Frontend developer requirements – from the employer’s point of view

If you want to become a frontend developer, or you are already working in this field but want to get ahead to more challenging and better-paying jobs, you need to train yourself and get to know new technologies.

So whether you start from the basics or want to get into more advanced things, you need to learn. But what should you learn?

 

The frontend developer roadmap

 

Frontend basics and advanced skills

There are many articles, lists, and videos online that explain what a frontend developer needs to know (you can find our favourite roadmap at the end of this article, made by the roadmap.sh).

It may be useful to browse these compilations and listen to what experienced developers have to say about the topic, but these opinions are always from a subjective point of view. Is it certain that you need exactly these technologies and that you have to learn them in exactly that order? 

There are basic programming languages that are necessary for frontend development (like HTML, CSS and JavaScript). But what extra knowledge is required above all this?

What do you need to know, what skills do you need to have besides being familiar with the development toolbar? We are looking for answers to these questions in this article.

What do you really need to find a job?

We used a different approach than the articles and videos mentioned above. We are looking at what employers expect from you, and what they say isn’t mandatory but is advantageous.

To do this, we collected almost 70 frontend developer job offers in Hungary from LinkedIn and Indeed, and we organized them in a list to see what expectations they have.

This is how we are searching for the answer to the question of what it is that a frontend developer really needs to get a job, and what they should widen their repertoire with if they already know the basics to have a better chance when looking for a job.

Nothing lasts forever in the world of programming

This collection shows data from 2021, and there may be changes later, as it always happens in the field of programming. If you want to be a developer, you should be open to new things and look for trends.

 

Extend your skills with frontend developer knowledge

 

How did the lists in this article come to be?

We wanted to know the employers’ (multinational corporations, smaller companies, startups) point of view, so we collected the requirements given in job offers.

We collected 70 frontend developer job advertisements from the biggest online job portals, LinkedIn and Indeed. You can find all advertisements and the data from them in this table.

Requirement or advantage? 

We compiled a list of requirements and non-mandatory advantages. The must-have list is about requirements, and the nice-to-have list contains the advantageous skills.

These two have separate lists, but it is important to note that must-have and nice-to-have skills cannot always be separated, depending on the company and the job you choose.

The technologies and skills in this article are listed according to how common they are in job advertisements. You will find the detailed data in a table next to the list, so feel free to check it out. 

Categories and technologies

There are many development technologies, languages, frameworks, and methods that pop up in advertisements. We categorized these to make it easier to follow and understand.

Category names are general names for a group, and you can find the lists under them to see what these general names actually refer to. 

You can find the top 10 must-have and nice-to-have technologies as well, and these are even more detailed, mentioning actual languages and pieces of software instead of overall skills. 

 

Learn new skills and become a frontend developer online!

 

Must-have category list (top 10 knowledge and skills requirements)

As we have already mentioned, we categorized the requirements. In the list below, you can find the skill categories that are the most common in frontend job advertisements.

 

Skill category name Percentage of appearance in job advertisements
Programming languages (e.g. HTML, CSS, JS, etc.) 88%
Frameworks and libraries (e.g. React, Angular, etc.) 78%
Foreign language skills (e.g. English, German) 62%
Skills besides professional knowledge, soft skills (e.g. communication skills, ability to work independently, etc.) 60%
Programming methods, principles and procedures for code quality and testability  (e.g. clean code, debugging, etc.) 35%
Communication between pieces of software (e.gl. REST API, JSON, etc.)  34%
Version control (e.g. git, Github, etc.) 32%
Development methodology, management tools (e.g. Agile, Scrum, etc.) 28%
CSS preprocessors (e.g. SCSS, SASS, etc.) 25%
Testing (e.g. Jest, Jasmine, etc.) 25%

 

Must-have technology list (top 10 most required actual technology) 

On this list, you’ll find the actual programming languages, pieces of software, and technologies that appear most commonly in frontend job advertisements.

 

Name of the technology:  Percentage of appearance in advertisements:
JavaScript 82%
CSS 51%
React 43%
Angular 43%
TypeScript 34%
HTML 29%
Git 28%
REST 28%
SASS 21%
jQuery 16%

 

Let’s summarize what we can learn from the lists above

According to employers’ expectations, what is the basic knowledge you need to have as a frontend developer if you want to get a job?

  • You need to know the basic languages of frontend programming—HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. TypeScript, created as an extension of JavaScript is expected more and more often.
  • You need to know at least one modern JavaScript framework, but knowing more can give you an advantage. React or Angular skills are expected.
  • Your work as a programmer must meet modern quality expectations, and you need to know Clean Code principles and be proficient in debugging.
  • You need to be proficient in version control and be experienced with using Git.
  • You need to know the basics of communication between pieces of software: the most common thing here is REST API.
  • You need to know how to use CSS preprocessors or precompilers, primarily SASS.
  • Be comfortable in the world of testing, testing frameworks and software, and be able to create tests.
  • Have good written and speaking English communication skills, and you will need to know the terminology for creating documentation.
  • Social and communication skills are essential for teamwork — you will need to work in a development team as a team player, proactively, reliably and with precision.

Nice-to-have category list (skills that most commonly give you an advantage) 

On this list, you’ll find skills that are not mandatory, but nice to have. These are based on the basic knowledge you can find on the must-have list. Categories that got high scores on the nice-to-have list but often appear on the must-have list as well are in parentheses.

 

Name of the category Percentage of appearance in job advertisements as nice-to-have skills
Knowing other frameworks 41%
Knowing other programming languages 38%
Back-end technologies 31%
Being familiar with infrastructure technologies 26%
(Build tools) 25%
(Testing) 22%
(Soft skills) 18%
(Development methodology, management tools) 15%
(Version control) 12%
(Communication between pieces of software) 12%
Design skills 10%
Mobile development technologies 10%

 

Nice to have – technologies (Top 10 advantageous technologies)

There is no expectation limit within the skills that give you an advantage – there are technologies that some companies expect you to have, while others give you bonus points for them. 

Since these often overlap (if we are looking at how common they are), there would be a lot of technologies that already appeared on the list of must-have technologies. Here, we are looking at pieces of software and technologies that haven’t appeared above so this collection can give be of more use.

 

Name of the technology Percentage of appearance
Node.js 12% must-have, 18% nice-to-have
Docker 4% must-have, 13% nice-to-have
CI/CD 6% must-have, 13% nice-to-have
Bootstrap 12% must-have, 6% nice-to-have
Mobile  6% must-have, 9% nice-to-have
Webpack 7% must-have, 9% nice-to-have
Jira 3% must-have, 7% nice-to-have
Vue 7% nice-to-have
Azure 3% must-have, 7% nice-to-have
Jenkins 1% must-have, 6% nice-to-have
Jest 10% must-have, 6% nice-to-have

 

What can we learn from this data?

  • The most important knowledge you can have is being familiar with many frameworks. Vue.js or Bootstrap will always come in handy, and you can’t go wrong with Redux either.
  • You can also benefit from additional programming languages, back-end knowledge, and improving your JavaScript skills (beyond the basic frontend languages): improve your JavaScript knowledge by familiarizing yourself with the ES6 standard and become familiar with other languages, such as Java, Python, or Node.js. PHP and SQL knowledge can also come in handy.
  • Knowing a wide variety of tools that help development can get you the job of your dreams. Module bundler, package manager, container tool, infrastructure… if they don’t sound familiar yet, expand your knowledge with various development and infrastructure tools – such as concepts of Webpack, Docker, Jenkins, CI / CD (continuous integration, continuous development)—these are all great choices.
  • Proficiency in software testing is becoming an advantage in more and more places, being familiar with Jest, for example, can bring you closer to many jobs.
  • The software development principle and methodology used by a given company can decide the working methods and schedule. Knowing agile software development methodology, and Scrum or Kanban can also be useful. Knowing how to use the project management tool Jira is also a common expectation.
  • Frontend is important not only on desktop but mobile devices as well, so responsive design is starting to appear more frequently on the list of requirements. Knowledge of frameworks that make the development of mobile apps possible (e.g. React Native) is also expected.
  • Basic UI and UX design skills can be important in the design of user-friendly interfaces. These are separate professions, but in many software development teams, this role becomes part of the frontend developer’s job, so it can be advantageous to know the basics of building user-friendly interfaces. If you like creative fields and immersing yourself in the world of design software, colours, and styles, you can choose the design route, and that will help you succeed in frontend jobs as well.

Some interesting pieces of data

Only 15% of jobs require a degree 

You can often read or hear that you don’t need a university degree for certain fields of programming, like frontend development. In this collection, we experienced this — from the frontend job offers we analyzed, only 15% required a specialized higher education degree. Professional knowledge is more important, and to have as much practical experience as possible behind the applicant.

 

What is needed from a frontend developer?

 

Soft skills are especially important

In 53 of the nearly 70 ads analyzed, soft skills receive special attention. Openness and receptivity to learning as well as teamwork skills pop up quite frequently. In addition, reliability, meeting deadlines, and management experience can be important.

When you read the job offers, you will find that the ideal employee is cooperative, proactive, and can work independently.

While these are frontend jobs, back-end cannot always be separated from it

We analyzed frontend jobs, but it is clear that we can gain a huge advantage if we have some back-end knowledge as well. In 31% of advertisements, back-end skills were listed as an advantage.

Node.js appeared in 20% of ads, but SQL or PHP experience can give you an edge as well. 

TypeScript in the lead

The 3 basic programming languages for frontend development are HTML, CSS and JavaScript. However, knowledge of TypeScript seems to be an increasing expectation (34% of jobs) or an advantage (another 10%). 

Mobile apps, Android and iOS development

Mobile development, Android and iOS skills do not appear in expectations as much, but they are popping up more and more frequently. If you are interested in this field, you should familiarize yourself with mobile development. 

Frontend development roadmap

On the website roadmap.sh, you can find roadmaps to many development careers where they sum up the most important technologies of any given field. The creators and voluntary editors of this website made a detailed route to becoming a frontend developer.

We used this frontend developer roadmap as an illustration for the article but redesigned the original map a bit. We highlighted the technologies we often encountered in job advertisements among employers’ expectations.

At the start of this map, you’ll find the basics of internet usage which we considered basic knowledge, but job advertisements do not go into detail about what they mean by this, nor do they tell us what basics are required in HTML, CSS és JavaScript. We can say that for the first few stations of the roadmap, every item is equally important.

Entry and senior levels

As a junior developer, you have to know a lot of languages, frameworks and build tools to start working as a frontend developer. On the roadmap, you can find technologies that are required from every entry-level employee, until the station titled “Choose a framework”.

For advanced level employees, there are other frameworks and learning TypeScript could be the next step. From the station “Progressive Web Apps,” you’ll find skills that you need to become a senior developer or to specialize in mobile app development, for example.

 

 

In this article, we began at the goal (getting a job as a frontend developer) and went back to see which technologies and soft skills are needed to get the desired job. We hope you’ve found the lists helpful, and that now you know what to learn first if you are already familiar with the basics.

In CodeBerry Programming School’s “Basics of Programming” series, we discuss programming-related topics and everything you need to know to get started. Stay tuned for new articles and find the answer to every “what”, “why”, and “how”, you may have had about coding!

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