Online shopping, social media, and news sites are all made eye-catching and user-friendly by front-end developers. Developer’s skills earn them a pretty penny too. Salaries range from $68,000 to $121,000. Eligible work experience, specific skills, and education all play a role in determining this salary. The location of the company may also affect the salary.
If the idea of making websites pretty and usable while problem-solving and debugging sounds like something you want to, we have got you covered. This is a complete guide to becoming a front-end developer. Think of it as a roadmap to your future career.
What is a front-end developer?
The front-end developer is also known as “client-side developers”. Their job is to make the website visitor’s experience the best it can be. They work on all things visitor-facing or front-facing. A back-end programmer focuses on everything behind the scenes and a full-stack developer works on both sides.
A front-end developer’s job is to make sure visitors can easily interact and navigate with the page. Again, this involves more skills than just writing code. Skills and knowledge in areas such as graphic design, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices, fixing bugs, and more will be crucial to landing a job in this field.
Anything a visitor to a website can click, slide, zoom, or otherwise use is the work of a front end developer. Through a combination of design, programming languages, and debugging they make websites nice to look at and easy to use.
Basic Job Description
The front-end developer’s main job duty is to integrate technology and design to create stylish, easy-to-use websites for consumers. There will be a few variations depending on the company or client, but the basic skills will be the same. Here is a list of duties and responsibilities a person looking for a job in this area will need to know according to Indeed.com.
- Working with clients to develop the overall look and design of a website
- Producing, maintaining, and modifying websites and user interfaces
- Incorporating applications, graphics, audio, and video clips into client websites
- Creating tools that enhance the user’s website experience
- Ensuring websites are accessible across many platforms, including laptops and smartphones
- Routinely testing websites for ease of use, speed, and other quality factors
- Fixing any website issues or bugs that arise
Who Hires Front End Developers?
Traditionally, corporations and software companies hire frontend developers to work in the IT department. Being self-employed is also an option for front-end developers.
Front-End Developer Skills and Qualifications
Front-end developers usually work closely with other people in the web development and IT departments. They code websites, preview the layout, fix any issues, and make adjustments to projects according to the client’s wishes.
Here are the skills and qualifications needed to be a strong candidate for a job as a web developer according to w3.org.
- Good knowledge with popular CMS search as WordPress, Wix, WooCommerce, Shopify, elementor and many more
- Understanding of key website design principles and SEO optimization
- Ability to use client input to create functional, creative, and user-friendly webpages
- Ability to test and debug websites
- Analytical and detail-oriented
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Advanced problem-solving skills
- Observant and able to remain focused on tasks for long periods of time
Now Roadmap to Becoming a Full Stack Developer
Now that the job description has been defined, what exactly does it take to become a front-end developer? This is a step-by-step roadmap for how to become a front end developer in 2022.
1. Getting an Education
Many companies look for at least a bachelor’s degree for their front-end developers. The most common degrees are computer science, computer engineering, or other related fields.
A degree is not always necessary to work as a front end programmer. There are boot camps and other online courses, but without a degree, it may be more difficult to move up the corporate ladder.
Most employers will look for applicants who are cross-trained in website design. Staying up to date on new website tools and languages is also an important aspect of this job.
Some helpful website
- Microsoft Virtual Academy
- We have another article for Getting Started ( Resources List! )
2. Advance Technical Skills
Learning how to use libraries and frameworks associated with all of those programming languages will also prove to be important. These include AngularJS, jQuery, React, Foundation, and Bootstrap. SASS is a CSS extension that will improve modularity and power. Front-end developers may also use Python, Ruby, or PHP to easily connect data with the back end of a website, but using these languages is less common.
Having a portfolio to show off past work will go a long way to show off skills and creative abilities to potential employers. This is a great way for those who do not have a lot of experience to set themselves apart and show off skills that might outweigh experience when it comes down to a hiring decision.
HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the most basic building block of the Internet. It is used to define the meaning and structure of web content. Hypertext is the links that connect web pages to each other, whether on the same website or separate websites. Links are how the Web works, so uploading content and linking it to different pages is how someone becomes a participant in the World Wide Web.
The “markup” portion of HTML refers to how the content is told to display in the browser. Markup elements include:
<head>, <title>, <body>, <header>, <footer>, <article>, <section>, <p>, <div>, <span>, <img>, <aside>, <audio>, <canvas>, <datalist>, <details>, <embed>, <nav>, <output>, <progress>, <video>, <ul>, <ol>, <li> and many others.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) describes how elements should show up on the screen or other media. It is a stylesheet language that works with HTML to describe how everything should look. CSS is a core language and will need to be learned to become a front-end developer. It is standardized across Web browsers according to W3C specifications, which is an overview of the latest CSS specifications.
4. CSS Positioned Layout
The Position Property describes the type of positioning used for an element. There are five position values:
static, relative, fixed, absolute, and sticky. Next, elements are positioned using top, bottom, left, and right commands. These will not work unless the position property has been set first. Each of these properties will work differently based on the position value.
4. Intermediate – Package Manager and CSS Frameworks
Package manager and CSS Frameworks are both used to make a web developer’s job easier. These are learned after the basic skill set and will help someone step up their coding game.
“Package” in this context is used to describe files of external code pulled into and used in a project. jQuery, Bootstrap, and Axios are all examples of packages. They are aptly named since they are all packed up and ready to be used. Packages are code that you did not write but have permission to use in your project. Also known as, third-party code.
Package managers are an automation tool that will make working on big projects easier. They especially come in handy if it is a big project with a lot of packages written in the code. Package managers make the packages involved in a project more manageable by keeping track of what is installed, what is available to update, and if one package will conflict with another package. Everything is automated, making it an important tool for a front-end developer to be familiar with. some popular package tools in this front end developer roadmap ( Yarn, Bower, NPM, Ender and JSPM )
According to Wikipedia, CSS frameworks offer different modules and tools:
- reset stylesheet
- grid especially for responsive web design
- web typography
- set of icons in sprites or icon fonts
- styling for tooltips, buttons, elements of forms
- parts of graphical user interfaces like accordion, tabs, slideshow, or modal windows (Lightbox)
- equalizer to create equal height content
- often used CSS helper classes (left, hide)
6. Creating and Maintaining Mobile Design
Websites have to be made mobile-friendly. The number of people using their smartphones to get on the internet to browse is on the rise. This means the desktop site and the mobile site may need to look different from each other.
In roadmap, It is the front-end developer’s job to make sure website visitors have the best experience possible. That is why many full-stack programmer have started using responsive design for the web pages they create. Responsive design means the website’s layout will change depending on the device, screen size, and other factors. This occasionally requires making changes to content and functionality too.
7. Advanced – Static & Server Rendering
Static rendering and server rendering both involve generating HTML for each of a website or app’s URLs. Static rendering is done when the page is built and only happens one time. Server rendering happens on-demand. let’s learn about server in this roadmap.
When using static rendering, responses for every possible request will have to be answered ahead of time. These pages will then need to be served through a cloud service or a server.
Server rendering is the process of producing HTML on-demand as each request rolls in. Server rendering is slower than static rendering, but not by much. One second, at most. Server rendering is more flexible. It is good for answering any request that comes in, even the unforeseen ones. The most recent content can be pulled from the database instead of older files. It also allows for hiding information from unauthorized users.
Which one is better?
That depends on what the goal of the website is. Static rendering is faster but less flexible. If responses go out of date quickly or change depending on who is viewing them, then server rendering is best.
A social network or an online marketplace would be better as a server-rendered site. These sites need specific HTML served for each page to best serve the SEO. On a platform where SEO does not matter, then static rendering usually works.
This may have been oversimplified since recent improvements have closed the gap between these two tools.
8. Web Security and Communication Protocols
Online security has never been more important, and it will continue to become more important every day. Scammers have never been better with technology, so developers must do everything they can to protect themselves, their company, and their clients. Different apps and sites will require different levels of security and protection. There is a large selection of online security and communication protocols available to choose from once the level of protection required has been assessed.
According to Enclear Academy, these are essential web security and communication protocols that developers need to know about:
- IPsec is a short form for Internet Protocol Security.
- IKE (Internet Key Exchange) is an acronym for Internet Key Exchange.
- SSH stands for Secure Shell.
- SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer.
- Secure Embedded Web Server (HTTPS)
- Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS)
- TLS (Transport Layer Security) is an acronym for Transport Layer Security.
- Secure Electronic Transaction (SET)
- PEM stands for Privacy Enhancing Mail and CMS ( WordPress, WooCommerce and Shopify )
9. Progressive Web Apps
The front end developer roadmap will uncompleted with Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). it combine the features of native and web apps, and were created to improve web browser APIs. They increase reliability, capability, and integration all with one codebase. PWAs will help create a better functioning web application, so learning more about them will help front-end developers advance their skills and set them apart.
10. Developing Across Browsers
Any web page created needs to be functional across all of the web browsers available or it will be missed by an entire group of potential users. All of the browsers stay relatively consistent, but the differences that do exist can be significant in terms of coding interpretation. Part of a front-end developer’s job is to understand the differences between all of the web browsers and incorporate the appropriate commands into the code.
11. Interact with the Web Development Community
That Client, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” may have some truth to it. Developing coding skills, learning the languages, and being able to protect against Internet threats are all great skills for a front-end developer roadmap to gain. Jumping into the online community of developers will also help launch a career. These communities are a great place to ask questions, share work, receive constructive feedback on work, and more. These are great places to gain experience and get into the crowd of developers. They may be able to give employment advice, coding tips, or brainstorm a solution to a particularly confusing coding issue.
12. Develop an Online Portfolio
This cannot be overstated. Employers will not hire someone if they are not confident they can do the work. This is a final stop on the front-end developer roadmap before beginning the job search.
Employers will want to see samples of the potential hire’s work. As a developer, an online webpage is recommended for this. The portfolio should include relevant work and a short bio explaining areas of expertise in the field. Front-end developers with an online portfolio have a higher chance of being selected for a job interview than those without a portfolio.
13. Finding a Job as a Front-End Developer
The final step is finding a job. There are many web development jobs in numerous industries. This is going to be where those network connections we made come in handy. Talk to them, tell them your strengths and weaknesses and see if they have ideas or connections that will work.
Another approach is to research companies you are drawn to and see if they need a front-end developer. Developing and creating websites or other content is usually easier if you are familiar with the brand. Each job and company will have different expectations. Do not be afraid to think outside of the box for potential employment. Reaching out to work with companies you already know and love may offer an amazing job opportunity.
Summary of front end developer roadmap
Here is the TLDR version of how to become a front-end developer. There are a lot of programs to learn and the world of web development is constantly changing. There are new updates, coding languages, and software developed all the time. Good the roadmap of front-end developers will stay up to date on these as they roll out. It is not totally necessary to have a bachelor’s degree to become a front-end developer, but it may help when it comes to promotions and moving up the corporate ladder.
A website design on a mobile device may be different from a desktop design. Many developers use responsive designs that will adapt according to the size of the screen on which the page is being viewed. Gaining skills with progressive web apps will also be helpful in this career field.
Static rendering and server rendering both have their place in the developer world, and are important to learn. Web security and communication protocols are also necessary subjects to learn to become a front-end developer.
Developers need to know the nuances between the browsers since some of the coding language is different on different browsers.
Get involved with the developer community. Other people in the field may be the best resources when it comes to problem-solving or finding a job. They could also be the ones you ask to look over an online portfolio. Having a place where your work lives and is easily shown to potential employers or clients is key to making the big bucks as a front-end developer. Also, you can check the visual view of the roadmap.
After all of that work, now it is time to find a job. There are countless opportunities to find work in this field. Build those skills, showcase your best work, and do not be afraid to reach out to potential employers. The possibilities are endless.