How to Become a Front End Developer in 6 Months, Including a Comprehensive 50 Point Rubric

Wondering how to become a front end developer? Here’s our definitive step-by-step study plan for what skills to learn, where to learn them, and how to get job-ready fast. 

How This Roadmap Works

In this guide you will find a step-by-step roadmap to how to become a front end developer in 2023 including:

  • A detailed overview of the exact technical skills you need to learn and how to learn them
  • Timelines for how to learn all the skills in 3-6 months, including time estimates for each specific technical skill
  • Suggestions for where you can learn the skills online for free
  • The exact 50 point rubric we use to determine whether our students are “job-ready” that you can use to determine your progress towards your goal

What this guide is NOT:

Table of Contents

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Is Front End Development a Good Choice for Career Changers?

Are you feeling overworked, underappreciated, or just straight up stuck at your current job? Were you recently laid off? Have you been curious about whether or not front end development is a good choice for career changers, but haven’t quite been able to figure it out? Well you’ve come to the right place, and we’re so glad that you’re here! 🤗

Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s break down why front end development is a great place to start if you’re looking to transition to a career in tech.

Firstly, there are a LOT of job opportunities — according to LinkedIn, there are over 10,000 open front end developer positions in the US alone. On top of that, the development and design industry is growing overall. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of web developers and digital designers will grow 23 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Secondly, front end development is a high-paying career. states that the average salary for a front end developer in the US is a whopping $119,224. Ka-ching!! 💸

Finally, as you’ll learn in this guide, the barrier to entry is low and the timeline to getting a job is shorter than many other industries.

Is front end development sounding pretty freaking good right about now? Then let’s get to it!!

Our Methodology

A quick note about our methodology for putting together this guide: this guide is a comprehensive description of the exact process we use to train our students in the Front End Developer Track in our Break Into Tech job training program, including the exact rubric we use to determine whether our students are “job-ready” at the end of their program and prepared to enter our Get Hired, job search coaching program.

Our Front End Developer track has been designed and built over the course of 11 years of training thousands of students to land their first front end developer jobs in tech and is informed by a wide range of sources including our expert instructors, subject matter experts, our technical career coaches, and employer partners. This is in addition to reviewing hundreds of job listings for a range of front end development positions and of course, most importantly, the experiences of our students in the job market.

How to Become a Front End Developer in 2023, the Definitive Roadmap and Study Plan

A note about the timeline: this guide is written with the assumption that you will work through learning these skills at a pace of 8-10 hours per week, meaning we assume you are doing this part-time. This is true of most of our students who work full-time jobs or have other time-intensive commitments while going through our Break Into Tech program. If you’re able to devote more hours per week to learning these skills, then by all means go for it!

Learn the Foundational Front End Development Skills

Timeline: 4-5 weeks

There are three main skills that every front end developer must know before anything else: HTML, CSS, and version control with Git.


HTML, which stands for Hypertext Markup Language, is a fundamental skill for front end developers. HTML is the backbone of any website, providing the structure and organization of web pages and content like text, images, videos, and links. HTML skills include:

  • Demonstrating an understanding of semantic HTML tags and attributes
  • Formatting HTML to be readable and maintainable
  • Coding simple multi-page static websites
  • Solving cross-browser compatibility issues


CSS — Cascading Style Sheets — is another foundational front end development skill. CSS is essential in creating visually appealing and user-friendly websites, allowing developers to control the layout, typography, colors, and overall style of web pages. CSS skills include:

  • Demonstrating proficiency in modern CSS techniques
  • Styling fonts, headlines, copy, icons, and images
  • Solving a variety of layout problems using CSS
  • Implementing web fonts
  • Transforming designs into beautiful websites


Git is a version control system that allows developers to manage and track changes to their code over time. The most popular platform for using Git is GitHub — as of January 2023, GitHub reported having over 100 million developers using GitHub to version control their code! While there are applications to use Git visually, most developers run Git commands via the command line. Git skills include:

  • Navigating and working with files and folders via the command line
  • Setting up workspaces for your code via the command line
  • Working with Git repositories via the command line
  • Applying version control to protect source code on GitHub
  • Working with teams that use GitHub
  • Hosting a project or website on GitHub
  • Using version control to maintain and back up code files
  • Entering common Git commands to build and work with repositories
  • Using Git to version control your own code

Resources to Learn These Skills

What is HTML? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

What is CSS, How Does It Work and What is It Used For?

CSS Class vs. ID: What’s the Difference?

HTML and CSS Jobs: How to Get Hired

These Are the Best HTML and CSS Projects for Beginners

100+ Free Online Websites to Learn to Code for Beginners

Get started working with Git

Learn Your First (And Only) Front End Programming Language

Timeline: 4 weeks

Now that you have some foundational skills under your belt, your next step is to learn a programming language. Programming languages are used to instruct a computer to perform a specific set of tasks, for example, “take the contact information entered into this form and save it to the database”. There are many programming languages, but the only one you can use for front end development is…JavaScript!


JavaScript is the most widely deployed programming language in the world because it is the  language used to create dynamic and interactive websites. Front end developers use JavaScript to add functionality like form validation, animations, pop-ups, slideshows, dynamic content loading, and interactivity. JavaScript skills include:

  • Developing programs to solve problems using logic and conditions
  • Enhancing the appearance and functionality of websites using event handlers
  • Writing streamlined, readable code using functions
  • Changing, adding, and deleting elements by accessing the DOM
  • Working with the virtual DOM using React
  • Adding interactivity to user interfaces so users can add, edit, and search data
  • Retrieving and displaying data from REST APIs as well as JSON and text files
  • Using client-side API calls to load data from external sources

Resources to Learn These Skills

What Is JavaScript? A Guide for Total Beginners

21 Easy JavaScript Projects for Beginners (Code included!)

15 Free Coding Games to Improve and Level Up Your Coding Skills

100+ Free Online Websites to Learn JavaScript for Free

Level Up the Coding Skills You’ve Learned

Timeline: 5-6 weeks

Your next step is to learn the skills needed to create more complex websites and to make your code faster, reusable, and more easily maintainable.

Responsive Web Development

Responsive web development enables websites and web applications to adapt to different screen sizes and device types. It uses CSS media queries and other techniques to create flexible and fluid layouts that adjust to various screen sizes — think of when you adjust your browser window size or rotate your phone from landscape to portrait. Responsive web development skills include:

  • Demonstrating proficiency using Flexbox properties to deliver fluid layouts
  • Developing websites from design comps to responsive multi-page site
  • Styling content based on screen size
  • Working with standard breakpoints for devices
  • Scaling text based on screen size
  • Using ems, rems, and pixels for typography
  • Converting static web pages to responsive
  • Testing web pages at a variety of screen sizes

React JavaScript

React JavaScript (or ReactJS) is an open-source JavaScript library for building dynamic and interactive user interfaces. It allows developers to build reusable code components, making it easier to build complex user interfaces. React JavaScript skills include:

  • Demonstrating proficiency in modern ES6 techniques
  • Working with arrow functions and modules
  • Importing third-party code
  • Writing clean and concise JSX code
  • Accepting and responding to user input
  • Planning data flow from different components to ensure user interfaces run quickly
  • Changing, adding, and deleting elements by accessing the DOM
  • Working with the virtual DOM using React
  • Adding interactivity to user-facing page elements so users can add, edit, and search

Resources to Learn These Skills

What Is Responsive Web Design? Beginner’s Edition

Tech 101: What is React JS?

Tech 101: JavaScript Frameworks vs Libraries—What’s the Difference?

Build Your Front End Developer Portfolio

Timeline: 2 weeks

Create a Portfolio Website Showcasing Your Skills and Work

You did it! 🎉 At this point you’ve learned all the in-demand skills you need to become a front end developer. Your final step is to create a portfolio website that showcases all of your amazing new skills, a must-have in order to apply to front end developer jobs. Make sure your website includes:

  • A simple, responsive layout with clear navigation at the top
  • Consistent fonts, colors, and spacing, both within each page and across all pages of your website
  • A homepage with your name and a short blurb stating your target job title, e.g. “I’m a Front End Developer specializing in responsive and accessible websites.”
  • An about page with an image and a short biography — 1-2 paragraphs describing more about your technical skills and the role you’d like to have, as well as a bit about your interests outside of work
  • 4-5 projects or case studies showcasing your work — each project should be correctly linked and have an image, title, brief description, and list the languages, skills and tools used
  • Contact information in the footer or on a separate page linked to from your main navigation
  • Links to relevant information like LinkedIn, GitHub, your resume, social media if appropriate, etc.

Resources to Build a Solid Portfolio Website

9 Free Portfolio Templates to Showcase Your Skills

Need a Job? Add These 8 Projects to Your Portfolio

How to Approach Your Front End Developer Portfolio (And Why It’s So Important)

Where To Go From Here

We hope this guide has been helpful to you and provides you with a roadmap for what to learn in order to become a front end developer.

Learning to code on your own through self-directed learning is absolutely possible! But if you’re interested in learning in a community with other students on similar journeys, we’d love to have you in our Skillcrush Break Into Tech job training program. You can get started for free in our online course, Camp Skillcrush.

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You Will Learn: If a career in tech is right for you What tech careers fit your strengths What skills you need to reach your goals

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Emily Davis

Emily Davis is the Chief Product Officer at Skillcrush. Emily has over 14 years of experience developing digital products and holds the title of employee #1 at Skillcrush, having joined the company as a WordPress developer in its inception year of 2012. Emily holds extensive experience mentoring front end developers and leading web development teams. Outside of work, Emily is a wife, mama to two girls, two cats, and six chickens, and a lover of sewing, knitting, and yoga.