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Front end Developer - The Complete Roadmap for 2022- Beginner to Expert Level [Updated]

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Do you wish to be a successful front end developer? 

You are at the right place. This article covers everything you’ll need to be a front end developer.

What is Front-end Development?

Front-end web development, also known as client-side development, is the practice of creating HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for a web or mobile application so that a user can see and interact with them directly.

Objective

The front-end development aims to design a website or web app that ensures that when the users open up the site/app, they see the relevant information in a format that is easy to read and work with.

Challenges

The process can be challenging as the users use devices with different screen sizes and resolutions. It forces the designer to consider several aspects when designing the site. They must ensure that their site appears flawless in all browsers, operating systems, and devices. It requires careful planning on the side of the developer.

Also, the methods and technologies used to build the front end are constantly evolving. Hence, a front end developer must be aware of the ongoing updates.

Scope of a Front end Developer

Front-end development is client-side development. The purpose is to give users a seamless web based user experience. 

It involves analyzing designs and codes and debugging applications. It is all about managing and making better what users would see first in their web browsers. In other words, a front end developer designs a website's functions and features. 

Their work enhances the look and feel of a site. Hence, front-end programmers are always in high demand.

Typical roles and responsibilities include: 

  • Create user-friendly web pages using languages like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.
  • Optimizing the applications to provide maximum scalability and speed.
  • Create design mockups for websites and apps.
  • Create prototypes that ensure a great user experience.
  • Follow basic SEO practices to improve the website's quality and quantity of organic traffic.
  • Make sure the visuals of the web application are clear and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Create reusable code that helps achieve greater flexibility.
  • Collaborate with back-end developers and stakeholders.

Analyzing The Latest Trends

Job Market 

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. According to similar studies, the rest of the world will have it even worse.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, front end developer jobs in the US are expected to grow by 15% from 2016 to 2026. The rate is much faster than the average for all other occupations.

Latest Frontend Framework Trends
Image Source: Front-end frameworks popularity by Tanguy Krotoff

In May 2022, Stack Overflow surveyed 70,000+ developers and came up with the below conclusions:

Interest of developers for six frameworks

The below graph depicts the search volume for google trends for the front-end frameworks for the past 12 years:

Google trends of five front end frameworks for the past 12 months

Although these numbers seem incredible, it’s not surprising if you pause and consider the times. More people are using the Internet, particularly on mobile devices. It, in turn, boosts the need for user interfaces. This fact explains the increasing opportunities for a front-end developer.

Web development is a field whose potential lies close 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, look no further.

Please stick with us to learn the essential points front-end developers should know.

Where To Start?

You must have some essential skills to be a successful front end developer.

Since the front-end developer is the rock star of website/ app development, they need a well-stocked personal toolbox. So front-end programmers should:

  1. Be proficient in coding languages such as HTML, JavaScript, etc.
  2. Be experienced with Web frameworks(e.g., Angular.js, React.js).
  3. Have knowledge of graphic design applications (e.g., Adobe Illustrator).
  4. Understand the principles of SEO.
  5. Have excellent skills in problem-solving.
  6. Be proficient in communicating with team members, bosses, and clients.
  7. Have good interpersonal skills.

Learning how to code and create websites and applications is essential. But, the most crucial part is striving for continuous improvement. It requires fundamental technical skills. Some of us have a better predisposition for learning it than others. Let’s not forget that working hard and practicing always pays off.

Things To Learn

Skill requirements vary depending on the position and the project they will work on for companies. Some companies need programmers who know the basics but have solid experience. Others search for a true prodigy, front end developer who is also pretty good in UI and UX design.

Skills required for a front end developer

Programming Languages To Learn:

1. HTML5 and CSS

Hypertext markup language (HTML) and cascading style sheets (CSS) are a website’s nuts and bolts. While the language gives structure to web pages, CSS helps style the HTML5 elements with color, fonts, typeface, and more.

Benefits of HTML and CSS

Mastering these languages is a MUST. Not having it at your fingertips is unacceptable for a front end developer. The key structural component of any website, and CSS, the styling part, already allow you to build some basic websites and applications. But, to make it interactive, you need JavaScript! But without knowing HTML and CSS, it won’t be possible to implement them into the website or app.

2. JavaScript

This client-side programming language lets you add interactive features to a website. These include polls, slideshows, and forms. 

Javascript supports dynamic elements, such as page animation, scrolling, audio, and video.

Frameworks

Frameworks are prewritten code modules. They help in creating common website elements like login and search interfaces. They’re easy to incorporate and are reusable.

JavaScript Frameworks

Knowing the language is one thing, but knowing how to work within a framework is more like a skill. You can’t do much without it, especially if you want to create an actual project for a client. The most popular are Angular, React, and Vue.js - getting familiar with one of them is a big plus.

React.js: React is a front-end open-source JavaScript library. Facebook was facing issues due to its constant addition and improvements. Thus, they developed this framework to resolve its code maintainability issues. 

Advantages:

  • Creates interactive UIs (User Interfaces) that improve the speed of applications.
  • A simple framework to learn and adopt.
  • Cross-platform apps can be built at lesser costs.
  • Enhances performance due to virtual DOM

Angular.js: Angular is a modern TypeScript-based, open-source framework. It is one of the best software development tools.

The Angular Directives give developers the ability to install specific DOM actions. It helps in creating rich and dynamic HTML content.

Advantages:

  • Has hierarchical dependency injection function that enables sharing of dependencies.
  • The code components are highly testable and easier to control.
  • Operates with great speed and delivers good performance.
  • Enable cost-effective cross-platform development.

Vue.js: Vue is one of the beginner-friendliest frameworks. It comes with well-elaborated documentation and a supportive community. 

Advantages:

  • Has extensive choice of tools.
  • Greater flexibility with high performance.
  • Lightweight and simple framework.
  • Follow component-based architecture; hence the code can be divided into independent components.
CSS Frameworks

The unique features of these frameworks are:

-Results in a shorter period. 

-Less typing.

-Responsive design.

-Static to responsive site conversion in less time.

Here are a few instances:

Bootstrap: Bootstrap is a free and open-source CSS framework. It is helpful for responsive, mobile-first, front end web development. Bootstrap is one of the best CSS frameworks due to its responsive design. It contains CSS- and JavaScript-based design templates for 

  • typography 
  • forms
  • buttons
  • navigation
  • other interface components. 

Extensive documentation, examples, and demos are available to help you begin with responsive web development.

Tailwind CSS: Tailwind is a utility-first CSS framework. It assists in rapidly building custom user interfaces. It has classes equipped to create custom UI designs directly in the users’ markup. 

For Bootstrap, you get pre-designed components that can act as a base for further development. But, Tailwind does not come with a predefined template but 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. It also 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. 

Check out Mastery Games and Scrimba to dive deeper into the various topics related to front-end development. Also, Code Academy’s courses help you build a solid foundation to develop front-end development skills.

Version Control Systems

A version control system is a software tool that helps manage and track changes made to files, documents, etc. It enables the developers working on a software development project to collaborate and work together. 

Each contributor to the project will have a separate branch to record the changes they provide. The team will have to analyze and confirm the changes first. Then these suggestions will be merged into the source code and made live.

The benefits of using version control systems:

  • Protect source code from human errors.
  • Maintains a track of every modification for future reference.
  • Compare the different versions of the code.
  • Helps in efficient collaboration within the team.

To learn more about branching in version control, check out the article provided by Perforce.

Importance of HTTP

When developing the client side of a full-stack application, front-end developers will have to perform many HTTP queries. A good front-end developer must have a firm grasp of these approaches and know how to build the requests.

HTTP, a Hypertext Transfer Protocol, is a collection of request methods between the client and server.

A frontend developer should know the below HTTP methods thoroughly:

  1. GET- As the name suggests, this method helps in requesting data from a server. Note that this type of method cannot send data.
  2. PUT- This method can create a resource or overwrite a representation. In other words, it modifies a resource. 
  3. POST- It will have a body where you can define the data to create a new entity. Thus you can create a new resource using this method.
  4. DELETE- Developers use this method to delete a resource.

Tools

Web Browser: A web browser is software for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information on the WWW. Typically, browsers run on a desktop or laptop computer, tablet, or phone, but as of late, we can find a browser 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):

  1. Chrome
  2. Safari
  3. Internet Explorer (Note: not Edge, referring to IE 9 to IE 11)
  4. Firefox
  5. Edge

With developer tools (which you open in a browser), you can play around with each website element.

Why is it important?

Because without making changes in the code, you can check how those changes would influence the website/ an app while having it open in the browser. It also helps when you search for bugs and weak points.

Design Tools: It is a huge bonus to have a basic understanding of image manipulation, creating graphical components, retouching images, designing user interfaces, or merely setting up certain information using graphics, illustrations, or images for your website. 

It speeds up your productivity and gives you value. You can actively freelance whether you work professionally at a company or startup.

Given below are some helpful design tools:

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Illustrator
  3. Adobe XD
  4. InDesign
  5. Figma

Build Tools: Build tools make the frontend development process much more effortless. They help to convert your development code into production-ready code.

There are multiple build tools available. A frontend programmer must be able to determine the best build tool that suits the project. You may come across projects requiring more than one build tool. For beginners, Node and NPM together can be a great choice in the initial stages of a project.

Find some of the best frontend build tools below:
1. NPM

2. Webpack

3. Gulp

4. Grunt

5. Yarn

Web Performance Optimization (WPO)

The first impression is of utmost importance. The front-end lets your users see how your website's interface looks. It's not just about having a slick and responsive interface; it's also about your site's performance. Search engines prefer websites with fast response times (i.e., pages loading under 2 seconds). Google even lower a site's rank if it takes too long for a user to reach what they search for on Google search results.

A slow-loading site can reduce user engagement drastically. Website performance optimization techniques help ensure faster loading times through automation tools.

For example, Grunt optimizes images automatically. It makes page components lighter depending on the device without compromising website functionality.

Front-End Testing

Front-end testing makes sure that a web application's GUI (Graphical User Interface) elements are operating as desired.

There are three types of Front-end testing:

Front end testing strategies
  1. Unit tests: Unit testing is a fundamental software testing method. It examines each module and function and ensures its performance. Here, developers use pre-defined inputs to see whether they get the expected outputs.
  2. Integration tests: Most modern apps use numerous modules. Developers integrate these modules to provide the best results. Integration testing verifies that these integrations are effective.
  3. End-to-end (E2E) testing: The developer tests the whole application from start to end. Testers mimic an actual user's actions within real-world scenarios to guarantee seamless communication for the users.

Testing Frameworks and Tools

Mocha

Mocha is a famous Javascript framework that runs on NodeJS and browsers. It has a highly customizable framework and features asynchronous testing.

Highlights

  • Open-source framework
  • Flexible and simple
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Accurate reporting
Ava

Ava is a lightweight framework that usually runs with Mocha for unit testing. It mainly acts as a test-runner for Node. js-based codes. 

Highlights

  • Simple syntax
  • Faster than other testing frameworks
  • Supports asynchronous testing
  • The tests can be run concurrently
Jasmine

Jasmine is a behavior-driven testing framework. It can run on any JavaScript-enabled platform.

Highlights:

  • Reduces overheads as it has no external dependencies
  • Easy-to-read and clean syntax
  • Features responsive testing of UI
  • Supports test-driven development

Here is an engaging, clickable learning guide on frontend roadmap that will give you an overall insight into the different aspects of frontend development >>A frontend developer’s roadmap.

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 as they need to direct people to your page. 

That's where SEO comes into play. A good SEO strategy will help regulate your efforts to expand your company's awareness. It will also strengthen your brand name on an international scale.

To boost your chances of ranking well within SERP, your website must be:

- aesthetically appealing. 

- strategically planned. 

And 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. Knowing the basics helps you to put titles, meta descriptions, and text on a website where search engines can quickly find them.

Soft Skills

Soft skills for a front end developer
  1. Problem Solving

Dealing with a project and each small task is an everyday struggle for a front end developer. Your team will aid you in solving such issues step by step. 

If something doesn’t work on the website, the front end web developer has to rectify it! A professional front end web developer must have the mindset to solve the problems and make it all work.

  1. Teamwork

As mentioned above, good communication is essential! Teamwork is usually a part of a front-end developer’s everyday life. You will still need to communicate with your clients even if you work as a freelance dev. 

Knowing how to manage teamwork, supporting other developers, and requesting advice whenever you are in need, make the workflow smoother. In this way, you deliver the end product faster in the end.

  1. Good Communication

Breaking the sitcom stereotype about developers, you have to communicate well. First, the work between UI/UX designers, front- and the back-end, must go smoothly to finish a project. Of course, in agile software houses, you get a project manager who helps with the information flow. There will also be a SCRUM master to help with the process. Still, without some basic interpersonal skills, working with others won’t be that easy. 

Effective communication is necessary when you work with other people. The ability to state and communicate what you have in mind is also essential. Writing documentation that others can read and understand is an add-on.

Front-end Development Case Studies 

Here’s a collection of RaftLabs’s front-end development case studies. It showcases what our front-end developers and designers can do. 

Our expertise in various technological solutions helps us find better solutions. Find how we assist startups and large companies globally to build scalable web and mobile apps, from front-end design samples to full SaaS product development.

Referral and Viral Marketing Platform
Referral and viral marketing platform

Objective: To build a platform that captures leads for individual marketers, agencies, and businesses to grow their traffic, sales, and leads. This will help them attract target customers.

Get a glimpse of how we did it in 14 weeks> 

Voice-based SaaS platform
Voice-based SaaS platform

Objective: To build a voice chat web app for decision-making. The aim was to make a responsive platform that allows people to engage in live anonymous conversations. They must also be able to vote for impactful ideas and leave their views on critical decision-making. 

Find how we accomplished it in 14 weeks>

Loyalty and Rewards Web & Mobile App
Loyalty and rewards web & mobile app

Objective: To build a web and mobile app for Ireland’s leading plumbing supplies company. The project aimed to boost consumer loyalty by launching a rewards and loyalty program. This initiative was to increase sales for a leading Irish supplier of plumbing products.

Understand how we built it in simply 14 weeks>

A Final Note On Becoming A Front end Developer

People interested in front end developer jobs must learn to code and create websites and applications. But progress necessitates ongoing improvement. There are fundamental technical skills required. Some of us indeed have a natural talent for coding. But let’s not forget that hard work and continuous practice produce quality results. 

You may not be a  fan of talking with people. But soft skills hold an integral part.  Communication is essential when dealing with a project for a client. So it is worth working on some of your soft skills. 

Front-end development can look like it's easy at first glance. In reality, it is a complex field that adapts daily to the latest technological advances and users' needs.  As a reliable front-end development company, we understand how crucial it is to keep on top of things. We always provide our clients with work that reflects cutting-edge design standards. These help our works to look great and be user-friendly! 

The RaftLabs team curates simple designs that are both visually striking and user-driven! A front end developer creates everything you see and feel on the Internet.

FAQs

How do I become a better front end developer?

To become a successful front end developer, you must know the programming languages like HTML, JavaScript, and frameworks like React, Angular, etc. It is also good to possess some of the soft skills that help you to complete your project smoothly.

Is being a frontend developer hard?

As the field is expanding quickly, becoming a frontend developer might be challenging. You'll need to keep updated with the latest tools and technology available.

What languages do front-end developers use?

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the most extensively used languages for front-end development.

Which front-end framework should I learn?

Presently, the leading front-end frameworks are jQuery, Vue, and React.

What is the hardest task for front-end development?

The challenging tasks in front-end development include achieving browser compatibility, choosing the ideal tool combination, configuring, and testing. Look no further if you're looking for a reputable front-end development firm. To acquire the design of your standards, get in touch with our RaftLabs team.

Jeel Sanghavi
Business Analyst at RaftLabs.
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