Ultimate Skills Checklist for Your First Front-End Developer Job

In my opinion, some important technical skills for a Front-End/UI Developer are:

a) HTML & CSS: HTML & CSS skills are an obvious prerequisite for any Front-End Developer. As of this post date, HTML5 & CSS3 are the latest versions. Get to know them on an intimate level.

b) JavaScript: This is the de facto language of the Web, and now it is also being used to build server-side applications via back-end frameworks like NodeJS. JavaScript skills are mandatory for a front-end web developer.

c) Frameworks & Libraries: There are simply too many front-end frameworks and libraries for me to list here, but some of the popular ones at the time of this post include.

JS Frameworks:
c1) jQuery
c3) Angular
c4) Backbone
c5) Ember
c6) Meteor
c7) Knockout
c8) React

UI or JS Hybrid Libraries/Frameworks:
c9) Bootstrap
c10) Modernizr
c11) Zurb Foundation
c13) MooTools
c14) YUI
c15) Dojo
c16) HTML5 Boilerplate
c17) Semantic UI

d) RESTful Web Services: Although it is nothing new, REST is a very popular modern web architectural style that standardizes the transfer and consumption of resources (such as data, images, etc.) between different applications, languages, or technologies. It is almost always used within the context of HTTP.

e) AJAX: Stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. I won’t go into great detail about it, but AJAX represents a group of techniques and technologies that are used to execute asynchronous commands on the client-side of a Webpage or Application. It’s hallmark feature is it’s ability to dynamically update a web page with information from a back-end without refreshing or changing the state of that page.

f) JSON: This stands for JavaScript Object Notation. It is aptly named because it presents data in a manner that resembles JavaScript objects. However, JSON is language-independent. It’s a data representation that can be accessed using various different languages. JSON is simply a data exchange format that is used for asynchronous communication between browsers and/or servers. AJAX is a popular method by which JSON documents can be passed around.

6) Design Skills or Aesthetic Sense: You don’t have to be good (or even decent) at drawing and illustration, but a sensibility for good design and usability are essential factors that round out a Front-End/UI Developer’s repertoire. You should have a basic understanding of design and expert-level ability to transform design guidelines or requirements into aesthetically pleasing websites and applications that are easy to use. Current tools of the trade (these are used more often by UI/UX Designers rather than Developers):

a1) Adobe Photoshop
a2) Adobe Illustrator
a3) Sketch
a4) OmniGraffle
a5) Axure RP
a6) InVision
a7) Balsamiq Mockups

Although it is not absolutely necessary for a UI Developer, I do suggest obtaining a basic understanding of the following topics:

Algorithms
Data Structures
Databases (SQL & NoSQL)
Networking Principles (specifically, HTTP)
Cyber Security
Cryptography

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