Web App Development: Top Skills Required For a Successful Front-End Developer In 2020
In the previous blog post, we examined the technologies and trends that are expected to become popular for web application development in 2020. And speaking of web application development, front-end is critical to the success of any website, or applications that required interactions with end-users.
Back in the day, front-end development was quite straight-forward and simple. However, with the advancement of web and mobile technologies - front-end development also evolves and become technically more demanding than before.
Thus, being able to hire experienced and reliable front-end developers who can manage and work together with other members (e.g. designers, product owners, back-end engineers, etc.) is highly essential for success of the project.
Below are the top skills that need to be considered when hiring front-end developers:
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are the basic foundation when it comes to front-end web development. HTML and CSS communicates about the structure, styling, and layout of a website to the browser.
Whether it’s text, graphic, video or animation, HTML, and CSS are an integral part for rendering the UI of any web page.
As a result, knowing HTML and CSS is one of the most basic requirments and compulsory for front-end developers.
Among the wide variety of JS frameworks to choose from, below are some of the most popular for web development:
Version Control Software
To efficiently keep track of changes happened during development, especially for large scale projects, it’s necessary to use version control software to make it easier to collaborate with the changes occurred and revert back to an earlier version in case of faults arise in the newly implemented code.
Among quite a number of options to choose from, Github is currently the most popular Saas version control software in the market, allowing developers to fork, make changes, and commit or delete the changes. As a result, a front-end developer should be able to use Github for efficiently keeping track of all project changes.
Test and Debug
Regardless of the size and scope of the project, bugs and errors are bound to happen when it comes to web application development. As a result, being able to perform testing and debugging is crucial, specifically:
- UI testing (or functional testing): to ensure that the website functions as expected when user interact with the website.
- Unit testing: to verify that each unit/component of the website performs as designed.
After detection all those bugs and errors related to front-end development, the next step is for developers to debug and fix all those errors so that end-product performs as intended.
RESTful Services and APIs
REST (REpresentational State Transfer) APIs and web services allow front-end developers to communicate with the back-end architecture for web resources, without having to understand or getting involved with the back-end architecture itself.
A front-end developer will typically be required to with multiple endpoints of the API that belonged on the server-side architecture which is responsible by back-end developers.
Therefore, being able to understand and know about RESTful Services and APIs will make the job becomes easier for front-end developers, especially for web app development project of complex and large scale, requiring frequent request, and creating and editing resources on the back-end, without having to know about server-side language or work on the databases reside on the back-end.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
For almost website out there, there is a CMS (content management system) enabling users to create and update content on the site. There are quite a number of CMS to choose from, with the most popular CMS worldwide is WordPress, capturing 51% of CMS market share.
The other popular CMSs include Magento (for e-commerce site), Joomla and Drupal. Being well-versed in a specific type of CMS such as Magento or Drupal allows developers to work in a specific niche such as e-commerce which is highly desired by many large enterprises.
Nowadays, mobile devices have been gradually replacing desktop as the technologies of choice for consumers to access internet. Thus, the web UI must be created so that it is compatible with a wide range of devices of different screen size, including mobile, tablet, and desktop/laptop.
For front-end developer, this means responsive and mobile design belong in the must-know category, particularly Bootstrap template – which is a popular framework for designing responsive web application.
Soft-skills and Problem Solving
Just like any other software development projects, there will be challenges involved, such as bugs and errors occurring, or front-end code does not work when being integrated with the back-end code. Thus, being able to solve problem is a desired trait that should be considered when hiring front-end developers.
In 2020, front-end developers are among the most in-demands profession in the IT industry. For typical web development project, front-end developers will be required to work with a team of designers, project managers, and back-end developers.
So, in addition to the critical technical skills as listed above, front-end developers also need to possess other soft-skills such as problem solving, time-management and other interpersonal skills.
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