GovWire

Detailed guide: Frontend developer

Government Digital Service

December 3
15:38 2020

This describes the role of a frontend developer and the skills required including:

  • an introduction to the role, telling you what you would do in this role and the full list of skills

  • a description of the levels in this role, from associate frontend developer to principal frontend developer, specifying
  • the skills you need for each level and the corresponding skill level (awareness, working, practitioner, expert).

This role is part of the Digital, Data & Technology Profession in the Civil Service.

Introduction to the role of frontend developer

A frontend developer designs, builds and improves website software that meets user needs. In this role, you will:

  • be responsible for writing clean, accessible code following a progressive enhancement approach

  • create code that is open by default and easy for others to reuse
  • design software which meets user needs and creates meaningful interactions and relationships with users
  • have an understanding of the three fundamental frontend technologies (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript)

Skills required to be a frontend developer

You will need the following skills for this role, although the level of expertise for each will vary, depending on the role level.

  • Programming and build. You can use agreed standards and specifications to design, create, test and document new software or make changes to existing software.
  • User focus. You understand users and can identify who they are and what their needs are, based on evidence. You can translate user stories and propose design approaches or services to meet user needs and engage in meaningful interactions and relationships with users. You put users first. You can manage competing priorities.
  • Systems design. You can design system components which meet business needs. You are good at solving problems and understanding technical and business complexity.
  • Systems integration. You can integrate and test user interfaces, systems and programme components.
  • Modern standards approach. You use a modern standards approach through development, automation and testing.
  • Prototyping. You can apply technical knowledge and experience to create or design workable prototypes, both programs and physical outputs. You understand parameters, restrictions and synergies.
  • Accessibility. You are able to create accessible user interfaces that put user needs first. You test components and pages against accessibility standards.
  • Communicating information. You are able to communicate effectively across organisational, technical and political boundaries. You know how to make complex and technical information and language simple and accessible for non-technical audiences. You collaborate effectively with others.
  • Leadership and guidance. You can interpret a vision to lead on decisions. You create a collaborative environment and maintain a good service. You can understand and resolve technical disputes across varying levels of complexity and risk. You can solve issues and unblock problems.
  • Web Performance Optimisation. You understand how web performance can impact users. You are able to solve problems to improve performance. You use different sources of data to monitor and identify performance issues.
  • Community collaboration. You contribute to the work of others while having the ability to build, motivate and empower teams. You create the right environment for teams to work in and are able to facilitate the best team makeup depending on the situation. You give and receive constructive feedback, facilitating the feedback loop. You recognise and deal with issues.
  • Strategic thinking. You have an overall perspective on business issues, events, activities and their wider implications and long-term impact. This could include determining patterns, standards, policies, roadmaps and vision statements. You focus on outcomes rather than solutions and activities.

Apprentice frontend developer

An apprentice frontend developer attends certified training and develops skills on the job. In this role, you will:

  • spend a substantial portion of time shadowing others

  • work with other developers to write code and tests
  • write code that follows web standards
  • build your understanding of accessibility
  • build your own knowledge
  • develop software which meets user need

Skills needed for this role

  • Programming and build. You can design, code, test, correct and document simple user interfaces using the right standards and tools under the direction of others. (Relevant skill level: awareness)
  • User focus. You know about user experience analysis and its principles. You can explain the purpose of user stories and focus on user needs. (Relevant skill level: awareness)
  • Modern standards approach. You can explain the importance of adopting a modern standards approach. (Relevant skill level: awareness)
  • Prototyping. You can explain what prototyping is and why and when to use it. You have an understanding of how to work in an open and collaborative environment for example, by pair-working. (Relevant skill level: awareness)
  • Accessibility. You understand accessibility and that users have different accessibility needs. You are able to help fix accessibility issues under the direction of others. (Relevant skill level: awareness)
  • Leadership and guidance. You are able to follow agreed good practice for the team. You have an awareness of the importance of team dynamics and collaboration and understand the importance of feedback. (Relevant skill level: awareness)
  • Communicating information. You are able to listen to the needs of the design and business stakeholders and interpret information. You are able to take part in discussions within a multidisciplinary team. (Relevant skill level: awareness)
  • Community collaboration. You understand the work of others and the importance of team dynamics, collaboration and feedback. (Relevant skill level: awareness)
  • Web Performance Optimisation. You understand the basic principles of web performance, and why web performance is important. You are able to support activities to improve web performance under the guidance of others. (Relevant skill level: awareness)

Junior frontend developer

A junior frontend developer learns on the job by delivering software components. At this level, you will:

  • work independently with guidance from more senior developers to identify user issues and needs
  • write clean code that follows web standards
  • build your understanding of accessibility
  • build your own knowledge
  • develop software which meets user needs

Skills needed for this role

  • Programming and build. You can collaborate with others to understand and review software requirements. You can design, code, test, correct and document user interfaces using the right standards and tools under the direction of others. (Relevant skill level: working)
  • User focus. You know about user experience analysis and its principles. You can explain the purpose of user stories and the focus on user needs. (Relevant skill level: awareness)
  • Systems design. You can assist as part of a team on design of components of larger systems. (Relevant skill level: awareness)
  • Systems integration. You are aware of how to build static assets from source code. You know how browsers use and present static assets to the end users and how different versions of an interface can be delivered for different browsers and devices. (Relevant skills level: awareness)
  • Modern standards approach. You understand the central principles of a modern standards approach and how it applies to the work you are undertaking. You can apply it under guidance. (Relevant skill level: working)
  • Prototyping. You know when to use a specific prototyping technique or method (for example, sketch, code, Loc2). You can show the value of prototyping to your team. (Relevant skill level: working)
  • Accessibility. You understand users have different accessibility needs. You are able to build user interfaces that meet accessibility standards and fix accessibility issues under the direction of others. (Relevant skill level: working)
  • Communicating information. You are able to listen to the needs of the design and business stakeholders and interpret information. You are able to take part in discussions within the multidisciplinary team. (Relevant skill level: working)
  • Leadership and guidance. You are able to follow agreed good practice for the team. You h

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