Review: free code camp front-end certificate

Free Code Camp (FCC) is a free structured web development course. I’ve almost completed the Front-End Developer Certificate with only the final projects to complete. I should be claiming my certificate in a few weeks, work permitting. FCC estimate that it should take around five-hundred hours of study to complete the course. I believe that this is a realistic figure if you are completely new to web development and coding. As an experienced web developer, I have found this figure to be very generous. I expect to complete the whole course in about one-hundred and thirty hours and, if I had chosen not to spend time on making my project solutions visually attractive, I believe it would probably have taken me slightly less than one-hundred hours.

I’ve found the experience to be an excellent one. Even though I’ve been writing HTML and CSS for years, and I already had experience of Javascript and Bootstrap, I found the level of the information learned to be high-quality, and surprisingly challenging in some parts. In my opinion, anybody completing the front-end certificate will be well on the way to being a competent web developer.

The learning experience was not completely without problems, however. Course projects are completed using CodePen – a free online code development sandbox. This is a great tool to use when starting and is a valuable space for testing code. However, I found that on many occasions I encountered some problems that were down to clashes with the CodePen system which would not be found when the code was run on a traditional web host. I also found a few of the challenges to be less rewarding because of missing information or obsolete resources (e.g. the Twitch TV JSON API intermediate project). However, the FCC community was extremely helpful in these cases with most problems easily resolved through the FCC forum.

In addition, I don’t feel that this course will fully prepare a new developer for professional work. There is very little that covers more advanced Bootstrap functionality, design, and UX, hosting sites, and associated issues such as dealing with SSL certificates. Subjects including setting up your working environment including how to choose a code editor, linting, and graphics manipulation were also missing. This is not a problem if, like me, you’ve got a coding background and you just want to refine your skills. However, if you are new to the field it is a definite lack, and even just a guide to these other issues would probably be a great help to an aspiring new developer.

All in all, I believe that completing the FCC Front-End Developer Certificate is well worth doing. Even a competent professional developer will find many things of interest within the course and some of the challenges will test your logical thinking.

For more information about the FCC Front-End certificate, visit the Free Code Camp website.

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