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What Front-End Developer Skills Should You Focus on Leading Into 2020?

Marc Grabanski πŸ™πŸ’» on August 19, 2019

Hey there, Marc here. CEO of Frontend Masters, and we're super happy to be sponsoring the dev.to community! πŸ˜€ JavaScript and Front-End En...
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Judith

Hey Marc - you know I have a huge debt of gratitude to FEM for all the practical skills I have gotten from the courses and live workshops. FEM is a must have in my toolbox. I recently made my way through the beginner, professional and (almost all the way through) expert level of the frontend learning paths and gained tremendous confidence and knowledge. I’m very grateful that you and your staff work so hard to provide quality learning.

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Marc Grabanski πŸ™πŸ’» Author • Edited on

That's so awesome to hear! And congrats to you for putting in the hard work to advance your career!! πŸ™ŒπŸ˜„

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Judith

Btw, something I always keep handy: the frontend developers handbook. So, thx for that as well! πŸ™πŸ˜ƒ

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Marc Grabanski πŸ™πŸ’» Author

Nice!! Already starting work on the 2020 version of the handbook!

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Eddy Vinck

Great post! I cannot agree more about learning the fundamentals properly.

Right now I'm going through the TypeScript course and I plan to learn more about testing after I get a side project in a state I'm happy with. The CS courses are also something I look forward to learning from.

Also: I'd just like to say thank you for FEM. It has been a really big help in landing my current role.

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James Lau

Where is the best place to learn the "fundamentals" especially for folks who didn't come from a CS background? Should I grab a college text book on OOP or watch trusted tutorials from places like LinkedIn or Udemy?

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Marc Grabanski πŸ™πŸ’» Author

Our website, Frontend Masters (mentioned in this article) is setup for this case exactly! Check out the learning paths for a guided learning experience. Most of our teachers are not from a traditional CS background, including myself.

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Tammy Lee

Hi Marc! I loved your list!
Under the well-rounded I would also encourage developers to learn the basics of marketing in addition to design. At least the technical aspects of it. This means making sure there are hooks in your markup for marketers to use with GTM, knowing how the GTM Data Layer works, knowing enough to NOT block the bubble-up when a form is submitted so marketers can track form submissions, and vanilla JS/basic GTM tags/triggers/variables because not every shop has a Technical SEO person who knows JS.

For design skills I always recommend:
Don't Make Me Think - Steve Krug (This was the only textbook I had for my uni design students.)
Better Web Typography - Matej Latin
Refactoring UI Channel
And there is now a Refactoring UI book!

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Adriel Werlich

Svelte seems nice to learn also
svelte.dev/tutorial/basics

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Elizabeth Schafer

Meryl Streep shouting, "Accessibility!"

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Marc Grabanski πŸ™πŸ’» Author • Edited on

Added to the article! Just a note that our courses have accessibility lessons baked into the main curriculums since many people don't go out of their way to seek out accessibility information on its own.

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Elizabeth Schafer

Awesome! I was just in the process of editing my comment to mention that I may have gone in a little strong with the giant image πŸ˜…. Thanks for writing up this list!

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Marc Grabanski πŸ™πŸ’» Author

LOL! All good. You're welcome! πŸ˜€

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Chris Achard

I agree that React and Vue are easier to learn for beginners :) Good post! It's valuable to see all the different skills listed here.

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Ezell Frazier

Why would an aspiring front end developer want to take up Python?

If one wants to build a visual interface, why?

I'm all for keeping learning on a "need-to-know" basis. This one seems way off into the distance.

Even JavaScript would be a bit too much to start off with.

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Marc Grabanski πŸ™πŸ’» Author

Ya, I guess it was general advice and not front-end specific.

My main point was that in the early days of learning to code ... you shouldn't get caught up in the language, just build things and have fun! Get that feedback loop going of building things.

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Dmitrii Pashutskii

Btw if you're a student FEM 6-month free subscription recently was added on Education pack to GitHub along with other awesome things (education.github.com/pack#offers)
As a 3rd-year student, I use it a lot and now I'm gonna definetely try FEM which I heard so many good things about.

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Sara Given • Edited on

Awesome. I'm working on upgrading my React skills and learning graphql right now. I think for me the biggest jump from hobby/side projects to professional developer is testing, so that's my overall focus in addition to specific stacks.

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Jeremy

Hi Sara, I agree and it is so often left till the later stages of learning or an afterthought completely. I'd recommend learning the fundamentals of test driven development from someone like Robert C Martin (aka uncle Bob). TDD is fast becoming a very desirable skill employers look for in any well rounded developer.

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Omar Gaston Chalas

This post is too much accurate. Thanks for sharing!

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Fabio Russo • Edited on

I would say ... Flutter.
Right now It's mainly a mobile thing, but the Web version (Hummingbird) is coming, and Google is doing an hard push on Flutter right now.
I'm trying It and I've to admit that Dart is a really good language, and It's growing fast.

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geni94

"Many people will be upset if I didn't mention Angular"
Nah man, we are really grateful you didn't mention that monster!

Also, the ultimate handbook/guide/bible/etc., has to be the amazing "You don't know Javascript" book series - which can easily be found on Github. It gives an incredible insight to the one of the most notorious languages, and it's fit for any level of specialty.

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Loya Blaise

Thanks for this wonderful thread.

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Tony Brown

Marc, you and the crew at fem are the best!
You guys have some of the best people teaching the courses and the workshops are the best!
Keep up the great work!

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Fat-Tony

Already following the learning path at FEM, incredible lectures and resources, I hope by the time I’m done i will be a genius. Lol

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Ans de Nijs

Actually, I was looking for a course on Svelte on Frontend masters, but I couldn't find it. Will it be added to the courses in the near future?

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Marc Grabanski πŸ™πŸ’» Author

We're taking with Rich Harris, the creator. But nothing set in stone yet. We're currently mainly focused on React and Vue.

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Alonso

There needs to be a priority place for JAMStack and the new trend of serverless developments.

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PNS11

I'd like to add ClojureScript, ReasonML and SqueakJS.

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Samba

Nice article but you should have mentioned Angular tho.

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Chinweike Jude Obiejesi

WOw!!! i think this is so nice, i am a junior front-end developer learning gatsby and graphql presently. I hope i get better and get a job to help me more.

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FrontisBackAgain

Check this :) New survey State of Frontend - few quite interesting questions :)
tsh.io/state-of-frontend/

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Шамиль

Totally disagree.

You forgot the most important part of programmer's skills.

Data structure.

It is much more important then how your code looks, how much technologies you know, how fast you learn another pretty framework.

If you have mess in your data structure, if you don't follow strict principles while develop your data, you eventually find your project as a a big messed mix of monkey patches. And no one can support this project, if you leave it.

Again. Data structure.

The first, the last and the most important thing, you should care about, is how you store your data.

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Marc Grabanski πŸ™πŸ’» Author • Edited on

I did mention Algorithms and Data Structures as an important part of becoming a well-rounded engineer ...maybe you think I should have put it as higher priority? Thanks for your feedback!

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Шамиль

No, you shouldn't have put "Algorithms and Data Structures" as high priority field of knowledge.

Of course, it is important to know base structures and algorithms, but it won't be very helpful in frontend projects. "Algorithms and Data Structures" don't teach you how to structure your frontend data.

What I can only suggest is to search for books, articles and examples of normalizing stored data in the backend RDBMS solutions. Using the same rules can be helpful in your frontend project and can save a lot of time of your team, when they start to improve your code.

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Matt Bee

To be honest I think general problem solving and communication (in code or in person with stakeholders) is as important as data structures. You can pick up data structures as you learn, I did and am doing OK.

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Jesse R Davis • Edited on

"Soft Skills" are very important, indeed - it can make you more marketable and a much better team mate to work with.

Data Structures and Algorithms are something that can be learned on a need-to-know basis. Most Web Developers - especially front-end devs, which this article was targeted at (new ones at that) - can go an entire, successful, career without knowing anything in-depth about them, frankly. So I don't think they are "foundational knowledge" points that should gate-keep people out of the developer space.