Basic Frontend Developer Skills You Need to Know

Basic Frontend Developer Skills You Need to Know

Web site layout and web programming attract a large number of newcomers to the IT world. This is due to a fairly low entry threshold. The number of those who want to become a frontend developer is increasing every year, as a consequence, the requirements to the candidates are also growing.

Let's figure out what technologies you need to learn to become a Frontend developer.

HTML & CSS

HTML and CSS are the core technologies that every web developer uses. The markup of each web page is created using the HTML hypertext markup language. The CSS style language makes a site beautiful and gives it unique styles. In addition, you must have:

  • Cross-browser adaptive layout to be able to create sites for mobile devices, tablets and widescreens and for different browsers;
  • Semantic layout to improve the quality of markup and improve search indexing of the site;
  • Valid layout, which implies full compliance of the developer's code with all the standards of the W3C - an organization that creates and implements technology standards for the World Wide Web.

Pay special attention to the layout for mobile devices, today most people use the Internet through a smartphone. There is even a special layout approach when the site is first designed for mobile devices, and only then for desktops, this approach is called Mobile First.

These are the general requirements for the layout. Now consider in more detail the requirements specifically for the CSS style language. Here you should know the basic properties of CSS: gradients, backgrounds, transitions, animations, transformations, shadows as well as the Flex and Grid technologies, which we will talk about later.

A good knowledge of HTML and CSS will be enough to create a website layout and earn money from it. It is with these two fundamental technologies that the path to the profession of Frontend developer begins.

Flex and Grid CSS

Technologies for the layout of reliable adaptive web pages that make it easier to create dynamic sites and more convenient to structure their content.

Bootstrap 4

Popular HTML/CSS platform for developing adaptive web applications, which is used to create websites and admin panel interfaces. The main advantages of Bootstrap:

  • high speed of layout;
  • cross-browser and cross-platform;
  • Good documentation, great variety of tutorials and great community;
  • low threshold of entry (you only need to know the basics of HTML, CSS, JavaScript);

Also, it will be useful to know two more CSS frameworks: Foundation and Materialize. The first is a comprehensive and professional tool that follows the principle of Mobile First. It has an advanced interface and allows you to create really unique, elegant and easily customizable websites. Under the aegis of the Foundation, web services such as Facebook, Mozilla, Adobe, Amazon, eBay and many others were created.

Materialize professes the principles of Material Design from Google, which pursues the idea of digital unification for an easier and more comfortable interface experience.

CSS preprocessors

A CSS preprocessor is a program that has its own syntax, but can generate CSS code from it. The most popular are SASS, Stylus, LESS and PostCSS, but SASS has the largest community. The preprocessors are designed to:

  1. speed up the process of code writing;
  2. making it easier to read the code and maintain it afterwards;
  3. Minimize routine work when writing code.

Learning just one preprocessor will be sufficient to increase the efficiency of CSS code writing.

Git & GitHub

Git - the most popular system of version control, which allows you to keep a history of the project development with the ability to access each saved version.

In addition, it is worth knowing how to work with online hosting service for projects that use a version control system. In this case, it's GitHub. In tandem with Git, it allows developers to save their code online, and then interact with other developers in different projects.

These systems allow a team of programmers to work on one project at a time, saving changes made, and track the performance of each team member.

Git & GitHub are very important tools for any IT developer and should be learned as early as possible. 

Knowledge of web technologies and the Internet

To do his job well, a frontend developer must understand the web and understand how it works. Thus, it is necessary to know:

  • how the Internet works;
  • HTTP/HTTPS protocols, web sockets;
  • how browsers work;
  • What is DNS and how it works;
  • what a domain name is;
  • what hosting is.

Also, it's a good idea if you try to set up a site on some free hosting, link the domain to that hosting.

JavaScript

A programming language that is used to develop both the client side of a web application and the server side. With JavaScript (JS for short) you can even write desktop and mobile applications using specific software platforms and libraries. This language allows you to:

  1. dynamically change the markup;
  2. interact interactively with the user;
  3. animate images;
  4. perform form validation;
  5. manage multimedia, etc.

In other words, JavaScript brings the page to life and adds functionality to it. A good command of this programming language is a must for every FrontEnd developer.

Linkers

Tools that allow to analyze the quality of JavaScript code according to a certain ES standard. They are embedded into the development environment and indicate if there are any inconsistencies with the standard in the code.

This mechanism is useful for a single developer (for self-monitoring), and for a team effort when each developer must follow the same language constructs to come up with a unified, coherent project.

Testing

Jest, Cypress and Enzyme - the main tools of unit testing, which falls on the shoulders of the developer. But what is it?

Unit testing (aka unit testing) is a process which consists of creating tests to make sure that the individual sections of the code written by the developer work properly. This is performed directly by the author of the code.

What are the benefits of unit testing?

  • Significant reduction of bugs in the code;
  • Making it easier to refactor the code;
  • ensuring a quality separation of the interface from the implementation;
  • better understanding of the code you have written;
  • opportunity to test the smallest code fragments.

You don't need to learn all three tools - it's enough to learn how to handle just one of them.

Algorithms and data structures

Understanding of algorithms and data structures is a must for any programmer.

Data structures include: stacks, queues, linked lists, graphs, etc. By learning them, you will be able to manage the complexity of your programs, making them more understandable, as well as develop high-performance programs that work efficiently with memory.

Knowing algorithms will allow you to create complex designs to solve a wide range of problems efficiently. When they talk about algorithms, they usually mean algorithms for sorting and searching: sorting by direct inclusion, direct selection, merge, pyramidal, direct search, binary, index-sequential, and others.

It is also important to understand the Big O notation, which describes the complexity of each algorithm. This mechanism helps to determine under what conditions it is more profitable to use a particular algorithm.

Note that as a beginner, you do not need to dive deep into these topics. It will be enough a theoretical knowledge, as well as the ability to write a few algorithms. In website development it is not much needed, but practically no interview is avoiding the topic of templates, algorithms and data structures.

Results

The frontend developer is a pretty versatile fighter in the world of development. He should be able to do a good layout and create the logic of the client side, and understand the work of the server side of the web application. To master such a large set of necessary tools, it is worth spending time, patience and perseverance.

The means of website development listed in the article also have analogues, because different web tools are suitable for different tasks. However, we have chosen the most popular and effective of them.