Two books titled HTML&CSS and JavaScript&JQuery sit on a bookshelf next to a tiny cactus. 

How to Learn CSS and Style Web Pages Beyond HTML

If you want to learn CSS, you’re in good company. Every browser tab you have open contains at least minor elements of CSS. Even if you know CSS’ importance, there may still be things to learn about this fundamental language. So, keep reading for a simple guide on how to master CSS.

What Is CSS?

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language that tells a browser how to present information in a Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) document. CSS gives information to the browser about text alignment, images, font, color, and more. 

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Style sheet languages are important because they shrink the amount of programming required in HTML while allowing more freedom for design in mobile and desktop environments. The cascading portion of the name comes from the language setting a priority on certain elements. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the three pillars of the Internet. 

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the organization responsible for recommending guidelines that ensure every web page works as intended across any web browser or device. /

W3C released the first iteration of CSS in December 1996, and since then they‘ve regularly updated the language. There can sometimes be gaps between CSS and browser support for its latest functions. But these gaps are usually quickly fixed to ensure a smooth experience for browsers on all platforms. 

What Is CSS Used For?

CSS is a web development tool. It’s used solely to provide formatting for HTML pages. But because styling is so key to the appearance and function of sites, it serves a very active role in making the Internet usable for all. 

Web Page Styling

CSS files sit on top of HTML documents to make websites beautiful and usable. You’ve probably encountered an HTML version for a web site. While you could still find your way around, the difference is stark.

Because people expect a certain level of presentation when navigating the web, CSS is always in high use. Full stack engineers, who design the server and client sides of websites, especially need to know CSS. 


The beauty of the Internet is that anyone can use it. But for people with visual, auditory, or any other impairments, it can be hard to get started online. 

Thankfully, there are several CSS tools that make websites accessible to those with disabilities. These features allow developers to highlight certain aspects of a site or make pages easier to load on slow connections. CSS keeps the promise of an open Internet alive. 

Search Engine Optimization 

If you’ve ever used Google, you may be wondering how its algorithm decides which results to show you first. Proper CSS goes a long way for search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO helps place a website higher in search rankings through a combination of factors including proper formatting. That’s why websites use headers and ordered information instead of just dumping text. And CSS makes this possible. 

Learn CSS: Step-by-Step

Because CSS is so intertwined with HTML and JavaScript, learning it is really a step in a larger process of mastering web development. Here’s how to get started learning CSS.

1. Learn More About HTML 

HTML is at the center of the internet experience. As we’ve previously mentioned, CSS files sit on top of HTML documents to provide formatting information. The interaction between CSS and HTML is so key that it has its own name: responsive web design.

So, it’s important to have a grasp of HTML before you dive into CSS. As CSS calls upon items that exist in an HTML document, it’d be a waste of time to learn only CSS.

2. Learn the CSS Basics

After you’ve learned about HTML, you can start studying how CSS works. There are plenty of tutorials online that can get you started. And before you know it, you’ll have mastered the language. 

We’ve mentioned the three pillars of web design. Now that you’ve gotten a handle on two of them, it’s off to the final one. 

3. Learn More About JavaScript

JavaScript is the icing on the cake of web page design. It is a high-level programming language, much like Python and Ruby, but particularly suited to web design and great for beginners.

There are plenty of ways to learn how to code in JavaScript. And after you’ve gotten the hang of it, you’ll be ready to start building your own sites. 

4. Practice Your Newfound Tools

After you’ve learned HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you’re going to be perfectly capable of building your own website. The only step remaining is to practice your new skills. 

You’ll learn much more through the process of building websites than you will in a classroom. It’s a good idea at this stage to take chances and stretch your coding skills to grow as a web developer. 

The Best CSS Courses

 A woman sits on the floor with her Macbook in a mostly gray room with modern decor.
Due to CSS’s popularity, you have plenty of options to learn this language.

Below are some courses that will get you well on your way to becoming a CSS professional in no time. 

HTML5 and CSS Fundamentals

This course is part of W3C’s Front-End Web Developer Certificate track. The organization that developed CSS offers this course that guides you step-by-step through the site-building process. It’s a great peek into the intersection of the newest versions of HTML and CSS and how they can come together. 

The Complete 2021 Web Development Bootcamp

This course guides you to becoming a full stack developer. It covers HTML, CSS, JavaScript, database management tools, and more. After the course is finished, you’ll have a portfolio of sites to use for job applications. This course is a great way to see CSS working with other tools that you’ll need to launch your career in web development. 

Introduction to CSS3

This course is part of the University of Michigan’s Web Design for Everybody specialization on Coursera. You’ll be learning everything about the latest versions of CSS and how they can help you make better-looking sites. This course also devotes a healthy portion of its runtime to the accessibility benefits CSS provides. 

Advanced CSS and Sass: Flexbox, Grid, Animations and More!

Once you’ve mastered the basics of CSS, you’re finally ready to cut loose. This course will show you all of the designs and effects possible with CSS. You’ll learn tools like flexbox, grid, and more. After completion, you’ll be prepared to make modern sites with eye-catching features like background video and animations.

Is Learning CSS Right for You?

If you’re interested in working as a web developer, it’s basically required to have some understanding of CSS. 

You’ll be surprised at the wide range of capabilities that CSS offers. It is a huge part of making websites beautiful and accessible. Those two aspects can make the difference between retaining users and sending them to the next site. 

So give this language a try and learn how it operates in a modern online ecosystem. You’ll be happy you did.  

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