The position of Front-end developer looks tempting not only because of the salary but also because it is in high demand. Layout designers and front-end developers have been among the most sought-after specialties in the Tech field for a long time. If you are reading this article, you must have also thought about joining the ranks of front-end developers.

If you have already managed to gain an understanding of the role, watched a couple of videos about what a Front-end developer should be able to do and where to start learning, or monitor the list of requirements in vacancies, you might get startled. At first glance, it may seem that the list of necessary skills of a web developer is so large that the desire to embark on the learning journey may disappear immediately.

The problem is that the understanding of what a Junior Front-end developer should know is actually very vague, both among the so-called YouTube experts and the employers themselves.

Therefore, experts from DAN.IT have compiled a detailed guide to the skills that you actually need to become a Front-end developer.

Why are the requirements for a novice web developer so high?

Today, front-end development is the second most common pathway into Tech after QA. Accordingly, the number of self-taught layout designers and those who have just completed Front-end courses is growing every day. Despite the fact that this position is quite in-demand in the labour market, such a large number of people who want to start their journey in Tech forces employers to tighten the selection of potential candidates, thereby deliberately raising the requirements almost to Mid-level standards.

In addition, the company may simply not have an actual separation of junior, middle, and senior levels. It is easier and cheaper for many small business owners to roll out a list of the necessary skills for each specific project and find a person who is ready to independently study these technologies in order to get the coveted position of a junior, despite the fact that these requirements may actually be at the mid-level.

It should also be noted that very often information about the necessary requirements for novice web developers is posted by incompetent bloggers, freelancers, and other authors who are not to development, or to Tech in general. 

As a result, due to such inadequate requirements, many novice developers are simply afraid to go to an interview, because they believe that they lack the necessary skills. You should not wait for the right moment or “sufficient level”. Master the essential skills from the list below and start trying your hand at different companies. 

 How to start learning Front-end

Before you start learning web development, you need to understand that a layout designer and a Front-end developer are not the same thing, but are very similar concepts, often confused by employers themselves. The coder converts the graphic layout of the designer into HTML + CSS markup, and can add simple plugins and animations. The Front-end developer turns this into a more complex and dynamic interface.

The web development process includes but is not limited to page layout.

The Frontender is able to create functional applications and fill the laid-out pages with full-fledged data. Modern websites are becoming more complex and require new solutions, which is why very often just laying out a page is not enough. Although you can still find companies or private customers who are limited only to layout. In any case, a high-quality layout is a base that both a layout designer and a front-end specialist need to master.

All the necessary knowledge and skills can be divided into hard skills, i.e. technical, and soft skills – personal qualities:

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Hard skills

The technical basis of the mandatory basics that you should master is as follows:

  • HTML(HTML5). Understanding the markup language is the very first must-have in your skill set. You must understand the anatomy of the HTML markup of a web page and master the basic tags, their attributes, and nested elements. You also need to know how they should look right.

CSS (CSS3). Learn how to style elements and do it the right way without leaving huge gaps. To get started, you need to master:

  • box model and content positioning (float),
  • layout and alignment of elements on the page (flexbox),
  • stream cleaning and its methods,
  • alignment and centering of elements,
  • visibility of elements (display, visibility, overflow),
  • xbox toolbar,
  • specificity of selectors and how it works,
  • basic knowledge of CSS grid layout
  • responsive design (layout for mobile devices),
  • mobile-first/desktop-first approaches at the level of understanding,
  • cross-browser layout.

To consolidate both skills and practice your layout make at least 5 templates of varying complexity (they can be easily found in the public domain).

At first, it may seem to you that it is unrealistic to learn all these details, but with a little practice – and you will master the basic principles, and gain a general understanding of the logic of building all these elements.

JavaScript. At this stage, many novice web developers make a big mistake by neglecting the basics of JavaScript and jumping straight to frameworks. Knowing the basics is important, and you need to learn the following:

  • basic understanding of the language and its features,
  • data structures,
  • strings, numbers, objects, and arrays,
  • closures and scopes,
  • object methods (Bind, Call and Apply),
  • execution context and function call stack (you should understand the difference well and be able to apply it with examples)

Understand how the GIT version control system works. Working in a team, you must be able to own your code, which requires knowledge of 3-5 commands. 

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In fact, this is all that a junior frontend developer needs to know when starting out. It is also important not only to get acquainted with the information but to immediately put all your skills into practice. The more practice, the faster you will get results.

Soft skills

These skills reveal your individual character. Mastering them is necessary both for teamwork and for your own personal growth, so it is important not to neglect them, but to treat them as responsibly as you would technical knowledge.

  • Self-management — the most important skill, because you will need to become your own boss. The position of junior front-end developer implies constant self-improvement, and you will have to learn how to find answers to all your questions on your own. In a smart company, you will have a mentor who will help you understand complex issues, but in a programming environment, asking the same thing several times is almost considered bad manners.

Learn to immediately memorize information, or at least write it down.

The quality of your code should improve, and the number of comments should decrease. If the team sees that after six months you are standing in one place, this may be a call for dismissal. Therefore, it is very important not only to show a desire for learning but also to prove it in practice.

  • Teamwork. This also includes communication. The ability to listen to people and their opinions will help you get ahead as a developer. More experienced colleagues will provide the necessary know-how faster and more concisely than if you learned it yourself. It is also important to be able to form your own opinion and defend it.

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Optional complementary skills

It is not necessary to cram on these, and it is unlikely that they will be a deciding factor at your interview, but having these skills at a basic level will definitely be a plus:

  • Basics of JS DOM (Document Object Model):
  • know about the document and page objects (learn how to navigate the DOM tree of elements, find them in different ways)
  • understand the basics of working with events (hang up elementary handlers, know about the event propagation model, be able to intercept, process and cancel them).
  • Basic concepts of ES6 syntax (fetch, async/await, promise).
  • CSS preprocessor (SASS/LESS) – nesting and creating variables.
  • CSS framework (Bootstrap/Foundation) – it is enough to understand the architecture and how it is used.
  • JS framework (React / Angular / Vue) and JQuery – the basics.


Interview questions for the role of Junior Front-End Developer

A technical interview for a Junior Front-end position 99% of the time starts with questions about HTML. And the most common one of those is: what is a Doctype and why is it needed.

Next, you will be asked about the semantics of HTML. Here you do not need to cram information on each tag and its attributes, but you should understand the general structure of their construction and be able to explain the difference between tags for headings, sections, and navigation. Also, you need to understand how to arrange them correctly.

You may be asked about the types of input fields and their features. Also, you may be asked to tell what tags you use, for example, for a form, and how you will create it.

It is very important not just to state the answer, but to narrate a consistent chain of actions, to demonstrate your thought process for solving the problem.

Even if you made a mistake with some tags, the way you solved the problem will let the employer know that you have an understanding of what is required of you.

At the interview, show you are passionate about Front-end development, that you are constantly learning and eager to grow. Technologies are developing at a rapid pace and you must be ready not only to constantly learn new things but also to keep existing knowledge updated. Here it is very important to learn how to filter information and not be scattered on a lot of articles “about everything and nothing”. Learning on your own can take more than a year, while optimised courses will help you master the Front-End toolkit in 5-7 months. You can sign up for the full Front-End course from scratch here.

You can also get acquainted with the admission process on our website.

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