Working as a front-end developer is a challenging opportunity that can be both financially lucrative and highly creative. But if you’d like to make the leap to this exciting field, there are a few skills you have to master first. This guide will cover the most in-demand skills of the front-end industry and how you can conquer them in no time.


HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the building blocks of the internet. Everything we see is written in HTML, with additional languages like JavaScript and Python added on top. This is the first skill you should begin to explore in your journey to become a designer or developer.

Here’s a snippet of HTML to give you an idea of what it looks like:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>Page Title</title>

<h1>This is a Heading</h1>
<p>This is a paragraph.</p>


If this looks scary, don’t worry– it’s among the easiest skills to pick up for those interested in the tech industry. Good reading material for learning HTML includes HTML5: The Missing Manual and HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites.


Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the peanut butter to HTML’s jelly. HTML is the bare bones of the website, but CSS is what gives it its good looks. For instance, consider the HTML example above. Without CSS, it’ll be a pretty plain website. But adding this bit of code can make all of the difference in the world:

body {
background-color: #d0e4fe;

h1 {
color: orange;
text-align: center;

p {
font-family: “Times New Roman”;
font-size: 20px;

This changes the font and the colors on the page, but you can do so much more with CSS. Great manuals for picking up this handy skill are CSS: The Missing Manual and HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites.


Of these skills, JavaScript is certainly the most complex and the most difficult to learn. However, if you have an interest in coding and a good deal of patience, you can master this skill in no time. Here’s an example of what simple JavaScript looks like:

<button type=”button”
onclick=”document.getElementById(‘demo’).innerHTML = ‘Hello JavaScript!'”>
Click Me!</button>

Of course, it’s going to get much more complicated than this before you’re done. JavaScript allows you to create interactive elements on a page and determine how the page responds based on the behavior of the user. Learning this skill can help set you apart from the competition and turn you into a great developer. Pick up JavaScript & jQuery: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals) and JavaScript and JQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development to further develop your skills.

Learning Resources

Each of these skills can be learned online with tools like Codecademy,, and Shaye Howe’s free online resource. These resources are free, easy to navigate, and highly effective. You can also look into local MeetUps to find coding groups or workshops that can help you brush up on your skills. Additionally, some start ups and web design companies offer coding crash courses that can supplement your learning.

Of course, just running through a Codecademy course isn’t going to get you up to speed for your first developer job. Pair these techniques with the manuals mentioned above, as well as hands-on practice with designing your own websites and applications. If your finances allow, you might also try intensive coding bootcamps that can quickly get your skills where they need to be to land your first position.

Writing code can be fun, so remember to enjoy yourself along the way. If you love what you do, you’ll increase your chances of being successful in your goal to become a front-end developer.


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