Web Development

Learn How to Become a Front End Developer

Are you tech-savvy and have always found yourself drawn towards coding? Are you someone who enjoys building software and applications for various purposes? If this sounds familiar, you’re ready to make a career as a front end developer. 

The job of a front end developer is one of the most sought after in the market, especially since the boom in the software applications market. Most professional front end developers make around $103,000, while mid or top tier developers may make even more. 

Image Credits: Freepik

If you are overwhelmed by the continuous changes and additional programming languages in the market, keep your worries at bay. This blog explores the essential skillsets required to be a front end developer:

What Does a Front End Developer Do?

A front end developer is someone who implements web designs through coding languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery and others. The front end developer is responsible for the look and feel of a page, and this includes anything that the user can see (front end) and the coding or processes that need to run for particular actions to be done (back end). Although there are more specific UI / UX designers and UI developers who focus only on the look and feel, front end web developers have to be the medium that can communicate with them and the back end codes. 

Front end developers work with software engineers, back-end developers, UI / UX designers, front end web developers, web designers, programmers and other professionals required to make a web page or application function.

What Are the Skills Required to Become a Front End Developer?

To be a front end developer, one needs to write codes that run in the client’s browser, and this could include a web page, website, or a web application. Thus, the primary languages that a front end developer uses are HTML, CSS and JavaScript.  

Image Credits: Freepik

The front end developer has to manage multiple hats that include building codes, supporting web page designs, identifying errors or bugs, testing and fixing the look and feel of the front end on various platforms and browsers, and much more. Some of the critical skills required for this are:

  1. In-depth knowledge of HTML & CSS: Although the newer languages are now in vogue, HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the basic building blocks of web coding. Thus, it is essential for UI developers and front end developers to master coding in these languages and build a solid foundation for creating websites.
  2. Basic knowledge of JavaScript & JQuery: For front end developers, languages like JavaScript (JS) adds a ton of functionalities to a basic web page, and JS is used to create online games, real-time maps, interactive videos and other features. To enable front end developers to use ready-made elements, plugins and extensions rather than building each from scratch, JQuery is an essential element. Thus, having a working knowledge of JS and JQuery is important.
  3. Understanding of JavaScript Frameworks: JS frameworks (AngularJS, Backbone, Ember, ReactJS) are additional ready-made structures for JS code and knowing these frameworks provides a great start to developers. It is one of the most popularly mentioned skills in front end developer jobs.
  4. Understanding of Front End Frameworks: The popular front end frameworks like Bootstrap, Foundation, Semantic UI, and others provide jump-off points for faster development, especially for CSS. Front end developers can use these frameworks for their projects and enhance on what’s already existing, enabling the web application to have critical features that are now used in most popular websites and apps.
  5. CSS Preprocessors: CSS preprocessors adds extra functionality to the CSS library and makes it scalable and more comfortable to work with. The front end developer should be familiar with this to process the code before publishing it live. It helps to know if the result is well-formatted and the CSS preprocessors help turn the website to be cross-browser friendly and add elements of mobile-friendliness.
  6. Version Control: In most cases, the final output will require a lot of trial and error, and this could mean several revisions to your development and programs written in HTML, CSS and JS. To ensure the result is good, front end developers need to be familiar with version control and use software like Git that allows users to track changes and go back to previous versions. Version control is the process of monitoring and controlling the changes that happen in the course code to make sure that the new elements introduced don’t hamper the existing working code. In case of errors, front end developers are tasked with tracking the error and if required, reverting to the previous working version.
  7. Responsive Design: Although UI developers mainly handle the function of responsive design, front end developers need to be familiar with it too. Since the number of devices being used by users to access web applications has increased, developers need to know that the design is responsive to each device and can adapt accordingly.
  8. Familiarity with Testing / Debugging: As with any code, there is always the chance of something going wrong or the possibility of introducing bugs in the code. To make sure the web application has been tested thoroughly, front end developers need to be versed in the concepts of functional testing and unit testing. Front end development process incorporates testing as an essential operation and front end developers who know the use of testing platforms like Mocha, Jasmine and others can get an added advantage.

Take the First Step to Become a Front End Developer

So, do you think you are excited in coding, building websites, creates web & mobile applications, and programming? If yes, you are poised to become a front end developer and can pursue a career in the field.  

Image Credits: Freepik

If you are excited about becoming a front end developer or a UI developer but don’t know where to start, try out the Diploma in Web Development course by Shaw Academy. Learn the skills that can help you become an ace front end developer and start coding today!

Shaw Academy

Updated: Feb 25, 2020

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