Skip to main content

How I improved as a front-end developer

Step outside your comfort zone and experiment, be patient and curious while staying humble, and you'll be rewarded.

Portrait of Henrik Larsson
By Henrik,  

Too long to read

  • Make sure you grasp the basics, and apply them
  • Be patient and stay curious
  • Step outside your comfort zone
  • Challenge yourself
  • Try things out
  • Be humble and learn from others

For too long, I felt like I was falling behind in the ever-evolving world of front-end development. New frameworks and techniques were constantly emerging, while I clung to the familiar. I got things done, but that nagging feeling persisted – I could do better. Looking back, here are some key lessons that have shaped my journey and helped me become a better front-end developer.

Make sure you grasp the basics, and apply them

Before you can venture outside your comfort zone, you need a solid foundation to stand on. Understanding the fundamentals of semantic HTML, the inner workings of CSS (without relying on frameworks), and the importance of accessibility is essential. Dive deep into frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation to grasp their inner workings. This knowledge will be invaluable as you explore more advanced aspects of CSS.

Be patient and stay curious

Progress takes time, and I often lacked the patience to see it through. Instead of aiming for rapid bursts of curiosity, I've learned to nurture a long-term sense of wonder. Consistent, sustained curiosity has proven more fruitful than sporadic bursts of enthusiasm.

Challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone

Clichés they may be, but they hold true. Playing it safe, sticking to "go-to" frameworks, and standard approaches limited my growth. In 2020, an opportunity arose to work on a React-based search application alongside more experienced developers. This experience allowed me to observe, learn, and grow. Later, I invested in a JavaScript course, which, though challenging initially, ignited my passion for JavaScript and marked a milestone in my career.

Experiment and try new things

I had my eye on Gatsby for a while, intrigued by its potential. Without a clear understanding, I decided to explore Gatsby. At first, it was a mystery, but I gradually unlocked the power of React and honed my skills. Months later, I had integrated a headless CMS, crafted custom animations with GSAP, and mastered a new CSS framework, Tailwind. A simple decision to try Gatsby propelled my growth, even with no prior JavaScript and React experience.

Stay humble and learn from others

Drawing inspiration from my sports background, I realized the value of learning from the best. Just as one strives to bend it like Beckham or dribble like Messi, why not apply the same mindset to work? Countless talented individuals are readily accessible through a quick Google search. If you have skilled colleagues or friends, seek their feedback and insights. Shed any pride or pretense; it's the key to personal and professional growth.

Release the need for pride and prestige; it's the catalyst for personal and professional growth, enabling you to learn and develop new skills.