Front-end developers today need to bring more to the table than the traditional bag of skills that include CSS, HTML, and design theory. To stay competitive in the ever-evolving industry, they need to potentially extend beyond their comfort zones, including gaining a deeper understanding of some of the most popular programming languages that employers are seeking.
"Today's sites are more robust and have to work on more devices -- the push for responsive design, cross-platform delivery and a seemingly endless supply of frameworks for development is changing things drastically. The front-end landscape has shifted from that of traditional developer and toward a technical designer, with coding chops, who can also wear a marketing analyst hat," according to a Palo Alto Staffing Technology blog post.
Marketing skills come down to having a clear understanding of the target audience gleaned from the usage data on the site. That information is then potentially translated into new features and functions on the site.
However, the Palo Alto report cautions that as demand rises for more intuitive and innovative websites, large companies may either develop their own libraries for the front-end or lean on purpose-built open source platforms.
If a company opts for an open source platform, that will provide greater opportunity and flexibility for front-end developers compared to proprietary libraries that can let a front-end developer's skillset remain limited over the long haul.
The recruiting firm offers five steps front-end developers can take to get started on reaching their career goals:
- Be active online. Website developers should have a presence on a sites such as GitHub to display their work and knowledge, and a presence on professional sites like LinkedIn.
- Showcase your work. Display your best work in as many places as possible. Make sure recruiters see the work you want them to see.
- Stay on top of things. Keep abreast of the changes in the industry that will affect your role. Learn new skills that to take advantage of these changes. In other words, be a life-long learner.
- Enhance your skills. Spend a day during the week to review the code inside your libraries and evaluate whether they are the best solution for your project at hand. It will help you stay fresh and relevant.