NEW!Advertis With US!Read More

Web

5 Ways You Can Improve Your Skills As An UI Front End Developer

5 Mins read

A while ago, front-end development used to only cover essential web technologies – HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. These are still the cornerstone of any front-end task, but the scope of developers’ activities has become much broader. With dozens of frameworks, tools, and libraries, there’s more room for learning and improvement. 

As an aspiring front-end developer, how much time should you dedicate to learning new frameworks? What technologies will help stand out among other job applicants? This post will cover the top 5 ways to improve your CV, skill set, and portfolio as a UI front end developer. 

Who Is a UI Front-End Developer?

The definition of front-end development is quite straightforward – integrating HTML, JavaScript, and CSS elements a user can interact with directly a website or a web application. 

However, business managers often struggle to decide whether they need a UI designer or a front-end developer. To learn to distinguish the two, take a look at the difference between front end developer and UI designer.


UI DesignerFront-end developer
ResponsibilitiesBuilding designs – a UI designer uses visual tools, think in blocks and shapes, shades, and other design elements. A deep understanding of the HTTP protocol, the specifics of working with different browsers and servers, advanced programming skills. 
ToolsSketch, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe XD, ZeplinWeb programming languages, frameworks, Integrated Development Environments (IDE). 
ResponsibilitiesThe look of the interface The functionality of the interface
SkillsWireframing, prototyping, user psychology, graphic UI design. Web architecture design, programming, database design, method engineering. 

The distinction between the two jobs is not definite – there are developers with a robust designer skillset and vice versa. Professional hybrid designers are actively sought after by startups and SMEs – so such a development vector makes sense for aspiring developers. 

Front-End Developer Responsibilities 

Regardless of whether a developer is advanced or entry-level, he has to have a good command of basic web technologies – HTML, JS, and CSS. Other concepts that are used daily are the document-object model, HTTP/URL protocols, and content management system management. 

The main responsibilities of a front-end remote development team are:

1. Testing

To ensure the interface is functional, a front-end developer needs to assess its performance every once in a while. Depending on the focus, all tests are either functional (check if all the features are accessible and work as expected) and non-functional – assessing page response time, the stability of the front-end under high loads, and so on. 

A front-end developer doesn’t have to be proficient in testing  – nevertheless, it’s recommended to have an understanding of the standard tools – Jasmine, Mocha, and others. 

2. Creating reusable libraries

It is common for teams to aim for fully reusable code so that it takes less time to develop each subsequent project. A UI developer should be able to create components that can be tweaked and implemented in different projects. 

Creating presets is also a part of a front-end developer’s job. These are the sets of parameters that simplify the integration of a component into the interface. 

3. Adapting the design to mobile

A UI developer needs to keep in mind that mobile users see the website or a WPA differently from desktop ones. That’s why tweaking and adjusting the interface is a major part of a specialist’s job. 

As a rule, UI front end developer interview questions and answers concern these optimization practices adapting interfaces for mobile:

  • Prioritizing navigation over the visual impression;
  • Increasing the font size so that all the content is readable;
  • Focusing on writing guiding microcopy;
  • Removing unnecessary interactive effects.

4. Collaborating with SEO specialists to improve website rankings

Although the marketing team primarily handles search engine optimization, some of its components – site speed, HTTPS status codes, the ‘Robots.txt’ file, etc., are a front-end developer’s line of work. 

Here are the SEO tasks a UI developer needs to be familiar with:

  • Using Page Speed Insights to reduce page response and loading time;
  • Checking the compliance of the HTML markup with the W3C standards; 
  • Structuring the data schema; 
  • Setting up the ‘Robots’ meta-tag. 

Career Prospects in Front-End Development

If you are wondering whether front-end development is a lucrative field in terms of job prospects, there are more than a handful of reasons to choose UI development as a career. 

For one thing, a front-end developer has an enormous skill set that will come in handy in web, application, Internet of Things, and other types of development. Here are some of the UI front end developer skills you’ll master at work:

  • JavaScript and frameworks;
  • CSS, preprocessors, and libraries;
  • Version control tools like Git;
  • The basics of testing;
  • CMS and e-commerce platforms;
  • APIs and REST;
  • Process automation tools. 

Front-end development has no lack of job openings. On Indeed alone, there are over 22 000 UI development job openings you can explore. As for the salaries, here’s the UI front end developer salary breakdown by countries and the level of experience (the data is provided by PayScale)

CountryEntry-level UI developerMiddle UI developerSenior UI developer
United States$48,000$85,000$128,000
United Kingdom$25,400$37,500$59,200
Germany$46,000$58,000$72,300
Ukraine$12,000$23,000$41,000
Japan$7,500$47,000$75,200

5 Ways to Improve Your Skills in Front-End Development

To get a top-tier job in front-end development, you need to keep track of best practices and trends, constantly be aware of new frameworks, libraries, and tools and have a clear framework for dealing with complex projects. 

Developers are often challenged when they need to maintain or adapt complex interfaces. Rookie mistakes like poor convention naming plant confusion and lead to miscommunications. To ensure you stay at the top of your game, follow these five UI development tips. 

Tip #1. Embrace automation

A designer’s work is multi-faceted – you need to single-handedly take care of testing, documentation, development, and other tasks. There’s a wide range of tools to keep track of as well. That’s why successful UI developers use automation to focus on the most meaningful tasks and let technology handle the rest. 

There’s no need to write automation scripts on your own. There are plenty of tools designed to handle automation, such as:

Tip #2. Learn proper convention naming

Top front-end developers are strict in following standards and regulations. Where newcomers usually name classes A1, A2, b1, b2, and so on, professionals turn to CSS naming conventions. If you want to come across as a top-tier developer, take your time to learn more about naming classes, images, and variables the right way. 

Here are the conventions to use as a reference point:

  • Object-Oriented CSS for naming classes;
  • SMACSS – a methodology for learning naming techniques for all CSS components;
  • BEM – the most famous CSS naming standard. 

Tip #3. Don’t slack on version control

A version control system provides developers with a secure environment for storing project backups, code sharing, revision, and collaboration. Keeping all the interfaces in a VCS makes it easier to manage – you will not struggle with permanently deleting a project. On top of that, using tools like Git is a UI front end developer requirement at most workplaces. 

Tip #4. Have a habit of refactoring

Less is more is a way a front-end developer should approach coding. Cleaning the code file up and making it more readable is a comme-il-faut standard in development. To improve the view of the code without tampering with the functionality, use refactoring. 

It doesn’t take much time but the quality of maintenance, in the long run, will be improved. ‘Refactor early and often’ the saying goes – be sure to follow through with it. 

Tip #5. Take time to organize projects

Every front-end project contains a load of files – HTML code, CSS stylesheets, JavaScript files, images, and so on. It’s easy to let chaos reign over your workplace. Be sure to keep all projects in order by creating separate asset directories for them. Storing assets in a ‘Client Asset’ folder, with subdirectories for each type of asset, is a standard industry practice – be sure to adhere to it. 

Conclusion

Comparing a  UI engineer vs front end developer, it’s safe to say both fields are in demand, with thousands of available job openings and growing salaries. Front-end and UI development encompass a wide range of technologies you have to learn – JavaScript, HTML, CSS, version control systems, and so on. 

Continuous improvement gives developers a way to open new opportunities and get top-tier jobs. By ensuring that your code is clean and store your assets in an organized way, you will be able to improve your skill as an interface developer and become a sought-after professional.