How To Become a Front-End Developer: A Complete Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 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 create, test and refine the client side of a website or mobile application. This includes everything a user might interact with when opening a website or application, such as buttons, graphics, layout and functionality. In this article, we will examine how to become a front-end developer and what their role is in creating a seamless user experience.

What is a front-end developer?

A front-end web developer is a coder who uses computer programming languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript to create the front end of a website or web application. They implement the visual and audio elements of a web design and include them in a web format.

What is the role of a front-end developer?

Front-end web developers make sure that the web page content displays in a systematic order on all screens, regardless of screen size and resolution. They often need to create a responsive website that can run efficiently on all devices including smartphones, tablets and personal computers. Additionally, websites also need to perform competitively, meaning they must ensure reliability, consistency and smoothness of operation. Web designers produce the visual aesthetics of websites while web developers incorporate the visual design into the site with the help of programming languages. Other important responsibilities of a front-end web developer include:

  • Ensuring excellent user experience through the implementation of the website design using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

  • Performing maintenance for websites

  • Optimising user interface using SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) best practices

  • Creating fully responsive tools to enhance user experience, regardless of which browser is used to access it and what size screen is being used

  • Testing and debugging websites

How to become a front-end developer

To become a front-end developer, you should follow these steps:

1. Pursue technical education

Although there is no specific degree or educational path you need to follow to get a job in web development, you will need to educate yourself about the fundamentals of front-end development, programming languages and the frameworks used for web development. You could participate in a short-term intensive training course that is inexpensive or free.

Certain employers may require their candidates to have a bachelor's degree in computer science or some experience that is equivalent to formal education. Some prospective developers choose to complete a bachelor's degree in a related field since it facilitates career advancement.

2. Advance your technical skills

The best way to gain technical skills is to build mock websites using the core programming frameworks for front-end web development, including HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Try taking test jobs or volunteering with organisations that need front-end web developers to fix bugs on their websites. This way you can gain valuable feedback about your work and sharpen your problem-solving skills.

3. Practise coding

You will need to know how to code quickly and efficiently as a front-end web developer. Several online programs allow you to practise your coding skills in an interactive way that assists you with the syntax of commonly used languages. Coding practice sites typically offers beginner, intermediate and advanced coding challenges that you can learn from.

4. Interact with web development communities

After you learn the necessary developing skills, it is equally important to participate in online coding communities and forums to stay updated on the latest developments in the field. In these communities, developers share their work and projects and receive peer reviews. These online platforms let you gain experience and receive helpful feedback when you encounter hurdles.

5. Develop an online portfolio

Employers may want to see samples of your completed work. It is best to develop a singular web page that includes all of your relevant work, as well as a short biography that describes the scope of your work and areas of expertise. This shows your professionalism and will improve your chances of being selected for a particular contract.

6. Find the right web development job

There are different types of web development jobs in various industries. Web development communities can provide reliable sources of information for industry standards and market trends. You can alternatively follow companies that you have a personal interest in to track employment opportunities that might come up periodically.

Each job will likely have different requirements, so it is important to understand what employers expect from you for a particular job profile.

Programming languages used in front-end development

Front-end web developers typically use three primary coding languages to write the complete code of a website or application. They are:

  • HTML: Developers often use HTML or HyperText Markup Language to create the overall structure of the website. The HTML code directs the browser on how to display the site's content (font size, alignment, bordering, margins, and other formatting parameters) in front of the user.

  • CSS: CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) enables proper formatting of the site's elements in terms of layout, background colour, margins and fonts. Developers typically use CSS to maintain consistency in a website's styles.

  • JavaScript: JavaScript is the language used to create an interactive user experience by making the website more dynamic in terms of functionality. This programming language enables you to create rich UI components such as tabs, form validations, slider transitions, pop-ups, basic automation of date and time and games.

A front-end developer's written code runs inside the user's browser, while a back-end developer makes code that runs on web servers.

Read more: What Is JavaScript?

Skills required for front-end development

These are the primary skills required for front-end development:

Strong command of coding languages

Front-end web developers implement web designs using their knowledge and expertise in coding languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript. As a front-end developer, you will have to develop an extensive knowledge of these languages and their applications.

Familiarity with front-end frameworks

Once you have a proper understanding of coding languages, you may consider familiarising yourself with the technicalities of front-end frameworks. These frameworks are ready-made packets of pre-written code that make the development process smooth and efficient. For example, in CSS, the Bootstrap framework is a web developer's favourite choice.

Read more: What Is Bootstrap?

Experience with CSS pre-processors

To enhance your speed and add extra functionality to your coding, CSS pre-processors provide information about code snippets and resources. This effectively allows websites to use those resources to make new resources (create a new user account, for example) or edit existing resources (creating a post, for example). These preprocessors run your code before it is published on websites and formats your code according to the browser specifications. SASS and LESS are the two popular pre-processors used by developers.

Experience with RESTful services and APIs

RESTful services and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) enable you to improve website performance and increase stability by conforming to REST architecture. REST or Representational State Transfer is a simplified architecture that helps in streamlining network processes and making web pages lightweight.

Good understanding of responsive design

Responsive design means that the website adapts efficiently to changes in screen size and device. This involves modification of website elements to make them compact, with proper formatting and structuring for different configurations and devices.

For example, when you visit a site on a desktop computer with a large display, the website will open with big columns, big graphics, and interactions created specifically for mouse and keyboard users. On the flip side, the same website would appear as a single column optimised for touch interaction, on a mobile device.

Knowledge of content management systems and e-commerce platforms

Content management systems (CMS) are platforms on which websites are built. The core function of these platforms is to make your site development easy and more personalised by integrating drag-and-drop features which can be customised using coding languages. One of the most popular content management systems out there is WordPress. Other popular options include Joomla, Drupal and Magento.

Experience in testing and debugging

As a front-end developer, you should be familiar with testing and debugging procedures for web pages. Testing helps identify bugs or errors in your code and de-bugging fixes them.

Problem-solving skills

You should have a knack for identifying potential problems and solving them. From implementing web designs to synchronising front-end and back-end code, web development provides ample opportunities for you to exercise your problem-solving skills.

Read more: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

How much do front-end developers make?

The average salary for a front-end developer is ₹5,89,135 per year. However, your actual salary could vary depending on the industry or business you work for, your location, skills and experience.

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

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