Skills Required to Become a Frontend Developer
A frontend developer is one of the most sought-after positions in the tech industry. Due to its salience in software development, this position demands a lot of skills and knowledge.
And before you choose this profession, it is important to understand what are the technical and non-technical skills required to become a frontend developer.
But before that, who is a frontend developer?
In simple words, a frontend developer is someone who designs and codes the structure and presentation of web pages, websites, and applications. They are someone who writes code that determines how content will appear on a screen—including colors, fonts, layout, images, and other visual elements.
A frontend developer’s responsibilities include building out the design of a site from mockups or turning wireframes into working pages. They work closely with other members of a development team including backend developers (who handle server-side coding) and UX designers (who are responsible for a product’s user experience).
According to Indeed, an average frontend developer earns $100,440 per year in the US which makes it one of the most lucrative job choices in the market.
Skills required for a frontend developer
Frontend development is a popular career choice for people looking to work in the software industry. And here are the technical and non-technical skills that you will need to acquire to work as a frontend developer:
HTML is used to structure a website and its content, for example, defining the heading and paragraphs.
CSS is used to style the appearance of the website’s content, for example using colors or fonts.
2. Version control
For a frontend developer, you should know a version control system. In fact, it’s not an option to learn it — it’s a must.
Version control systems allow developers to collaborate on the same code base simultaneously and keep track of changes to the code. The system allows developers to revert back to an older version of the code if things go wrong.
Git is the most popular version control system out there. Without Git, it would be impossible for multiple people to work on one project together.
3. Responsive design
Responsive design is an approach where a website or app automatically adapts itself to the screen size of the reader.
Responsive design is necessary for frontend developers because responsive design is often used in modern web and mobile app development. It makes the job of frontend developers easier because they don’t have to develop separate interfaces for different devices and screen sizes.
With more and more people using mobile devices to access websites, it’s important to make sure your website is optimized for multiple screen sizes.
4. Testing and debugging
One of the most important skills required of an effective frontend developer is strong testing and debugging capabilities. From time to time, there may be errors in the code that causes bugs or create an incomplete page. A frontend developer must be able to see these errors and fix them.
Testing and debugging can include checking for errors with code compilers or test suites or even just manually testing the application through user stories and use cases.
5. DOM manipulation
DOM manipulation is a really powerful tool to have in your arsenal as a front-end developer. It gives you the ability to create and modify HTML elements, and even dynamically insert those elements into the DOM without having to refresh the page.
Frontend developers who know about APIs are much more productive. They can use data from the backend or from other websites and services to create new applications.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It’s essentially a set of rules that allow two applications to interact with each other. For example, if your application needs to access user data from another service, that other service may require you to use its API.
Frontend developers need to be able to optimize their website’s performance and a few simple steps can save bandwidth, speed up page load times, and reduce server requests.
According to Neil Patel, if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you lose 40% of your visitors. This means that if a potential customer clicks on a link to your site, but it takes more than 3 seconds for the page to load, they will likely click back and choose a competitor’s site instead.
Web performance refers to the speed at which a website loads. When a website loads slowly, users are often frustrated and leave before they’ve had enough time to fully engage with it. This can hurt a business’ bottom line.
And, WPO (Web Performance Optimization) is the practice of making websites load faster. It’s a skill that every front-end developer should have in their toolbelt because it helps your users, your company, and even your career.
Developers need to know how to write code that ranks well in search engines to make their websites discoverable. In fact, SEO is one of the most popular frontend tooling categories.
By improving your SEO skills, you can give your website the best chance of being found by users looking for your content.
And apart from the technical skills, you also need to have some non-technical skills to become a frontend developer. Here are they:
1. Problem-solving skills
The ability to solve problems is one of the most important skills you need as a developer (either frontend or backend or full-stack). It’s a skill that allows you to approach any scenario with a solution-based mindset, and it’s necessary for just about every job and industry.
When it comes to the frontend developers, they often have to work with multiple teams to define the steps necessary to complete a project, as well as develop solutions to any problems that arise. And for that, they must be innovative and creative, able to think critically, and find new solutions while using the latest technologies.
2. Think like a programmer
As a frontend developer, thinking like a programmer is another important skill to have. This includes being comfortable with abstractions and having an engineering mindset.
While learning new concepts, it’s important to understand the why and how behind the code you’re writing.
Front-end development is not a particularly difficult field to break into. While you must possess certain traits and skillsets, you can learn many of the other necessary skills along the way.
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