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Whether it’s on our laptops, tablets or phones, we’re always connected to the Internet. Our digital presence makes websites powerful marketing tools, and most companies recognize the importance of having a well-dressed, seamlessly integrated site.

With over 1 billion existing websites on the Internet, it can be hard to stand out and provide users with a memorable experience. That’s why businesses are constantly looking for skilled developers, on both the front-end and back-end, to help them engineer their optimal website.

The front-end part of a website, as opposed to the back-end, is that with which you interact. The task of creating the user-facing side of the website – what each user will actually see – falls on the front-end developer. It’s the front-end developer’s job to take a graphic designer’s model (or his or her own) and code it into the front-end, so that it can physically be seen by the user.

For example, hover your cursor over the different blog categories on the right side of this page. As you do, notice that each is highlighted in black. That feature was coded by a front-end developer. Their work is primarily done using three essential languages: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript:

1. HTML (used to define the content of web pages)

HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, is the foundation of modern website creation. It’s what allows a front-end developer to format page content (e.g. text, images, links, headers, sidebars, etc.) and control the structure of a web page. It’s considered a flexible language that’s relatively easy to pick up – especially the basics. The language is constantly evolving, with the latest version being HTML5.

2. CSS (used to define the layout of web pages)

CSS, short for Cascading Style Sheets, is what’s responsible for the actual look of a website. Whereas HTML controls what’s presented on a website, CSS controls the way in which it’s presented (e.g. font, color, layout).

3. JavaScript (used to program the behavior of web pages)

JavaScript, the hardest and most advanced of the three, is used to create interactive elements on a website, such as sliders, pop-ups, and drop-down menus. Not to be confused with Java, JavaScript brings levels of sophistication to websites that wouldn’t be possible with simple HTML.

All front-end developers are highly skilled in these languages, with many having exposure to other useful tools, such as jQuery, Bootstrap and TypeScriptOn average, such skills can land a front-end developer $70,000 per year, with select companies paying far higher for exceptional talent. It’s also worth noting that many businesses – particularly startups – look to increase their flexibility by bringing on individuals with web development skills, even if they’re trying to fill, say, a marketing role.

In this digital age, web development skills will always be in high demand. Whether you want to explore a career in front-end development or simply want to increase your own utility – now is as good a time as any to begin learning. Here are a few courses to get you started:

HTML5Introduction    HTMLCODING

IntroductiontoComputerScience    JavaScriptHTMLCSS

Another aspect of the front end of any website, mobile app or interactive product is the user experience. User experience design is a fast-growing, in-demand field, especially with more products going online and controlled via mobile apps or voice commands. Learn more about the MicroMasters advanced program, User Experience (UX) Research and Design, from the University of Michigan.

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