Has front-end development changed? What is a front-end developer suppose to know?

twitter logo github logo ・1 min read

So I started in the field as a web designer and front-end developer. But all that has meant to me is that I design web based projects and then I code them into HTML, CSS and some simple JS. That's pretty much it. I know a bit about programming and I can make my way around most codebases for templating, theming or whatever. But it seems like the field of front-end development has changed.

So here's my question, has the job of a front-end developer expanded? Does it mean much more now than just being able to write HTML, CSS and JS? If so, would I still be considered a front-end dev or do I need to learn React to still be able to call myself a front-end dev?


twitter logo DISCUSS (6)
markdown guide

I don't think you need to learn React but you should probably learn about React or Angular. Just so you know where people are coming from. I don't think the learning curve is really all that steep as long as you're not tasked with fully owning a complicated app from end to end. Then it's complicated.


Yeah, that makes sense. I've just kind of stopped telling people I'm a front-end dev cause the question that follows is almost always "do you use React or Vue, etc". There is this sort of inadequacy that sets in if you say, "oh, just HTML and CSS" or whatever. Eh.


This question has been circulating for some time now, and I feel it has a lot to do with Job Ads. It seems companies these days want Front End developers to be proficient in Javascript Frameworks like React, Angular, Vue etc., but a lot of front end developers like you and I, know of these frameworks and may have played around with them, but its not our day to day work.

I'd highly reccomend this podcast episode of ShopTalkShow where they discuss this question in detail. I like the point made in it where someone mentions that perhaps the "Framework" gun be titled the Javascript developer.

My personal opinion is that if you can build/program a website and are focused on providing the best UI and UX possible, then you are a Front End developer, regardless of tool X, Y or Z.


I agree with your point that the definition of front-end developer is usually based on the employer's requirements, I've seen front-end developers that were essentially full-stack developers on a team that lacked design knowledge and I've seen some front-end developers that knew little to no Javascript at all.

Though, it's no question which one I would prefer working with.


Yeah, sounds like we're in the same boat. I agree a lot with your perspective on it. Oh and that was a really great podcast, thank you for sharing that!


Personally, I don't use React or frameworks at all really. However, the "simple" JS you write to get a site up and running all depends on whether you're making a one off page experiment or tool vs a more complete SPA.

Classic DEV Post from Aug 14 '19

What Does Your IDE/Code Editor Look Like?

Sebastian Nitu profile image

We are a community