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Front-end development is one of the essential skills for web application development. The Front-End corresponds to the whole part of the code that will be executed in the web browser, namely the whole interface and its functionalities.

The Front-End developer is responsible for the architecture of the web application and the logical implementation of its functionalities. His role is to be differentiated from the role of the web integrator whose role is limited to integrating the various models, but without implementing the interactions they contain.

What is a front-end developer?

The developer is the new digital worker. Brick by brick, he designs and codes the applications, websites and computer software that we now use every day.

A few years ago, it was still a UFO, left in a corner of the company, called the "webmaster" or "computer engineer", the one who knew how computers worked but whose use was so low that little importance was given to it.

From now on, he is a real rock star of the tech industry that everyone is looking for at the best prices, because he has a know-how that is essential to any innovative and forward-looking company: digital technology.

What is its role?

Just as a construction company calls on painters, tilers and designers to embellish and physically enhance a structure that has been set up, a tech company (or one whose business is based on a tech solution) needs front-end developers to code the part visible to the user that will allow him to interact: its front-office.

Why do companies need front-end developers?

Just like the Back-end profile, all companies wishing to carry out an IT project requiring a user interface recruit Front-end developers.

To develop this interface for users, they are looking for technical skills capable of ensuring functional access to their application on all types of support: mobile application, desktop or web.

As a front office, the interface is the first thing seen by the end user. It is not responsible for the technical functioning of the solution but it is the first impression given to the user and will be in charge of the quality and visual comfort.

Without this profile, a website can be functional but complicated to use because it is not very implicit and not very pleasant to look at.

This can quickly scare off users/customers. As they say "You only get one chance to make a good first impression". The frontend developer is responsible for this first good impression.

Its daily missions

The responsibilities of the front-end developer are as follows:

  • Provide a technical view to the UX/UI Designers and the Product Owner to support them in the specification of front-end tasks. It allows the product team to make the best choices to optimise development time, maintainability and overall consistency of the application, whether in terms of behaviour or presentation.
  • Designing technical solutions that meet the specifications and mock-ups provided by the designers. He defines or adapts the application architecture and the various implementation choices according to the functionalities to be developed.
  • Implement and maintain these technical solutions, ensuring good readability, performance and quality in line with the context of the project, the team and the company.
  • Documenting the technical project on the front-end in order to perpetuate the knowledge of its design and implementation within the team. The documentation allows other developers to take over and iterate autonomously on parts of the code to which they have not yet contributed.
  • Set up or contribute to the construction of the company's design system if it exists.

In a small technical team with limited skills, the Front-end developer may be required to take charge of UX/UI and integration issues.

Collaboration in the team

The front-end developer, considered both technical and creative, is the link between the back-office (technical) and the design. These profiles are therefore required to collaborate with several profiles of a tech team:

  • Its referents: the Lead Developer and the Engineering Manager in a medium/large team, the CTO and the VP in smaller teams.
  • The product team: the UX/UI Designers and the Product Owner
  • The other technical contributors of his team: the Front-end, Back-end and Full-stack developers, the Adminsys and the Devops.

What are the problems of a front-end developer?

He has several:

  • Create web pages according to the UX/UI designers' mock-ups
  • Improve the speed of a site
  • Responsive: to propose an interface that will adapt to all the user's supports whatever the screen size.
  • Migration of frameworks in order to switch to a framework more adapted to the project or to the technical team.
  • Set up the Frontend architecture and keep it functional and adapted to the evolution of the project
  • Tagging for SEO to have a better referenced site. This task will be quickly delegated in a large team.

What are the skills of a front-end developer?

The front-end developer must master web integration with HTML and CSS as well as Javascript development.

Today, companies with a strong front-end culture are going to be sensitive to the mastery of modern business approaches, i.e. the ability to build front-end applications with a component system using frameworks such as React or Vue.

Back-end development bases, i.e. the hidden part of the application that is not visible to the user and that allows data to be manipulated and stored, as well as infra bases will be very useful to the front-end developer.

Indeed, on a daily basis he is in direct interface with these other parts in his work. These fullstack skills make him capable of making minor modifications to the whole code.

Soft skills

A UX/UI sensitivity predisposes the front-end developer to see the details, to be meticulous in his realization and to be a force of proposal.

Like any developer, he or she is able to communicate, listen and be humble both in exchanges with peers and in his or her individual progress.

A good capacity for concentration and a taste for effort enable him to be efficient in the progress of his tasks.

Technologies & platforms

  • Javascript and its frameworks: React, Vue, Angular
  • TypeScript, a language developed by Microsoft and based on Javascript to improve and secure code production
  • ReactNative for the mobile part
  • Electron for the desktop part
  • HTML, the code used to structure the content of a web page. It is considered a markup language and not a programming language.
  • CSS, the code used to format web pages according to style sheets. It is considered a style sheet language and not a programming language.

What are the training courses to become a front-end developer?

There is no typical training to become a front-end developer. The typical academic background is an engineering school, a computer science school or a university course specialized in computer science.

It was during his studies that he became interested in web development and more precisely in the front-end part. He will become familiar with the profession and acquire the fundamentals during his first experiences in a company.

On the other hand, a self-taught or retraining course is perfectly feasible but requires an additional investment in personal projects. Indeed, they will represent the only way for a company to evaluate the level of a candidate with this type of profile.

More than 3 years of experience in a company that is active in the tech community will take precedence over the training, except in cases where the training is particularly well recognised.

What is the salary of a front-end developer?

The salary of a junior front-end developer starts at 38k€ and can go up to 70k€ gross per year for a senior.

What career development is possible?

The experienced front-end developer can choose to move into management by becoming a Lead Developer or Engineering Manager, or to continue and go further into tech by becoming a Tech Expert or Staff/Principal Engineer.

Tech Expert - Lead Developer - Engineering Manager

January 3, 2022

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