CSS is hard. We all know it. But what if I told you that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a course to learn it?
What if I told you there was a better way?
A way where you could learn at your own pace, and from the comfort of your own home?
To self-learn CSS, there is a 3-step plan that you need to follow – have a strong foundation in HTML, learn the six basic fundamental elements of CSS, and finally, build your own CSS-styled website. At the end of this 3-step plan, you should know everything you need to in order to be a CSS master.
Although it sounds easy (just 3 steps, right?), there’s a lot of content within each step that you’ll need to learn before moving on to the next.
In this guide, we’ll go over everything in detail so that you can have a complete understanding of what you need to do in order to self-learn CSS.
Fire up your computer and let’s get going!
3 Steps to Self-Learn CSS
Here are the three steps you need to follow in order to self-learn CSS.
Step One: Have a strong foundation in HTML
Before you can even start thinking about CSS, you need to have a strong foundation in HTML. This means knowing how to code basic HTML tags, how to structure your HTML document, and how to nest elements properly.
We really can’t stress this enough – it is imperative that you learn HTML before moving on to CSS!
CSS is what gives your HTML pages style – it’s what makes them look pretty. But in order to do that, CSS relies on the structure of your HTML elements.
And since CSS is built on top of HTML, if your HTML knowledge is weak, your CSS will be even weaker.
If you’re a complete beginner, we recommend checking out a couple of introductory HTML tutorials before moving on to CSS.
Here’s what we would recommend:
- Web Design for Beginners by Udemy
- HTML Essential Training by LinkedIn Learning
Curious to know how long it takes to learn HTML? Check out our article on that here.
Once you have a good understanding of how HTML works, you can move on to step two.
Step Two: Learn the six basic fundamental elements of CSS
Now that you have a strong foundation in HTML, it’s time to start learning CSS!
There are six basic fundamental properties of CSS that are essential for every web developer to know. We’ll take you through each one so that you can get a better understanding of what they are and how to use them.
1) CSS Box Model
The CSS box model is the foundation of CSS layouts. It’s a concept that describes how HTML elements are rendered on screen.
Every HTML element is represented by a rectangular box. You can control the size, position, and appearance of these boxes using CSS. These boxes have four properties – margin, border, padding, and content.
The CSS box model is a fundamental part of web development, so it’s important that you understand how it works.
Here’s a quick overview of each property:
- Margin: The margin is the area outside of an element’s border. It’s used to create space between elements.
- Border: The border is the area around an element’s content. It’s used to create a visible boundary around an element.
- Padding: The padding is the area between an element’s border and content. It’s used to create space between the content and the border.
- Content: The content is the actual data that is contained within an element. This could be text, images, or anything else.
2) Images & Backgrounds
Images are a vital part of any web page. They can be used to add visual interest, convey information, or just make your pages look more attractive.
But before you can use images on your web pages, you need to learn how to manipulate them with CSS. This includes things like sizing, positioning, and creating responsive images.
Learning how to use images is an essential part of web development, so make sure you spend some time learning about it.
Here are a few resources that can help you get started:
- Style Images with CSS by Coursera
- Responsive Images | Learn Web Development by Udacity
- CSS Image Gallery by W3Schools
3) Position & Display
Positioning is another crucial part of CSS. It’s what allows you to control the placement of elements on your web pages.
There are five different position properties – static, relative, absolute, fixed, and sticky. Each one has its own uses and benefits.
- Static: The default position. Elements will be placed according to the normal flow of the document.
- Relative: Elements are positioned relative to their normal position in the document.
- Absolute: Elements are positioned relative to the nearest positioned parent element.
- Fixed: Elements are positioned relative to the viewport (meaning they’re not affected by scrolling and will remain in the same position on screen).
- Sticky: Elements are positioned relative to their normal position until they reach a certain scroll point, at which point they become fixed.
You also need to know about the display property. This property controls how an element is displayed on the screen.
There are four different display values – block, inline, flex, and grid.
- Block: Elements are displayed as blocks. They take up the entire width of the screen and start on a new line.
- Inline: Elements are displayed inline. They take up only as much space as they need and don’t start on a new line.
- Flex: Elements are displayed in a flex container. They can be positioned anywhere in the container.
- Grid: Elements are displayed in a grid container. They can be positioned anywhere in the grid.
Learning how to position and display elements is essential for any web developer. Make sure you spend some time learning about it.
When learning CSS, you also need to know about colors. Because let’s face it, color is an important part of any web page.
Although there are many ways to specify color in CSS, two of the most important are – by color keyword or by hex code.
To specify a color by name, you just need to use the keyword of the color. For example, “red” or “blue“.
To specify a color by hex code, you need to use the “#” symbol followed by the six-digit hex code. For example, “#ff0000” for red or “#0000ff” for blue.
Once you master the basics of color, you can start to experiment with more advanced techniques like gradients and transparency.
5) Pseudo-classes and Combinators
Pseudo-classes and combinators are two of the most important concepts in CSS.
Pseudo-classes are used to target elements that are in a certain state. For example, if you want to style an element when your mouse is over it, you would use the ‘:hover’ pseudo-class.
Combinators are used to target elements that are in a certain relationship with other elements.
For example, if you want to style an element that is the child of another element (meaning it’s nested inside of it), you would use the > combinator.
Pseudo-classes and combinators are essential for any web developer who wants to have complete control over their CSS, so don’t skip this part of the learning process.
Last, but perhaps most importantly, you need to know how to debug your CSS.
Debugging is the process of finding and fixing errors in your code. It’s an essential skill for any developer, and it’s something that you will get better at with practice.
There are a few different ways to debug CSS. The most common is using the developer tools in your browser.
Every major browser has developer tools that allow you to inspect the HTML and CSS of a web page.
This is an invaluable tool for debugging your CSS.
For example – Chrome DevTools (https://developer.chrome.com/docs/devtools/)
Once you’ve thoroughly learned all these 6 aspects of CSS, let’s move on to the final step in your learning process.
Step Three: Build Your Own CSS-Styled Website
Now that you’ve learned the basics of CSS, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test and build your own website. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy.
In fact, it can be as simple as a one-page website with some text and images.
The important thing is that you use CSS to style it. This is the best way to practice what you’ve learned and solidify your understanding of CSS.
If you need some inspiration, there are plenty of free website templates that you can find online. Here are some of our favorites – http://html5up.net/, http://bootswatch.com/, and http://templated.co/.
Once you have your website template, it’s time to start coding! If you get stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out to a friend or colleague for help.
After you finish coding your website, take a step back and admire your work.
You’ve just created something from scratch using only code!
And with that, you’ve completed the process of learning CSS.
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Best Resources to Self-Learn CSS
With the internet being as large and vast as it is, it’s often easy to get lost when trying to find the best resources for self-learning.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite resources for self-learning CSS.
- CSS Pocket Reference by Eric. A. Meyer: This is a great reference book for CSS. It contains introductions to all of the major CSS concepts, along with code examples. You’ll also find summaries of all of the CSS properties, which is extremely helpful when trying to remember the syntax for a particular property.
- CSS: The Missing Manual by David McFarland: This is another great book for learning CSS. It covers everything from the basics of CSS syntax to more advanced concepts like responsive design and animation. There’s even a section for mobile development.
- Online Courses
- CSS — The Complete Guide 2022 by Udemy: With zero knowledge of CSS, this course will take you from a beginner to an expert in CSS. It covers everything from the basics of CSS syntax to more advanced concepts that are essential for modern web development. The course is also updated regularly!, so you can be confident that you’re learning the most up-to-date information.
- Learn CSS by Codeacademy: This 20-hour course is a great way to learn the basics of CSS. It’ll teach you how to edit text and colors, design layouts, and create animations. By the end of the course, you’ll be fully equipped to build your own CSS-styled website.
- Introduction to CSS3 by Coursera: With a strong emphasis on how to write CSS rules, test codes, and foster good programming habits, this course is perfect for those who want to learn CSS from scratch. You also get a certificate of completion after finishing the course, which is always nice to have.
- Handy CSS Materials
- The Ultimate CSS Cheat Sheet: This is an excellent reference for all the CSS elements, properties, selectors, and units. It’s a great resource to have on hand when you’re coding because it provides quick and easy access to the information you need. Here is the link to the PDF file – https://www.onblastblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/CSS3-Cheat-Sheet.pdf.
- CSS Tricks (https://css-tricks.com/): This website is packed with CSS tips, tricks, and tutorials. You can find everything from how to create animations to how to use the latest CSS features. Definitely a lot of helpful information here along with interesting articles on web development.
- Web Design Weekly: This once-a-week email newsletter is a great way to stay up-to-date on the latest CSS news and tutorials. It’s always filled with informative articles and helpful tips. You can sign up for it here – https://web-design-weekly.com/.
Why Should I Learn CSS?
Now that you know how to self-learn CSS, you might be wondering – why should I even bother?
Well, the answer is simple. Because CSS is an essential skill for any web developer.
No matter what kind of website you want to build, you’re going to need to use CSS. And if you want full control over the look and feel of your website, you need to know CSS.
And if that isn’t enough to convince you, here are 4 more reasons why you should learn CSS:
- Create Unique, Customized Websites – CSS gives you the ability to create completely unique and customized websites. A lot of websites on the internet look the same, but with CSS, you can make yours stand out from the rest.
- Save Money – If you know CSS, you can build your own website instead of hiring a web developer. This will save you a lot of money in the long run. And we mean a lot – because some developers will charge around $100 an hour!
- Become A Developer Yourself! – There’s a ton of money to be made in web development. And if you’re good at CSS, you can start your own web development business and make a lot of money doing what you love.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about self-learning CSS.
Q.1. How long does it take to learn CSS?
A. It depends on your level of experience and expertise. If you’re a complete beginner, it’ll probably take you around 2 months to learn the basics of CSS. But if you already have some experience with coding, you can probably learn CSS in a month or less.
Q.2. Is CSS difficult to learn?
A. No, CSS is not difficult to learn. In fact, it’s one of the easier coding languages to learn. The syntax is simple and easy to understand, and there are not a lot of complicated concepts to learn. A thorough understanding of CSS will allow you to learn other coding languages more easily.
Q.3. Will I need to buy any software to learn CSS?
A. No, you don’t need to buy any software to learn CSS. All you need is a text editor (like Notepad++ or Sublime Text) and a web browser (like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox). Preferably a textbook on CSS too. That’s it!
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Even today, CSS is still one of the most popular and widely used coding languages on the internet. If you’re serious about becoming a web developer, you need to learn CSS.
And if you want to build unique and customized websites, learning CSS is a must.
With the resources and tips we’ve mentioned in this guide, you should have no problem self-learning CSS.
Just remember to be patient, take your time, and practice as much as you can. And before you know it, you’ll have conquered CSS!