Some of the highest-paid professionals in the world are front-end developers. They use their knowledge and talents to design appealing and user-friendly websites.
Front-end developers do not need a degree or a school certificate to work. Rather, they must understand the fundamentals of front-end development, programming languages, and front-end development frameworks.
In this guide, you will learn how to become a front end developer by first understanding what front end development entails, the technical and soft skills required, the languages and frameworks available, and some steps to get started.
A front end developer in the United States may earn an average of $86,178 per year, according to Glassdoor. According to Payscale, a "typical" front-end developer can earn an annual income of $71,350.
If you're new to the tech industry, you might be confused about what front end means, as well as other aspects of web development like back end and full stack, so we'll start by explaining them.
What is front end?
All the websites we browse, the e-commerce websites we purchase goods from, the blogs we read from, and so on are made user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing by front-end developers.
There are two major aspects of web development to consider when building websites and web applications: the front end and the back end.
Front-end development is concerned with the front end of any web application, as the name implies. This is what the user sees and interacts with by performing operations such as clicking a button, scrolling through a page, filling out a form, and so on. This is the client-side functionality of a web application.
Back end refers to the events that occur behind the scenes, such as infrastructure, database connection and communication, and so on. Full stack refers to a combination of front end and back end.
What Does a Front-end Developer Do?
We just discussed the various aspects of web development, front and, back end, and full stack. And to go along with that we also have different types of developers based on which aspects of web development they are proficient in. So we have front-end developers, back-end developers, and full-stack developers.
A front-end developer is a professional who is in charge of creating the user interface and user experience (UI/UX) that users interact with in order to access the application in question. They are problem solvers who use programming languages, tools, creativity, and experience to create a website or application that solves a user's problem and looks good.
As previously stated, a back-end developer is responsible for everything related to the backend, including logic, database communication, and much more.
Finally, full-stack developers are those who understand both front-end and back-end development, allowing them to start and finish a project on their own.
In a professional setting or standard company, there is usually a UI/UX designer(s) who designs how the interface will look and what they want the user's experience to be.
How to Become a Front-End Developer
So far, we've discussed what front end means and who a front-end developer is. Now, let's look at some of the major requirements/skills required before you can call yourself a frontend developer.
They are the building blocks for web and app development, so you must learn if you want to get into web dev. Fortunately, there are numerous online resources available to assist you in learning and practicing them.
What is HTML?
HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language, it is the skeleton of all web pages and applications as thier most basic building block. You use HTML to structure your page into elements such as paragraphs, sections, headings, navigation bars, and so on.
HTML provides structure to the content appearing on a website, such as images, text, or videos. A page with just HTML is very basic and unappealing, and it will need CSS styling to make it presentable.
HTML is frequently the first language that developers learn, and it is essential for front-end development work. Do you want to know more about HTML? Begin with freeCodeCamp's Responsive Web Design certification and Beau Carnes' brand new full HTML course.
What is CSS?
CSS is an abbreviation for Cascading Style Sheets, and you use it to enhance the appearance of a web page by adding CSS styles. These styles make your website more appealing and enjoyable to view and use for the end user.
Do you want to know more about CSS? To get started, check out the second part of freeCodeCamp's Responsive Web Design certification.
2. Practice Coding
There is a popular idiom that says “Practice makes perfect”. This means that you'll become better at something if you do it often.
If you want to become a professional front-end developer, you have to practice consistently. This will help you learn the concepts thoroughly (and not just on the surface). The more you practice, the more (and better) you'll understand concepts.
3. Enhance Your Skills
"Learn constantly, there is always one more thing to learn!" said Steve Jobs. This holds true in all aspects of life, including programming and front-end development.
As new technologies, tools, syntax, and approaches are introduced, it is always best to stay up to date with new technology trends and avoid falling behind.
This will help you grow your skills as a front-end developer, and you can always stay in the loop by joining and interacting with active developer communities. There are many communities out there, such as the freeCodeCamp developer community and all of the other local communities that surround everyone of us including you.
4. Learn the Command Line and Version Control
As a frontend developer, you should understand how the command line works because it allows you to access operating system functions through a text interface. Many professionals prefer CLIs for their speed and performance when installing libraries and frameworks.
Front-end developers should also be familiar with version control systems such as Git, which is the most widely used. When coding, you'll frequently want to trace your coding history and other information.
Version control makes this much easier because it allows you and your team to efficiently communicate and manage (track) all changes made to the source code. It also gives you information such as who made the changes and what changes were made.
5. Understand Application Program Interfaces (APIs)
As a professional frontend developer, you should be familiar with APIs and how to consume and manipulate them. This is critical for communicating with backend logics and databases.
There are have a lot of them, but it's best to pick one and learn it thoroughly, such as React, Vue, or Angular (three of the most popular). You can check out freeCodeCamp’s frontend libraries development certification course to learn more.
There are also have some style libraries that make styling your web pages simple, such as Bootstrap, Sass/Scss, Tailwind, and so on.
7. Build an online portfolio
Building your portfolio is an easy way to demonstrate your expertise as a front-end developer.
If you're just starting out as a front-end developer, you don't have to have every piece of your portfolio be a client project. You can take charge and be inventive. Make use of new tools and libraries to create something spectacular. As your career progresses, you will be able to highlight more projects on which you have worked.
You can also look through the portfolios of your fellow front-end developers to see what you like and dislike. Then, knowing what you want to show the world, create your own website.
You can also have friends and members of the community critique and test your site to ensure that everything looks good. Don't forget that all of the words on your website should be assisting you in landing a great job. You don't want it to be too long or too boring.
Here's are some tips that'll help you level up your developer portfolio to really make it stand out.
8. Cultivate your soft skills
Front-end developers must be effective communicators (written and verbal) because they must interact with both the technical team and the client.
They must also be excellent communicators within their code, as it is critical to take the time to comment and write appropriate documentation within your code so that you and others can easily understand it even after a long time.
Front-end developers should also have good attention to detail and be meticulous in all aspects of their work. They must have a keen eye and be able to catch small errors or inconsistencies when creating web pages.
And front-end developers must be lifelong learners, because websites are evolving and expectations for responsiveness, accessibility, and appearance are always changing. Front-end engineers must stay as current as they're able and will almost certainly need to learn new code languages or libraries over time.
9. Start applying for internships or jobs you want
Once you have gained proper knowledge of frontend by learning necessary skills and building a simple résumé, you can now begin to search for front-end job opportunities.
Check out their requirements to see what other areas you need to improve in as a front-end developer.
Finally, always apply for jobs, and never be afraid to apply. This will give you some experience to help you learn how companies hire and what it takes to be hired.
In this article, we've learned what a front-end developer is and what it takes to become one.
We've also learned that becoming a front-end developer without a degree is not only possible, but also attainable.
One final question most people have is how long it takes to become a front-end developer. Well, the length of time it takes is entirely dependent on your learning pace and prior knowledge.
Just remember – don't compare yourself or your learning pace to that of others as you learn. Set aside some time each week or day to learn, do your best to stick to it, and then rejoice.