“Front End Web Developer” has a whole new definition

I’ve believed that being a serious Web Developer today has a lot more requirements than it did 10 years ago. I’ve been looking for an article like the one I read recently for a long time to support my theory.
Paul Irish from google mentioned this subject in a recent interview by Nick Petit from Team Treehouse and confirmed my belief.
And then I came across an article, A Baseline for Front End Developers which really broke down the skills a Developer today needs.

Once upon a time front end web development was about marking up some files with HTML later on with CSS as well and uploading them to a host and boom you were a web designer. Those days are over! Now, due to the increase of devices and app creation and the desire for browser control, plus the fact the front end web development is now being taken seriously and viewed in a different light, the expectations are becoming much higher. HTML, CSS & Jquery/Javascript will no longer suffice as credentials of a front end web developer.

Blogger Rebecca Murphey says in her article (April 2012),  A Baseline for Front End Developers:

Maybe it’s the result of people starting to take front-end dev seriously, maybe it’s browser vendors mostly getting their shit together, or maybe it’s front-end devs – again, myself included – coming to see some well-established light about the process of software development. Whatever it is, I think we’re seeing the emphasis shift from valuing trivia to valuing tools. There’s a new set of baseline skills required in order to be successful as a front-end developer, and developers who don’t meet this baseline are going to start feeling more and more left behind…….

She goes on to say in much more detail than I will go into here, that a front end web developer today is expected to be familiar with:
1) Git (github)
2) Modularity, dependency management and production builds
3) In Browser Development Tools ( I love Mozilla Firebug but most popular now is probably Chrome’s Developer tools)
4) Command Line use (definitely much more practical to do on a mac than on a pc)
5) Client side templating
6) CSS Preprocessors (SASS, LESS, etc.)
7) Testing
8) Process automation
9) Code quality

and I would probably add
10) Knowing another language (Java, PHP, C, C++  to name a few)
11) and being able to use software like photoshop, illustrator, or indesign
12) having, at least, basic graphic design skills
13)  Search Engine Optimization  (SEO)
14) Social Media Tools (on a developer level not just a user level)

This is just the basics of being a front end web developer today.
Yes it is intimidating.
But that’s the direction in which this whole developer category is going.
We can either choose to hop on the train or watch the train go by.
Today I still choose to hop on the train & go for the ride.


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