5 Essential Skills Every Front End Developer Must Learn in 2019

Front-end web developer

What does it take to be a front-end web developer in 2019?

Are you looking for a career as a front-end web developer? This is a great time to be a front-end web developer with the constant rise in web development jobs and the high salaries associated with it.

So what are the skills that you need to call yourself a complete front-end web developer in 2019?

In this blog post, we will explore the skill set and tools that you need to acquire to be a successful front-end web developer. The post has links to the best resources that are available today to learn these skills. Follow along and learn what it takes to be a Front-end web developer in 2019.

Skill 1: HTML


HTML is the first thing you need to learn to get started with web development. HTML is a standard markup language that is used to create web pages. It is the beginning of your web development journey. It has come a long way over the years, and today HTML 5 is the latest standard.

HTML is easy to learn and there are plenty of free resources to learn HTML.

One of my top pick for learning HTML is the freeCodeCamp course mentioned below.

Learn HTML 5 – Free Code Camp Course completely Free

Skill 2 – CSS


Now you know HTML, but you may notice that your plain HTML website looks ugly. You need to add style and flavor to your web pages. CSS does just that. CSS makes your web pages look great, and provides a great user experience to your users.

Adding colors, sizing buttons, background images, responsiveness of your site on desktop and mobile and much more can all be done with CSS.

In fact, many UI developers become CSS experts and make a ton of money with just this skill. freeCodeCamp has a great resource for learning basic CSS.

Learn basic CSS – Free Code Camp

CSS Preprocessors

Once you have learned the basics of CSS and get a hang of styling your webpage, it is time to learn more.

Preprocessors enhance your CSS with more functionality. There many options, Sass, Less, PostCSS, Stylus etc.

If I were to pick one, I would go for Sass. PostCSS is gaining a lot of popularity too which you can look into after learning Sass.

List of Tutorials for Sass

Skill 3 – JavaScript


With HTML and CSS, you have designed beautiful web pages, but they don’t really do anything. Where does all our business logic live? I like to think of JavaScript as the brain of your website.

JavaScript controls the user interactions on your website. Dynamic and complex web applications need in-depth knowledge of JavaScript.

Did you know, that JavaScript is ranked as the most popular programming language of 2018 by the StackOverflow survey?

Learning JavaScript will lead you towards great success on your job front.

Mosh has authored an amazing course on JavaScript. The course enables you to Master the fundamentals of JavaScript

You can view a preview of the course below:

JavaScript Basics for Beginners | Code with Mosh

Skill 4: JavaScript Libraries and Frameworks

Although you can write your entire web application using JavaScript, HTML and CSS, modern JavaScript frameworks and libraries make things easier for you.

They come with patterns and best practices that make development much easier. If you are wondering why modern JavaScript frameworks exist, this article would be a good read to get an overall idea.

They help write complex apps with efficient and easy to maintain user interface. There is a strong community behind these frameworks with a lot of people helping each other succeed.

The top three frameworks that are out there which you can consider to learn are:

Option 1. React


If you have not heard about React already, it is the most popular JavaScript library that is used today. It has over 120k stars on Github. React was open sourced by Facebook and has a huge community presence. Today many modern web applications are built using React.

If you are looking to learn more about React and master it, check out Mosh’s course on React that will enable you to become a successful React developer.

Mastering React – Everything you need to know about React.

Option 2 – Angular


Let’s say you are not impressed with React or looking for other options. Angular is a full blown JavaScript library that is as popular as React.

If you are looking for a comparison between the two frameworks, check out our blog post on Angular vs. React to get a better understanding of how they compare.

If you are looking to learn more about Angular and master it, check out Mosh’s course on Angular that will enable you to become a successful Angular developer.

Master Angular – Beginner to Pro

Option 3 – Vue



Vue.js is the new kid on the block. It has ideas from both Angular and React. It is comparatively a light-weight framework which is gaining a lot popularity recently.

You can read more about how Vue.js compares with React from our blog post on React vs. Vue. has quite a few courses on Vue.js and the official Vue.js documentation is very well organized and super useful.

Vue.js Official Documentation

Skill 5 – Testing Code

Testing is a very important aspect of writing clean, maintainable and bug-free code. Well tested code pays back in the long run and you will appreciate the effort years later. There are different types of tests you can write which include, Unit tests, Integration tests, Functional tests and so on.

JavaScript has plenty of testing options and I am going to list out some of the most popular testing frameworks out there.  Keep in mind, that you don’t need to learn all of them. You have to pick what you like and write tests using them.

Option 1: Jest

One of the most popular testing frameworks out there created by Facebook is Jest. This also happens to be my personal favorite for testing code. Jest works really well with React applications, although it can be used with any modern JavaScript framework.

Jest is easy to setup and learn.

Official Jest Documentation and APIs

Option 2: Mocha

Mocha is another popular testing framework which can be an alternative to Jest. Mocha is a feature-rich JavaScript test framework running on Node.js and in the browser, making asynchronous testing simple and fun.

Official Mocha Documentation and APIs

Option 3: Enzyme (Component Testing)

Enzyme is a JavaScript Testing utility for React that makes it easier to assert, manipulate, and traverse your React Components’ output.

This is not a unit test, but it tests the component lifecycle. It is very popular within the React community.

Official Enzyme Documentation and APIs

Option 4: Other Frameworks

There are plenty of other testing options for JavaScript. The State of JavaScript 2018 survey has a whole list of other popular testing frameworks that you can explore before deciding on what to use.

More Testing Options

Tools For Modern Front End Web Development

Build Tools

Once you have acquired the skills to code, the next thing would be familiarizing yourself with the modern set of tools that are available. Let’s dive into the different tooling options for a web developer.

Build Tools

Modern build tools are immensely helpful in building and bundling your code and help with the development as well.


The best tool out there as of 2019 to bundle and build your code. It is a static module bundler for modern JavaScript applications.

You can learn all about it and get it setup from the official documentation below:

Webpack Documentation and Setup


An alternative to Webpack is Rollup. Rollup is a module bundler for JavaScript which compiles small pieces of code into something larger and more complex, such as a library or application. It uses the new standardized format for code modules included in the ES6 revision of JavaScript.

Rollup Documentation and Setup

Package Managers

Package managers are used to install, share, and distribute code. They also manage dependencies in your projects.


It is by far the most commonly used package manager for JavaScript.

NPM Official Documentation


Yarn is my personal favorite and it can do everything that NPM does. It seems faster and easier to use than NPM and lots of people are moving to Yarn these days.

Yarn Official Documentation

Linters and  Formatters

Now, after all the complex learning, you want to make sure your code is clean and formatted well. Clean code is maintainable and readable. There are tools for taking care of your code formatting and linting as well.


ESLint is the most widely used linter in the industry. It handles formatting and you can define rules based on your team/personal coding standard, and the linter will catch the flaws for you.

ESLint official website for setup and documentation


This is an alternate option if you are looking for something other than ESLint.

Prettier official website and documentation

Dead Technologies – Adds no value in 2019

You maybe wondering why doesn’t this article talk about JQuery? Well, it’s 2019 and JQuery is great, but it adds no value to your skill set in 2019. Web development has come a long way and with the use of modern front-end frameworks, there is no need to waste time learning old technologies like JQuery.

Some other technologies that I would add to this bucket would be frameworks like Ember and KnockoutJS. These were great when they were introduced, but with powerful frameworks like React and Angular, they are going to be obsolete soon.

Disclaimer: If you have to support legacy code which uses these old technologies, then you still have to spend time learning them.


Congrats on reaching the end of the article! This could be overwhelming at start if you are new to front-end development. But, with the basic skills in programming, you will be able to succeed as a front-end web developer if you wisely pick and choose from the options you have.

If you liked this post, please share it with others.

Happy Learning!


Adhithi Ravichandran is a Software Consultant based in Kansas City. She is currently working on building apps with React, React Native and GraphQL. She is a Conference Speaker, Pluralsight Author, Blogger and Software Consultant. She is passionate about teaching and thrives to contribute to the tech community with her courses, blog posts and speaking engagements.
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17 responses to “5 Essential Skills Every Front End Developer Must Learn in 2019”

  1. Love it! Thanks for this! 🙂

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  3. Ayodeji Odunayo says:

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  4. Radek says:

    What about fundamental graphic knowledge? 😛

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