What to Study to Become a Front-End Developer (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 27, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Front-end developers usually make the websites you browse, the news you review, and the items you purchase online user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. These web developers play an important role in creating customer experiences that are easy to use and navigate. Understanding what these professionals study to find success in their role can help you plan your educational pursuits and advance your career. In this article, we define what a front-end developer is, explore what to study to become a front-end developer, see the steps you can take to pursue this career, and review some FAQs.

What is a front-end developer?

Front-end developers, also known as client-side developers, use computer programming languages and tools, such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, to build the features and public-facing appearance of a website. They use visual communication aspects and elements to help users navigate a site, operate the site's functionality, and complete actions, such as purchases. These professionals are skilled at evaluating the customer journey and developing a user interface that helps guide users through a site. They often work with back-end developers who enable the infrastructure and databases of the site.

Here are some responsibilities of a front-end developer:

  • designing and implementing web design techniques and principles that are functional and consistent with the brand identity

  • monitoring website performance and fixing usability issues

  • creating tools that enhance the user experience

  • collaborating with the web development team to ensure accuracy during all stages of a site or software development

  • evaluating the customer journey and user experience to identify areas of improvement

  • maintaining an updated knowledge of web design trends and advancements

  • determining how to balance aesthetic design with user functionality

  • ensuring web pages get optimized for speed and are responsive to various screen sizes

Read more: What Does a Front-End Developer Do? (With Average Salary)

What to study to become a front-end developer

Learning what to study to become a front-end developer can help you plan your educational and academic pursuits. While there's no specific degree or educational path required to pursue a career in web development, many front-end developers choose to pursue a degree in computer science. Alternatively, these professionals may also benefit from education related to design fundamentals or user-interface design. Regardless of whether you're pursuing formal education or self-guided learning experiences, it's essential to learn the fundamentals of front-end development, programming languages, and development frameworks.

Here are the topics you might explore when pursuing this career path:

  • Coding languages: The coding languages of CSS, JavaScript, and HTML are critical for website and software development. There are numerous online resources, workshops, and tools you can explore to help develop your knowledge and abilities using coding languages.

  • Customer journey: It can be helpful to familiarize yourself with the customer journey to better understand user experience and how you can use graphics and code to enhance the site visitor's interaction. This knowledge can help you design sites and software to optimize the user's experience and guide them through the purchasing process.

  • Command line: Developers use organization and navigation formats to display files in a system. The components of a command line include the prompt, the cursor, the text input, and the output of the command.

  • Version control: An essential aspect of a front-end developer's role is managing versions of your work. Having a deep understanding of how you can control your revisions and source information can help you find success in this role.

Related: 10 of the Most In-Demand Coding Languages for Your Career

How to become a front-end developer

Here are the steps you can take to become a front-end web or software developer:

1. Obtain an education

To enhance your knowledge and improve your skills, you might consider enrolling in a short-term intensive training course or full-time instruction at a formal institution or exploring self-learning opportunities. Certain employers may require candidates to have a bachelor's degree or experience that's equivalent to formal education. Some prospective developers choose to pursue this type of formal education to assist with career advancement. Common degrees for this career path include computer science, software engineering, or a related field.

If you prefer the self-guided learning route, there are numerous online courses available to explore. Pursuing education through this route requires dedication, self-motivation, and commitment. If you're interested in exploring these options, it's helpful to create a learning schedule with resources and a timeline for completion.

Related: An Overview of Web Development Certifications with Examples

2. Advance your technical skills

To pursue a career in web development, it's critical that you gain an advanced working knowledge of various hard and technical skills. You can learn and develop these skills by building sample websites using the core programming frameworks essential to front-end web development, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Doing this can help you practise your skills and gain confidence in your abilities. The more you're able to use your knowledge in a practical environment, the quicker you can grow your familiarity with the languages and the faster you may become.

You can take test jobs, volunteer with an organization, or pursue an internship to advance your technical skills. By working with an experienced developer, you can gain valuable feedback about your work and improve your problem-solving skills. You can also use this opportunity to discuss your goals and get insights into other coding languages you might explore.

Related: Top Skills for Software Developer

3. Practise coding

Front-end developers rely on their quick coding abilities and efficiency to find success in their roles. Practising your coding skills can help you become more familiar with the languages and enhance your skills. You can explore online programs with interactive components to assist you in developing your syntax of coding languages. There are many practice coding sites that cater to various levels of expertise and offer challenges from which you can learn.

Related: 6 Fundamental Coding Concepts (With Tips to Improve)

4. Interact with the web development community

To further enhance your skills and learn from experienced developers, you might consider joining an online coding community. Developers involved in these community hubs share their work and projects, receiving peer comments and feedback. This allows you to further your knowledge and experience while receiving helpful tips for improving your abilities and becoming a successful developer. The individuals on these platforms are often very skilled and willing to share their knowledge with others.

5. Develop an online portfolio

To showcase your experience and abilities, you can develop an online portfolio that includes relevant, recent, and exceptional work. You can include a short biography outlining your scope of work, areas of expertise, and any additional information that may appeal to employers. This allows you to share and demonstrate your experience easily, highlight your abilities, and increase your chances of being selected for a job interview.

Read more: Online Portfolio (With Benefits and Steps to Create One)

6. Find the right web development job for you

There are many different types of web development jobs in various industries that you may want to pursue. Consider exploring job descriptions for companies with which you're familiar. Review the requirements, description of the job duties, and recommended qualifications to determine if you're interested in pursuing such a position. This can help you determine if your skills and abilities match the expectations and requirements of the employer. If you're still unsure about the type of industry you're interested in pursuing, you can reach out to the web development community to gather information and evaluate their recommendations.

Related: Software Developer vs. Web Developer (Plus IT Skills)

Frequently asked questions

If you have additional questions about becoming a front-end developer, you can explore these frequently asked questions to learn more about this role:

What is the difference between front-end and back-end web development?

In software and website development, the front-end refers to the client-side or user-facing side of an application, while back-end development refers to the server side of a site or software. The front end of a website's development encompasses the side the users see and with which they interact. The back end of a site includes the part of the website users doesn't see or interact with, including any database information.

Read more: Comparing Front End vs. Back End (With Definitions)

What is the work environment for a front-end developer?

Front-end developers generally work standard business hours in an office setting. These professionals spend many hours sitting at a desk on the computer, using various software programs that facilitate the translation of coding languages into interfaces. Depending on the individual and their employer, they may also work from home occasionally or full-time. They may meet with clients to discuss their needs and design software solutions that meet them.

Related: What Is an Agile Work Environment? (With Characteristics)

What are some occupations related to front-end developers?

The occupations similar to front-end developers are computer programmers, computer network architects, graphic designers, and information security analysts. Front-end developers often work closely with back-end developers to create functional sites or software. Professionals that perform the job duties of both the front and back-end developer are often called full-stack developers.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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