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Shahar Polak
Shahar Polak

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Full Stack - Where to Start

Last week I got a phone call from a friend of a friend. They told me that they’re in their final semester of CS, and want to become a full-stack engineer.
I thought to myself, well, all you need now is years of experience in backend development, front-end, DBA, DevOps, logs, and so on (you get the point).

I didn’t want to discourage him, and if there’s one thing that I value, it’s enthusiasm and willingness to learn. So I told him to start where I tell all my students to start - at the beginning.
Fundamentals are the most valuable part at this stage - acquiring good habits, understanding principles, and using them. I also told him that some of my bad habits took me months and even years to unlearn (while some are still with me to this day).

So, he asked me, "Where do I start?"

You start with the fundamentals. If you want to become a web developer, you should learn HTML, CSS, and Javascript before diving deep into any framework.

This list was meant for him, but it will be a shame not to share it here as well.

So, where to start?

Wes Bos, Javascript 30 (free)

An incredible 30 exercise challenge, with explanations of how Wes Bos goes on about each of them.
This one is also highly recommended for veteran developers who wish to sharpen their Vanilla JavaScript skills.

Team Treehouse online school ($14.99/m)

One of the best online video schools. Funny, with great teachers.

What I love the most about Team Treehouse is the "tracks." They really help you hit the ground running by creating a track that lets you know what to study next.

Personally, when I have too many options to choose from, I sometimes get lost trying to study everything.

Frontend Masters online school ($39/m)

An outstanding online school that, like Team Treehouse’s "tracks," has "learning paths."

They have managed to assemble some of the most well-known names in the front-end industry to deliver their courses, such as:

  • Kyle Simpson, the author of “You Don't Know JavaScript.”
  • Steve Kinney from Twillo.
  • Sarah Drasner from Netlify/Microsoft, and many more.

Pluralsight online school ($29)

One school that had to make it to this list.
Pluralsight is an online video school with thousands of courses in many languages and technologies.
With that said, I do not know if this will be the first place to learn the basics; I think that Pluralsight is better a little bit down the road.

📚 Books

You don't know JavaScript by Kyle Simpson - online books(free)

An online series that deep dives into JavaScript, and is highly recommended for learning concepts and truly understanding JavaScript fundamentals.

The coding carrier handbook - ebook(39$)

AKA The Missing Manual for Early Career Devs: Guides, Principles, Strategies, and Tactics.
This book is a must to any developer, and I often heard developers saying it is a book that they wish they read years ago.

The Pragmatic Programmer (2020 Edition) By David Thomas & Andrew Hunt - audible($15), paperback($44)

This book has literally changed my life as a programmer.
It gave me insights and tough me not to work on autopilot.

📺 YouTube Channels

Dev Ed

A funny, easy-going, and colorful YouTuber that does live coding tutorials.

Kevin Powell

Mostly talks about CSS and design but managed to explain it readily and helpt me to get some context in my mind.

Gary Simon

An excellent resource for front-end development and UX-UI. Gary is a fantastic teacher with paid courses on Udamy and Pluralsight.


Steve Jobs put it best - "Stay hungry. Stay foolish."

Hope this helps, and please let me know what you think or what should be added to this list.

Full disclosure - I am not associated or affiliated with any of the schools above and do not get anything other than the satisfaction of knowing I’ve managed to help even a single person.

Top comments (4)

perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education • Edited

Highly disagree with these starting points. Thanks for starting this conversation though -

my bad habits took me months and even years to unlearn

feeling you on this ^

We do often recommend the JS30, Kyle's book, and front-end masters --- but not until it's time / and it's certainly not time 'right at the start.' Front-end masters is wonderful - once you already know the whole ecosystem. And Kyle's books are great - but how will you even know if you want to learn JS yet? A book like Exercises for Programmers can teach you how to think like a programmer - and then you can read YDKJS later.

We suggest starting here

Here's a full outline of what we think you should learn in what order - and why:

Treehouse will just waste people's time.

polakshahar profile image
Shahar Polak

The video is awesome!
As for treehouse, they have some amazing teachers that explain staff for developers that are at the begging stage of their carrier, in small chunks of data that a junior developer can digest.
I know it is all based on personal experience, but as far as it goes, I had a great one using them, especially their Python courses by Kenneth Love.

ziv profile image

Great article!!!

shalomleor profile image
Lior Shalom

Great article Shahar! Keep them coming ;-)