The Ultimate Guide to Become a Frontend Developer

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The most challenging and interesting thing about frontend development is that it requires consistent learning, because things that works yesterday may not work today. In other words to be a frontend developer you must have the thirst for knowledge.

The most essential trait of a frontend developer is the ability to adapt, like I mentioned before, the technologies evolves constantly which means you must adapt to the changes for you to stay relevant in the market.

But seriously, what does a frontend developer even do?

Frontend developers are responsible for implementing designs and concepts on the web. they are web developers that codes the frontend. Meaning everything the user sees, clicks, or uses to input or retrieve information on a website is the work of a frontend developer.

Becoming a Frontend developer

To be a frontend developer you'll need to learn many technologies, but the main technologies are HTML CSS & JavaScript.

1. HTML & CSS

There is no other way around it. Why? Because there are the building blocks of the websites, without these things the internet would be a shapeless and ugly wall of texts. All the contents on this page you're reading right now resides inside HTML tags and that tells your browser how to order them. The CSS then tells your browser in what way to display them.

You want to make sure you learn these two very well and get good at it.

2. JavaScript

JavaScript lets you add a ton of functionality to your website. It is one of the world's most popular programming languages, primarily used to implement automation, animations and interactivity to Web pages. Web developers use JavaScript for anything from automating simple tasks to creating complex Web pages that behave like desktop software applications. etc.

3. CSS Frameworks

CSS Frameworks are kind of like an abstraction to some of the design artifacts that you otherwise would use in your CSS files. These frameworks comes with a set of predefined style files that you have to include in your development files and they provide some default styling. It certainly simplifies the development effort.

The most used frameworks, You should Learn atleast one or two

  • Bootstrap
  • ZURB Foundation
  • Materialized CSS
  • Bulma
  • Semantic UI

4. JavaScript Frameworks

What is JavaScript framework? it's basically a collection of components and libraries to deliver a need for a web application.

Learning a Js framework and getting good at it requires some discipline and focus, trust me, it's a endless line of frameworks , I can name 12 frameworks right on top of my head, and if you wake me up at night I can still give you alteast 7. The list never ends, so you got to be very careful so you don't keep jumping from frameworks to frameworks and never getting to master any one. Just pick 1-3 framework and get good at it.

I'm only gonna mention the most popular ones, but you can just do a simple google search to see the rest of the family.

  • React
  • Angular
  • Vue
  • Ember
  • Aurelia
  • Polymer
  • Knockout
  • Jquery (JavaScript library)

5. Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation, With the use of CSS media queries.

In the US alone, more people access the internet from their mobile device than from a desktop computer, so it’s no wonder that responsive design is an essential skill you need to get in your tool box as a frontend developer.

6. CSS Pre Processors

In order to write better CSS, there were different approaches such as separating definitions into smaller files and importing them into one main file.

Pre-processors, with their advanced features, helped to achieve writing reusable, maintainable and extensible codes in CSS. By using a pre-processor, you can easily increase your productivity, and decrease the amount of code you are writing in a project.

The most popular ones:

  • Sass
  • Less

7. Cross-Browser Development

Cross browser development is the practice of making sure that the web sites and web apps you create work across an acceptable number of web browsers. As a frontend web developer, it is your responsibility to make sure that not only do your projects work, but they work for all your users, no matter what browser.

8. Experience with RESTful Services and APIs

Without getting too technical, REST stands for Representational State Transfer. In basic terms, it’s a lightweight architecture that simplifies network communication on the web, and RESTful services and APIs are those web services that adhere to REST architecture. Here is an article I wrote on REST API

9. Git and Version Control Systems

Version control systems let you keep track of changes that have been made to code over time. They also make it easy to revert back to an earlier version if you screw something up. So let’s say you add some snippet to your code and suddenly half your other code breaks. Rather than having to scramble to manually undo it and fix all the errors, you can roll back to a previous version and then try again with a different solution.

Conclusion

I know there is alot to learn, but don't get overwhelmed by all the technologies. Just focus on the basics and get good at it

HTML, CSS, and Javascript are more than enough to land your first gig. There are countless resources online to learn all three of these technologies proficiently for little to no cost. Put together some nice portfolio, and also get involved in open source projects.