A front-end developer's complete roadmap discusses from beginner to advanced levels and all the technologies to learn to become a successful front-end developer.
What is Front-end Development?
The objective of designing a website or app is to ensure that when the users open up the website/app, they see the information in a format that is easy to read and relevant. This is further complicated because users now use a large variety of devices with varying screen sizes and resolutions, thus forcing the designer to consider these aspects when designing the site. They need to ensure that their site comes up correctly in different browsers, different operating systems, and different devices, which requires careful planning on the side of the developer.
Scopes of a Front-end Developer
Front-end development is what you would refer to as the client-side of development. Front-end development is all about analyzing designs and codes as well as debugging applications. The front-end or client-side development objective is to provide your users with a seamless experience of using a website.
It is all about managing and making better what users would see first in their web browsers. In other words, front-end development is responsible for designing the functions and features as well as the look and feel of a website. Simply put, Front-end Developers are always in hot demand.
Overall, the future looks bright for anyone who wants to become a front-end developer. The latest studies predict that by 2022, there will be a deficit of approximately 1 million developers in the United States alone. The rest of the world will have it even worse, according to similar studies.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Web developer employment in the US is projected to grow 15% from 2016 to 2026. The rate is much faster than the average for all other occupations.
Although these numbers seem incredible, it’s not so surprising if you pause and consider the times. Increased Internet usage, especially in the mobile field, means a greater need for user interfaces, which means more front-end developer jobs. Web development is a field whose potential is tied closely to the Internet’s popularity, and the latter is surging with no signs of letting up. If you want to go where the jobs are, then look no further.
Please stick with us to find out the important things a front-end developer should know about.
Where to Start?
To be a successful Front-end Developer. Some important skills are required.
Since the front-end developer is the rock star of website/app development, they need a well-stocked personal toolbox. So front-end developer skills include the need to:
- Be experienced with Web frameworks(e.g., Angular.js, React.js).
- Be experienced with graphic design applications (e.g., Adobe Illustrator).
- Understand the principles of SEO.
- Have excellent skills in problem-solving.
- Be proficient in communicating with team members, bosses, and clients.
- Have good interpersonal skills.
Regardless of learning how to code and create websites and applications, the most important part is constantly trying to improve. Obviously, there are basic technical skills required. Some of us have a better predisposition for learning it than others but let’s not forget that working hard and practicing usually pays off.
Things to learn?
Required skills vary depending on the position and the project they are going to work on. Some companies need just basics but with solid experience; others are searching for real Prodigies, front-end developers who are also pretty good in UI and UX design.
Programming Languages to Learn:
- HTML5 and CSS
Hypertext markup language (HTML) and cascading style sheets (CSS) are a website’s nuts and bolts. While HTML gives structure to web pages, CSS helps style the HTML elements with the color, fonts, typeface, and more.
Frameworks are prewritten code modules for common website elements like login and search interfaces. They’re easy to incorporate and are reusable.
Depending on the team you are going to work with, or on the project, most likely, there will be given a framework you should be familiar with. Knowing the language itself is one thing, but knowing how to work within a framework is an additional skill, and you can’t do much without it, especially if you want to create some real project for a client. The most popular are Angular, React, and Vue.js - getting familiar with one of them is a big plus.
- Angular.js: Angular is a modern TypeScript-based, open-source framework and one of the top-rated software development tools. Angular features Directives allow developers to program special behaviors of the DOM, making it possible to create rich and dynamic HTML content. Angular has a Hierarchical dependency injection function, which makes code components highly testable, reusable, and easier to control: it helps to define code dependencies as external elements decoupling components from their dependencies.
- Vue.js: Vue is one of the beginner-friendliest frameworks, coming with well-elaborated documentation and a supportive community. Vue has an extensive choice of tools, such as end-to-end testing tools, plugin installation systems, browser debugging tools, server renderer, state manager, and others.
- CSS Frameworks
Some examples are given below:
- Tailwind CSS: Tailwind is a utility-first CSS framework for rapidly building custom user interfaces. It comes with classes equipped to build custom UI designs directly in the users’ markup. Unlike Bootstrap, where you get pre-designed components that can be used as a base for further development, Tailwind does not come with a predefined template, but it allows you to incorporate your style quickly.
- Bulma: Bulma is a modern CSS framework based on flexbox. It provides responsive design and mobile-first UI components and has a modular structure to import only the stuff you want to include in your web design. Bulma offers a flexbox-based modern grid system.
- Web Browser: A web browser is a software used to retrieve, present, and traverse information on the WWW. Typically, browsers run on a desktop or laptop computer, tablet, or phone, but as of late, a browser can be found on just about anything (i.e., on a fridge, in cars, etc.).
The most common web browsers are (shown in order of most used first):
- Internet Explorer (Note: not Edge, referring to IE 9 to IE 11)
With developer tools (which you open in a browser), you can play around with each website element. Why is it important? Because without actually changing anything in the code, you can check how those changes would influence the website or an app while having it open in the browser. It also helps when you search for bugs and weak points.
- Design Tools: Being able to have a basic understanding of image manipulation, create graphical components, retouch images, design user interfaces, or just set up certain information using graphics, illustrations, and/or images for your website is a huge bonus. It speeds up your productivity, and better gives you value whether you work professionally at a company or startup, you actively freelance.
Given below are some useful Design tools:
Web Performance Optimization (WPO)
The first impression is of utmost importance and the front-end lets your users see right away how your website’s interface is. But it's not just about having a slick and responsive interface, it's also about the performance of your site. Search engines prefer websites with fast response times (meaning pages loading under 2 seconds) and Google will even lower a site's rank if it takes too long for a user to reach what he or she searches for on Google search results.
A slow-loading website can reduce user engagement drastically. Website performance optimization techniques help ensure faster loading times through automation tools.
For example, Grunt automatically optimizes images and makes page components lighter depending on the device without compromising website functionality.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is the practice of increasing traffic to a website organically through search results.
Web designers and SEO experts have a close relationship. Good web design is vital for any business because it attracts attention, but Google needs to index the content effectively in their search engines if they are going to direct people to your page. That’s where SEO comes into play. A good SEO strategy will help regulate the efforts you put into expanding awareness of your company while strengthening your brand name on an international scale. Your website must be aesthetically appealing as well as strategically planned in order to boost your chances of ranking well within SERP - this is how you can benefit most from using the internet to advertise your products and services!
Generally, there is a separate team to supervise SEO practices. However, knowing the basics can help you determine where to place titles, meta descriptions, and text on a website so search engines can easily find them.
- Problem Solving
Dealing with a project and each small task is an everyday struggle of a front-end developer, but the issues are solved step by step, together with the team. However, if something doesn’t work on the website, the front-end dev has to rectify it! Solving the problems and making it all work should be the mindset of each professional developer.
As it was mentioned above, good communication is key! Teamwork is usually a part of the front-end developer’s everyday life. Even if you work as a freelance dev, you’ll have to communicate well with the clients and work with them on the project to some extent. Knowing how to handle teamwork, support other developers, and ask for advice when needed make the workflow smoother, and in the end, you deliver the end product faster.
- Good Communication
Breaking the sitcom stereotype about developers, you need to be good at communication. First of all, the work between UI/UX designers, front- and the back-end has to go smoothly to finish a project. Of course, in agile software houses, you also get a project manager who helps with the information flow and a SCRUM master to help with the process. Still, without some basic interpersonal skills, it won’t be that easy to work with others. Effective communication is necessary when you work with other people. What is also important is the ability to state and communicate what you have in mind - writing documentation that others can read and understand is highly appreciated.
Front-end Development Case Studies
Here’s a collection of RaftLabs’s Front-end development case studies showcasing what our Front-end developers and designers can do. From front-end design samples to full SaaS product development, see how we help startups and large companies worldwide through our expertise on a wide range of technical solutions required to build scalable web and mobile apps.
- Engagement & Training app for Employees
We helped a healthcare company empower thousands of front-line employees by developing real-time, secure engagement and continuous learning activities/content. The main objective was to keep 5,000+ employees in the learning at any given point in time, while they were on their mobile devices (Smartphones, tablets, etc.).
- An OTT Video Streaming Platform.
We built a platform for India’s one of the leading movie rights distributors, who wanted a highly scalable OTT platform for movie theaters and individuals. For remotely distributed small screen theatres, the goal was to create a robust, secure, simple, and scalable movie distribution platform that should be managed using a web-based admin interface.
- Referral and Viral Marketing Platform
Get a behind-the-scenes look at how we developed and brought to market a B2C Saas Referral and Viral Marketing Platform. This solution captures leads for individual marketers, agencies, and businesses to audibly grow their traffic, sales and leads by helping them to attract targeted customers.
A final note on becoming a Front-end Developer
Regardless of learning how to code and create websites and applications, the most important part is constantly improving. There are basic technical skills required. Some of us have a better predisposition for learning it than others but let’s not forget that working hard and practicing usually pays off. Regarding soft skills, even if you are not a fan of talking with people, communication is key when you need to deal with a project for a client, so it is worth working on some of those. Still, as in every job type and company you will work for, those are more flexible.
Front-end development can look like it's easy at first glance, but in reality, it is a complex field that adapts daily to the latest advances in technology and the needs of users. We, as a reliable front-end development company, understand how crucial it is to keep on top of things and provide clients with work that reflects cutting-edge design standards which look great and are user-friendly! The RaftLabs team curates user-friendly designs that are both visually striking and user-driven! Everything you see and feel on the internet has been created by a front-end developer.