A promising job par excellence, the front-end dev is in demand in all areas: from website creation to web and mobile applications, the technical skills of the front-end developer are in great demand.
Over the years, the developer’s skills have evolved considerably, with the development of new technologies and new frameworks. In addition, the skills required of a dev will often be different depending on the company or the speciality towards which he is moving.
A promising profession, the salary of a junior front-end developer can reach up to 39K in the Paris region, according to Chooseyourboss. Interested in this career? Here are 10 essential skills that you absolutely must master to land your first job!
1. HTML / CSS
The base. HTML and CSS will be the first languages you learn to become a web developer. The role of the front-end developer is to develop the interactive and visible part of a website or a mobile application. That’s why he has to master HTML and CSS at his fingertips.
HTML, for HyperText Markup Language, is the basic language for designing the structure of a website. It is naturally used in front-end. It is with him that all searchable pages on the web are built:
- Format the text on a page
- Include images
- Placement of static or dynamic elements
- Adding hypertext links
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) comes in addition to HTML. While HTML can be seen as the backbone of a web page, CSS is going to be the skin of the web page. It is with CSS that we dress up a website: colours, positions, transitions, fonts …
This is the reason why learning CSS is essential and should not be neglected. Its use already allows many features to be incorporated within a page:
- The visual appearance of the text (fonts, font size, alignment, etc.)
- Positioning of HTML elements
- Contextual animations (transition, focus, click, …)
- Colours, gradients, shadows, …
What exactly is a framework?
“Application framework” or “framework” in the language of Molière, the framework is a library of tools simplifying the development of certain typical functionalities.
There are several types of framework. If jQuery or AngularJS (for application development) are specialized in js development, Bootstrap, one of the most famous front-end frameworks, combines HTML / CSS and JS. However, it needs jQuery to work.
This latter type of framework facilitates front-end design thanks to a library of ready-to-use features. Based on a grid system, it is particularly useful for building a responsive design site.
Some examples of known frameworks:
- Semantic UI
4. Sass / Less
Now let’s look at the case of CSS preprocessors. Késako? CSS preprocessors are programs or modules that will dynamically generate CSS code. They allow to include inside the CSS variables and nests which facilitate and automate the construction of the CSS code.
With the use of variables, you no longer need to change the colour of an element line by line. In addition, CSS preprocessors allow the inclusion of mathematical calculations inside CSS. The two most popular preprocessors are Sass and Less.
Sass is a dynamic style sheet generation language that works with Ruby. The Less, for its part, is implemented with node.js. To be interpreted, these languages need to be compiled. This is when they will be interpreted in CSS.
Mastering at least one of these two languages is essential for the front-end developer. They allow you to dynamize your CSS styles while saving a considerable amount of time. Most job offers ask for this skill in their advertisement.
5. Git and versioning
As web developers, you will have to design several versions of your website or application. Versioning will allow you to organize yourself in your progress without losing any of the different versions or features developed.
The main interest is not to lose part of your work, inadvertently or because of a mistake. If you’ve started training, you must have encountered this sudden bug that took you hours to figure out.
With versioning, your site is saved step by step, and you can always revert to an earlier version if necessary. Also, it’s a good way to work on different versions of a product with the customer so they can test and compare. The most popular versioning system is git.
6. Mobile friendly and mobile-first
As a front-end developer, you should be aware that the smartphone is an increasingly used tool for browsing. Computers are seeing their cost drop, so now we speak of “mobile-friendly” or “mobile-first” development rather than “responsive design”.
The concept of mobile-friendly is to design the website taking into account the changes, both in form and content, that it will have to undergo to adapt perfectly to the use of a smartphone. Understanding the basics of UX development will allow you to implement best practices for an ergonomic, lightweight and interactive site.
Mobile-first, on the other hand, consists of developing on the basis of mobile-first and adapting the site or application to a computer screen. This method allows you to have a perfectly optimized and functional website from a smartphone or tablet.
7. Unit tests
It’s not the funniest part of front-end dev work, but it’s a must-have skill for this profile. The front-end developer must be able to participate in the testing in order to isolate the bugs that may arise during the different interactions between the user and the interface.
The developer should be able to list the bugs and correct them, testing the site or application part by part, page by page. Testing processes have been developed to simplify unit testing for front-end developers, such as:
- If not
8. Developer tools for browsers
9. Web optimization
We mentioned it in the chapter on “mobile-friendly”: optimizing the pages of your website or your application is of major importance. It is essential not to neglect this part of the work, as a developer.
A site or application that is too cumbersome will put off the user, who will prefer another site which is better optimized to obtain the information/service they are looking for. On mobile as on a computer, a slow interface is losing customers.
Also, ensuring development while respecting good practices is imperative, but it is not enough. Web optimization will allow you to properly finalize your project, by reducing the code, the server requests, the weight of the images, the loading time, in particular by minification.
Here again, there are programs that can speed up this optimization phase. Grunt or Gulp, for example, will allow you to automate certain tasks with a simple command line. Understand the value of familiarizing yourself with these tools!
10. Command lines
To go further in web development, there will come a time when you will no longer be able to settle for just graphical user interfaces (GUIs). While these simplify the work and make certain operations intuitive, they do not offer as much flexibility as your good old control terminal.
Also, to be up to all the alternatives during the projects that you will encounter during your first job, mastering the command lines and their operation will bring great added value to your profile. You will even find yourself preferring this method rather than your usual GUI!
Despite all these skills, you need projects like kissanime which will help to impress employer.