ZTM Complete Web Developer Bootcamp

Review: ZTM Complete Web Developer

Ethan Glover

Andrei Neagoi is one of the best instructors out there. But he's not perfect. His Complete Web Developer course is great, and I'd say a good course for people first getting started with web development. As always Andrei's presentation skills are exceptional. Although his coverage of HTML and CSS basics here feel a bit uninspired, there's no reason someone shouldn't be able to get through it and learn what they need to learn. It's not boring, but it doesn't get you pumped for HTML, and that's perfectly fine.

This course will give newbies a total rundown on the history of the internet, start with HTML and CSS, move into JavaScript and eventually cover React. It's a fantastic, simple course that gives a good overview and starting point for a career in web development.

This course, however, is starting to age. I've always been annoyed when courses say they have the “2022 update” in November of 2021. But everyone does this. Car models do this. I can't dock it too much. But the course is still using Bootstrap. Bootstrap is still a valid tool, even if it isn't as popular as it used to be. Andrei moves into CSS grid and flex later which are the more relevant skills today. Getting into those right away may be overwhelming for a new developer. Bootstrap is a good thing to use when you need to focus on learning HTML and importing external CSS. So again, I can't knock it too much.

The problem is when it gets into React. The thing about courses getting updates every year and suddenly getting the “2022” tag in their titles, is that it's usually only 3-4 videos that have actually changed. And often those videos are patches that say “in the next video, do this instead of this because the old version is broken”. Or worse, just notes in between videos. And unfortunately, that's happening here.

To be fair, just because it's a new year, doesn't mean everything needs to be redone from scratch. But the course itself is starting to show its age. The Clarifai API used in one of the projects of this course is no longer supported. Andrei added a video to the course explaining that it's OK, the code still works. OK... again, fair enough. But the age is starting to get uncomfortable now isn't it?

React hooks are not included as part of the normal course. Despite being the standard pattern for React for 2 years. Instead, they are tacked on at the end as bonus videos while the final project is built with classes. Andrei again adds patch videos saying that because you may still encounter classes in the wild, they're worth knowing. Sure, but why are hooks at the end as bonus videos? Why not cover both and conclude the final project with hooks? Because doing so means rerecording. So it all feels a bit lazy at this point, and the course is overdue for an overhaul. The course could use a new project or a new API to replace Clarifai, and it really should use hooks from the start.

Everything here is technically competent, and Andrei's presentation skills make this a worthwhile investment of your time. However, with the number of courses out there that have true 2021/2022 updates, those courses are more likely to have what aspiring developers need. So, while this course will remain on the recommended list as the best first development course for newbies, I do feel a responsibility to find something else, which I will work on.

Because of it's aging feel, and a lack of ambition from Andrei and his team to go the extra mile and make true updates rather than patch videos, I have to score Complete Web Developer a 3 out of 5.