Review: Frontend Masters
My review of my time learning with Frontend Masters. It is a fantastic paid resource that you should definitely consider using.
Tldr; expensive, but worth it.
[Updated 2021] They have also opened up a few free courses that I found very helpful! Just create an account with Frontend Masters and check it out under the Free Courses tab. These are full courses in addition to the Bootcamp.
Frontend Masters can be accessed online on any device as well as offers apps for Android and iOS where you can download the videos for watching offline. I recommend watching some of the more 'presentation' style videos offline, whereas for some other courses, you really want to be following along. You can also cast videos from your phone, which is a nice thing to have if you have a TV.
While Frontend Masters has probably more than 200 different courses, some of them are updated versions of the previous courses, and others for outdated technologies. I estimate there are about 100 modern courses on Frontend Masters.
The nice thing about these courses are that they are laid out in chronological order so you most likely wouldn't encounter these older courses. Even if you do happen to come across them, Frontend Masters provides a useful banner to inform you that the course is outdated and points you to the newest course.
Because they have a smaller library of courses, you don't usually get to chose who to learn from, especially with more specialized technologies such as React or GraphQL.
However I would argue that this is a benefit because these people are professionals, and they have been curated by the Fronend Masters staff, so the courses are high quality and the instructors are memorable. In fact I would recommend some courses because of the instructors teaching them. This also eliminates the dilemma of figuring out which out of the five similar Intro To React courses to take.
They cover all of the most popular technologies and frameworks: React, Vue, GraphQL... etc
The instructors come from some of the big names: Netflix, Adobe, Microsoft. They bring best practices and point you at resources that they use and what to focus on. They teach the most useful parts of each technology instead of going over every aspect of it. It is a very targeted method of delivery and I felt I gained a lot.
The instructors are clearly passionate about their work and knowledge and it is easy to see that when they are teaching in front of you.
This is in contrast to the delivery in some other places where the instructors go over every aspect of the technology. It is boring, like reading a reference from the start to the end. It might help to produce 20 hour courses, but I'm not sure if the length of a course is a good measure of its value. All it says to me is that it means you'll spend a long time learning.
Frontend Masters usually breaks up key technologies into two courses:
- An intro course for complete beginners.
- An advanced course that is built for people who have finished the intro course as well as people who have a basic understanding in the technology.
The courses are filmed over the course of one, two, or three days, with each day about accounting for 3 ~ 5 hours of course time. The videos are broken up into sections, but each section flows smoothly into each other.
They do a simultaneous video of the lecturer and screen capture of the lecturer's laptop, so you don't have to squint at a video of a projected image. Because it is also a live workshop, there are question and answer portions that people raise both in person, and on the online chat to clarify some detail.
The colors are horrendous on this projector. Hoo [shudders] those are bad colors. - Jen Kramer
I found that I really liked this live atmosphere of learning because it feels more like a course instead of online training. I think this is a unique feature that Frontend Masters offers that is distinct from a lot of other online courses.
Courses vary in terms of how interactive they are. There are some courses where there is a lot of back and forth between the lecturer and the people attending the course, some other courses rely a lot on practices to build understanding, and some courses focus on building out a single project.
Excellent and responsive. A few times that I contacted customer support to ask a question, I usually got an answer by the next day, even on a weekend. Customer service can be reached by the live chat icon on the webpage or in the App, which is very convenient and something I appreciate.
Cancellation is fast and quick, with two clicks you can cancel your subscription without having to explain yourself in an essay and interview afterwards.
Usually at this section people will trot out the prices of similar competiting services and compare them. My experience is that this is not useful because it doesn't answer the question: Is it worth it?
It is worth it. Even at my low level of expertise and access to several other platforms that I didn't have to pay for, notable ones being Lynda (now Linkedin Learning) and Udemy, and I would definitely still pay for and learn from Frontend Masters.
Yes, it is pricey compared to some alternatives, but think of it as an investment in yourself. That investment will pay for itself over time.
Frontend Masters produces all the videos, and so the quality is consistent with vetted instructors. You don't have to do all the hard work of making sure each course is worth it. There's no reason for any gimmicky practices because the key is not getting you through the gate, it is getting you to stay, and they can only do that if they make great content. The feeling you get is more akin to attending school than to a platform that people publish courses on.
Because it is subscription based, it is best if you sign up when you have or are anticipating a big block of time free.
Who it is for
Frontend Masters is good for people who are looking to get an introduction into several new technologies. It targets beginner-intermediate level of knowledge.
I recommend looking at the course listings and watching the free previews of some of the lessons to get an idea of what Frontend Masters offers you. If you are still feeling unconvinced and are a beginner, I recommend trying out their free Bootcamp, where you can learn the basics of web development with courses that they have developed. These courses are the same as the ones in their library, so you'll get a good taste of what it is like.
Frontend Masters does not provide certificates. A lot of the competition offer certificates, but I feel like these are a gimmick at best. It is hard for me to see the value of certificates if it is just a mark of competion, especially when it comes to self-promotion or resume building.
I feel that a better way to indicate what you have learned is to actually apply these new skills and knowledge in a project that you can build and then show people.
I really like Frontend Masters and I highly recommend considering it if you are a beginner. If you are an expert, it also provides great introductions to new technologies by industry professionals.