Find Your Next Front End Developer Job: The DEFINITIVE Playbook
More than 30,000 people have been laid off by 57 tech companies in 2023, according to layoffs.fyi. Amazon, Meta, Alphabet, and many big tech companies have had mass layoffs in 2022. In fact, the number of people laid off in the first week of 2023 alone exceeded the layoffs from the last 3 months of 2022!
As a developer, you may already know all of this. We’re here to tell you the other side. Your skills are just as valuable today. And many high-growth companies continue to do well and are looking to hire kick-ass front end developers.
But, how do you get to them? Where exactly are they? That’s why, we’ve created an exact, step-by-step guide on how to find - and land - a front end development job in 2023.
Brush up on your fundamentals
The first step to becoming a front-end web developer is to understand the basics of web development. The basic fundamentals of front-end development include:
- HTML: the structure and content of a website
- CSS: the design and layout of a website
- Browser Developer Tools: used to inspect and debug a website
- Responsive Design: the ability of a website to adapt to different screen sizes and devices
- Accessibility: the ability of a website to be accessible to users with disabilities
- Web Performance: the speed and efficiency of a website
These are the building blocks of all websites and web applications. You should check for open gaps in your knowledge. There are many resources available online to find and plug those gaps. Leetcode, Codecademy, and FreeCodeCamp are excellent places to begin learning new concepts from scratch, practising, and more.
The field of web development is constantly evolving, and new tools and technologies are being developed all the time. To be a successful front-end web developer, it's important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments.
Some of the latest developments in front-end development include:
- Progressive Web Applications (PWA): which are web applications that can be installed on a user's device and work offline, providing a native-like experience.
- Web Assembly: which allows for low-level languages like C and C++ to be run in the browser, enabling faster and more efficient performance.
- CSS Grid and Flexbox: which are used for creating advanced grid-based layouts and responsive design.
- Web Components: which allow for the creation of reusable and modular UI elements that can be shared across different projects.
- Web Animation: which includes technologies such as CSS animations, the Web Animations API and Lottie to create complex animations.
- Accessibility: which is more important than ever, and developers are more aware of the importance of building accessible websites and web applications.
- Web Security: which is becoming increasingly important as the use of the web continues to grow. Developers are more concerned about the security of their web apps by using modern technologies like Subresource Integrity (SRI), Content Security Policy (CSP), and HTTPS.
Learning about the latest developments in front end development will give you an edge while applying to product-based companies.
Build a personal brand
Building your personal brand will help you get discovered and exhibit your communication skills. Remote companies look for exceptional documentation and communication skills in international hires. That’s why, your personal brand can help you augment your experience, and multiply your chances of getting hired by a LOT.
The world of typos and awkward emails is fading away.
Here’s some benefits of building your personal brand as a developer:
- Greater visibility: Having a personal brand as a front-end developer can help to make you stand out in a competitive job market, making it easier for potential employers and clients to discover you and your abilities.
- Enhanced credibility: A strong personal brand can help establish you as an expert in your field, which can be useful in building trust and credibility with potential employers and clients.
- Networking opportunities: Building a personal brand can assist you to connect with other professionals in your field, which can lead to job prospects, collaborations, and mentorship opportunities.
- Career control: Having a personal brand allows for more control over your career and the ability to choose the types of projects and clients you want to work with.
- Career advancement: Having a personal brand can help to gain recognition and opportunities for career advancement, such as leadership roles, speaking engagements, and other opportunities to share your expertise.
- Self-awareness: Building a personal brand can help to better understand your strengths, skills, and career goals, which can assist you in making more strategic choices about your career path.
Let’s look at 4 ways you can build your personal brand as a front-end developer:
You can share your knowledge and insights on the latest front-end development trends and best practices by creating a blog or a personal website. You can write about personal and professional learnings, your take on the newest developments in the field, your wins, etc.
It will demonstrate your expertise and thought leadership in the field, and provide potential employers with a better understanding of who you are as an individual.
You can use social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and GitHub to connect with other front-end developers and share your work. You can share links to your portfolio, blog posts, and open-source contributions, as well as post updates about your current projects and any speaking engagements or events you attend.
You can participate in open-source projects and contribute to existing libraries and frameworks. This can include submitting pull requests, fixing bugs, and adding new features. By contributing to open-source projects, a developer can demonstrate their skills and willingness to share their knowledge with the community. Everyone loves a team player.
You should attend meetups, conferences, and other events to connect with other front-end developers and potential employers. You can also participate in online forums and communities to share your knowledge and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in front-end development. This can help you expand your professional network, meet with like-minded professionals, and build relationships.
Build side projects
Building side projects is one of the best things you can do for your career as a front end developer.
Pesto developers who have launched at least once on ProductHunt get 2x the amount of interviews than a developer who hasn’t. Amazing, isn’t it?
Companies want self-starters, fast learners, and interdisciplinary developers. Building your own side project is the best way for you to learn all of the skills and massively increase your odds of getting hired. Product companies always prefer developers who work well with product managers, designers, etc.
Building a side project can do wonders for your chances of getting hired. But, are there even more reasons to build products as a front end developer?
Yup. Let’s take a look:
Building side projects allows a front-end developer to experiment with new technologies, tools, and techniques that they may not have had the opportunity to use in their current job. This can help the developer to improve their skills and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in front-end development.
Building side projects allows a front-end developer to create a portfolio of their work, which can be used to showcase their skills and experience to potential employers. A portfolio can include projects that demonstrate the developer's ability to build complex and interactive user interfaces, as well as their understanding of front-end development best practices and web standards.
Building side projects can help a front-end developer to connect with other developers and build a network of contacts in the industry. Many developers will share their side projects on platforms like GitHub and social media, which allows others to see the work and provide feedback. This can help the developer to build relationships with other developers and expand their professional network.
Building side projects can also open up new career opportunities for a front-end developer. For example, a developer may build a side project that demonstrates their ability to build a Progressive Web App and that could be the opportunity to land a job in a company that is looking for a developer with that specific skill set.
Building side projects can also be a way for a front-end developer to explore their own interests and passions, and to create something that they are proud of. This can be a great way to stay motivated and engaged in their work and to find fulfilment in their career.
That’s why, Pesto Plus cohorts have a specific building module where developers learn to write their own PRDs, look at design, and code all by themselves. Over the last couple of cohorts, we’ve seen that developers get the most value of this particular activity over the longer run.
Their products become the biggest talking point for developers in their next interviews. Moreover, the process of building itself - gives them a bird’s eye view of what product development is, and helps them figure out the kind of companies they want to work with.
Revamp your CV
Here are some steps you can take as a front-end developer can take to revamp your CV:
Tailor your CV to the job you're applying for
Make sure your CV highlights the skills and experience that are most relevant to the job you're applying for. Highlight your experience with specific technologies and tools that are listed in the job description.
Include a personal statement
This is a brief summary at the top of your CV that highlights your skills and experience as a front-end developer. It should be tailored to the job you're applying for and should be written in a way that grabs the attention of the hiring manager.
Use keywords that are relevant to front-end development in your CV. This includes programming languages, frameworks, and tools you have experience with. This will help your CV to be found by recruiters who are searching for candidates with specific skills.
Highlight your portfolio
Include links to your portfolio and any other relevant projects you have worked on. This will give hiring managers an idea of your skills and experience, and it will demonstrate your ability to deliver quality work.
Include any certifications or training
Include any relevant certifications or training you have completed, such as web development bootcamps or online courses. This will demonstrate your commitment to learning and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in front-end development.
Showcase your soft skills
Include examples of your soft skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, and communication. These skills are important for a front-end developer and they are highly valued by employers.
Make sure your CV is free of spelling and grammatical errors. This will demonstrate your attention to detail and professionalism.
Keep it simple
Use a clean and simple design that is easy to read and navigate. Avoid using too many colours or graphics, and stick to a clean, professional layout.
By following these steps, you can create a CV that is tailored to the job you’re applying for and that effectively showcases their skills and experience. Remember - your CV should be a living document, so it should be updated frequently as you gain new skills and experience.
How to crack your favourite tech companies as a front end developer
Have you come across some developers on LinkedIn who are always working with the coolest companies? Do you know what their secret is?
The secret to getting interviews from nearly every company you like is personal outreach. There is a step-by-step process to do personal outreach. We’re giving it away here:
Make a list of companies you’re interested in
Knowing your dream companies is the first step. Make a list of 10-15 top companies that you’re really interested in. Go on ProductHunt and find the coolest and most loved products, and the companies behind them. Here are the 2 most important things to think about while filtering through companies:
- Their culture, values, and mission
- Their team
Find company employees on LinkedIn
Once you’ve finalised your companies, find their employees on Linkedin one by one. If the company team size is <100 employees, find the founder’s profile directly. You can use web add-ons to find and scrape their email address from LinkedIn. If the company is bigger, try finding their CTO, Product Head, etc. As a thumb rule, the more senior a person would be, the better.
Research the individual and the company
You should go through the company’s entire website, their latest product developments, and what they’re currently working on. Next, go through the social profiles of those individuals and get to know their professional and personal background.
This allows you to understand who you’ll reach out to and how you could add value as a front-end developer to their specific company.
Write a killer 150-word cold email that actually gets replies
No one reads long emails. Especially senior folks who have dozens of emails flying in their inbox every day. The best length for a cold email should be between 100-150 words. You need to be crisp, clear, and direct about why you’re reaching out. Here’s the format of a cold email that actually gets replies.
First, let’s look at a cold email that generated 30% replies (that’s huge for cold outreach)
What makes this email great?
- The first line establishes how you know them, and exactly why you’re emailing.
- The next 2 sentences are easy to read and the key things a person would need to know.
- It establishes a clear ask
You can go one step further and use a format like this - especially if you’re reaching out to a founder/CEO or a very senior person
Cold email template for developers
Have been following you on [social media channel] and loved your thoughts on [common interest point] and the exciting work you’re doing at [company name]. I’m a fan!
About me: I’m [your name], and I’ve been doing [the job you’re applying for] since X years. I’m pretty good with [skill 1], [skill 2], and [skill 3]. I’ve worked with [company name, if applicable], etc. and recently launched my own side product on [topic, if applicable]
I came across your post/opening and think I’d be a great fit for what you guys are building!
Would you like to have a 15-minute virtual chat this week? Here’s my Calendar[hyperlink this with an event booking link so they can immediately find a slot that works for them] for your ease.
Feel free to play around with this template and really make it your own. But the thumb rule is, you don’t need a lot of words to write a cold email that converts. All you need is 5-10 minutes of research.
Join online communities
The best part of being in tech is the communities. There are thousands of dev communities on the Internet full of senior developers, who’d be happy to engage with you and give you their seasoned advice. Here’s why it’s important to join an online tech community as a front-end developer:
- Building connections: Joining online tech communities provides an opportunity for front-end developers to connect with other professionals in their field, which can result in job prospects, collaborations, and mentorship opportunities.
- Enhancing skills: Online tech communities offer a wide range of knowledge and resources such as tutorials, code samples, and best practices for front-end developers to improve their skills and stay current with latest technologies.
- Finding solutions: Being part of an online community offers a platform for developers to ask questions, share problems, and receive answers from experienced developers.
- Staying up-to-date: Online tech communities are a useful tool for front-end developers to stay informed about the latest trends and developments in their field, and to learn about new tools and technologies as they become available.
- Collaborating on projects: Online tech communities provide a platform for front-end developers to collaborate on projects, share ideas, and contribute to open-source projects, which can help them to gain experience, build their portfolio, and enhance their skills.
Hacker News (HN) is a social news website that focuses on computer science and entrepreneurship, which is run by the startup incubator Y Combinator. It can be beneficial for a front-end developer to join because you can always find YC-funded startups posting job openings. This is perfect for you if you’re looking to work in a promising startup.
Hacker Noon is a technology and startup publication that features articles and stories written by industry experts and enthusiasts. The articles cover a wide range of topics, including front-end development, blockchain, AI, and more. It provides a platform for independent writers and experts to share their knowledge and insights with a wider audience. It also allows readers to discover new technologies and trends, and to stay informed about the latest developments in the industry.
Hashnode is a blogging platform and a community for developers and tech enthusiasts. It allows users to create and publish their own blogs and articles on a wide range of topics related to technology, including front-end development. It also has a vibrant community of users who can interact with each other by commenting, sharing and following each other. It also offers a way for readers to discover new content and for writers to share their knowledge and experience with a wider audience.
Reddit is a no-brainer for developers looking for advice and better job opportunities. From CV/project reviews to company recommendations and job openings - you’ll find an active subreddit for every single question as a front end developer.
Pesto’s community is full of remote developers working from all over the world. It’s perfect for developers who are looking for advice on career switches, what it feels like to work in a startup, how to go remote and international with your career and more. The best part is, we’re always conducting free events and webinars for you to have fireside chats with industry experts on everything that’s hot in tech.
Becoming a front-end web developer requires a combination of technical skills, creativity, and a willingness to stay up-to-date with the latest tools and technologies. By following the steps outlined in this article, you'll be well on your way to a career as a front-end web developer.
The tech world is hard to navigate alone.
We get it. Finding open gaps in your knowledge, refurbishing your CV, finding a job that’s truly worth your skills and expertise - it can be overwhelming to navigate alone. If you’re looking to upskill and really make an international career in tech, we recommend our Plus Fellowship Program, that helps developers get location-independent, full-time roles in high-impact companies.
Excited? Know more about our next cohort here.
- What skills are most in demand for front-end developer jobs?
- What is the average salary for a front-end developer in [insert location]?
The average salary for a front-end developer can vary greatly depending on location, experience, and company. In the United States, for example, the average salary for a front-end developer ranges from around $75,000 to $135,000 per year.
- What type of work environment do front-end developers typically work in?
Front-end developers typically work in a variety of environments, including in-house at companies, at agencies, as freelancers, or remotely.
- How does the job market for front-end developers compare to other types of developer positions?
The job market for front-end developers is currently strong, with many companies seeking to hire skilled professionals in this field. However, competition for top jobs can be intense, particularly at large tech companies.
- What are the biggest challenges facing front-end developers in their job?
Some of the biggest challenges facing front-end developers in their job include staying up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends, working with complex code, and balancing the needs of multiple stakeholders.
- How can someone break into the front-end development field?
- What are the best resources for staying up-to-date on the latest front-end development technologies and trends?
Some of the best resources for staying up-to-date on the latest front-end development technologies and trends include websites such as CSS-Tricks, Smashing Magazine, and FreeCodeCamp, as well as online courses and tutorials on platforms such as Codecademy, Udemy, and Coursera.
- Are any certifications or degrees particularly helpful for front-end developer job seekers?
- How do front-end developer roles differ between in-house and agency positions?
In-house front-end developer roles are focused on working on a specific product or set of products for a single company, whereas agency positions often involve working on a variety of projects for different clients. In-house roles may have more opportunities for long-term career growth within a single company, while agency positions may offer more diverse experience and project variety.
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