Image via Flickr/dav
On your journey to becoming a front-end web developer, you don’t have to go it alone.
Resources abound online for everything from keeping up to speed on industry news and finding high-quality jobs to interacting with other developers, learning new key skills, and keeping those skills sharpened. Bonus: many of said resources are totally free.
If you’re in it to win it, bookmark this toolkit of 24 online tools for front-end web developers.
NEWS: Keep up with industry trends and developments
- HTML5Weekly: Those in the know sign up for this free weekly Wednesday newsletter, a curated selection of news about HTML5 and other web platform technology. Fun fact: each issue also contains job listings.
- Hacker News: Y Combinator’s reddit-style web technology forum is replete with need-to-know news on all things development. Create a free account if you want to participate by upvoting interesting stories and partaking in discussions.
- Slashdot: Slashdot offers the latest news stories on technology in general and coding in particular. Sort by “popular” if you’ve got only a few minutes to scan some headlines.
- reddit: Scroll through the front-end development subreddit for the hottest in developer intel, and feel free to join the conversation whenever you’re so inclined.
- A List Apart: This publication, which has been around since 1998, probes the design, development, and deeper meaning of the Internet in a sometimes mind-bending way, geared specifically towards people who “make websites.” It’s a refreshing destination when you’re in search of richly informative, thought-provoking content.
JOBS: Find high-quality front-end dev gigs
- Hired: Hired is an online marketplace created specifically for engineers, data scientists, designers, and product managers. Its goal is to streamline the recruiting process by making it transparent to employers and job seekers. Create a free profile (you’ll then have to be approved to join), review any offers that come in, schedule interviews through the Hired interface, and accept your best match—plus a $2,000 hiring bonus from Hired.
- LinkedIn: No list of job sites is complete without LinkedIn. 332 million people use the site in 200 countries and territories. A few tips to get the most out of LinkedIn: keep your profile current, complete with a succinct, catchy summary of your background, join and participate in relevant groups, advocate for yourself by tactfully requesting recommendations from former colleagues or clients, and respond to invitations and messages promptly.
- Guru: The Web, Software & IT section on Guru is a goldmine of freelance job opportunities. The public ratings offered by people who have experience freelancing with each company are a helpful gauge for whether or not you should consider pursuing a posted opportunity.
NETWORKING: Interact with other developers
- GitHub: The world’s largest open-source community is arguably the most invaluable resource on this list. Share code with friends, coworkers, classmates, and strangers, rubbing virtual elbows with other developers from whom you can learn. Browse interesting projects on a multitude of topics, check out trending repositories, and follow the content your connections on the site are into. Working on your own project? Share it, get feedback, and make changes.
- Coderwall: Coderwall is a collaborative online platform for developers to improve their programming knowledge and showcase it to their peers and recruiters. You can share code snippets, tutorials, or even thought pieces, and learn from the experts about the latest languages, tools, and technologies. Log in with Twitter, LinkedIn, or GitHub, and earn badges to display on your Coderwall profile based on your career achievements.
- Stack Overflow: Stack Overflow is like Quora for developers. Browse through interesting questions, pose your own, and chime in when you’ve got an answer to offer. It’s a great opportunity to take a seat at the virtual table and establish some relationships with others in the industry.
- Geeklist: This social network for developers lets you display your portfolio of work; upvote, comment on, and share links and resources; and communicate with like-minded peers in any of 2,000+ subcommunities on the site.
- CodePen: On this site you can show off your latest coding creations and get feedback, and further inspiration, from your peers. Browse through others’ “pens” and offer your own two cents.
- CSS Community: The CSS Community group on Google+ is an active forum for anyone that works with CSS. Pick up techniques, tips, and tricks, answer questions, and check out the content other developers share.
TUTORIALS: Get instruction on key skills
- HTML5Rocks: Google’s developer resource is a playground for curious developers, teeming with free tutorials on everything from synchronized cross-device mobile testing to CSS Shapes. You can also browse slides, presentations, and videos from other developers.
- CSS-Tricks: Brush up on your CSS skills with this all-CSS, all-the-time site. Browse screencasts, pick up code snippets, and dive into forums on topics like creating dropdown menus and troubleshooting responsive images.
- Geeks for Geeks: This online portal offers easy-to-understand lessons written by computer science geeks, for computer science geeks. Be sure to check out the “GeekQuiz” section, which tests you on dozens of developer skills.
GAMES/CHALLENGES: Keep your skill set sharpened
- CodeCombat.com: Whet your coding skills by playing this free online multiplayer game. Create an account, choose your arena, then start playing to complete challenges using your coding know-how. You’ll have so much fun you won’t even realize how much you’ve learned.
- HackerRank: Log in with Facebook, Google+, or GitHub to compete in codesprints and see how you rank against fellow programmers. Unlock rewards and badges based on your performance in five domains: Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, Functional Programming, Code, and Machine Learning. Psst: you could even get a job offer. Companies (including Amazon, Yahoo, Microsoft, Skype, and Square) use the site as a technical recruitment platform through sponsored coding challenges and a real-time whiteboard with built-in code editor to conduct technical phone interviews.
- HackerEarth: The calendar of coding challenges on HackerEarth is jam-packed with opportunities to showcase your skills to your peers and hiring managers. Flex your muscles (er, fingers) with practice problems aplenty, then give it all you’ve got by registering for real-time challenges.
Want even more?
Check out Udacity’s Front-End Newsletter for insight-rich tips and tools on your path to becoming a front-end web developer. Good luck!