Who is a Frontend Developer

This profession seems to be one of the easiest entrances to IT, although if you dig a little deeper than the basic knowledge of layout, it turns out that it is almost more difficult than all the others. Together with Aleksey Vidyakin, the mentor of the Frontend Developer course, we compare website development with the creation of a car, reveal the nuances of the specialty and look for pitfalls.

What is a frontend developer?

A frontend developer is a specialist who is responsible for creating the user interface of a website, application, or software.

If the backend is what is on the web server, “under the hood”, then the frontend of the site is everything that the user sees in the browser and interacts with when he enters data and receives feedback.

Website development can be compared with the creation of a new car model. In this analogy, the engineers working on chassis, engine, and transmission specifications are backend developers. And the designers and engineers responsible for the instrument panel, cabin ergonomics and driving comfort are front-enders. Therefore, a frontend developer needs both design and engineering skills.

Here we explain in memes how the frontend differs from the backend.

Where does he work and what tasks does a frontend developer solve?

It works wherever you need to create a website, application or any other program that has an interface. Knowledge of JavaScript (the main language of the frontend developer) does not limit the programmer to web development. The language is also used to create desktop applications, such as Microsoft and OpenOffice office suites or Adobe applications, and in programming equipment and household appliances (payment terminals, set-top boxes, etc.).

In addition to web development studios, there are a lot of job options for a front-end developer:

  • IT departments of companies. Retailers and marketplaces, mobile operators and banks, social networks and streaming platforms are improving their services. The largest of them themselves set trends in frontend development. For example, the React framework was created by a programmer from Facebook. You can work both within the company and in an agency that specializes in outsourced development.
  • Enterprise software developers. Here you will need to create project management services, CRM and other web applications for business. Such software often has complex interfaces and needs regular maintenance.
  • State organizations. Services such as “Gosuslugi”, “Nalog.ru”, city information portals are constantly growing and improving, involving these specialists in their work.

How are front-end tasks different from layout tasks?

The basic tools for creating a website page are the HTML web page markup language, CSS cascading style sheets, and the JavaScript programming language. The skeleton of the page is written in HTML, thanks to CSS it acquires an attractive appearance.

When the page is given a structure and styles are described for it, it is laid out. The layout designer owns these tools. His duties sometimes include simple operations with JavaScript, such as connecting plugins and scripts that are responsible for animating static pages.

On small projects, the tasks of a layout designer and frontend developer are often performed by one person.

As the functionality of sites and applications becomes more complex, more and more of the markup of pages and their content is dynamically generated, that is, created using JavaScript, and filled with data received from the server. You can continue to solve these problems in pure JavaScript or use libraries, but such a site will not be fast enough, and its developers will soon begin to moan due to the increase in code volumes and exorbitant complication of its structure.

Building a large and complex web application requires more specialized expertise and powerful tools. On such a project, the tasks of the layout designer and the frontend developer are separated. The frontender deals exclusively with programming, and with the use of a framework suitable for solving the task.

How much do frontend developers get paid?

According to Habr.Career, in September 2022, the average salary of frontend developers is about 150,000 rubles. At the same time, the average salary of novice specialists is about 80,000 rubles. Senior level developers are offered an average of 300,000 rubles.

Dynamics of salaries of developers according to Stackoverflow

How to become a frontend developer?

What to study?

Experienced programmers are a little cunning when they talk about the low threshold for entering the frontend developer profession. This usually means the ease of learning the basic technologies related to layout (HTML and CSS) and the initial skills to bring web pages to life with the help of plugins and libraries. But in 2021, this is only a small part of what a front-end developer should know and be able to do.

“In 2017, I got my first job knowing only HTML, CSS, a little JavaScript and JQuery,” says Alexey Vidyakin. “Today, in 2021, the requirements have grown a lot, as competition has grown. You won’t surprise anyone with basic knowledge of layout.”

Here is a sample list of requirements for a junior specialist in 2021:

Know HTML and CSS. This includes skills in cross-browser and adaptive layout, knowledge of popular CSS frameworks, preprocessors and HTML templaters.

Know JavaScript, in particular the Ecmascript 6 standard, a 2015 specification that brought new syntax elements and a new level of performance to the language.

Have basic skills in working in the console and using the NPM package manager, which allows you to quickly and conveniently load JavaScript libraries and applications.

Know how to use a version control system such as Git. Git skills are best developed through teamwork, so no one expects a beginner to be perfect with the platform. It is enough to understand what it is all about and know a few basic commands.

Be able to work with the project assembler (this is a small code that determines the sequence of actions when the application is automatically launched from the command line). It is important to understand the very idea of ​​the tool and the basic skills of using it. There are several assemblers, but the most popular of them is gulp.js.

Basic knowledge of one of the modern frameworks: React, Angular or Vue.js. With their help, the developer can minimize the number of DOM (Document Object Model) calls and organize instant data exchange with the server via the API. Instead of reloading the entire page on each click, the framework manages the state of its individual components, providing the user with an instant application response. It is understood that if a person has managed to master one of them, then he will be able to quickly deal with the other, if the need arises. There are quite a few vacancies where a specific framework is required.

Know English. It’s not a fact that the applicant will immediately be required to discuss something with the Facebook headquarters, but the reactions “There is no documentation in non English, so I can’t figure it out” are also no longer accepted.

Maria Fassi

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