Front End

10 Skills You Need to be a Front-End Developer

Are you thinking about becoming a front-end developer? Are you keen to learn what skills and training you'll need to be successful and competitive in the field?
Image representing front end developer skills

Keep reading to discover essential front-end developer skills and requirements to kick-start your web developer career.

Front-End vs. Back-End Developer

Both front- and back-end developers develop websites, software programs and applications, though the two professions have different responsibilities and skill sets. Each type of developer works on a different part of a website or app. While front-end developers focus on what a user will see, a back-end developer works behind the scenes to keep the site operational and interactive. Both roles are necessary for a functional and visually appealing website, program, or web application. Some professionals perform both front- and back-end development. We know them as full-stack developers.  

What Should I Learn for Front-End Developer Opportunities?

If you’ve got your mind set on becoming a developer, start by building basic front-end developer skills. These include the following.

1. Bachelor’s Degree

Although not essential, most people complete a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer programming, software engineering or similar field to prepare for their career as a developer. There are, however, several entry routes into a developer career. You could learn the necessary basic skills in another way, such as through online tutorials, intensive boot camps, and evening classes.  

2. Programming Languages

Fundamental front-end developer requirements include proficiency in several common programming languages. The three main languages you’ll need are:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript

HTML is the most basic foundation for creating a website or app. Developers use CSS elements such as fonts, colours, layouts, and styles to improve user experience. While you can build a tremendous static website with just HTML and CSS, JavaScript is essential if you or your clients want interactive and responsive sites.

JavaScript allows you to incorporate animations, videos, audio, image slide shows and forms. It’s also necessary if you want a site to have scrolling capabilities.

3. Libraries

Libraries can make development a lot faster, neater, and more convenient. Libraries act as plugin extensions that let a front-end developer include ready-made features. One of the most commonly used libraries is open-source jQuery. Redux and LESS are also worth knowing if you want to be a front-end developer.   

4. Frameworks

Similar to libraries, frameworks are modules of prewritten codes that make creating certain aspects much easier. Rather than starting from scratch, frameworks provide you with a file of preset codes. Some of the most common frameworks include:

  • CSS – Bootstrap
  • CSS – Tailwind
  • CSS – Sass
  • CSS – UI Kit
  • CSS – Bulma
  • JS – React
  • JS – Ember
  • JS – Backbone
  • JS – Vue.js
  • JS – Angular

Different frameworks are suitable for different sites or applications, so it’s helpful to have a good working knowledge of a variety of them.

5. Version Control

Version Control lets you keep up with code changes. So, if you make mistakes, you can easily return to a former point instead of starting over. There are various version control software and tools, many of which are free and open source, including:

  • Git
  • SVN
  • CVS
  • Bazaar
  • Monotone

Version control lets you go back to identify errors and improve your skills.

6. Responsive Design

Skills in responsive design are essential for building responsive websites and applications that adjust to your user’s experience in real-time. In a world where people routinely use a combination of laptops, PCs, smartphones and tablets, learning responsive design skills is a must.

7. Cross-Browser Development

Front-end developers need to know how apps and sites appear on different devices, ensuring they look as they should when viewed in various browsers.

8. Testing

Unfortunately, bugs sometimes occur. A front-end developer must know how to test processes and debug where necessary.

9. CMSs

Developers build most sites and e-commerce platforms using content management systems (CMS).

Commonly used CMSs include:

  • Joomla
  • HubSpot CMS Hub
  • Magento
  • Wix
  • WooCommerce
  • Drupal

Understanding several platforms can give you a competitive edge.

10. Web Performance Optimization

Front-end developer skills include techniques for web performance optimization or WPO. Certain tools help sites, and pages load faster, enhancing the end-user experience. Effective WPO also ensures that graphics don’t drastically affect the loading speed.

Other Front-End Developer Skills

As well as the above-listed expertise, valuable skills for a front-end developer include:

  • Basic knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Graphic design
  • Design software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Sketch
  • Code editors
  • Brand consistency
  • Database layouts
  • AJAX
  • Node.js
  • Java
  • JSON
  • MySQL
  • DOM customization
  • Algorithms

It’s crucial in an ever-growing and constantly changing industry to keep abreast of new developments. You need to commit to ongoing learning to keep up to date.

Additional Front-End Developer Requirements

Besides learning advanced software programming languages, coding and a wide range of other technical skills, successful front-end developers must also have a broad set of personal skills and attributes. These include:

  • High-level problem-solving abilities
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Analytical capabilities
  • A keen eye for detail
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Good organizational and time-keeping skills
  • Motivation and dedication
  • Team working and self-management skills

Especially when you’re learning to be a front-end developer or new to your developer career, you’ll likely also need plenty of patience. And, always remember that, as with most things in life, practice often makes perfect.

If you’re looking to create a new website and learning front-end developer skills seems like too much of a challenge, get in touch with the experts at Goodie. From custom web design and website maintenance to e-commerce and email development, trust Goodie to take care of your needs. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.