Front End Developer Skills: Definition and Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Front end developers work on the client-side components of a website and are mainly responsible for implementing web designs through programming languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Their main job is to make sure users can easily see, navigate and interact with a website or web application. Due to the nature of their job, they often need to have highly technical skills. As front end developers work in a team, they also require soft skills to excel in their career.

In this article, we will define and provide examples of front end developer skills, discuss how to improve your skills and how to highlight them during job interviews.

What are front end developer skills?

Front end developer skills are a set of technical and soft skills that help a developer create and manage the front end of an application or website. Front end developers should have expertise in certain programming languages, frameworks, RESTful service and APIs. For instance, a front end developer often uses their technical skills to make sure that a website's menus, fonts and buttons are working as expected.

Examples of front end developer skills

To become a front end developer, you need some specialised skills. Here are some of the most important front end developer skills to learn and master:

Technical skills

Here are a few technical skills that are necessary for front end development:

Programming languages

The base languages of front end development used for coding webpages are hypertext markup language (HTML), JavaScript (JS) and cascading style sheets (CSS). HTML is the structural component of a website that provides an initial layout and decides the position of different elements. CSS adds styles and headings to the website at the desired location. JS adds interactive features such as games, animations and maps that update in real-time. Fluency in these three languages is essential for anyone looking to start their career in front end development.

jQuery

jQuery is a library of extensions and plugins that makes it easier to implement JS on your website. Code reusability is one of the significant advantages of coding a webpage in JS. It ensures that they do not have to write the same code from scratch again and again. Front end developers can import libraries from jQuery to develop a website faster. The jQuery contains common implementations for code like a countdown timer and autocomplete forms. Knowledge of jQuery helps you save time and effort because it allows code reusability.

Related: jQuery Interview Questions and Answers: General and Expert Level

Front end frameworks

Frameworks support the creation, development and publishing of a webpage in as little time as possible. Two commonly used front end frameworks are the JS framework and the CSS framework. With the help of these frameworks, a front end developer can avoid writing code from scratch. For example, logging into a website and adding items to a cart are popular functionalities of a website and you will find components for them in the framework. Angular, React, Vue, Ember and Backbone are some widely used JS frameworks, while some examples of popular CSS frameworks include Bootstrap, Foundation and Bulma.

CSS pre-processors

CSS pre-processors allow a developer to write code in a pre-processor language to speed up CSS coding. It makes the CSS scalable and easier to work with by adding extra functionality. Before publishing the code, the pre-processor processes the code and converts it into CSS to ensure it works on your website. It also turns your code into a cross-browser friendly and well-formatted CSS. Some commonly used CSS pre-processors are SASS, Stylus and LESS.

RESTful Services and APIs

Representational State Transfer (REST) is an architecture that helps simplify network communication on the web. RESTful services and application programming interfaces (APIs) are web services that follow the REST architecture. Knowledge of these two helps you extend your front end framework as per project requirement.

Version control

Version control entails controlling and tracking changes in your source code. Often, a simple bug may cause a change in a web page's functionality and you may have to revert the code to a previous version. As a front end developer, you can use version control software to track changes made to your code earlier and refer back to a previous version. This helps you understand and identify the problem in your code.

SEO

While front end developers do not write website content, they should be familiar with search engine optimisation (SEO). SEO helps improve a website's search ranking and thus increases its visibility for relevant searches. Knowing SEO best practices will help a developer create SEO-friendly designs for websites and web applications.

Soft skills

Front end developers should also have certain soft skills to excel in their career. Common soft skills employers look for in a candidate are:

Communication

Front end developers often need to work with UI/UX and backend developers. Effective communication is necessary to constantly interact with them to ensure the timely completion of a project. Developers need to communicate their ideas clearly to other developers and project stakeholders to avoid instances of miscommunication. For instance, if the functionality of a website changes, the developer should communicate the change to the quality analyst and backend developer. Furthermore, employers look for candidates with excellent written communication skills as front end developers often need to document their work.

Related: 4 Types of Communication (With Tips)

Teamwork

Often, front end developers are a part of a large software development team and they may have to work with quality analysts and project managers. Effectively collaborating with other team members ensures the timely completion of projects.

Creativity and presentation skills

Front end developers often need to use their creativity to implement web designs and create websites that are highly functional and aesthetically pleasing. They often need to showcase a website prototype to their clients. Having solid presentation skills will help them effectively pitch and present their ideas and gain approval from clients.

Related: Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

How to improve front end developer skills

Here are three ways to improve your front end developer skills:

1. Enrol in a course

Consider enrolling in a front end development course to develop your skills faster. Learning becomes easier when you get the guidance of industry professionals in a structured environment. You can choose between offline and online courses. If you have mastery over JavaScript but lack knowledge in front end frameworks, enrol in a course that focuses primarily on these frameworks.

2. Join a web development community

Developer communities are a great place to get connected with like-minded professionals and learn from them. You can share your code and get feedback from experts in your field.

3. Practise coding

You can practise coding online to improve your skills. Online programs typically allow you to practise the three base programming languages. Often, online coding websites will offer beginner, intermediate and advanced level challenges so that you can choose a difficulty level depending on your expertise.

How to highlight front end developer skills

Here are two ways to highlight your front end developer skills to a potential employer:

1. In your CV

You can list your relevant skills under the skills section or in the employment history section. Often, employers use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to shortlist candidates. So, when you mention your front end development skills, use the keywords mentioned in the job description. That way, you can make your CV stand out and increase your chances of getting qualified for the next round.

Use the following as an inspiration to highlight your skills in the skills section of your CV:

  • 5+ years of experience developing flexible and receptive website design

  • Outstanding communication skills and creativity

  • Adept at designing style sheets for websites

  • 8+ years of experience building high-quality mockups and designing website prototype

  • Excellent knowledge of core design and SEO principles

Use the following as an inspiration to highlight your skills in the employment history section of your CV:

  • Assessed UI/UX designs for technical feasibility

  • Architected product tours with Angular for a new website feature

  • Worked with the data science team to develop a new front end for a product

  • Mentored 4 front end developers on the team on Angular

  • Created components for the internal UI library that helped save hundreds of work hours per month

Related: 7 Powerful Ways to Start a Cover Letter (With Examples)

2. In your interview

Use the interview as an opportunity to showcase your technical and soft skills. Some employers may want to test your coding skills, while others may prefer asking behavioural questions like “Why do you find coding interesting?” or “Look at our website. What do you like and what would you like to change in it?” Such questions help you showcase your passion for the job and how your skill can be an asset to the organisation. When answering interview questions, show the employer your skills as a front end developer and your expertise in the software development field.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Explore more articles