As a frontend developer, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the dizzying number of frameworks and libraries available. We work towards improving our skills, but knowing what to learn next is difficult; especially when you are just starting out. This article will help you make an informed decision about what to learn next as a front-end developer.
The great thing about development is that it’s always evolving, which gives developers a variety of study and career opportunities. An important thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong framework, library or language. Some front-end developers might recommend specific tools, but the framework or language you choose to work with should be one you love. You should choose something you enjoy, which compliments your workflow and which ultimately could land you your dream job.
Clients generally aren’t interested in how it’s built, as long as it works. You don’t buy a pair of jeans and think about how they were woven, you just wear them. There are however some exceptions to this rule. Working in a tech hub, your clients or employers might require you to use very specific frameworks.
With this in mind, let’s look at some tips and tricks on how you can improve skills and grow your career as a front-end dev.
Start by asking yourself where you want to be in five years time. Without a sense of direction there is no way you can accurately decide on a skill to learn. The type of framework or skill very much depends on the type of career you want to lead:
In this case you should be learning about both front- and back-end technologies. Get an overview of the tech involved on a server level so you have the knowledge to effectively make technical decisions. This could also translate to any team leader role, being knowledgeable allows your team to look to you for guidance. This also very much depends on where you live as each industry in each County could vary. This sort of role requires you to be very knowledgeable, so a lot of reading and experience is required to get to the required level of expertise.
A big part of dev-ops also revolves around automating processes and ensuring your team has a well-rounded workflow. As a result this could be seen as a leadership roll and you will often be tasked with making difficult tech decisions.
Frameworks or technologies could include: PHP, Java or .net technologies, knowledge about system architecture, SQL or MySQL, AngularJS, React, Node.js, server technologies like Apache or IIS, UX tools like Adobe XD, unit testing tools like Qunit or Mocha, knowledge about how DNS works. It all depends on what interests you, but learn as much as you can.
There is a lot of contention around what it means to be a full-stack developer. From experience, a full-stack developer would in his/her arsenal have: An understanding of design, a back-end language and a front-end framework (with architectural experience being beneficial).
Pick a back-end language like PHP, .NET or Node.js and get really good at it - it's the perfect skill to add to your front-end arsenal. For added efficiency, learn some design or UX theory. This will enable you to roll out a project by yourself from start to finish and make informed design and tech decisions about building good products.
Frameworks or technologies could include: PHP, .NET, Ruby, Java or Python for backend. For UX and UI,: Bootstrap, Adobe XD, Photoshop.
This is without a doubt one of the faster growing industries in the world, whether you are building native or progressive web apps. There is a lot of opportunity in the app industry and many frameworks to choose from and this is especially true in developing countries.
Frameworks or technologies could include: Ionic, AngularJS, CSS and HTML with Adobe Phonegap, Apple’s Swift.
With the advent of microservices there is a growing need for really good API developers. You would be responsible for building new APIs or maintaining existing ones. APIs often plug into other microservices; so you would be required to have a good understanding of how other APIs can be utilised and plugged into.
Frameworks or technologies could include: Node.js, .NET, C#, Postman
Although the front-end industry is often abuzz with frameworks like AngularJS, this does not necessarily mean that they have been fully adopted in your country. Many countries with young dev industries don't use React in production, as an example. This is especially true in South Africa where many large corporations still have flat or coded HTML and CSS sites applications. This works in your advantage as it means you do not necessarily have to rush learning a new framework. There is more than enough time to get to know a framework you love really well.
The most important lesson we can take from this is to just enjoy yourself. If you have a passion for front-end development then you won’t have a problem learning something new. Just take your time, soak it in and remember that you don’t have to learn all the languages in existence in a single day.