Welcome to the Treehouse Community

Want to collaborate on code errors? Have bugs you need feedback on? Looking for an extra set of eyes on your latest project? Get support with fellow developers, designers, and programmers of all backgrounds and skill levels here with the Treehouse Community! While you're at it, check out some resources Treehouse students have shared here.

Looking to learn something new?

Treehouse offers a seven day free trial for new students. Get access to thousands of hours of content and join thousands of Treehouse students and alumni in the community today.

Start your free trial

General Discussion

What is a typical day for a Front End Developer?

I was wondering if anyone on here can share what a day in the life is like for a front end developer walking through your day and talking about how much you get done in a day.

I also was curious to know if most of you who are currently working as a front end developer about how much you knew before and how much you learned on the job. Thanks!

Silviu Popovici
Silviu Popovici
20,433 Points

I'm also wondering this but for back-end/ full stack as well

2 Answers

I can't give a firsthand prospective at all. But if you listen to podcasts, check out 'Developer Tea'. Many of the podcasts are short (aside from the interviews which are usually an hour or so), but they contain wonderfully valuable nuggets of information and insight into the life of a developer (and he is/was a front end developer so he comes from that perspective).

Thanks I will definitely check those out!

Damien Watson
Damien Watson
27,419 Points

Hi Henry,

My perspective is a little unique, but maybe something I write will help you or fill in the gaps.

I started as a Web Designer back in the day (1999), dealing with Photoshop, Illustrator & DHTML (HTML, CSS & Javascript) which pretty much describes the Front End Developer(FED) base role. This was before frameworks, jQuery, Bootstrap & StackOverflow etc, so if you wanted to do something you had to know someone who knew how or figure it out yourself. My skills coming into this role were mainly design which I had done for about 8 years, but I was very interested in programming and had taught myself the basics of Javascript, CSS and HTML.

These days, the life of a FED is much different and usually revolves around what the company you work for requires or whether you know how to work with multiple frameworks. The basics remain the same in my opinion, at least a foundation in some image manipulation software, CSS3, HTML4/5 and Javascript. When building a site you will need images in a certain size or style and may not always have a dedicated resource to help, so some general knowledge is good. That said, most website effects these days can be done through CSS3, you may need icons so possibly Illustrator, but then you have things like fontAwesome for iconography without the hassle.

Each company will approach FED differently. Working for two different roles recently, the first used FED as a resource with image manipulation, page builds and a general FED / Back End Dev(BED) relationship where the BED handled the implementation and deployment. The next role is more focused on frameworks, using Angular, SASS and Grunt to achieve the required tasks where the whole front end is uploaded by me when changes need to be made.

How much I get done in a day depends on the work I have assigned. I have a unique focus where I can sit staring at a screen for hours on end. Not everyone works this way, each person will work in the way thats best for them, you will need to figure this out. Maybe something like a basic 5 page website would be a couple of days, I have a dynamic form website which has so far taken around 160 hours which includes UI, Visuals, FED, BED and database (I have a unique skillset ;).

To finish up, most jobs I see focus more on what frameworks & capabilities you know/have, Bootstrap, Less, Sass, Foundation, Angular, JSON, Git, Grunt/Gulp etc. Definitely Angular is gaining traction at the moment. I am always learning on the job, but some jobs won't be available without the required skills, so read up on what you need.

I hope this has helped. :D

Thanks for your perspective! It was really helpful to hear about your daily work! If you don't mind me asking, how long did it take you to really feel confident as a FED? I know that this is different for everyone, Also what was your job interview process like for your positions?

Thanks a ton for sharing!

Damien Watson
Damien Watson
27,419 Points

How long to feel confident... hasn't happened yet... everyday there is something new to learn. You also find that when you work in a particular role (eg Senior FED Angular focus), other frameworks will appear and if you don't actively update all the time you'll fall behind. A great example of this is when I was working for a large corporate and their main browser was IE6 which didn't support HTML5, so we didn't focus on upskilling... years (or months) later you pay for it.

Haven't had an interview in a while, but last job required a programming assignment. 2-3 days to build cutting edge but basic form. Hinted at Bootstrap, Sass, Grunt, Angular etc. You submit it and then get a call... or not. It's pretty harsh and in my opinion you'll get someone who is great at copy and paste, but if the company uses a certain framework you are ahead of the market if you can work with it.