Basically, web development consists of two main parts and each of them demands different skills and knowledge of technologies: front-end (with what the user interacts with) and back-end (all that goes behind the scenes and makes it happen). The front-end, in other words, is taking care of the “client-side” while the back-end is focused on “server-side”. The distinction is important if you want to classify the skills which are necessary for a front-end developer.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, this article will break down some of the key skills front-end web developers use on the job.
HTML & CSS
HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are the most basic building blocks of web coding. Without these two things, you can’t create a website design, and all you’ll end up with is unformatted plain text on the screen. You can’t even add images to a page without HTML!
Before you get started on any web development career path, you’ll have to master coding with HTML and CSS. The good news is that getting a solid working knowledge of either of these can be done in just a few months.
RESTful Services And APIs
Without getting too technical on this one, REST stands for Representational State Transfer. In basic terms, it’s a lightweight architecture that simplifies network communication on the web.
Depending on the team you are going to work with or on the project, most likely there will be given a framework you should be familiar with. Knowing the language itself is one thing but knowing how to work within a framework is an additional skill and you can’t do much without it, especially if you want to create some real project for a client. The most popular frameworks around are jQuery, Angular, and React.
More people are starting to access the internet from their mobile devices rather than from their desktop computers. So it’s no wonder that responsive and mobile design skills are super important to employers. Responsive design means that the site’s layout (and sometimes functionality and content) change based on the screen size and device someone is using.
For example, when a website is visited from a desktop computer with a big monitor, a user would get multiple columns, big graphics, and interaction created specifically for mouse and keyboard users. On a mobile device, the same website would appear as a single column optimized for touch interaction, but using the same base files.
Version Control Systems
Version control systems let you keep track of changes that have been made to code over time. They also make it easy to revert back to an earlier version if you screw something up. So let’s say you add a customized jQuery plugin and suddenly half your other code breaks. Rather than having to scramble to manually undo it and fix all the errors, you can roll back to a previous version and then try again with a different solution.
Git is the most widely used of these version control management systems. Knowing how to use Git is going to be a requirement for virtually any development job. This is one of those vital job skills that developers need to have, but that few actually talk about.