8 Things You Want to Know About a Frontend Developer Career

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What Is This Article About?

In this article, we will explore the topic of front-end programming, first clarifying what the term means and the difference between client-side and server-side programming.

Then, we will discuss the tasks of a frontend developer, the skills required, learning, and the first steps in building a career.

 

frontend developer

 

What Does the Term Frontend Developer Mean?

Frontend development is one of the areas of web development. All the web elements and functions that appear in the browser (on the “client’s” side) and those that the user interacts with are created and operated by front-end programming. Frontend development can also be referred to as client-side development.

What we see on a website, pieces of text, images, buttons, animations, navigation, etc., are all put there by front-end developers.

In this article, we will explore this area of development, presenting the frontend developer’s job from different perspectives.

 

 

Everything you see on the main page of CodeBerry is frontend programming: the buttons on the top bar, the address bar, the cards with information about each course, the chatbox, etc.

Client-side and Server-side

Web development is not a singular process or activity, but rather an umbrella term that encompasses the different areas of website development and web application development.

The two major branches of web development are client-side and server-side programming. Let’s briefly look at each of these terms.

Client-side development refers to the process of translating the design, style and content of a website into code.

Server-side programming is about building and maintaining the back-end processes that run on the server, i.e. processing, organizing, storing, and retrieving the data needed to make the website and the services it provides work.

Browser and Web Server

A browser is a program that allows you to access the content available on the internet, the most well-known of them being Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera. They run on the user’s device (smartphone, computer, tablet, etc.).

The servers are behind the scenes, storing and managing data, often in huge volumes. The browser transmits the data requests from the user’s side and the server sends back the requested information (response), which is again displayed by the browser.

Frontend vs Backend Development

Client-side programming is frontend development and server-side programming is backend development. 

Frontend programming tasks are, for example:

  • Displaying pieces of text, images, videos, and animations
  • Navigation between subpages
  • Interaction between the user and the website (e.g. making data requests)

Backend programming tasks are, for example:

  • Getting information from databases
  • store data entered by the user in databases
  • build and operate recommendation systems to provide relevant content for the user

Full-stack programming

To create and maintain complex websites, the two areas need to work closely together.

Developers with extensive knowledge and experience in both areas, who are both frontend and backend developers in one, are called full-stack developers.

 

What are the Languages of Frontend Programming?

Every website is built on three main programming languages: HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), which provides the structure, CSS (Cascading Style Sheet), which determines the appearance, style, colors, and layout of the website, and JavaScript, which is responsible for interactivity, clickability, and navigation.

What Does a Frontend Developer Do?

By default, a frontend developer will build the look and feel of the website and the client-side functionality based on the web designer’s plans. To do this, they use HTML, CSS and JavaScript programming languages, as well as other frameworks and libraries.

Sometimes, there is no clear boundary between the areas or tasks, and the frontend developer may also deal with other areas related to web development, such as SEO, UI/UX, design, backend tasks, etc.

It is also possible that a developer may only deal with one part or stage of the website development process. For example, in a company as large as Netflix, Slack or Amazon, it is very likely that each feature (e.g. the login interface, navigation between sub-sites, search engine, etc.) is developed by a separate team.

If you continue reading the article, you will find a lot more information about what a frontend developer does and what technologies they use.

What Can Be Included in the Job Description of a Frontend Developer? 

This is only briefly covered here, as we have dedicated a separate article and even a short research paper to this topic: What is needed from a frontend developer in 2021?

Some key tasks that are most likely to be among the expectations:

  • Knowledge of the main programming languages of the frontend (HTML, CSS, JavaScript)
  • Modern JavaScript frameworks (e.g. Vue, React, Angular)
  • Version control
  • In almost all cases, the job requires the developer to be able to work well in a team, have good communication skills and have a solid command of English.

If you’re familiar with the world of frontend programming and current trends in technology, you’re probably more interested in the expectations a frontend developer faces when applying for a job. The list below summarizes this.

  • You should know the most important languages for front-end programming, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. TypeScript, which is an extension of JavaScript, is increasingly expected. 
  • You need to be familiar with at least one modern JavaScript framework, but it’s preferable to know more. React or Angular is generally expected.
  • Your programming work should meet modern quality standards. You should be familiar with Clean Code principles and be proficient in debugging.
  • Be familiar with version control, and have experience in using Git.
  • Know the basics of communication between pieces of software: the REST API is the most common one.
  • You should be able to use CSS preprocessors, also known as precompilers, primarily SASS.
  • Get comfortable in the world of testing, test frameworks and test software, and be able to create tests.
  • You must be able to communicate confidently in English, both orally and in writing, and have a good command of the professional language for documentation.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills are essential for teamwork: you need to be a team player with a proactive attitude, working reliably and accurately as part of a development team.

 

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What is the Difference Between a Junior and Senior Frontend Developer?

In a nutshell: a senior frontend developer needs to be able to see through larger systems and have more reliable problem-solving skills than a junior one.

The fundamental difference is that senior developers have a broad range of experience gained from many different projects, and can integrate this experience, applying it to the problem at hand. Leadership skills are often required, expectations may include team management and training of junior colleagues.

If you’re interested in this topic, we recommend a previous article that specifically answers this question: What to learn next? – How to become a senior frontend developer?

Where to Learn? – Frontend Development Courses

If you’re interested in web development and want to learn how to build a website, there are several courses to choose from.

CodeBerry’s Website Creation course will give you practice in using HTML and CSS programming languages, and teach you how to create attractive, modern websites.

And in the Basics of Programming course, you’ll learn the basics of JavaScript, which brings websites to life.

We’ve previously written a feature on what other courses are available for website development. For a fuller picture, read our article on The Top 10 Best Web Design Courses.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Frontend Development?

The question of how long it takes to learn something is never easy to answer. This is because the learning process always depends on how intensively you engage with the new knowledge, and how much you practice it. It also depends on individual aptitudes, interests, motivation and prior knowledge.

It takes about 100 hours to learn the basics of frontend web development, but this is not the level at which you can get a job as a frontend developer. Further practice is required, as well as learning about frameworks, libraries, and coding methodologies.

Programming bootcamps usually commit to 4-5 months of intensive training to prepare you to become a frontend programmer, which will allow you to successfully apply for jobs. These courses include theory and practice, learning programming languages through problem-solving and project work, and developing the necessary soft skills.

How Can an Aspiring Frontend Developer Get Started? 

If you’ve got the basic website building skills and the technical knowledge to start looking for your dream frontend job, there are a few things you can do to get closer to success. 

  1. You can start building your portfolio while you are still learning, as convincing reference work will give you a much better chance in the labor market. As you progress in your learning, you can also return to your previous practice projects to develop them further. 
  2. If you have the opportunity, attend professional events, programming workshops, exhibitions, etc. Networking, i.e. increasing your professional network, is extremely important when you are starting out, but it is also worthwhile to do it later on.
  3. Keep learning and developing, and always strive to improve and be as up-to-date as possible. In programming, learning does not end with the completion of a training course, as technologies change and evolve, there is always a need to update your knowledge. Read articles on topics that interest you, watch YouTube tutorials, and try new solutions. 
  4. Don’t drop out of practice when you are not working as a programmer. If you don’t start working as a frontend developer straight away, you could fall out of practice between finishing training and starting work, and your newly acquired skills could easily be lost. That’s why it’s worth working on practice projects or taking part in online coding challenges, for example, to keep what you’ve learned fresh. 

 

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Frontend Development Jobs

In the following, we will try to briefly summarize what you need to know about a career as a frontend developer and its stages.

Where Do Frontend Developers Work? 

  • For large companies, and multinationals: In large companies, development is usually carried out by teams of several people, with each segment of the process being handled by a separate programmer.

As a member of a development team, you might find that you only have to deal with the frontend, because you have a separate person responsible for the design, UX/UI, customer relations, and backend. In smaller companies, on the other hand, there may be more tasks that one developer is responsible for, not just the frontend.

  • Medium-sized, and smaller companies, start-ups: There are a variety of developer tasks, and what frontend developers have to do depends largely on the profile of the company.

For example, the tasks may differ depending on whether the developer (team) itself assesses the needs of the customer, i.e. whether they have to deal with customers, whether the developers have UI/UX (i.e. user experience design) tasks, what target audience the product is intended for, etc.

It is also not uncommon for a smaller company to have the budget to hire only one web developer, so they are looking for a full-stack developer who can manage the entire process.

  • Freelance web developer: you can also create custom-made websites as website design is an area that many people do individually. Freelance jobs are also available in a variety of set-ups. If you are freelancing for a large project, you may be wanted for a specific frontend task.

If a web developer has a website building business, in many cases their clients may not understand the whole process, they just want a website for their product or service. So all the tasks can end up in the hands of the developer, from copywriting to the backend tasks needed to run the webstore. 

Frontend Developer Jobs

Let’s take a look at some tips to help you be more successful in your frontend developer job search.

Job Sites

As in other fields, one of the most obvious ways to find a job is to browse through job sites. As there are many remote jobs, it is worth looking beyond your local area and visiting sites that cover the international job market (e.g. Indeed, LinkedIn Jobs).

Sites where you can build up your own profile in detail, share references, report on previous projects, etc. can contribute significantly to finding a job. LinkedIn is one such site, and it’s worth taking advantage of it.

Professional Events, Networking

As we mentioned earlier about starting a career, having as many personal contacts as possible in the IT sector will also help you find the job you want, or help the job find you.

Why are we saying this? In interviews with CodeBerry staff and former students, programmers often reported that they had not really looked for a job, or not for long. Rather, they were approached by others with different offers, and requests, or were able to move on from internships and immediately start working on bigger projects.

Career Support, Job Guarantee

There are programming training courses (typically bootcamps) that offer a range of services to help you find a job, and it is worth looking into these and the conditions attached to them. Such services include career counselling, networking programs, job interview preparation, and job search mentoring.

Another option for some courses is a job guarantee, which usually allows the newly qualified programmer to find a job at one of the partner companies.

Frontend Developer Internships 

As with any profession, frontend development is best learned through practice, which is why many people are interested in internships, either while studying at university or after completing a programming bootcamp.

When working for a company as an intern, a mentor will probably help you develop, train you, guide you through the workings of the company and help you if you get stuck with your programming tasks.

Completing university IT courses usually requires an internship with an external company, the length of which varies from university to university and from course to course.

Frontend Developer Salaries

We have prepared a separate collection of average salaries in IT professions in Hungary, which can be found in the article titled How Much Can You Make as a Programmer in 2021? – Top 19 IT and software developer salaries. Based on this, the average starting salary starts from HUF 350.000 before tax per month, but with a few years of experience, a frontend developer can expect a salary of around HUF 850.000. Seniors with serious experience can earn between HUF 700,000 and 1.2 million.

In this article we have explored the topic of front-end programming, clarifying the concepts involved, what a frontend developer does, how to learn the profession, how to get a job in it, and what kind of salary you can expect if you successfully overcome the obstacles.

If you’d like to see more programming tutorials, check out our Youtube channel, where we have plenty of video tutorials in English.

Basics of Programming

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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