with great copy around your process (or better yet, a case-study!) are often enough for recruiters. And you don’t need a client to get those 3-6 pieces! This 2-part post on portfolios will show you how to build a competitive portfolio from the ground up, without any previous clients! Part 1 covers the basics all portfolios should start out with. Part 2 is chock-full of projects you should include in your portfolio when you’re new to the biz. So don’t forget the 4 P’s! Practice, Practice, Practice, PORTFOLIO!

2. Take an advanced class or create study plans for the following things: HTML5, CSS3, Responsive Web Design, Sass & JavaScript
HTML + CSS are must-have skills you’ve already got – GREAT WORK! Are you ready to take it to the next level? Then you need to think about adding advanced HTML/CSS skills, Responsive Web Design, UX, Sass & JavaScript to your skill set. Workflowy is an excellent free app you can use to create study plans. I use it all the time to outline my plans by topic, break it down into smaller, do-able pieces, and add links to resources I plan to use to study. It’s free to use! Create your account, outline a topic, break it up into pieces and then schedule in time (say, 30 minutes to an hour a day/week-whichever works best for your schedule) to go through tutorials and practice. HTML5, CSS3, Sass, Responsive Web Design, and JavaScript are the next 5 items you should concentrate on to become a front-end developing powerhouse! Not sure where to begin? Join our Career Blueprints and we’ll take you there step-by-step. If you’re a complete beginner – check out our web design and web developer blueprints. If you’ve mastered HTML & CSS, I’d recommend our Front End Developer Blueprint. You can even take individual classes like our JavaScript & Jquery class . There’s honestly no better way to learn tech skills (and keep your day job!) out there than continuous learning. We firmly believe that success comes to lifelong learners – start cultivating your ongoing learning muscle now! Learn more about all our blueprints here – hope to see you in one soon!

3. Assemble your go-to resource list
There’s no HTML/CSS book or class that covers everything. Set up a feedreader like feedly, a bookmarking service like Pocket or use other curatorial tools to stay current on the latest news and tips around front end web development. Add sites like Skillcrush.com, Smashing Magazine, CSS tricks and more to your reader and stay up to date with them on a regular basis. Looking for great book recommendations for your library? We’d recommend HTML & CSS and Javascript & JQuery by Jon Duckett and every book in the A Book Apart series. Looking for great podcasts? Shop Talk and The Big Web Show are two good ones all about the web industry. Keep up with industry pros on Twitter and watch free tutorial videos on YouTube. We also have loads of master classes in the Skillcrush library on a variety of topics like Intro to Bootstrap 101, Finances for Freelancers and REST APIs for beginners so be sure to bookmark those and watch them in your free time!

4. Add UX & design to your skillset 
Steve Jobs famously said “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Repeat this to yourself 100 times until it sinks in (Hey, no shame, I had to do this myself!). Whether or not you’re a designer, it’s important to understand the principles of good design and UX. A strong understanding across design & UX can take you from building and executing someone else’s vision to playing a big part in creating products yourself. Why wouldn’t you want to be in the driver’s seat? Not only that but your newfound skills will inevitably have you partner with or at least cross paths with a designer during numerous projects in your career. So even if you aren’t the one on the hook for design and UX deliverables, speaking the lingo and understanding these disciplines will make you a better team player and straegist. UX & Design skills are as broadly applicable as learning front-end dev is and prototyping is hands-down one of THE most useful skills to have no matter what your role.

Bootstrapping Design and Hack Design are two great, free intro resources I love.  They do a great job of walking beginners through core design concepts, helping you to setup a project workflow and familiarize yourself with the industry lingo. And, not to be a broken record, but our Web Designer Blueprint covers all things web design & UX and teaches you how to strategize, prototype and produce common industry and client deliverables with help from our experienced instructors and industry master class guests! Learn more here.

5. Get away from your computer! There’s a whole world of inspiration out there.
Chances are, your community has several groups or meetups dedicated to design and development. Search Meetup.com for tech groups or see if your community has a Girldevelopit chapter. If you’re a Ruby geek, check out Rails Girls. Universities with design and development programs are also great places to look – often they bring in speakers or hold workshops and many of these are open to the public. You’ll not only learn something, but you’ll create a learning community of folks you can keep growing your skills with. And who knows…someday down the line, you could find yourselves working on a great new project together or even…starting your own company.

Have questions? Want to learn more? Tweet at us @skillcrush & we’ll respond!

Get Our Free Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

Get Our Free Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

Find out the EXACT skills you need to learn to get hired in this 60+ page FREE ebook!

Deepina Kapila

Dee is a fun-loving instructor with diverse tech experience across Fortune 500 companies, early-stage start-ups, government agencies & non-profits. Dee works at mobile product design studio Funsize, in Austin Texas where she lives with her husband, 2 border collie mixes, & 2 cats.

In her spare time she enjoys playing video games, reading on her Kindle & scuba diving in her hometown (Curaçao - an island in the Caribbean!).

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