Front-end web development is not what you think it is.

Muna Mohamed on November 22, 2017

"My name is xxxx and after studying with TreeHouse for six weeks, I got a job as a Front-End Developer." How many times have you seen this adver... [Read Full]
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Amazing read! Thank you for sharing your insights! :)


In pretty much everything in life, you will need to practice in order to perfect it, right? Front end web development is no different.

This. A thousand times this. When people start learning to play an instrument or music theory in general, they don't expect to start playing in some famous band within next few weeks, or to create a hit song that would make them a millionaire a month after the beginning.

And honestly frontend development in particular is only getting harder. 7 years ago you had to know weird hacks to make that damned footer stick to the bottom of the page and you had to be comfortable with jQuery to get paid for creating websites. Now you have to know how to configure a whole bunch of tools that do different things to your code and that is even harder for a beginner since you don't yet understand why they exist and what problems they are solving.

I don't intend to discourage anyone; in fact - if you are a beginner and you started with JS - there are lots of exciting things you could do with just it. 3d graphics, games, console emulators, mobile apps. Not just web interfaces.

Like Muna said in the article, the learning never stops, so it's not about waiting 6 weeks and then transforming into a unicornpaid developer. Just be persistent. Oh, and one more thing. We're all programmers here, we tell computers what they should do, so we have to learn not just how to tell them things (language) but also how they work so that our instructions can be more efficient. More things will start to make sense once you know what's under the hood.

Good luck everyone.


Couldn't have said it better myself, Alexander! Thank you!


I guess it’s a big part of our culture now. Instant gratification, ‘get rich quick’, ‘you could buy the car of your dreams right now’, ‘that mansion? Get it today!’

Because it worked in any other industries, marketing people do it for programming. Learn this language in 24 hours and get paid that much for your first job! The thing is you can’t buy your way into a good job, or into being a good developer. As you said, it takes time, patience, dedication. Anybody who tell you otherwise has an agenda and tries to make as much money as possible.

I love Treehouse, spend a lot of time with them at the beginning of my learning. But I’d rather hear stories about people’s countless struggles to get a job than short-term amazing success. Teach them that failure is part of the process and dedication, practice, commitment are crucial to one’s success.


Thank you for your comment Damien. I agree with you. The aggressive marketing of programming has led people to believe that programming is easy and that putting in a few hours, weeks or months is enough when it really isn't. It completely skips over the bad and the ugly parts of the process (which accounts for somewhat of a big portion of the process) which is essential on whether you "make it" or not.

As important as it may be to get people into programming as the job market evolves, it is just as important to show and teach them the reality of programming (the good, the bad and the ugly) too.


Hi Muna - I'm the Founder of Treehouse.

Thank you so much for posting this. Several months back I asked the marketing team to delete this ad as I believe it's misleading. I was frustrated that this ad got created at all because, as you said, it's not realistic for 99% of people. I apologize.

I believe it typically takes 6-9 months to go from no knowledge to apprentice level as a Developer, which pays around $55,000 annually to start (pre "Junior Dev" which typically starts at $75,000).

You are an amazing example of grit and hard work and I admire you.

Thanks again for the honest post.


Hi Ryan,

Thank you so much for your comment! I appreciate you reading the post and sharing your personal thoughts about the ad.

I admire your openness about the decisions that were made regarding this particular ad and find it commendable that, as the founder of one of the largest learning platforms for web technologies, you not only acknowledge this ongoing issue but have actively tried to do something about it. It is something you don’t really see other platforms or online course providers doing so I respect your efforts to make changes happen. I only wish that other online course providers would do the same.

When I was writing this post, my intention was not to single out Treehouse in particular but learning platforms and online course providers in general. I get it. It is completely understandable for learning platforms such as Treehouse, Udemy, Udacity etc, to intensely market their courses to the masses. With the surge in demand for people with coding/programming skills in the tech industry, particularly in recent years, online course providers such as Treehouse have helped bridge the skills gap with accessible and affordable courses for people wanting to gain these highly sought after skills. However, at the end of the day, these are businesses and one of the goals of a business is to make profit. However, as important as the provision of these resources may be, it is just as important to highlight and be more transparent about the reality of what it actually takes to become a developer/programmer. Otherwise, as you said, it can lead to people being misled.

In terms of how long it takes and the salary, I’ve noticed that where these two questions are concerned, opinions can differ which is interesting. But generally, I do agree with you somewhat.

I must say, this is kind of surreal. It never crossed my mind that this post would resonate with so many and that you’d stumble upon it too. The internet really is a small world!

I am truly humbled by your kind words and appreciate you reaching out. Although I’m not a user of Treehouse myself, I have heard a lot of good things about the courses that the platform provides and hope that it continues to flourish and help bridge the gap between the affordability and accessibility of tech education everywhere. You have done an amazing job so far and I wish you every success in the future!


I've been beating myself up for not learning JS as quickly as my peers. This article was a reminder that it's okay to be slow and steady.. and definitely has helped me feel better about myself. Thank you :)


Thank you so much for your wonderful comment,I'm so glad that my article helped you feel better!


As a front end dev, when you start branching out into the programming side, the design side, or UX... it's really crazy how it all fits together and it's one of my favourite parts of programming.

At the end of the day, and it's something I know, it takes all kinds to ship. And it takes time to ship.

Learning a musical instrument is a great analogy. It took me like 2 years for me to be considered probably good at the flute. 2 years! I was woefully behind for a bit of that too... things weren't working out till it did... kind of like that for programming too.

It's just front end dev is home for me, generally. :)

This is a great article. Thank you for writing!


Thank you Kat, your kind words mean a lot! I totally get what you mean, it's a bit like the pieces in a puzzle coming together!

The musical instrument analogy really is a great one! It gives people an idea of the difficulty of programming.

"things weren't working out till it did" - This is (and still is ...occasionally lol) me! Front end dev has a way of growing on you though, despite the ups and downs. I'm glad you found home in front end dev :)


Very good read. I'm a fullstack developer so I have both the experience of the back end and front end. To be honest I find front end a tad more difficult than the back end. Maybe its because of the loosely style of JavaScript compared to the static languages like Java and C#. Also with the large amount of JavaScript frameworks available and new one popping up, it makes it really difficult to keep up. But like you said practice and practice will always yield result.


Thank you, I really appreciate your feedback! I hear you, it does feel like a new JavaScript frameworks comes out every day which makes it hard not only to keep up but also to know which ones to learn. However, trial and error is a part of the learning experience and eventually you improve!


hahaa, my TH score is almost 7K points, but I've not landed any FE job yet ... obviously it is all about me ... and it is all about having rock solid JS skills that I do not have yet. TH is very good environment for beginners with 0 experience (like me back in the 2013 autumn), helped me a lot to kickstart my freelance career I still hold today

after having applied to some cool FE dev jobs in last 10 months and failed to solve too many test assignments within given time I recommend to learn vanilla (just plain) JS along with some cool and easy to understand framework like React + invest your time to learn Node.js server side part because it is also in JS and because you need some (used to be) backend skills like ss form input handling/validation, async data fetching and processing when you really want to land a job as a front-end dev on these days :)


Hi Karel, thank you for your feedback! And thank you for the advice, I really appreciate you taking the time to give advice based on your experience, it helps to know what is to come in the process from someone else who has gone through it. I've been doubling down on my efforts on JavaScript so I could become better at it. Are there any particular resources you would recommend that have helped you with JavaScript?


Hi Karel, thank you so much for the resources! I'm sure that a lot of people would benefit from these resources that you have provided, I know I definitely will! Thanks again :)


You know I really wish more people would make a post like this. Because as you mentioned it really is not the reality of how it happens. I mean its probably like 1% of people. And I personally have come from tree house and while its a great website in my opinion the videos lack a specific amount of in depth knowledge. I would say that personally if you want the best chance of landing a job you will defiantly need to put in the time to learn the more in depth knowledge from other resources and not try to take the short cuts. And as you have said it will take time to do.

I my self have done a mix of self taught/college and If I had any advice to give I would say like you do not let thoughs 1% story's of people saying hey I some how managed to get x job in x months discourage you. If any thing apply when you feel ready. I would also say at the same time do not try and short your self on knowledge because you feel like you need to have a job in x months. Because in reality its probably going to bite you in the long run when you end up having to do a bunch of back tracking and have to play catch up to the wholes in your knowledge. At the same time I would also say find that balance to where you can feel comfortable enough to apply and go for it and begin your career and continue learning on the job. As well as not letting the impostor syndrome get to you and know that there are others in the community going through the same thing who are willing to help.


Thank you for your kind words and encouraging advice Alex! I really appreciate you taking the time to share some of your experiences and giving some really good advice and wisdom for others to learn from. I'm sure there will be many people reading your comment who will feel comforted by your words. I wish I could click the heart button more than once!


Fantastic Post Muna!!

There's lots and lots of websites calling themselves, "Online university" to learn any technology. The content being provided may be adequate in learning the technology but it doesn't grant anything more than that. Especially when it comes to work, it's the practice of the technology/language that you put in matters more.



Thank you Subbu, I appreciate your feedback!

Yes, despite the wealth of resources on the internet, sometimes that isn't enough. Adequate content only scratches the surface which is where I think people get misled in thinking that that's all there is to it but then find out the hard truth later on.


It is not only on front end development. Websites like Udemy advertise "Coding your own games is easier than you think", but in an actual creative development, it is a whole different story. I'm taking an honours degree in game development, I have been through it and I know. After 3 years of studying and practising, I still feel I rather newb. However, experience and practise makes perfect and both of them are all that matter.


I feel like you are writing about me, the beginner who is constantly being harassed by those treehouse ads lol. But we'll get there. What you said about switching up styles when learning is absolutely true, I used books and online tutorials for HTML and CSS, but on getting to JS i discovered that i preferred videos and quickly switched. Nice article muna.


Thank you! I really appreciate your comment. Trust me, we've all been there. Mixing up your learning materials really helps solidify your learning. There is sooo much content out there so it can get a little overwhelming at times finding what works but some trial and error is the way to go. And yes, we've got this!


You are so right, perfect article.
My friend told me to be devoted to front-end and to learn it, in February it will be one year since i started learning i finished the FreecodeCamp as well but some projects are needed to be made to get that click :)
During all the learning and projects i have advanced so much, and mostly because i enjoy what i do and i hope that you do as well :)

Again Thumbs up for the Article 10/10 :)


Thank you for your kind words, they mean a lot!
Your friend is a wise one! Wow, that a great achievement, well done! I'm still working through the challenges myself , but so far so good!
That is key; enjoying what you do. It took the longest time to figure that out but now that I've realized how much I enjoy to code, it really is a blessing!
Best of luck with the projects and if you ever need help, you have the BEST people in the dev community who can help! :D


Hey Muna, Thanks for reminding us that being a developer(Front-end or whatever-end) is an unending journey which is to be embraced.
And that part of the treehouse ad, i guess we now know that the journey is not the same for everyone.


Hi Olumide, thank you for your kind words. The journey is definitely not the same for everyone but, we should all enjoy the ride all the same!


Wow, I've never felt so understood since I got into tech. It's been about 7 months since I finished my course and I felt like I was getting nowhere with my daily practice, until I read your post. It's so intimidating seeing how much more I need to learn even when I haven't fully mastered (which is literally impossible) the basics yet, and it DOES push me to quit sometimes. But everytime I think of quitting I honestly feel like there is nothing else I would rather do, and even though it will take me longer than I expected I will keep pushing and failing and learning. It's really good to know I wasn't alone after all. :)


Thank you so much for your kind words Ece! It makes me so happy to know that you enjoyed the post and that it spoke to you. I was exactly the same - for the longest time I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere, particularly because coding was something I did in solitude. Platforms like this and the dev community on Twitter allowed me to see that I wasn't alone in how I was feeling and it was so reassuring! You don't have to know everything, even though it feels like you do all the time, remember to explore and have fun along the way :)


But, here is the problem; a lot of people have been led to think that this is true for EVERYONE. Including me, in the beginning.

You are on point, but I would even go a step further: This is NOT TRUE for ANYONE! It's just a marketing stunt or overstating facts or lies or whatever. Learning one simple language/technology properly take years whatever it is.


Hi Muna, many thanks for this wonderful piece. It might be seems late but I actually agreed to all your points here 100%.
I've learnt is myself like 3times and it just doesn't sticks, I think things happen for everyone at different time intervals and it's just best if you go with the flow.



Hi Jegede, I appreciate the feedback! Exactly, everyone learns differently and at a different pace. It's just a matter of focusing on your own journey, learning from your mistakes and enjoying the journey as you go!


It has been said that in order to master a new skill, you’ll need to put in at least 10,000 hours of work.

Yes, but it depends on the quality of work. One has to spend those 10k hours consistently striving to better oneself. If those 10k hours are spent blindly copying patterns in the existing codebase or copy+past from StackOverflow, then expertise should not be expected.

he one that showed the top tier had practiced more than 10,000 hours — Ericsson found the experts did so with full concentration on improving a particular aspect of their performance that a master teacher identified.


Very nice post! As someone who is going through this journey, I identify with your point!

I feel like articles that say they studied 6 weeks in some site and landed a job don't take into consideration some important factors such as how many extra hours were put there, what type of networking (and privileges) you had/had to have for landing that first job.

When you are struggling for the first job and you see a lot of posts that don't show how hard it actually was or you see someone who was already in the business and got it easier, it can make people quit or doubt themselves.


Thank you Gabrielle, I appreciate your feedback! I'm glad you enjoyed the article :)

I understand where you're coming from. It can get really frustrating, especially for people starting out because those types of articles can sometimes do more harm than good. Hopefully, people will start to realize the full struggle of becoming a developer and not feel as though they are alone in the journey, no matter how long or difficult it may be.


Good to read! Actually videos really work for me, Wes Bos and Shaun The Net Ninja got me in love.


You should also check out LevelUpTuts+ He has some pretty good resources as well


He does! I'm already subscribed to LevelUpTuts+ Youtube channel :D


Thank you Jose! Yes, Wes Bos's JavaScript30 videos are really awesome. I haven't heard of Shaun The Net Ninja, I'll definitely check him out!


Great read, thanks for sharing! As a 40 year old, husband and father of 3, I'm attempting a career switch into the Front End Dev field and I couldn't agree with this article anymore. Though I'm comfortable creating sites using HTML, CSS, Bootstrap and basic JavaScript and jQuery I find it very hard to land that 1st Front End job. I'm currently trying to use my years of experience as an account manager to get that illusive 1st Front End job. I still love the field and I love learning new development skills and I'm gonna continue to push for that opportunity. Once again, great read and very inspirational.


Thank you Edwin, I'm humbled by your kind words and appreciate the feedback! Trust me I know how you feel all too well,I'm currently too. The illusive first Front end role is essential to opening the doors and a big step into the industry. Continue to push and eventually, all that hard work will pay off!


Thank you for this article - it raises some important points sorely in need of discussion.

As a society I think we are far too obsessed with speed. If you want to learn something properly, it is going to take time. And, as you say, mistakes are an important part of the learning process. It is about time we were able to accept, maybe even value, mistakes. Unfortunately too many of us are embarrassed by mistakes and scared to admit to making them, or try to pretend that we don't make them.

On the topic of search engines - they are definitely great resources to help you with coding - DuckDuckGo with its programming Instant Answers is even better than Google.


Thank you Dominic, I appreciate your feedback!

My sentiments exactly! Mistakes are a part of life but we don't value mistakes as much as we should. If we as a society spent more time embracing mistakes and learning from them, people wouldn't be as embarrassed or scared to make them!

That's a new one, I'm not familiar with DuckDuckGo. I'll check it out!


That's one of the problems with our world now.

A few people do something (or claim they've done it) and create a course about it, so they can sell the idea "do _____ quickly" (get rich quickly, learn this in a few weeks, master that in a few months, do this and travel the world..)

The ones who take the course and fail are too ashamed to admit it. The ones who succeed share their experience so they can also earn from it.


I, a 5 years old Frontend developer. I still make a mistake and feel some struggle nowadays. Reading your article makes me feel nostalgia the moment when I enter to the frontend world. Thank you for writing the encouraging message to all the people that might feel insecure and make sure they (including me) that are not the only one :)


Thank you for your kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed the article :)

You are definitely not alone and it makes me so happy that this post has helped you and others realize or remind you of that. We are all in this together!


So the entire point of this article was to inform the reader that mastering a new job might take more than 6 weeks? I don't think many people seriously expect to be good at something after 6 weeks of tutorials.

Furthermore the title claims that front-end development is not what you think it is (whatever that may be) but in the end the article treats it like some sort of a coding job and provides no additional insight into it.


It is not only on front-end development. Website like Udemy kept advertising "Coding your own games is easier than you think", it really made the knowledge very accessible but when in terms of actual creative development, it's a whole different story. I took legit honours degree in Game Development, I have been through it and I know it. After 3 years, I still feeling rather newb. However, experience and practice makes perfect. Hope I could get a job when I graduate haha. 😂😂


Hey Everyone!
As a beginner, I can confirm, it's hard. But there was a time, when a simple HTML was a kind of alien script, I didn't know what's the matter of browser's devtool... This time is gone, nowadays I fight with the JS, and I will be there, JS will be part of my toolbox, not my nightmare fuel. Then (meanwhile?) new challenges....


Actually the main problem is the general misconception that getting a job in this field is the end 'goal'.

In reality getting a job is only the beginning since in this industry you're always learning, especially in fields where technologies tend to change fast (the web space in recent years).

Universities and platforms like Treehouse give you the basic knowledge required to get a job, nothing more. It's only from your first job that you actually start learning.


It massively depends on your background. I, for example have started with C++, learned that for two months, learned it from scratch by recreating all the common container types and stuff like bit operations and hex conversions, then hopped into unity, learned C# to a level where I was able to solve most problems in code and became somewhat proficient with using Unity. Since I don't have a CS degree and jobs with these technologies are rare, I picked up Front-End Web to get a foot in the door. And besides html and css make little sense at some points, I picked the whole thing up pretty quick and got atleast an idea how things work after two weeks and was able to literally browse through JavaScript and was simply amazed how easy stuff can be solved there.
Whats the reason I am writing this? To brag of course!! No joke, lul. I simply want to say by that don't always believe the stuff other people are telling you....
You never know what that guy who "made it" in four month

  1. Really did before that!! Maybe he had coding courses at highschool or was already proficient at stuff like html/ css etc.
  2. Maybe this person was working in a field that had a similar approach to solve problems
  3. Maybe that person really really really put in a HUGE amount of work! And you must ask yourself, did you really read about design patterns when you were on the way to work? Did you spend your school/ work break, to do coding challenges, read about algorithms? Do you really code every day? and I mean EVERY day for 3+ hours? If the answer to any of these questions is no, that's perfectly fine. But it also means that you are not the person who will get job-ready in 6-12 months.

Thank YOU for reading it and for sharing it on Twitter! :)


This is the article that fits on my situation right now. Amazing post and it helps me to understand, what's the 'real-time-purpose' of being a front-end developer.

Thank you for sharing your ideas and experience.

We'll gotta enjoy learning every day ✌😁


Thank you Wilmar! Your feedback is greatly appreciated and I'm glad you enjoyed the article!


Amazing article, thanks for sharing. I hope to focus on what's important and remember that although it might take time, I will definitely achieve my goal of becoming a world-class developer.


Thank you Emmanuel, that means a lot! And definitely, take your time (there's no rush) and you will achieve your goal!Remember, you've got this!


Awesome article! Totally agree with you!! Thanks for sharing :D


Thank you Pablo, I'm glad you enjoyed the article! :)


Haha, I'm all too familiar with the udemy guy too 😂


Really great article & Interesting for readers, Thanks for sharing


Thank you, that means a lot! Thank you for reading :)


Thank you very much !! for this article it came on time and motivated me even more for continuing in my journey of becoming a front-end web really inspiring !!


Thank you for this Idris, it mean's a lot to know that my article has helped you be motivated in your journey! Best of luck on the journey!


Totally agree with you, it is not related to Fron-end only, but on any part of programming.
Thank you for this article.


Thank you Mohamed! I agree, it does apply to any part of programming and a lot of other industries too


The more I learn, the more I realize there is more to learn! Great piece!


Thank you Sunny!I know what you mean, the learning certainly never stops :)


"You will make mistakes — a lot of them. Get used to it."

I have been coding for over 20 years and this still holds true.


Thank you for your comment Ian! I really appreciate your insight particularly as someone with over 20 years coding experience, it puts things into perspective for coders with lesser experience that mistakes are part of the experience. Thanks again!


Great article, thanks for sharing. This definitely applies to me in lot of ways, I do hope to begin to change things so I can optimize my efficiecy and stop worrying about stuffs that don't matter.


Thank you for your words of encouragement!


I did become a Front End Developer in six months thanks to Treehouse 😐


Big Thanks for this Muna. Great Insights. I Love this


Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the article! :)


I just started to learn front end development and I take your words with me to my long journey
Thank you!


Thank you Netanel, I'm glad my article has helped you! That's awesome, welcome to the developer community! Best of luck on the journey and know you are definitely not alone in this!


Amazing information Muna, By the way, your name like my sister's name :)


rightly said so many people thinks that Front end development is easy but it is not as much as easy as people thinks. Nice article

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