New programmers often start with HTML, as it’s a great language to learn early in your coding career. HTML is tremendously useful for front end development, but it’s only a small piece of the puzzle. If you want to incorporate more features into a web page, you’ll need to master CSS.
Both HTML and CSS work together to create vibrant and functional web pages. However, you may worry that learning CSS takes too long. Don’t fret—if you can learn HTML, you can learn CSS—and it doesn’t take as long as you think.
How Long Does It Take?
Before learning CSS, we recommend that you spend a few weeks practicing HTML. It won’t take long to master, and you’ll arrive with a solid footing in the programming world. HTML can help you get a feel for basic syntax, which will come in handy during when learning CSS.
Once you understand HTML and can build your own static websites, you’re ready to start learning CSS. Like the aforementioned language, learning the functional basics of CSS can take less than a month. However, it takes longer to master—and we recommend that you practice for between two and four hours per day.
CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. It’s not exactly a programming language, but a styling language to work alongside HTML. Before you had CSS, you could style your web page directly through your HTML code. But that resulted in long lines of code and would often result in massive headaches for the programmer, primarily if errors occur.
Mainly, CSS takes all of the stylings of HTML and places it separately from HTML, resulting in cleaner code. Once you get a full understanding of HTML, CSS is not hard to jump into as well.
Many experienced programmers recommend new coders get a grasp of HTML first, then move forward to CSS to start adding the styling and presentation to your web page. This includes working with styling DIVs, sections, and box models, just to name a few attributes.
Is It Hard to Learn CSS?
With CSS, most of the coding and syntax are pulled from HTML code itself. A lot of the syntax you see in CSS will be very familiar when you learn the basic concepts of it. However, when you dive deeper into the pool of information and get more advanced with the concepts, you will see where CSS and HTML differ.
For instance, you can change several attributes like height and width for a specific image in your HTML file. However, what if you want to apply that to all the pictures on your page? That’s where CSS comes into play.
Remember, CSS interacts with HTML elements in the same manner as the attributes within the element tags on an HTML file. However, you can touch on multiple elements at once through blocks of code in CSS called rules. If you’re comfortable styling all of your fonts, colors, and images in HTML, you will have no issues working with CSS. You’ll even find it easier once you get the hang of it.
So How Do I Start Learning CSS?
If you go back to our article on learning HTML, you’ll notice most resources we recommended actually will teach you HTML and CSS together. As stated previously, the best method to gain a full understanding of the two languages is getting the hang of HTML first, then moving to learn CSS.
There are several publications out there that give excellent tutorials on CSS concepts. W3Schools and Mozilla Developer Network are useful as you learn the concepts of the programming languages. These resources provide standard tutorials online along with exercises of each of the concepts, breaking them down in a manner that’s understandable towards programmers of all levels.
The previous resources are fit for when you want to study the concepts and understand why they are necessary for coding. Once you get that understanding, it’s time to put your mind to work to see how much you’ve learned. Many resources are available to help you while you’re on the go, like Grasshopper, SoloLearn, and Codecademy. They have great applications that you can download and use to continue your studies and to learn through your mobile devices.
Additionally, websites like freeCodeCamp, The Odin Project, and Khan Academy provide full free courses that focus on teaching CSS. Along with these lessons, are projects to help you learn while studying the concepts.
Finally, if you’re ready to take that plunge and get serious about your career transition, we recommend trying out some free prep courses through some of the best coding bootcamps out there. Coding bootcamps like Flatiron School, Kenzie Academy, App Academy, and Lambda School provide introductory CSS courses alongside their HTML course for bootcamp prep. They also provide a peek into the curriculums of the bootcamps. If you decide that their method of teaching is the right direction for you, then you can take it a step further and schedule an interview and apply.
CSS will be easy for new coders to learn if they have at least a basic proficiency in HTML. If you can build your web pages with little to no assistance on the style and presentation of fonts, colors, and images, you can learn CSS in no time. If anything, think of CSS as just a mere extension of HTML. A lot of the coding that you will use affects the HTML elements within your HTML file. However, CSS provides a more structured and organized form of styling your elements than having extremely long tags with attributes in every element of your web page.
It’s possible to code an entire HTML page without CSS, just using as many attributes as possible for your elements. But you may find it challenging to find your errors if you run into a single one, leading to a headache of scanning every line of code just to find that small error in your syntax.
Trust us when we say CSS is your best friend when building not just a single web page, but several pages of a website. You will thank the coding gods for introducing all programmers to CSS when you master it.