Top Skills for Front End Developers in 2021

Top Skills for Front End Developers in 2021

Front end developers are more in-demand than ever going into 2021. Last year’s report by HackerRank found that 48% of employers say they need JavaScript skills – yet only 42% of student developers worldwide know the language. Front-end developers who have expertise beyond Javascript will find themselves well-positioned in a job market that currently favors the employer.

While the core skills needed for frontend developers are the same – namely HTML, CSS & Javascript – there are plenty of new capabilities to add to your toolkit to make you even more competitive on the job market. Here are some important areas of expertise in which to build your knowledge in 2021.

Hard and soft skills for frontend developers

Recruiters are looking for front-end web developers with a combination of hard — e.g., technical — and soft skills. Many of these technical skills may be considered “nice to have” rather than absolutely necessary. If you’re just starting in your career, it’s better to allocate time to honing your HTML, CSS, and Javascript capabilities before adding expertise in these areas.

Hard skills

ES6 is a good ancillary skill to know in 2021 — especially since ES11 was launched recently. Now, almost every application is written in ES6, and mastery of this script is necessary as you build toward the next version of ECMAScript. SCSS/SASS skills will also be in high demand as CSS becomes outmoded. SCSS/SASS offers more flexibility and efficiency when writing code.

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Companies are also placing a high value on React, Vue, and Angular skills. The best candidates are able to write in all three, but if you’re going to become an expert in one, recruiters are tending to favor candidates well-versed in React. Increasingly, Typescript is being used with React frameworks — and it’s long been associated with Angular. Typescript allows you to use is Static Type Checking, Class and Module support, and ES6 to ES5 conversion.

Lastly, today’s frontend developers should know how to use testing frameworks such as Jest, Jasmine, and Mocha — not to mention basics like GIT and SVN. Testing and codebase tracking are imperative skills for working in teams, especially when today’s front end developers are largely working remotely.

While these technical skills are important, they can also be learned. Many companies will provide training in areas in which you may be behind. Soft skills, on the other hand, can’t be trained. Recruiters will likely put more weight on these character traits as a result.

Soft skills

Communication skills will be absolutely crucial in 2021 as companies continue to work remotely. Great communication allows projects to stay on schedule and helps managers budget resources properly. “Too often we see precious time wasted by someone who was unwilling to ask someone else for help,” said the experts at G2i. “Ensure that there are open lines of communication between your developer and the rest of your team and that they understand the appropriate parties for any problem they might have.”

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Communication skills manifest in other areas of expertise that are vital for great front end developers. Time management, for instance, is a major skill that recruiters are seeking in developer candidates. Especially when so many organizations are working remotely, few managers have the ability (or the willingness) to micromanage front-end developers. As a result, candidates must demonstrate they can use their time effectively or communicate when they need to change deadlines.

Problem-solving and adaptability are also in-demand skills: they show that a front-end developer is capable of managing themselves within a team. “Being adaptable may be one of the most important skills a developer can bring to the table,” said G2i. “The industry is constantly in flux; it’s important to be able and willing to learn new skills and programming languages when they do present themselves as a necessity for current and future projects.”

Lastly, good communication often requires listening skills, too. Frontend developers must be receptive to feedback and approach each project with humility. Companies highly value front-end developers who are able to work collaboratively to create the best web development project possible.

Core skills

At a minimum, front end developers must have strong knowledge and Javascript and functional programming paradigms. Most companies will require experience with a state management library, such as Redux, MobX, and others. More and more companies are integrating coding tests into their hiring process: they are looking for clean, error-free code and may see how well versed a candidate is in debugging mobile applications. Today’s front-end developers should know a large code base and have a suite of unit testing skills at their disposal.

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How to hire a top front-end developer

Companies seeking front-end developers will have plenty of candidates to choose from — but, it can often be difficult to find the right combination of hard and soft skills.

“The problem at hand is that many companies and hiring platforms don’t vet developers and engineers properly, which means the wrong developer for the wrong project, ending in a disheartening tech-love disconnect,” wrote G2i experts.

The cost of hiring the wrong person can be as much as $240,000, according to SHRM. That’s an expensive bill that many businesses simply can’t shoulder. As a result, many businesses bring on a recruiting partner to help asses front end developers. Companies like G2i partner with businesses to help vet and screen front-end developer candidates — saving hiring managers time and money in the process. Learn more about G2i and sign up  to get started.

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