Skills to look for when hiring a front end developer

You may agree or not with what is clichéd that the first impression is always the last. But in the case of digital platforms like websites and webpages of brands, the validity of the phrase is more than 100%. The visitors landing on a website can be immediately hooked by its aesthetics and infatuation. At the same time, they will instantly sail away if the website is not properly structured or designed, as long as they do not have an extremely valid reason to stay.

In the digital age, the functionality and better customer experience on the website are the prerequisites of a business’s multiple goals. Therefore, brands must focus on creating a clear, attractive, and interactive website to hook the visitors. Hence, businesses direly need front-end developers who can develop creative and attractive websites. 

Front-end web development is the process of development for creating the front end of a website. The front end is what is visible to the visitors clicking on a specific page. To develop the front end, the developers use HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or WebAssembly. Using these programming languages and the best of their skills, they can create a front end of a website that matches with the brand’s identity and products/ services it provides. 

As said before, businesses direly need front-end developers. The essential skills they seek in a front-end developer can be categorized into technical and secondary skills, which are explained below. 

Technical Skills: 

The following are the technical and primary skills required of a front-end developer. 

1. HTML:

HTML(HyperText Markup Language) is a standard language for creating web pages. It is responsible for developing a web page’s structure; the elements of HTML tell the browser how to display the content.

So, HTML is the backbone of a web development process that lays the basis of the framework of a website. The front-end web developers must know this language at their fingertips. 

2. CSS:

CSS(cascading style sheet) is another basic language in the development that web developers must know by heart. It is a language that is used for the presentation aspects of a website or webpage. By using this language, the developers are able to give a website a unique look. Therefore, it is one of the essential skills that front-end web developers must surpass. 

3. JavaScript:

JavaScript is an advanced language that gives HTML pages a dynamic attribute. In layman’s language, JavaScript is used to execute a website’s interactive features like animations, video, audio, games, etc.

In a nutshell, HTML and CSS are responsible for creating the website’s structure, whereas JavaScript is responsible for its functioning.  

4. Jquery:

Jquery is a JavaScript library consisting of a collection of plug-ins and extensions. It makes it easier and simpler to use JavaScript on a website. It takes tasks that require multiple lines of javaScript and turns them into a format that can be executed with a single line. It makes HTML documents traversal and manipulation, animation, and many other such things simpler.

5. CSS and JavaScript framework:

CSS and JavaScript frameworks offer various CSS and JavaScript files that provide a ready-made framework for several tasks. There are different CSS frameworks and JavaScript frameworks, but using them collectively enhances multifunctionality. Some JavaScript frameworks are essential for creating complex user interfaces and some for displaying the website’s content. JavaScript frameworks like Angular, Backbone, Ember, Vue.js, and React are among popular frameworks in job listings. The top CSS frameworks include Bootstrap, Tailwind CSS, Bulma, Materialize CSS, etc. 

 It means that the front-end developer should be able to use these frameworks efficiently and effectively. Different frameworks have their own unique characteristics and have advantages and disadvantages, respectively. Therefore, the front-end developer must be fully aware of the frameworks and know when to use and when not to use the specific CSS or JavaScript frameworks because they are highly essential for the responsiveness of a website.

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Secondary skills:

1. UX/UI Design:

UX refers to User experience, while UI refers to the User interface; these are two distinct elements of a website but are interwoven and are usually interchanged. The User interface is the outlook of a webpage/ website or software. It is what a user sees and touches while using a digital platform. An organized, structured, and functional website is essential for increasing and nurturing leads. The user experience, on the other hand, is the consequence of a good User interface design. It means that the User experience depends on the User interface design. That is where the role of front-end developer comes into play. The front-end developer must ensure that the User interface is properly structured and organized. One thing that must be kept in mind is that a UX/UI designer is different from a UX/UI developer. The designer focuses on aesthetics and visual appeal, but a developer ensures that all aspects of the interface function efficiently. So the front-end developer must have the skills to conduct user and product research. And he must be able to set up information architecture to identify the buyer persona. 

2. Git/ Version control:

Version control is a process of tracking and managing changes to software code. The Version control systems are software tools for managing the changes to the codes. These are necessary for fast and successful deployments. Many version control software like Git keeps the record of the changes to code in a specific database. The developers counter the mistake by changing the clock timing and comparing the codes. Git is the most popular software developed in 2005 that helps in tracking changes in specific files. Therefore, the front-end web developers must be able to effortlessly use this software for more speed, data integrity, and support non-linear workflows. 

3. Restful services/ API:

REST stands for representational state transfer. It is a simple and lightweight, scalable, and manageable service built on REST architecture. REST is an architectural style that bases on the transfer of representations of resources through requests and responses. In simple words, the RESTful APIs are the APIs that use HTML requests to use and access data. In this architectural style of the client-server application, data and functionality are the resources. These resources are accessed through URIs(User Resource Identifiers). Restful services and APIs adhere to REST architecture. RESTful services are highly crucial for the cloud system. The role of front-end developers is to make use of RESTful services and APIs. 

4. Web performance/ Building automation tools:

The front-end web developers need to be pros in monitoring and regulating web performance and using automation tools for more productivity. No matter how much quality content you have in a website, how well structured, organized, and interactive it is, all these aspects will be only useful when people land on the page. The front-end developers must be aware of the fact that the user doesn’t wait for much to press the back button if the webpage does not load quickly. Five seconds may look quick, but when it comes to loading time, it is too long. Therefore, they must be skillful and aware of boosting the performance of a website or web page by optimizing images and using other strategies that shorten the loading time. Also, automation can reduce the loading time to half. Front-end developers use automation tools that are essential for optimizing image and other related web performance actions. 

5.    Wireframing:

The wireframe is a structural blueprint of a webpage that reflects user and business needs. Wireframing is a process in which the developers draw outlines and flow of interactive products as websites. It is an essential part of a website as it creates a layout of the content and functionality of a website. The wireframing offers the identification of flaws before and after the design process begins. It can be created on paper or software, but its sole purpose is to work towards creating a user-focused outline. 

6. Testing/ Debugging:

The last step before deployment is testing the web page. Bugs are an indispensable element of the development process; therefore, it is essential to launch tests and debug them to ensure the quality of the webpage or website. While it may not be a necessary skill required for front-end developers, many employers seek this additional skill. Therefore, front-end developers must have knowledge about all the testing and debugging methods like functional testing or unit testing, etc. They must also be aware of using tools and techniques that can simplify and speed up testing and debugging processes like Mocha and Jasmine. 

Another kind of generic skill set that applies to all kinds of professional workers is also required for front-end web developers: Soft skills. Soft skills may comprise leadership skills, teamwork skills, problem-solving skills, creative thinking, and communication skills, etc. 

Bottom Line: 

A front-end web developer is one who practices front-end web development. Front-end web development is the process of converting data into a graphical interface by using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. While hiring a front-end web developer, the recruiters primarily check the expertise in languages and other supplementary skills like UX/UI design, RESTful services, Wireframing, etc.