Front end web development deals with everything you see on a website, from the way it looks to how that design actually gets to the web. A Front End Developer is a sought after role, and here we go through the skills you needed to make this your career:

Coding Language Skills

A front end developer will need to be familiar with the 3 main languages used to code the web site and apps, these are:

  • HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language)
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
  • JavaScript (often called JS)

HTML & CSS

These are the basic building blocks of a website and no website can be built without them, however, they are not complicated to learn and with these two alone you could build a decent website.

JavaScript

JavaScript or JS provides more functionality to the websites you build and you can also start to create web applications by combining JS with HTML and CSS. It is the most popular coding language worldwide so it really is an essential for any web development role.

jQuery

jQuery is a library for use with JavaScript and providing a plethora of plug-ins and extensions so you no longer have to code everything from scratch since jQuery provides many ready-made and customizable elements.

JavaScript Frameworks

JS frameworks give a structure to JS code, there are specific ones for specific needs but all speed development and can be used in conjunction with jQuery. The main frameworks are:

  • AngularJS
  • Backbone
  • Ember
  • ReactJS

Front End Frameworks

Front end frameworks like Bootstrap play a similar role for CSS as JS Frameworks do when using JS. They allow for much faster coding and any front end developer is expected to know how they work and where they are used.

CSS Preprocessors

Preprocessors speed the coding process. Before code is published the preprocessor processes it so it is well-formatted and can be used across multiple browsers. Currently the most commonly used are SASS and LESS.

RESTful Services and APIs

Representational State Transfer or REST allows for network communication online. This is a technical subject but essentially RESTful is a set of guidelines and practices that make communication with a web service simpler for the user and makes the services perform better and more reliably.

Responsive and Mobile Design

Most people now go online via a mobile phone rather than a desktop computer so any front end developer needs design skills that produce responsive mobile-friendly websites with layout that changes according to screen size and device while enabling differing experiences between mobile and desktop use. For example, a banking app will allow a user to access less information on mobile than its desktop counterpart.

Cross-Browser Development

A front end developer should know that while most modern browsers work well when displaying websites they have some differences in code interpretation and act accordingly.

Content Management Systems and E-commerce Platforms

The most widely used Content Management System (CMS) is WordPress which is used by around 60% of sites. If you need to focus on one CMS WordPress would be the one to choose, however having knowledge of the others like Joomla or Drupal can give you an edge.

Testing and Debugging

Bugs will happen and there are different types of testing to become familiar with including unit testing and UI testing which look at code and how the website responds to a user respectively. Debugging means taking the errors you find and working out why they happen and how they can be fixed.

Version Control Systems

Version control systems are used so you can track any changes that have been made to code and revert back to an earlier, more stable version if necessary so is a potential solution won’t work you go back to an earlier iteration and try again. Git is the most popular of these systems so learning how to use it is an essential job skill that a front end developer needs

Problem Solving Skills

You will certainly need to be able to problem solve. Finding out how to implement a design, find and fix bugs and figuring out how your code works with the back-end code – it all takes creative problem solving skills.

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