• Various types of developer
• Responsibilities of a front end developer
• Skills needed to be a front end developer
Types of Developers
Web development encompasses three main specialists;
a) Front-end developer
b) Back-end developer
c) Full stack developer
A front developer is a specialist who deals with building the visuals of the website, the front-end and client end that users and visitors to the website interact with. They may also be referred to as front-end web-developers or HTML developers.
They are the main designers who determine the general outlook of the website whereas, the back-end developers deal with the functionalities in the whole website.
The full stack developer deals with what the front-end and back end developer deal with, but in a more complex way.
Responsibilities of a front-end Developer
The responsibility of a front-end developer is to:
• Determine how the back-end data will be displayed to the user.
• Optimize the navigation of the website
• Collaborate with web designers to convert static web pages to working web pages
• Create and edit templates for the framework
• Edit and control content displayed on the website
• Customize, maintain and create the User Interface and design.
• Determine the styling to be used and colors.
• Always be keen with the current web trends
• Collaborate with back-end developers to develop dynamic web pages
• Tailor the UX(User Experience)
• Collaborate on API’s
• Maintain software workflow management.
• Know all the Search Engine Optimization practices.
Generally, Front-end developers need to consider the readability and usability of the whole website and web applications.
Skills needed by Front End Web Developer
Front end development generally deals with the visible part of the website or web application. This is the design, content, animations, videos, audio, Call to Action buttons, layout and color.
However much many people assume that front-end is the simplest phase, well it’s not; it requires a lot.
1) Front-end development languages
The developer needs to be professionally trained on:
Firstly, HTML/XHTML/HTML5 which is the most basic coding language should be at the fingertips of the developer. Honestly, no web page can function without the HTML codes. The Hyper Text Markup Language is the key structural component of all the websites that exist.
Secondly, CSS/CSS3 – It is what adds the style to HTML. For any colors, borders, margins, font-size, font color, font-family to be added there must be a CSS file. It can either be inline or an outside file.
When you use HTML and CSS you can make the most basic of websites with very few functions. There lay a foundation for websites.
In addition, it is also vital to have knowledge of, Git, Php, and Responsive design techniques.
Let’s look at the technical skills broadly;
b) Writing tests for applications
This mainly applies when creating web apps, in this; you should know how to write tests on applications that you make. However, it is not a must-have.
c) For CSS know how to work with
I. The pre-compilers
Pre-compilers help organize codes and make them easy to follow. They include Stylus, Sass, Lass and much more.
II. CSS frameworks
2) Know and master the development tools
The other tools include;
I. Task Runners – The act as a compiler for Sass and Lass. Thus if you are using them, it will come in handy. They run on command line.
II. Package management – This helps in organizing assets and libraries and files. For instance, Bower
III. Yeoman – that helps the front-end developer to efficiently start the projects.
3) Must have done enough research
To be an awesome front-end developer, you need to do a lot of research on current trends and technologies. Get to join communities that will help you acquire more concepts. Get to know what worked for some developers and what failed them.
Being a developer is not being a designer so you need to be careful in what you acquire. The art of reading is a skill that all front-end developers should have. Read articles, guides, download e-books, subscribe to newsletters and make sure you get all the knowledge you require.
At the end, as a front-end developer you need to know performance testing and QA. Even the most professional developers acquire skills each day; so don’t ever stop reading.
4) Create, Practice and become Perfect
However, just learning is not enough, practice, practice, practice and at the end you will be perfect. In the practice phase, make sure you create web pages that are functional with what you have learnt. You can save those initial projects in Git hub and you’ll be looking back and seeing the far that you’ve reached.
A front-developer needs to practice often so as to master the art. With enough practice, as a developer you will be creating the best User Interface and an awesome user experience.
A professional front-end developer knows all the potholes in web development and knows how to mend them.
5) Create a UI prototype and make functional designs
As a front-end developer, it is vital to master a prototype design tool that will then make functional prototypes. It is a must-have so as to venture into the front-end development technologies. An example is Axure or Mockplus
6) Good Communication
Being a front-end developer, you need to work hand in hand with back-end developers and designers to ensure the website is up and running in no time. For the project to be a success, effective communication should be there.
7) Be creative
As a front-end developer, you need to be very creative and know how to build the page structures. The structures should be unique and responsive enough. This is because; many people prefer to browse the internet using their phones rather than laptops or desktops.
8) Be an awesome coder
Make sure in the codes, there are reasonable comments, clear codes structure, proper tags and accurate CSS files.
9) Have the ability to optimize the web server
As a front-end developer, you need to understand the optimization of the server. The server should have fewer requests so as to reduce its loading time.
As a developer, you need to make sure that no 404 pages appear at any instance or connection to server errors.
10) Be able to convert static pages to be responsive
The website should be mobile-friendly. Thus as a developer you need to know how to make the width and height to be responsive on all screen sizes. No one likes zooming too much to get to the content.
In the past, most static websites were not responsive. As a front-end developer, clients will come to ask for help in making their websites mobile-friendly, you shouldn’t disappoint them in turning the websites to be more responsive.
A front-end developer should be aware of both static and dynamic websites.
11) Should have problem-solving skills
In the case of some codes refusing to work, a front-end developer should be able to rectify the codes and know what is wrong. Rectifying a ready-made website is a must-know.
Due to this a front-end developer should also know how to interpret the psychology of people who visit the website.
12) Testing Skills
Before launching an app or website, a front-end developer should be able to test all the functions to verify that they are working well. Without testing, you might never realize broken links and this will be a disappointment to your users and website visitors.
To wrap it up, a Front-end Developer should practice, read and be updated. The developer should have full-knowledge of all the front-end development languages and their frameworks. In addition, the website should be mobile-friendly so as to fit on all screen sizes and not irritate the user.
If you have a passion for web development, make sure you take into account all the top skills needed to be a front-end developer. Don’t disappoint your client and team members.