The Duties for a Front-End Web Development Coding Job

By Nikhil Abraham

Web developers create websites. This is what most people think of when they envision a coding job. There are two types of web developers: front‐end developers and back‐end developers. Each requires different skills and tasks.

Front‐end web developers code everything visible on the web page, such as the layout, image placement and sizing, input features including buttons and text boxes, and the site’s general look and feel. These effects are created with three major programming languages: HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), which is used to place text on the page, CSS (Cascading Style Sheet), which styles the text and further contributes to its appearance, and JavaScript, which adds interactivity.

In addition to these three languages, front‐end developer job postings reveal a common set of skills that employers are looking for:

  • SEO (search engine optimization): Creating web pages for humans might seem like the only goal, but machines, specifically search engines, are the primary way most users find websites. Search engines “view” web pages differently than humans, and certain coding techniques can make it easier for search engines to index an individual web page or an entire website.

  • Cross‐browser testing: Users navigate web pages by using four major browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari), each with two or three active versions. As a result, a web developer must be skilled in testing websites across eight or more browser versions. Developing for older browsers is typically more difficult because they support fewer features and require more code to achieve the same effect as modern browsers.

  • CSS tools: Developers use precompilers and CSS frameworks to make coding in CSS easier. Precompilers extend CSS functionality with features such as variables and functions, which make it easier to read and maintain CSS code. CSS frameworks, such as Bootstrap and Base, provide prewritten HTML and CSS code that makes it easier to develop a website with a consistent look across desktop and mobile devices. Proficiency in all precompilers and frameworks is unnecessary, but knowledge of one precompiler and framework can be helpful.

  • JavaScript frameworks: Developers use prewritten JavaScript code called a JavaScript framework to add features to web pages. Some popular JavaScript frameworks are Angular.js and Ember.js. Proficiency in the over thirty JavaScript frameworks is unnecessary, but knowing one or two can be helpful.

Words like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript might seem intimidating at first, especially if you have no prior experience in web development. Knowing these programming language names is the first step to learning more about each of them.

None of the work a web developer does would be possible without product managers and designers. Developers work with product managers to ensure that the product scope and timelines are reasonable. Additionally, product managers make sure that the technical and nontechnical teams are communicating and aligned. Developers also work with designers who create mockups, or illustrations of the website, images, and the flow users take to move between web pages. After the mockups are created, front‐end developers code the website to match the mockups as closely as possible.