Transferable Skills Guide: Front-End Developer

Sourcing a tech professionals with certain emerging or hard-to-find skills can be a challenge – even for the most seasoned recruiter.

In the final installment of our seven-part “Transferable Skills Guide” series, we look at the front-end developer role and skill-sets in other disciplines that translate to success in web design positions. Use these tips to better evaluate tech candidates and build a bigger pipeline of talent.

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Front-end developers are sometimes called front-end engineers, web developers, UI engineers, or even web designers. While this role may have many different names, don’t fret. They all focus on the same thing – building the interactive part of the website you can see and touch. (Well, touch through your screen anyways.)

While most of these roles don’t involve design outright, most front-end developers have a great design sense. Some even come from more formal design backgrounds.

After all, these pros aren’t just focused on how things work. They also pay attention to the way things look and feel. As a result, most front-end developers have strong opinions on interaction and the end-user experience.

HOLD THE LINE WITH THE CORE SKILLS
Libraries, frameworks, and tools – oh my!

There are three key technologies every front-end should have on their resume:

  1. JavaScript
  2. HTML
  3. CSS

These are the tools of the trade and are at the core of any role touching the client. Where things get really interesting is in all the different libraries, frameworks, and tools that come with these technologies. Below are some of the more common ones you might see on resumes. But keep in mind, there are new ones popping up all the time.

What to look for:

  • Angular, Ember.js, Backbone, jQuery. Even though JavaScript has been around for nearly 20 years, with the recent increased emphasis on app-like interactions and consistent browser experiences, there has been a surge in JavaScript frameworks. Each of the frameworks listed above help make JavaScript code more organized, reusable, and maintainable. And since each one includes various components, they can also make development faster (which is something every hiring manager wants). Though they all work with JavaScript, these frameworks actually work quite differently from one another, so while someone may know one of them well, it will likely take them a few weeks to a few months to pick up a new one.
  • Bootstrap, Foundation, Pure, Skeleton, Gumby. These are CSS frameworks that make building a site UI faster and more visually consistent by providing layout helpers (so you can build a responsive site that looks great on mobile much easier) and default styles. If a candidate knows one of these frameworks, or has experience building responsive or adaptive websites, they will be able to pick up other ones pretty quickly without much training or ramp up time.
  • LESS, SASS, Stylus. These are CSS preprocessors that make it easier for developers to edit and maintain a diversified set of CSS styles. Each one works a little differently, but once you know one of them, it is pretty easy to pick up a new one. It’s just a bit of new syntax and styles.
  • Usability, accessibility, internationalization, information architecture, portability, security, visual design. While these skills are wide-ranging in function, a good front-end engineer will have expertise in a few of them. Besides being competent with the tools and technologies, most candidates will also bring their knowledge and experience in one or more of these areas.

The best candidates for a front-end engineer role will possess strong technical skills, the ability to think through business use cases, a passion for the end user experience, and an intellectual curiosity to learn new tools and technology.

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View Transferable Skills Guides for other tech positions below:

 

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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