Every report states that mobile devices will be the dominant communication and media platform for decades to come. The importance and usefulness of device-specific apps and responsive websites will rise along parallel lines. This makes a front-end developer career very attractive.
Web development employment outlook is bright. Demand will grow by 20 percent according the Bureau of Labor Statistics through 2022. Nearly half of all websites worldwide use a content management system (CMS) framework to present their website to the world. Of that number 58.7% use the Wordpress platform. This means that a quarter of sites globally use Wordpress.
Front-end development is an essential piece in a web development cycle. It is the client or public facing element of a web site. A developer that specializes in front-end work concentrates on crafting fast websites that present content with eye-pleasing clarity and intuitive usefulness.
Education and Training
A college degree is not required to become a front-end developer. Training can be had via self-paced education, bootcamps or certification. Proven proficiency in key languages and frameworks is required.
As part of building a website, a front-end developer may be required to:
• Create mockups or layouts to model the site or application for review.
• Build a custom template based on the specifications from a web designer.
• Use a CMS like Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla to create the site structure.
• Create a site from scratch using manual coding instead of a CMS.
• Link data-driven elements to the database created by a back-end developer.
• Optimize page layout and page elements to assure fast load times.
• Test the website so it meets standard usability guidelines.
• Deploy a website to a domain or test platform.
• Maintain and document all versions of code or packages.
A entry-level front-end developer must know:
• Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML).
• Cascading Style Sheet (CSS).
• Basics of .NET which is a development framework on Windows.
• Basics of PHP which is a common scripting language.
• Basics of MySQL which is a widely used relational database management system.
• Basics of AJAX which handles data flow between the front and back ends.
• File Transfer Protocol (FTP).
• Domain setup and maintenance.
• Github repository usage.
• Some Adobe Photoshop skills would be handy.
Become More Valuable
Additional skills and knowledge would only increase job security, flexibility and marketability. These would be skills that bridge the gap between a front-end developer and a backend one or between a general developer and a designer.
• Gain proficiency in more languages such as Java, PHP, Ruby on Rails, XML, C# and Python. Which language to learn depends on the employment environment. For example, Java is used more in big companies while Ruby is popular among startups.
• Understand how databases are designed and implemented.
• Understand backend architectures such as Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) or cloud computing.
• Learn about user interface design and user experience analysis.
• Attain knowledge on cyber security and how it impacts web development.
Front-end developers will find opportunities in nearly all industry categories and company sizes. With a few years of experience, a front-end developer would be in a good position to consider freelancing, consulting or contracting through an agency. A transition to app-centric development can be an option worth exploring. Learn back-end development to be a fully rounded and highly capable developer who will never lack for work.