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How to become a front-end developer in 2022

Becoming a front-end developer is lucrative if you become an expert in basic development tools. Read on to know the essentials for a successful career.

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Let’s say you want to rent an apartment: you have a computer with Internet access, and you know the address of another, more powerful computer that stores a vast number of ads.

Suppose you imagine that the usual sites do not exist and you cannot, for example, view ads on the map or filter out the unnecessary ones by filling out a convenient form.

In that case, you will have to make a network request yourself and figure out how where to send data.

Fortunately, engineers have invented browsers, and web technologies are constantly evolving, so you just need to use the convenient interface that developers from different companies provide. Just make a couple of clicks to find the necessary information.

Front-end developers are programmers who are responsible for creating website front-ends like this. This is the client part of the site, with which the user directly interacts on their computer or phone (client).

Many people know that websites include the markup and styling necessary to provide a clear page structure and design, but front-end development is not limited to this.

Most of the sites we constantly use are full-fledged web applications: mail, online banking, online cinemas, photo editors, and notes.

To make such applications work, front-end developers add program code that runs in the browser, implementing the desired functionality. If necessary, the browser interacts with the server, dynamically obtaining the essential information.

What is the role of a front-end developer?

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A front-end developer:

  • Creates a user interface, adds markup and styles to the site pages;
  • Programs the logic that runs on the client device, develops the architecture of the client application;
  • Optimizes the performance of the front-end so that the project loads quickly, search engines raise the site in the search results, and users do not feel any delay when navigating and interacting with the interface;
  • Tests the developed functionality and writes automated tests to ensure high quality and avoid errors when changing the code;
  • Configures the project assembly, which allows you to automate the additional processing of code and files before the application is launched;
  • Deploys the application: puts it on the server so that the app is available on the network and users can access it;
  • Monitors emerging errors with the help of monitoring tools and fixes them in time.

In different teams, front-end developers can solve completely different tasks, for example:

  • Develop the client side of a business web application (what end users see when they use various online services);
  • Develop a library of interface components: individual blocks that other developers use in their projects (for example, buttons, pop-ups, form fields, or graph elements). It can be open source libraries that developers around the world use or a company’s internal component library with a specific design;
  • Create technical tools to improve application architecture. Other front-end developers once created the tools that the entire front-end community now uses to improve the user experience when browsing sites and the development process itself. You can become one of those developers.
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Professional skills

For many years, the three pillars of front-end development have been HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

HTML

You can’t proceed without understanding the markup because HTML composes the site’s skeleton. You need to learn the basic tags and attributes, learn the anatomy of the HTML markup, and be aware of accessibility and SEO basics.

Don’t forget about HTML5, the fifth version of the language that appears in the requirements of every front-end job. HTML development is not fast-paced, so you will have a significant advantage if you already know the markup language.

CSS

It’s also essential to learn how to style elements with CSS and do it the right way, like reuse styles for the same elements, for example.

First, master the box model and content positioning — the layout, alignment, centering of elements, and their visibility. Read about adaptive and responsive design. Next, move on to media queries to consider the technical parameters of various devices.

A good bonus will be working with CSS Grid and Flexbox. Then, deepen your knowledge by studying architecture and preprocessors.

To get the first practical skills in working with HTML and CSS, you should make a few pages: this can be done according to the templates from the above articles, or you can write a completely independent project.

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JavaScript

Do you really think one can become a front-end developer without knowing JavaScript in 2022?

The site’s full functionality rests on the shoulders of this language: actions on pressing buttons, filling out forms, listening to events, launching triggers, and much more.

Do not neglect the basics and immediately move on to learning the “fashionable” framework – learn the language gradually.

So, you will need to master the syntax and basic JS constructions. Note that JavaScript is a loosely typed language, meaning it does implicit type conversion automatically.

This means you can write something like 10+ “1” and not get an error. On the contrary, the result will be string 101

Let’s return to the roadmap for front-end development. It is essential to master the DOM, the interface for working with HTTP requests and Fetch API responses, AJAX technology, XMLHttpRequest, ECMAScript 6+, the modular approach, and web components. Also, go over such concepts as strict mode and shadow DOM.

Web Security

Do you know what OWASP is? It is an open-source project that collects statistics and aims to secure web applications.

To become a front-end developer in 2022, you need to pay special attention to security. Although new ways to protect yourself emerge rapidly, attackers do not stand still either.

So, you need to understand the advantages of HTTPS over HTTP, how CORS works, the Content Protection Policy (CSP), and regularly check for updates on the OWASP site.

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Tools

Everything is simple here:

  • master the work with the Git version control system and choose a convenient service for hosting projects;
  • use linters and formatters to improve code quality;
  • use taskrunners and bundlers for assembly;
  • get in the habit of working with the npm and yarn package managers.

Frameworks

The 3 main frameworks for working with the front-end:

  • React.js
  • Angular
  • Vue.js

GraphQL

GraphQL is the primary API request language for front-end developers. The Apollo platform, in turn, is a GraphQL implementation for transporting data from the cloud to the UI of a web application, and Relay Modern is a framework that uses GraphQL to work with data-driven applications.

Conclusion

To become a front-end developer in 2022, you should be proficient in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, be able to secure web applications, and be proficient in basic tools such as Git, Prettier, ESLint, npm scripts, and Webpack.

Learn at least one of the basic JavaScript frameworks, and get the hang of working with GraphQL.

But by no means stop there. For example, more and more software development companies hire full-stack developers with various skills.

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