What skills or technologies should I know to become a front end developer?


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Before you can start a new career as a front end web developer, there is a wide variety of skills and technologies you should be familiar with--and many which you should master.

Essential Front End Development Skills

The following list contains many of the skills that anyone must master in order to call herself a true front end developer.
  • HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) - HTML is at the top of the list for a reason: it's the most foundational aspect of web development. The best part is that this markup language is incredibly easy to learn. The only web development tools you'll need are a good text editor and some quality tutorials, and you can pick it up in a day or two.
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) - While HTML is vital for any front end developer, as it provides the structure of all web pages, CSS is a close second in terms of importance. This is because, without CSS, your web pages will look boring at best and, at worst, like something from a true amateur back in the 90s.
  • JavaScript - To be entirely accurate, JavaScript isn't essential to web development, per se. That is, you can build perfectly functional and attractive web pages without a scripting language like JS. That said, to be a successful web developer, it is an absolute requirement. The overwhelming majority of sites on the web today use JS in some respect. So, to make it in front end front end development, you've gotta build up your JavaScript chops. The learning curve with JavaScript is much steeper than for HTML and CSS, but with practice, it's not especially difficult to pick up.
  • Version Control (e.g., Git) - Like JavaScript, you can absolutely do much of what is involved in web development without a version control system like Git. However, learning version control will make your life loads easier, and you’ll need to be very familiar with this technology if you plan on getting a job on a front end development team.
  • Responsive Design - We live in a mobile-first world now. And every year, more and more people are using their mobile devices as their primary means of accessing the web. That’s why it’s so essential to master responsive web design. If your sites or web applications don't look good and function well on smaller screens, it might as well not exist.
  • UI (User Interface)/UX (User Experience) Design - While many dev teams have dedicated user interface and user experience designers on staff, some employers may still require you do do some UX/UI work yourself. Besides, developing quality sites and apps becomes much easier when you understand at least the basics of these fields. While you might not find yourself doing user research or other more involved aspects of user experience and user interface design, you should still be competent in the basics of how people interact with sites and applications.
  • Visual Design/Graphic Design - In short, it's awfully difficult to delight clients, employers, or users with an attractive site if you don't take into account the importance of aesthetics and visual design.

Front End Developer Skills and Technologies

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