If you want to become a front-end developer or just want to keep your knowledge up to date, understanding getting a grasp of the most trusted industry tools is an important step. Knowing how to use the right software can propel you from an okay front-end developer to a professional that big companies need to hire.

So we’re going to help you out. We’re going to talk about the most up-to-date tools and skills you need to know to thrive as a front-end developer.

Attend a Free Webinar

Our workshops help you start your journey to a new career, create opportunities to collaborate with like-minded experts and students, or teach you a new skill.

The Role Of A Front-End Developer

Front-end development, also known as client-side development, is one of the two critical components of web development. If you’re a front-end developer, you convert data to a graphical interface to facilitate user interaction. The other element of web development is back-end development, and if you combine the two, you get full-stack development.

Back-end development consists of those parts of a computer application or program code that allow it to work. On the other hand, a website’s back end consists of a server, an application, and a database. Back-end components cannot be accessed by front-end users.

As a front-end developer, you create web applications and websites with the help of web technologies like HTML, CSS, DOM, and JavaScript. Typically, these computer languages run in a web browser, but you can also run them in a headless browser, WebView, or as compilation inputs.

The purpose of front-end development of a website is that when a user is on a website, the content is visible to them in a legible, aesthetic, and proper format. As you know, we now use devices with various screen sizes; the developer or designer of these pages and apps must consider these factors when they develop websites. As a front-end developer, one of your crucial roles will be to ensure your client’s site appears in the right format on different browsers (cross-browser), on different operating systems (cross-platform), and different devices (cross-device).

Are Soft Skills Required for this Job?

We’re going to focus on the technical skills and tools that are necessary to thrive as a front-end developer. However, technical or hard skills alone aren’t enough to do well in front-end development. Also known as people skills, soft skills are needed to build a network and work harmoniously in a team. Some of the soft skills required to make it as a front-end developer are as follows.

Interpersonal Communication Skills

Unlike the stereotypes that you’ve probably seen on tv, you can’t spend your days in the IT world isolated in a cabin behind a screen, hidden from your co-workers and clients. You’ll have to develop good communication skills because your job will include meeting clients, discussing business ideas with them, delivering solutions, and so forth.

You’ll have to interact with the team members that you work with daily and collaborate with them on multiple projects. The ability to communicate your needs clearly and correctly decipher what others need from you will go a long way. You want everything to run as smoothly as possible, and having excellent communication skills will make that possible.

Teamwork And Problem Solving

Being a team player is essential for a front-end developer, whether you’re working in an organization or as a freelancer. In an organization, you’ll collaborate with web designers, back-end developers, or UI/UX designers. Even though these professionals have different roles, everyone needs to be able to work together to make the best final product.

Without teamwork, the final delivery of the product might get difficult or experience delays. This is also when your problem-solving skills will come in handy because issues can only be solved if you work together with your team. Even as a freelancer, you’ll have to work with your clients, brainstorm with stakeholders, and come up with the best solutions to meet their requirements.

The Right Attitude

Commonly, projects get delayed due to unforeseen technical snags or other random issues. But, you’ll have clients who have paid you a considerable sum of money for you to deliver their final product. When these instances come up, you need to remain calm and work well under pressure.

The IT industry is very fast-paced and time is money. If you’re someone who cracks under pressure, you might want to reconsider your career path. Your approach to situations must be solution-oriented and creative. You should be able to deal with problems head-on and maintain a positive attitude.

Hard Skills Of A Front-End Developer

As a front-end developer, you should be fluent in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. You should also be adept at Integrated Development Environment’s (IDE) such as Emmet and Visual Studio Code; this will help you become proficient and plow through coding challenges that much faster. Let’s look at some of the necessary hard skills or technical skills you’ll need.

HTML, CSS, JavaScript

These are the holy grail of front-end development; they’re the three coding languages you need to know.

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript work with each other in layers.


There are collections of frameworks of CSS and JavaScript that are used to accomplish different tasks by providing functionalities used by both. For instance, if you’re using a JavaScript framework when you embark on a project, you’ll start with a lot of JavaScript codes embedded in the file already instead of beginning with an empty text document.

Choose your framework depending on what style of website you’re building. They all have pros and cons to consider. Some JavaScript frameworks are useful in building complex user interfaces, whereas others do a great job of displaying your site’s content entirely. It’s one thing to know a computer language, but if you excel at determining how to best work under a particular framework, you’ll be an exceptional coder. These skills would be hard to overlook from an employer’s perspective.

Developer Tools

Most of the browsers these days already come furnished with developer tools for testing and debugging code. One of the benefits of these tools is that they enable you to test the web page or document in the browser itself. You can also examine how the page is interpreting the code through these tools. You must learn these tools and get highly skilled at them as these will save you a lot of time and effort. Through developer tools, you can verify how changes will reflect in the website or application in the browser itself, without having to change anything in the code.


A preprocessor is a term in computer science used for any program that processes the input to generate an output, which you can later use as input for another program. Front-end developers must be highly skilled in CSS preprocessors as they enhance the primary CSS class. They also help you code faster. A CSS preprocessor is an added advantage for developers because it helps them eliminate extra steps; these steps can include writing CSS selectors and color strings frequently.

Advanced and Professional Skills You Should Know

Once your primary and intermediate skills are developed, you should start honing more advanced skills. Some of the professional and advanced skills that’ll help you in front-end development are as follows:

Testing And Debugging

Bugs are an inherent part of web development, and every web developer will be beset with this problem several times in their code writing careers. Being able to test and debug your code will definitely make your life as a web developer easier. It’ll also make you a highly sought-after candidate for the job. Be sure to learn unit testing effectively as this is how individual source code blocks are tested for bugs. When you take care of these minor details your development life will be much smoother and hassle-free.

Cross-Browser Development

Once you’ve developed the front-end code, you’ll have to run it in a browser for it to be accessible to the user. There are several conventional browsers in the market that have mechanisms to display the same code in various styles. However, there are still some issues when it comes to achieving consistency in this department. Learning how to make different browsers display the same code correctly and consistently is a skill of utmost importance in web development. This is called cross-browser development and you need to become an expert in it.

Responsive Design And Mobile Design

More and more people use the internet on their phones, so it’s important to be well-versed in mobile design. This will give you an edge in the job market because clients are looking for front-end developers whose skills are up to date.

Responsive design means a website’s functionality, content, and layout can change according to the device and screen size. Mobile design uses elements of responsive design plus aspects specific to mobile designing. For instance, some organizations want entirely different sites to be built for desktop and mobile devices. They do this because they want to offer different site experiences to both styles of their target market population.

Launch Your Web Development Career

If you want to go far as a web developer, never stop learning. As you can see, there’s a ton of tools and skills you need to know to make it in this industry. And the truth is, the skills and tools you need to know will keep upgrading and changing as time goes on. If you want to continue to grow and become a top web developer, it’s vital to improve your skills as well.

If you’re just starting to get interested in the field of web development, you might want to consider our Software Engineering course. It’ll teach you everything you need to know, plus we guarantee you’ll land a job once you’re finished. If you’re focused on learning and improving, there are tons of useful web development articles in our blog.

Wherever you are in your journey, we hope you’ve found this article useful. We want you to absolutely love what you do for a living, and being really good at your career definitely makes it more enjoyable. So we want to give you all of the necessary tools to help you thrive and be the best possible web developer you can be.

Learn to Code with Thinkful

Take the proven path to a high-income career with professional mentorship and support, flexible ways to pay, and real-world, project-based learning.

Share this article