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Code has revolutionized the world – and it still does. But programming itself is also evolving, with new techniques, languages, and frameworks built along the way. One of the most dynamic areas of programming is frontend development, which is creating user interfaces with code.

While frontend development focused on creating pretty websites, today’s feature-rich web apps have changed the way we experience the web. Yet many people in tech ridicule frontend technologies or label them as simplistic. However, it is the combination of all these technologies that makes frontend development and related technical recruiting so challenging. 

Let’s talk more about the evolution of front-end development and how technical recruiting can benefit from a skills-based assessment for hiring top frontend developers.

The early days of web development 

Web development gained popularity with society’s broader access to the Internet in the 1990s. Developers mainly built informational websites using HTML for layout, CSS for styling, and Javascript for interactive components. 

In the mid-2000s, Ajax was introduced, allowing developers to create asynchronous web applications. Meaning, they could fetch content from servers without having to reload the website. This was a big game changer and has played an essential role in the web’s evolution ever since.

Tips for tech recruiters on how to hire frontend developers with coding tests.
Tailored code testing can help you hire top frontend developers for your engineering teams.

 

As websites became more complicated, developers needed better tools to create user interfaces. One such tool that quickly gained a large following was jQuery (first released in 2006). This fast and light JavaScript library simplified the way developers could manipulate website elements, handle events like clicks, create animations, or use Ajax to load content.

Today, jQuery is still popular with millions of weekly downloads. Still, it’s steadily replaced by the powerful frontend frameworks and libraries that developers use today.

Modern frontend development with single-page applications frameworks

Single-page applications (SPAs) are web apps that dynamically rewrite web page content with data from the server – unlike the classic method where a browser reloads entire pages.

Building SPAs brings several advantages: 

  • they are fast and responsive, as assets only need to be loaded once
  • they offer a smooth, minimalistic process for users to get from point A to point B, enabling linear UX
  • they can cache assets locally so that the app works offline as well
  • they enable simpler development processes, as there is no need to write server-side code to render pages

Developers can choose from many libraries and frameworks to make single-page applications easier to build. The two tools with a dominant position in the industry are Angular by Google and React.js by Facebook. According to Stackoverflow’s 2020 Developer Survey, 60% of all frontend engineers used one of the two frameworks in the past year. 

These JavaScript frameworks and libraries are pretty complex, which is why developers use a variety of supporting technologies to improve their frontend development process. For example, developers can make their work easier by augmenting libraries such as Redux, rxJs, and ngRx. In addition, new query languages like GraphQL also catch on with developers quickly. 

Is frontend development really a piece of cake? 

By now, frontend development is one of the most popular programming domains, and over 30% of developers call themselves frontend engineers. 

This is despite the fact that, as we have seen, the demands on frontend developers are constantly growing. They have to take on more and more responsibilities as the web and its users evolve. 

For example, processing and storing data used to be the exclusive domain of backend developers. However, with the local storage capabilities of modern browsers, it is no longer uncommon for frontend developers to take care of these tasks to some degree.

Read more like this: Does No-Code Development Make Hiring Software Engineers Obsolete?

Hence, today’s frontend developers must constantly hone their engineering, design, and user experience skills. Additionally, they need to keep up with trends and master the languages and tools required to meet the increasing demands of users across all digital touch points. 

Finally, this is why tech recruiters should know about the evolution of frontend development. They need to understand the complexities and misconceptions involved in successfully hiring top frontend developers.

Skills-based assessment with code testing 

Once you understand how important the evolution of frontend development is to your technical recruiting process, you also need to use the right tools for the job. Code testing tools like CodeCheck help you perform skills-based assessments of candidates with various coding tests tailored to different frontend stacks and skill levels. 

Choose from an extensive library of everyday UI development tasks that test candidates’ problem-solving and coding skills. Present them with language-agnostic programming tests or assess their experience with libraries and frameworks like Angular, React.js, or Vue.js. In addition, CodeCheck provides hands-on tasks to determine candidates’ proficiency in other frontend tools such as Redux, ngRx, rxJs, or GraphQL.

Frontend development is becoming increasingly complex, and companies need skilled developers to deliver great apps and customer experiences. With tools like CodeCheck, tech recruiters can create versatile code tests for requirements that help them conduct skills-based assessments for hiring the right frontend developers.

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Vienna Urias, Content Marketing Manager at Codility

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