The field is constantly progressing and that means that as a front-end developer, you need to be as well. Always be on the lookout for ways in which you can become better at your craft. Those who sit back and remain static in their knowledge, skills, and abilities shouldn’t expect to have a dynamic career.
With that being said, here are six tips to help you become a more effective front-end developer.
Here are a few resources that will help you stay current on the latest developments in front-end development:
- Read source code
Reading the source code of websites belonging to companies that invest a lot into front-end development allows you to gain insight into what the leading front-end developers are doing and will help you become more versed in various languages. Some examples of websites that hire the best front-end developers include Facebook, Time, and BBC.
Practice, practice, practice. Did I mention practice?
Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Jimi Hendrix – they reached the pinnacle of their respective fields by shooting free-throws, deking out pylons, and shredding some mean riffs over and over again. If you want to be a better front-end developer, regular practice should be incorporated into your schedule.
Here are some helpful resources that offer tutorials to help you practice:
- Plan your projects
Though you might be tempted to dive straight into coding when a new project comes up, don’t. Take some time to plan before you do. Always start by creating a to-do list of all that needs to be done (e.g. listing which items need to be converted to HTML, establishing a site framework, writing the initial markup). By breaking up the project into smaller tasks, it becomes more manageable and easier to prioritize. Create a project timeline based on the client’s deadline. This will allow you to self-impose smaller deadlines throughout the project. As a result, you’ll be more focused, less disorganized, less stressed, more likely to finish on or ahead of time.
Extra tip: One tool that can help you better plan and stay organized is Producteev. Producteev is a free project management tool that lets you create to-do lists, project roadmaps, tasks (shown right), and networks. It’s loaded with features and is collaborative-friendly which makes working with others using Producteev a breeze.
While most people think front-end developers only require technical skills, the ability to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills to have. Being a good communicator minimizes misunderstandings with clients and colleagues, makes your more approachable, and demonstrates that you value those you’re in contact with. Say, for instance, a client sends you a new project. Once you accept the project, you could choose to only reach out to the client only when there are issues or questions that you need resolved. On the other hand, you could provide the client with your project timeline (this is where planning comes in handy!), send him or her regular status updates, and even give them a sneak peek of what you’ve developed so far. Not only will your client feel more appreciated, but it also offers you the chance to gain valuable feedback.
Extra tip: Pride yourself in your response time. Reply to client and colleague emails without delay. If you don’t have the information they’re looking for just yet, then that’s ok. Reply with a simple “I’ll get back to you with that info in 24 hours.”
Being seated at a desk, writing code for 50 hours a week can be draining on your body and your mind. That’s’ why it’s important to stimulate your body and mind with non-digital activities. Hit the gym, join a volleyball team, learn to play the piano, take a cooking class – whatever! As long as you find something that takes you away from the digital world on a regular basis, your body and mind will thank you. Throw in some healthy eating habits and 8 hours of sleep a night and you’ll find you’ll have more energy throughout the work day, be more productive, and make less errors in your coding. The happy front-end developer is a healthy front-end developer, so dust of those running shoes today!
Extra tip: Every hour, take a break from coding to stand up and stretch your muscles out. Even just a couple of minutes of movement away from your computer screen will help your muscles relax and reduce the strain on your eyes.