Front End Web-Development
EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BECOME A FRONT END DEVELOPER IN 2021
Have you ever looked at your favorite website and wondered why it was laid out the way it is, the way the buttons acted when you clicked them, or any other part of the site and thought, “I wonder how complicated that is?” or, “I wish I could do that”? Well, all of those visible site features are built through front end development (sometimes also called “front end web development”) — and the people behind them have a name: front end developers.
Front end developers are some of the most in-demand roles, and for good reason — we wouldn’t get to enjoy internet black holes without them. In a second, we’ll break down all the skills front end developers use and need, but here is a quick front end development definition:
What is Front End Development?
While web design is the way a website looks, front end development is how that design actually gets implemented on the web.
So, What Is a Front End Developer?
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, this article will break down some of the key skills front end web developers use on the job.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What Skills do Front End Developers Use?
- Front End Frameworks
- CSS Preprocessors
- RESTful Services/APIs
- Responsive/Mobile Design
- Cross-Browser Development
- Content Management Systems
- Git/Version Control
- Problem Solving
- What’s Next?
What Skills do Front End Web Developers Use?
Front end web developers use three primary coding languages to code the website and web app designs created by web designers:
The code they write runs inside the user’s browser (as opposed to a back end developer, whose code runs on the web server). Think of it a little like this: the back end developer is like the engineer who designs and creates the systems that make a city work (electricity, water and sewer, zoning, etc.), while the front end developer is the one who lays out the streets and makes sure everything is connected properly so people can live their lives (a simplified analogy, but you get the rough idea). A front end web developer is also in charge of making sure that there are no errors or bugs on the front end, as well as making sure that the design appears as it’s supposed to across various platforms and browsers.
I’ve combed through dozens of front end web developer job listings to see which skills are the most in-demand right now. These are the things that real employers are looking for in job applicants today (and will still be looking for in the near future). Master these things and you’re certain to land an awesome front end dev job!
HTML & CSS
HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are the most basic building blocks of web coding. Without these two things, you can’t create a website design, and all you’ll end up with is unformatted plain text on the screen. You can’t even add images to a page without HTML!
Before you get started on any web development career path, you’ll have to master coding with HTML and CSS. The good news is that getting a solid working knowledge of either of these can be done in just a few weeks.
The best part: HTML and CSS knowledge alone will let you build basic websites.
It’s also the most popular programming language in the world, so regardless of your dev career plans, it’s a super valuable thing to learn.
Front End Frameworks
Experience with CSS Preprocessors
Preprocessors are another element that a front end developer can use to speed up CSS coding. A CSS preprocessor adds extra functionality to CSS to keep our CSS scalable and easier to work with. It processes your code before you publish it to your website, and turns it into well-formatted and cross-browser friendly CSS. SASS and LESS are the two most in-demand preprocessors, according to real job listings.
Experience with RESTful Services and APIs
Without getting too technical on this one, REST stands for Representational State Transfer. In basic terms, it’s a lightweight architecture that simplifies network communication on the web, and RESTful services and APIs are those web services that adhere to REST architecture. Read more about REST and RESTful services here.
Let’s say you wanted to write an app that shows you all your social media friends in the order you became friends. You could make calls to Facebook’s RESTful API to read your friends list and return that data. The same thing with Twitter (which also uses RESTful APIs). The general process is the same for any service that uses RESTful APIs, just the data returned will be different.
While it all sounds really complicated and technical, it’s a simple set of guidelines and practices that set expectations so you know how to communicate with a web service. They also make a web service perform better, scale better, work more reliably, and be easier to modify or move.