It’s been a while since i posted this comment and i have not yet found a job in web development as of now so my opinion is not the most powerful one to take into consideration but here it is:
having a portfolio will be more powerful than having a group of nanodegree certificates i believe. and yes while having a certificate from an online school that’s well known and reputable might be advantageous i believe it is not the way to enter a new field… i’ve done this nanodegree and had to stop it because i was spending lots of money i couldn’t afford and in the end while i learned a lot, it was not the only source of education that i had. i have watched countless hours of tutorials on different subjects and worked on different projects to both understand what certain tools or languages do and feel like and also to showcase a broad skillset and also maybe to decide on what type of tools and languages i want to focus on more deeply.
the good news however is that while nanodegrees cost money (and equivalent online university degrees) the courses themselves are free. technically what you pay for is really behind the scenes access to mentors and a slack group access and coaching for interviews and all that. and while it’s all well and good i found myself not really profiting from this even though i had access to it.
So my recommendation is to find anything and everything that you can that’s available for free.. perhaps even checkout the nanodegrees, figure out what are the courses that construct this nanodegree and start going through them yourself free of charge, the information given in a nanodegree is the same whether you pay or not, it’s the extra stuff that you pay for.
and honestly there are enough educational series online that are given for free or for a lot less money that are perfectly capable in giving you enough knowledge to develop a good baseline of knowledge…
once you have the core functionality of html css and js down, that is the hard part… there’s a big gap between knowing how a language is structured and actually knowing how to use it… and unfortunately this cannot be taught.. so there’s a common period after the initial high of learning new languages where you have no idea what to do from there and the resources to help you are very minimal…
this is where you have to start learning by yourself. start doing projects even if you’re not going to show them to anyone…
and an extra piece of advice on building your own projects is: FINISH THEM! i have countless projects that i have started and either restarted because i wasn’t happy with how it was built or just completely abandoned…. don’t make my mistakes, finishing projects even if they’re not great is the single best thing you can do to yourself and trust me when i tell you that ever new project you start and finish will be 10x better than the last one.
last piece of advice is checkout freecodecamp this is a great place to learn basics. they divide knowledge into very small chunks and exercises and you learn it all by being hands on and coding yourself rather than listening to someone code… personally i did not like the tutorial series they had, i prefer listening to a video, but they have a lot of practice projects that are really fun to do and cover a big part of what it is to code.. so if you dont know what to build check out their projects (ex: weather app, random quote generator, calculator, hangman…etc)
these are cliche projects that most developers will have done in the learning process so i don’t know if they would have a lot of value in an interview for example but it’s definitely great practice for when you do find a unique project that you would want to later on show off to potential employers
in my case, our city has an open data service with lots of APIs so i took one related to our public bike service and made an app that tells you how many bikes are available in the station that you choose.
Sorry if this was a lil tldr, i tend to ramble on when i write.
Wish you the best of luck sir, and trust me when i tell you, the frustration you are feeling/ will feel is much more common than you think. even working professional developers are constantly haunted by this frustration because coding and especially front end is an ongoing learning process that never ends.