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10+ Skills you need as a Front End Developer

A list of front end developer skills that recruiters and employers want to see.

The 3 languages you need as a front-end web developer

Embarking on an exciting journey as a Front-End Web Developer but unsure where to begin? Fear not! We’ve got you covered with the 10+ Front End Developer Skills needed to land a job in tech. Master these, and you’ll be ready to dive confidently into web development.

What Is a Front End Developer?

A Front End Developer is the person who builds the front end of a website or application. This means they construct the part of the website or application that is visible to the reader. Take this website, for example. A Front End Developer builds the page structure, making sure everything is readable, easily navigated, and visually appealing. 

You may also see Front End Developers referred to as Front End Software Engineers. These terms can be interchangeable, but it’s always good to know the differences between them. 

Front end vs. Backend

While the Front End Developer works are the side that is visible to the reader, Backend Developers work behind the scenes. They build the algorithms that make the website or application usable. 

If a website were a restaurant, the Front End would be the wait staff, delivering the goods efficiently and stylistically to the customer, while Backend is the kitchen staff cooking the dishes. 

Top Coding and Programming Languages for Front-End Developers

If you don’t know where to start as a Front End Web Developer, here are the three languages that EVERY website uses! If you learn these foundational coding and programming languages, you can confidently get started as a web developer.

Hyper Text Markup Language [HTML] – The Backbone of Your Site

HyperText Markup Language [HTML] is the building block for creating web pages. This is the foundation of all web pages, using the structure of paragraphs, images, links, and anything else you need to build a website. 

Picture a website as a person; HTML represents the skeleton that holds everything together. This fundamental coding language lays the groundwork for every web page on the internet and contains crucial information.

Cascading Style Sheets [CSS] – The Stylish Makeover of Your Site

Cascading Style Sheets [CSS] outlines how the HTML will be displayed on your screen. 

A person needs more than just bones; they need skin, hair, and clothes. Enter CSS! This language is responsible for your site’s appearance, allowing you to tweak colors, fonts, and layout. While websites can function without CSS, they’d be so unappealing that no one would bother visiting.

HTML and CSS go hand in hand, so it’s not beneficial to know one without the other. Many times you’ll see them grouped together in job listings or resumes. These two coding languages are the foundation of all web pages and web applications.

JavaScript – The Life and Soul of Your Site

JavaScript [JS] is a scripting language responsible for making webpages and applications dynamic. While HTML and CSS are considered coding languages, JavaScript is the first programming language you’ll need to know to become a web developer.  

People perform actions and respond to stimuli. Similarly, websites need to be interactive and dynamic. JavaScript, a versatile programming language, adds functionality and animation to your site.

This is an extremely vast language, and many programmers only focus on JavaScript and do nothing else! While it can be highly complex, learning the basics of JavaScript will let you infuse your website with pizzazz!

Top Technical Skills for Front End Developers

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are essential for Front End web development, but it’s not enough to produce a high-functioning and effective website. While the following are specific languages in programming, each has a vital role in building and optimizing websites and web applications. Knowing these will boost your front end developer skills and make building websites even easier.

Frameworks and Libraries

It’s not always necessary to reinvent the wheel. Frameworks and libraries provide prewritten code that can be reused and customized as you need. While the words Frameworks and Libraries can sometimes be used interchangeably, there are distinct differences between the two.

Consider a website as a home (and no longer a body). A library is like going to Ikea to pick out your furniture. You don’t need to build your own bed from scratch. Instead, you can mix and match pieces to build the perfect custom furniture for your home.

A Framework would be like building a model home. You’re confined by what the builder and architect say, and they decide when you get to have customized input.

A few top frameworks are Angular, Bootstrap, Vue.js, and Node.js. A few popular libraries would include jQuery and React.js.

Familiarizing yourself with a few frameworks and libraries will help you write cleaner, faster code. Additionally, many companies have specific frameworks or libraries they work in and look to hire someone already comfortable with those environments.

Responsive Design

Responsive web design means your website or application can be easily viewed from multiple devices. Since the rise in smartphones, more people are viewing websites on their mobile devices or tablet rather than computers. This means your website needs to be easily accessible, readable, and navigable on any potential device your reader may be using. There are a number of ways to make a site mobile-friendly, so familiarize yourself with best practices and keep the mobile-first design at the forefront of your build. 

Web Performance

When was the last time you tried to open a web page, and the page sat frozen for longer than 5 seconds? Most people click away or close the site if it takes longer than a few seconds to load. Or maybe you went to click a button, only to have the page finish loading a large image, leading to the page shifting down, and you end up clicking the wrong button? This is why Web Performance is crucial. 

Web performance is the objective measurement and perceived user experience of a website or application. Google ranks and prioritizes sites in their search results by their performance using their Core Web Vitals as a metric. Understanding how your site loads and runs from a user perspective makes it more enjoyable to navigate.

Performance can also mean your site’s Search Engine Optimization [SEO]. This helps your site rank higher on Google’s search results, making it easier for readers to find your website or business.

Testing and Debugging

If you want to ensure your website or application works and functions as you planned, you need to ensure solid testing and debugging. You will, more often than not, encounter a bug in your code or an unexpected error. Knowing the tools to help you find the problems and how to solve it will make you a stronger developer. 

For example, if you ever face the WordPress White Screen of Death, you’ll need to use these steps in your debugging process. 

Git: A Front End Developer’s Must-Have Tool

While HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are essential, you don’t want to be caught not knowing Git. This free, open-source, distributed version control system helps you save your work and revert to previous versions when needed. With Git, you can easily revert to a previous version of your code without fear of losing all your hard work.

Collaborating with a global team on a project? Git offers a central space for sharing your work. Although Git operates behind the scenes without flashy visuals, it’s indispensable for building websites and working as a developer. GitHub, an online repository, is the perfect platform to store and showcase your work.

Soft skills/ Non-technical Skills

Most will tell you the technical skills you need to get your first job in tech. While they are important, the soft skills are what will set you apart from the rest and land you your first job or promotion. Don’t skip out on these crucial non-technical frontend developer skills.

  Teamwork

No one works in a silo. While a lot of programming is done alone at a computer, being able to collaborate and contribute to a team is necessary for any job. 

  Creativity

While there are hundreds of ways you can build a program to accomplish a task, there are definitely some ways that work better than others. Additionally, when you face a very tricky bug in your code, being able to adapt and look for new creative solutions will make you a stronger developer. 

Building a website is also all about showcasing your creative abilities. What can you do that no one else can? How can you help solve a problem, highlight a skill or passion, or connect people and places through a thoughtful and interactive webpage or application?

  Problem-Solving

Working in programming is like solving a million puzzles in a million different ways every single day. How can you highlight your ability to solve a problem? Being able to face an issue in a variety of ways shows potential employers that 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I learn front end or back end first?

It’s best to first know why you want to learn web development in the first place. If you’re looking to build websites for local shops in your area, then only knowing front end may be enough. If you want to build your own web application and launch your own platform, then back end may be necessary first to begin your project build.
Personally, I find front end better to learn first as it’s easier to see the results of your work. This helps you build your confidence in programming and better understand how to make things work on the back end when you know how they need to look on the front end.

What should I learn first as a front end developer?

Step one is HTML and CSS. While they aren’t programming languages, if you don’t know these, you won’t be able to do much as a front end developer. After you master these languages, knowing at least an intermediate level of JavaScript will make you ready to start your job hunt.

Which language is the best for front end development?

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the triumphant trio of front end web development. While there are many other languages, frameworks, and libraries that can help you build the perfect website or web application. These three are the basis of almost everything on the internet.

Do front end developers need design skills?

Not necessarily! Web developers usually work based on the designs of a professional web designer. However, if you’re looking to be a one-stop shop, you’ll need to know the basics of web design. It is also helpful to know when setting your site up for web accessibility.

Do you need math skills for front end?

With the invention of the calculator, who really needs to “know” math these days? That being said, the ability to think critically and understand complex algorithms is essential to any field within the tech industry

What is the responsibility of front end developer?

Front end web developers use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to bring concepts to life. They are responsible for implementing the design and usability of a website or web application, ensuring everything is optimized for web performance and accessibility.

What is better: front end or back end?

Both front end and back end developers work hand in hand to bring a website or application to life. If the website is a restaurant, the front end is the wait staff that brings your food. Front end is the chairs, tables, lighting, ambiance, music, and vibe of the restaurant. Back end, on the other hand, is the kitchen staff cooking your meals. They wash the dishes, keep the rats out, and ensure everything going out to the table is delicious and edible. You can’t successfully have one without the other. Finding which works best for your skillset and personality is what makes it better for you.

Conclusion

Once you’re familiar with these languages and skills, you’ll be well-equipped to build websites and thrive as a front end web developer. So, buckle up and get ready to conquer the world of web development! 

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