Front-end is one of the most important aspects of web development because it showcases an online platform's visible features, like the website layout, landing page, or UI. Every website or application must be created in such a way that users can easily navigate through the majority of its functions. Front-end development won't be possible without a front-end developer, and getting into the field can feel like finding a needle in a haystack without proper guidance. Thankfully, this article is the best guide that will show you how to get started as a front-end developer. This piece clearly explains who a front-end developer is and their role in web development. We also delve into the basic tools/languages needed to get started in the front end and the proper learning steps to take that'll help any newbie know what path to take to become a front-end developer.
All online platforms need to be created in such a way that users can easily interact with most of their functions. For example, when we log into a website, we notice the visible features like the welcome page, menu tab, site map, and other functionalities that facilitate easier navigation and usage. All the visible features, like the website layout and UI, fall under the front-end part of web development. Some front-end development project examples are creating a landing page with bootstrap, a simple notes app, building a clone website, and many others.
The tools a developer would use in creating a suitable UI depend on the nature of the front-end project. Regardless, there are basic tools a newbie to front-end development needs to learn to get started, and all of those will be explored in this article.
Who is a Front-End Developer?
Duties of a Front-End Developer
The roles or responsibilities are almost identical for every front-end developer based on their level of experience.
Below are some of the major roles of a front-end developer:
- They map out the page design and structure for the website or mobile app.
- Setting up the website design for easy compatibility and usage on smartphones.
- Develop necessary features to improve usability or user experience.
- They draw the line between web or mobile apps' functional and aesthetic design.
- Web page optimization for high speed and scalability.
- They ensure the brand objectives are reflected in every aspect of the design.
The Basic Skills needed for Front-End
To start learning Front-end, it's important to understand the basics and build up from that point.
First, focus on the three fundamental technologies for front-end, namely:
HTML: To give a web page structure or a layout.
CSS: Used to create beautiful aesthetics for a web page.
For example, building a website like Twitter requires a layout:
- HTML is used to define all the building blocks of the layout, such as an image, text indicating the user's Twitter handle, another block of text containing the message, and icons for retweeting, commenting, and liking a tweet.
- CSS is used to add visual effects. Using the Twitter example, the developer can use CSS to make the font bold, make the image round, etc. CSS is all about the aesthetics and visual effects of the layout.
Most web pages or websites are built using those three technologies. Learning the three technologies and understanding their features is necessary to become good at front-end development.
The Learning Steps To Get Started
- Learn a Front-End Framework or Library
Learning to work with distributed version control software like Git is very important because software companies and even solo developers use it as a source code management tool. It should take roughly 2 weeks of learning to have a fair understanding of Git.
- Learn Sass and TypeScript to stand out
- Utilize your study time to the fullest
Devoting a few hours daily to studying and practicing the different fundamental web technologies should provide enough skills to apply for a junior front-end developer position. However, please note that everyone is different, and it takes less or more time to learn these skills, depending on the individual.
Take advantage of online courses based on different topics to effectively learn and practice coding languages. Udemy, Coursera, and edx are great online learning platforms for learning coding languages, and certificates from these platforms are recognized by job seekers worldwide.
- Add projects to build up your portfolio
Practice building personalized websites in addition to other projects. Someone learning front-end can add sample websites and projects to their portfolio. Most employers will ask for previous work samples, so creating personalized work samples is highly recommended regardless of not having any work experience.
- Join a community of developers
It always helps to join a community of people in the same field when learning a new skill. For front-end developers, communities like GitHub and Twitter are great places to get started and receive updates on what's happening in the software development industry.
- Get an Internship or Apply for a Junior front-end developer job
The best way to learn new skills is to work with people who have knowledge in the field. A junior front-end developer or an intern typically works for an organization and learns from more experienced developers by pairing with more senior developers in the company and through code reviews.
As someone who wants to put all the basic knowledge gained in front-end development into practice, finding an organization that prioritizes growth and is willing to provide the necessary tools for learning is important. Interning or working as a junior front-end developer means that the goal is growth and development. Here’s how Nifemi
, a Full-stack engineer explains his experience with Front-end at Fetchly Labs
“At Fetchly Labs, our front-end developers are versatile and highly skilled at creating applications with highly intuitive user interfaces. Fetchly uses various front-end technologies but focusing on React, we incorporate the basics of front-end development, that is HTML and CSS, with more advanced technologies like React and TypeScript to enhance the developer experience.
We use various git versioning software depending on what suits the project best. Fetchly makes sure their engineers are well informed with the latest and improved technologies and also actively trains developers at all levels - courses and tutorials are provided to junior developers with compensation upon completion, and projects are structured in a way that senior engineers can directly pair and mentor mid-level and junior engineers.
Engineers at Fetchly see the company as a community. Engineers from different projects reach out to help each other and collaborate. Learning is constant at Fetchly and having a great team overall makes it fun.” - Nifemi.
*This is not the official Fetchly opinion but the opinion of the writer who is employed by Fetchly*