What Skills Should a Front-End Developer Have?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

If you’re interested in becoming a front-end developer, learn about the technical and workplace skills used in this career to be successful. This article covers the responsibilities of a front-end developer and how you can grow your skill set.

[Featured image] A front-end developer is in an office working on their laptop with earbuds on.

Web development positions include three different jobs: front-end, back-end, and full-stack. Each of these positions contributes to the process of creating a website. 

Front-end developers build all of a website’s visible and accessible features to the user.  Optimizing usability and aesthetics is critical when it comes to creating a website that is enjoyable and easy to interact with. 

On the other hand, back-end developers allow websites to function in ways the user can’t see by managing the software, databases, and infrastructure that keep websites running. Meanwhile, a full-stack developer performs the duties of both a front-end and back-end developer.

Read on to learn what a front-end developer does, what skills are necessary to become one, and how to start building your experience.

Read more: Front-End vs. Back-End Developer: Understanding the Differences

What is a front-end developer?

Front-end developers write code and develop the portion of websites that users interact with to function smoothly. Using different coding languages and libraries, front-end developers create a product that is not only visually appealing but also capable of running efficiently and easily without bugs. 

Job outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can anticipate plenty of opportunities in web development thanks to an anticipated 16 percent job growth from 2022 to 2032 [1]. This growth rate is much faster than the average for all other occupations.


Front-end developer job description

As a front-end developer, you will combine your creativity with programming and technology skills. Keep in mind, your responsibilities will vary slightly according to your employer; however, your job description will generally include the following:

  • Prioritizing and optimizing the user experience

  • Using languages and technologies such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS

  • Maintaining and debugging the user interface

  • Designing the layout and features of a website

  • Designing a website that is accessible on mobile devices

Read more: 8 Front-end Developer Interview Questions + How to Answer Them

Front-end development skills

Front-end developers will typically possess a variety of technical skills to help develop and design websites. While a large part of your responsibilities as a developer revolves around building a user-friendly interface, non-technical skills can contribute to your success in this field as well. Here are some of the technical and workplace skills you should have to become a front-end developer. 

Technical skills

To qualify yourself for a front-end development position, employers will expect you to have a grasp of different technical concepts and languages. Here are some important front-end development skills to know:

  • HTML, CSS, and JavaScript: These three front-end development languages are the foundation of web design and are the basic languages you should know. HTML creates the general structure of a website, while CSS works to add additional formatting and stylistic designs. The most complex of the three, JavaScript enables you to make a website interactive by implementing things such as keyboard shortcuts.

  • SQL and NoSQL: Front-end developers need to be able to interact with permanently stored data such as user profile information. SQL and NoSQL allow you to manage databases and access data through specific queries. 

  • Frameworks: Frameworks provide a foundation of features in place like coding libraries, scripting languages, and software that support the maintenance and development of large projects. Popular frameworks include React, Angular, Vue.js, and jQuery.

  • Testing and debugging: Front-end developers perform unit testing and functional testing to confirm the functionality of a website. Specific frameworks are designed to help you with this process, such as Mocha and Jasmine.

  • Responsive design: With people accessing websites from a multitude of different devices, front-end developers need an understanding of responsive design. Your code will need to allow websites to adapt to different devices, such as a smartphone, laptop, or tablet.

Workplace skills

Focused on the visual aspect of a website, front-end developers possess workplace skills that benefit the user experience which include:

  • Creativity: Designing an aesthetically pleasing website layout means you will need to be creative and innovative. Creativity is a great skill to have when it comes to building unique designs and stylistic features.

  • Communication: Especially important for remote roles, clear communication is a must between web development team members, whether that be back-end developers, user experience researchers, or project managers

  • Self-learning: Curiosity, initiative, and continuous learning go a long way when it comes to obtaining new knowledge to grow your skill set. Keeping up with the latest technology trends is important in a constantly changing space. 

  • Problem-solving: In web development, you are bound to face a challenging problem, whether that be identifying and correcting coding errors or fixing bugs. This will require critical and creative thinking to come up with different solutions. 

How to build front-end developer skills

Since qualifying for a front-end development position is dependent on whether or not you have the right skills, you have options when it comes to choosing where and how you learn. While a college degree is one way for you to do this, additional methods can help you build the necessary front-end developer skills. Here are some options to consider: 

  • Courses: Look for free and paid courses online to gain programming skills. Free courses can serve as an introduction to concepts before you choose to invest in a more comprehensive or specialized curriculum. 

  • Bootcamps: Front-end development bootcamps are a way to develop foundational skills in typically three to six months. Offered in-person, online, or in hybrid formats, bootcamps are good for learning job-ready skills and preparing for entry-level roles.

  • Degrees: College or university is another place where you can build your front-end development skills. According to Zippia, degrees obtained by front-end developers can include computer engineering, graphic design, information technology, and computer science, with computer science being the most commonly held degree for these positions [2].

Put your skills into practice

After you’ve gained the skills needed for a career in front-end development, you can start applying for jobs. When listing skills on your resume, it’s important to identify what skills the employer is looking for, as well as what your individual strengths are. It’s best to start with your biggest strength or the skills most applicable to the job you’re applying to. Having demonstrable proof of your skills is a great way to highlight your proficiency. 

Getting started with Coursera

Develop skills for a front-end developer career with Coursera. Consider the Meta Front-End Developer Professional Certificate which is designed for learners with no previous experience. The program covers topics like CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and other valuable front-end skills. Upon completion, gain a Professional Certificate to include in your resume, LinkedIn profile, or CV. 

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Web Developers and Digital Designers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm.” Accessed September 25, 2023.

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