Front End Developer Skills you need to Know

Computer programming has become a comprehensive classification of the computer science profession. Websites are all around us, and there is no shortage of opportunities for a front end developer. As everything is changing so quickly, it is challenging to keep up, especially when you’re just beginning with your career. Also, the path to a new job isn’t always lucid, with numerous alternatives available for learning on the web. In website development, there exists both back-end development and front-end, along with web content development & cybersecurity. When it comes to front-end development for websites, the main focus is on the overall look and aesthetics of a website. There must be a balance between appealing looks and rigid functionality. Front-end developers do quite a lot, and the skills necessary to succeed in front-end computer coding are highly technical.

Before beginning, we must know what exactly is a front-end developer and what a front-end developer does. Front-end web development, which is also known as the client-side development is the practice of producing CSS, HTML, and JavaScript for a website or a web application so that a user can view and interact with them directly. The challenge in front end development is that the techniques and tools utilized to create the front-end of a website get continuously updated. So the developer should be updated on how the field is evolving. The main objective of designing a website is to ensure that when users browse the site,  they see the information in a way that is easy to read, comprehend, and is also relevant. Furthermore, this is complicated by the fact that users now use a great variety of devices with diverse screen sizes and resolutions, thus compelling the designer to consider these aspects when designing the website. They need to make sure that their site comes up correctly in various browsers (cross-browser), multiple operating systems (cross-platform), and various devices (cross-device), which requires careful planning from the developer’s side.

Given below are the topmost front end developer skills required by a front-end developer. Whether you are a newbie or an expert, the chances are that few of these points will help bring your front-end development career to the next level. Now, let’s dive deeper into more details and talk about the front-end developer must-haves!

  1. HTML and CSS are a must!

HTML AND CSS

This is the building block of what makes a front-end developer. As with any profession, it is always pertinent to have a good grasp of the basics before delving into the difficult parts. These two terms keep popping up when we talk about front-end development, but there’s a pretty solid reason for it. You wouldn’t find a single front-end developer job description that doesn’t require proficiency in these two markup languages. Let’s take a step ahead and look deeper at what HTML and CSS are:

  • HTML(HyperText Markup Language ) is the standard markup language used to make web pages. A markup language is a method of making notes in a digital document that can be differentiated from regular text. It is the most fundamental building block you’ll need for developing websites.
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is used to display the document that you have created with HTML. HTML comes first and makes the foundation for your page, CSS comes next and is used to generate the page’s color, layout, fonts, basically the complete styling of the website.

Both of these languages are essential for front end developer skills for the frontend developer. In short, no HTML/CSS, no web development.

  1. JavaScript and jQuery to seal the deal.

JavaScript & jQuery cover all the fundamentals of scripting and writing scripts for the web. JavaScript (JS) is a crucial tool in a front-end developer’s toolbox. HTML is a markup language, whereas CSS is a styling language, JavaScript is a programming language. HTML and CSS determine the presentation of a page, whereas JavaScript determines the functionality. In some cases, an elementary website or web page is fine. Still, for situations where interactive features like audio and video, games, scrolling abilities, page animations are essential, JavaScript is the tool you’ll use to implement them. One important thing that is to be kept in mind about JavaScript is the existence of libraries like jQuery( a collection of extensions and plugins that make it faster and easier to use JavaScript on your website). jQuery takes recurrent tasks that require multiple lines of JavaScript code and compresses them into a format that can be executed with just a single line.

  1. ES6

The rise of ES6 (i.e., ECMAScript 2015) has undoubtedly brought new surprises to front-end developers. It’s a JavaScript scripting language developed by Netscape, evolving from ES1 to ES6 that has been added some fantastic new features since its release. With the popularity of Node.js and Angular.js, we believe that ES6 will soon become a significant trend in front end framework development.

  1. Basic knowledge of Server Side Rendering/Scripting

A while back, all that was required from a front-end developer is to make websites that display web content without many functionalities. Today, a front-end developer is required to have a fundamental knowledge of how Api's and servers work in regards to the application being created. Having a basic understanding of how the server-side works enable the front-end developer to create a better architecture in terms of the quality of the code and also be familiar with the authentication procedure in an app.

  1. You can’t ignore the Web Performance.

It is essential to ensure that your website performs smoothly without any glitch. Web performance determines the amount of time it takes for your website to load. If you’re having difficulties with performance times, there are measures you can take to improve them, such as minifying CSS and JavaScript and optimizing images. 

By now, you might have realized that HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the three essential tools for front end development, and most of the other skills either help you make those tools more efficient or help you test your site and rectify mistakes. The trend proceeds here with the building and automation of tools and web performance. You can code the most fantastic website ever, but if it doesn’t perform well on the user’s end, it won’t matter. Web performance tells about the time a website takes to load. If you’re having trouble with performance time, there are various steps that you can choose to improvise them, such as optimizing images and minimizing CSS and JavaScript.

  1. Making coding easier with CSS and JAVASCRIPT frameworks.

CSS and JavaScript frameworks are collections of CSS or JavaScript files that do a bundle of the work for you by providing standard functionalities. Instead of beginning with an empty text document, you can begin with a code file that has lots of already built-in JavaScript. Like every coin has two sides, frameworks have their strengths and weaknesses, too, and it is essential to select the best framework for the type of website you’re building. For instance, some JavaScript frameworks are great for building complex user interfaces, while others excel at displaying your site’s content. To make things more interesting, multiple frameworks can be used together. It’s not uncommon to pair Bootstrap with another JavaScript framework like AngularJS. The most popular frameworks are Angular, Ember, PhantomJs, and React. It is up to you to choose which framework fits well with your work.

AngularJS is one of the prominently using JS that aims to make the framework more flexible and agile. It is suitable for creating SAPs and offers DOM manipulation along with two-way data binding. ReactJs is yet another framework that was developed by Facebook and allowed users to create reusable and interactive UI components. Vue.js is a different framework that has the properties to create dynamic, scalable, and SPAs, and you can even combine it into the existing projects — using that you can also easily bind your data to HTML. 

PostCSS isn't a preprocessor that transforms CSS. Still, it provides a parser and a framework to create the plugins that can do functions such as analysis, asset handling, and optimization and transforms the parsed CSS. It deals with various plugins that counts more than 200 and can use to solve CSS processing tasks.

PostCSS Core consists of:

  • CSS Parser that creates AST for each line of CSS Code
  • Set of Classes
  • CSS Generator that creates CSS Line for the Object Tree
  • Code Map Generator
  1. Chrome DevTools

It refers to the Chrome Developer Tools, which inbuilt in Google Chrome for iterating, debugging, and analyzing websites. It consists of the following sections:

  • Device toolbar - it helps to create a completely adaptive website that’s mobile-first.
  • Elements that are used to freely manage CSS and DOM to iterate over layout and design pages.
  • Console panel that interacts with JavaScript as a shell on the page or collects logs diagnostic information.
  • Sources that connect to local files via WorkSpaces, or set breakpoints to debug JavaScript using the real-time editor of the developer tools.

Besides, it also includes  Performance, Memory, Application, Security, Network, Customize and Control DevTools, and more.

  1. CSS Preprocessing to enhance the speed!

It’s another tool that can significantly improve the speed of CSS coding, aiding CSS to add extra features to enhance scalability. As the name implies, the CSS processing will preprocess the code before it’s published to the website and help process the source code into a properly structured CSS code. Among them, LESS and SASS are the two most frequently used preprocessors in the front end development. 

CSS, though essential, can sometimes be limiting. One limitation with it is the fact that you can’t define functions, variables, or perform arithmetic operations. This is a hurdle when a project grows in scale and code-base, as you will soon find yourself squandering a lot of time writing repetitive code to make changes. Like CSS frameworks, CSS preprocessing too is a means of making your life as a developer easier and swifter. Using a CSS preprocessor like LESS, Sass, or Stylus, you can write code in the preprocessor’s language. The preprocessor then turns that code into CSS so that it can work on your website. Let’s say that you decide to tweak the shade of blue you’re using across a site. With a CSS preprocessor, you will only have to change the hex value in a single place instead of going through your complete CSS and changing the hex values everywhere.

  1. Git Version Control

After all your hard work with HTML,  CSS, and JavaScript, you would have gone through a myriad of revisions in your development. If anything goes against the plan along the way, the last thing you would want to do is start over from scratch. Version control is the procedure of controlling and tracking changes in your source code so that misfortunes as such does not happen. Like open-source stalwart Git, Version control software is a tool to track those changes so you can go back to a prior version of your work and find out what went wrong without breaking the whole thing down. As you might have figured out, this is a skill that you (and your potential employers and clients) will be thrilled to have.

  1. Responsive Layout and Mobile Design to enhance the UX.

With the popularity of smartphones and tablets with different screen sizes, it is essential to make responsive design a priority in every application or website you create. Gone are the days when people mostly view websites and apps on their desktops. In today's world, the average person spends at least 4 hours on their smartphone per day. 

Ever notice how these pages adapt themselves according to the device you’re using without you doing anything from your side? This is because of the responsive design. Understanding the responsive design principles and how to implement them on the coding side is key to front end development. Most people will likely view your app or website from a mobile device, hence the need for a firm fundamental knowledge of CSS, which helps to make the user experience much better for the users.

One major thing to be considered regarding responsive design is that it is an intrinsic part of CSS frameworks like Bootstrap. All these skills are interconnected; therefore, as you learn one, you’ll probably be making progress in the others at the same time.

  1. Test-driven Development to make it to the top.

From a naïve website for a local business to an international site for a multinational company, bugs are inevitable in the development process. In order to keep things moving smoothly, you need to test your code for bugs along the process, so the ability to test and debug makes its way to the list of crucial front-end developer skills. There are a variety of testing methods for web development. Functional testing aims at a particular piece of functionality on your website (like a database or a form) and ensures that it does everything you have coded it to do. Unit testing tests the smallest piece of code that’s responsible for one thing on your site and inspects it individually for correct operation. Testing is an essential part of the front-end development process. It is another region where there are frameworks to support you. Programs such as Jasmine and Mocha are designed to accelerate and simplify your testing process.

  1. CLI to add feathers to your cap.

In many ways, the expansion of GUIs (Graphic User Interfaces) into computing was one of the most extraordinary things to ever happen. GUIs can be enticing when it comes to web development as well as coding, and they’re often convenient too, but an all-purpose GUI definitely has its limitations for some specific applications. Many a time, you will need to open a terminal where you can type commands (command line) to get what you need. The dissimilarity between using a GUI and using command lines is as apparent as your computer only yielding what is available on the surface. In contrast, you can get what you need by digging in with your bare hands. Even though the majority of the work is done through a GUI, you will add excellent credentials to your front-end skills if you have expertise in the command line.

13. Soft skills are cherry on the cake!

It’s easy to get stuck on high-end, fancy-sounding technical skills to start your career, but there are some old-school yet highly essential skills that you shouldn’t overlook. It isn’t sporadic to find statements like these under a front-end developer’s job description:  In the end, soft skills are just as crucial for tech-industry as they are for any other industry. Do not forget to keep working on your overall professionalism as you head down your path to a new career in the greatest, coolest, and the most innovative field in the market!  

Software engineers, well acquainted with agile development, are very high in demand. The market’s requirement is enormous and most likely, the gap is not expected to be filled any sooner due to the increasing need for skilled developers, thereby opening the doors for a vast scope for the budding developers. With the right set of skills, there’s no dream far enough to achieve.

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