What Every Front-End Developer Should (Re)Learn This Year to Master Their Skills

In our fast-paced engineering world, we tend to spend our time trying out the latest inventions, then arguing about them on the internet.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t do that. But, we should probably slow down a bit and also take a look at the things that don’t change all that much—the things we probably know pretty well already. Not only will this improve the quality of our work and the value we deliver—it will actually help us learn these new tools faster.

So this year, here are the skills you should be focusing on (or, redirect your attention to if it’s been a while) if you’re a front-end developer.

Learn How to Write Readable Code

Most of our work lies not in writing new code, but maintaining existing code. That means you end up reading code much more often than writing it, so you need to optimize your code for the next programmer, not the interpreter.

I recommend reading these three amazing books to help do just that—in this order, from shortest to longest:

Learn JavaScript Deeper

When every week we have a new JavaScript framework that’s better than any older one, it’s easy to spend most of your time learning frameworks rather than the language itself. If you’re using a framework but don’t understand how it works, stop, and start learning the language again. These are some great resources to dig deeper in JS:

Learn Functional Programming

For years we wanted classes in JavaScript. Now, we finally have them but don’t want to use them anymore. Functions are all we want! We even write HTML using functions (JSX). So, try these two tools out:

Learn Design Basics

As front-end developers, we’re closer to users than anybody else on the team—maybe even closer than designers. And if designers have to verify every pixel you put on screen, you’re doing something wrong. Pick up all your design basics with these:

Learn How to Work With Humans

Some of us come to programming because we prefer to interact with computers more than with humans. Unfortunately, that’s not how the role works.

We rarely work in isolation: We have to talk to other developers, designers, managers—and sometimes even users. That may be hard, but it’s important if you want to really understand what you’re doing and why, because that’s where the value in what we do lies. These resources might help you get more comfortable in these extroverted situations:

Learn How to Write for Humans

A big portion of communication with our colleagues and other people are textual: task descriptions and comments, code comments, Git commits, chat messages, emails, tweets, blog posts, and then some.

Imagine how much time people spend reading and understanding all that. If you can reduce this time by writing more clearly and concisely, the world will be a better place to work. So, read these: