When to Start Learning a Front-End Framework
Concepts you should know
This is the list of things you need to have a solid understanding of:
- Variables and Functions
- Objects and Arrays
- Control Flow –
Concepts you should be ready to encounter
Aside from the must know concepts, it pays to have an awareness of broader concepts - These are concepts you won't need to follow the early tutorials, but will need before you'll be able to write full applications.
- Scopes (how
asyncfunctions, and AJAX.
If you start with frameworks before having an understanding of these concepts, you should expect to need to stop and revisit pieces of this list throughout your learning journey. However, remember that frameworks are an excellent learning space for learning advanced concepts, since they leverage them constantly.
If there is anything on the above list you don't understand yet, you can still start your framework journey - as you understand different parts more, ideas you once struggled can become a lot easier.
Learn to build things
In my opinion, the most important step you should take before you learn a framework is to learn how to build things.
Building things with programming is an acquired skill, and developing the ability to successfully break down tasks so they can be translated into code is a vital skill in any programming language.
The most important part here is that you build very small things - far smaller than you might think, such as "a button that plays your favourite song", "a form that lets the user add and remove fields", or "a box that chases the users mouse around the page". Read this article for help finding ideas.
Building things is harder than you'd think and maintaining motivation is difficult, so you want to choose small, achievable projects that you'll finish. A good test to see if the project is small enough is if you think you can do in under an hour. If it takes longer, no big deal - it's likely not going to take significantly longer.
When you've built a couple of these simple things, then you can introduce a framework. You should keep building simple things with your framework until you're comfortable again before finally moving to more ambitious projects, if you choose - or you can use your new portfolio of projects to land your first job!
Advice for switching
If there's one piece of advice I have for people trying to learn any programming, it's that you will get stuck - All. the. time. This is going to be doubly true once you pick up a framework, since you're going to encounter a lot of unfamiliar concepts all at once.
If you're overwhelmed, the best thing you can do is to focus only on the task at hand. You don't need to spend an hour reading up how
import work just yet if all you're trying to do is get "Hello World" on the page.
Take things slowly, build on your previous knowledge - it's not a race.