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Magento 2 Front-end Developers In 2020: Who Are They, How and Where to Hire Them

Magento 2 Front-end Developers In 2020: Who Are They, How and Where to Hire Them

Magento 2 Front-end Developers In 2020: Who Are They, How and Where to Hire Them

Just a decade ago, Magento 1 websites were mostly static and operated on the principle “one action – one page”. Besides, the main logic that generates and displays their content was rendered on the server-side. Therefore, there was no need to hire an individual professional who would be responsible for implementing visual elements. Either a back-end developer or a layout designer with the knowledge of JavaScript was responsible for this.

The Magento 2.x uprise, as well as the onrush of e-commerce, have dramatically changed the approach to Magento development. The second version of Magento has more complex architecture and is built on progressive frameworks to give the stores a modern, smart look with dynamic elements included in them. jQuery, Knockout.js, Require.js have become the important tools developers need to master if they want to work effectively with JavaScript in Magento 2.

At the same time, Magento implemented Front-end Certification that is designed to validate the knowledge and skills needed to understand Magento’s core principles for theming components and the ability to modify the user interface.

But there was one catch with Magento 2. 

More than 5 years have passed between the official announcement of Magento’s second version and its actual release. In the meantime, things have changed: both the frameworks and the certification requirements have become obsolete.

By the beginning of 2020, the web environment had already been stuffed with lots of services and websites built using reactive programming. In 2020, e-commerce began to follow this trend and Magento stores are no exception. The major purpose of React.js in Magento is to create PWAs in order to deliver excellent UI on mobile devices.

This tendency not only restructured the entire concept of a Magento front-end developer but also changed the approaches employers apply to hire these professionals.

In this guide, we’ll tell you who is a modern Magento front-end developer, what skills and knowledge they should have, and where you can find experienced Magento professionals.

The Technology Stack Magento 2 Front-End Developers Have to Work With

As mentioned above, the e-commerce world has changed dramatically. More and more brands create their stores with PWAs. This new trend began with React.js, a JavaScript library used to build interactive elements on websites, that at long last reached e-commerce. Add to that Magento’s PWA Studio that also got released at the end of 2019.

As for now, Lancome, Adidas, Snapdeal, Flipcart, 5Miles, and other famous e-commerce stores abandon standard websites in favor of progressive web applications. The technology bit-by-bit substitutes traditional websites. No wonder. PWAs are extremely fast, secure, reliable, and provide excellent UX from any device. Needless to say, how important it is for today’s buyers…

The advent of PWAs in e-commerce has greatly changed the market. It can be said that right now we are witnessing the division of Magento developers into 2 groups:

  • Back-end developers who are responsible for PHP logic on the server-side, 
  • Front-end developers who create user interfaces on ReactJS. 

The Magento front-end developer job description can differ greatly from company to company depending on the responsibilities that are assigned to the professional.

What should a Magento front-end developer do? First of all, they create and customize Magento 2 themes, layouts, templates, JS, CSS, and other front-end components. As well, in order to modify the appearance of specific pages and implement some design-related configurations, they may use the Admin Panel.

So, what knowledge and skills should a Magento front-end developer have to be aligned with the times?

  1. Foremost, this person should know at least one of the progressive JavaScript frameworks: React.js, Vue.js, or any other. Knowing the frameworks, they can create reusable UI components for both web and mobile apps.
  2. They should know common markup languages (HTML, CSS).
  3. A good front-end developer has to be familiar with Magento 2 (they should know its architecture and customization techniques, its technology stack requirements, etc).
  4. At the beginning of 2020, a lot of e-commerce owners began to migrate their stores to PWAs. So, a developer should know Magento PWA Studio tools and libraries to build a PWA Storefront on top of a Magento website.

How to Hire a Magento Front-end Developer? 

Having read all those requirements imposed on a front-end developer, you obviously feel frustrated and probably the question arises as to whether such people exist and where to find them.

Indeed, it is almost impossible to find such a professional who has all the knowledge and skills mentioned above. The fact is that the rapid switch to progressive web apps has radically changed the ways e-commerce companies used to hire front-end developers. So, the community didn’t get a chance to nurture them.

So, you have only two options here:

  • Hire an experienced React.js developer.

This option makes sense only if you have a professional Magento back-end developer in-house or you are ready to hire one. As such, the hired front-end developer will be responsible for building PWA Storefronts on a JS framework (React.js, Vue.js), while the back-end professional will devote their attention to ensuring that there are no issues with Magento on the server-side.

  • Hire a Magento full-stack developer.

In some cases, it makes sense to find a person who has strong expertise in Magento 2, has learned React.js, and has several PWA projects in their portfolio. After all, it is relatively easy to learn new stuff, such as React.js, but if you have no clue how the entire platform works, this will raise the issues.

This option is a good choice for small and middle-sized e-commerce businesses. But the crux is that it is difficult to find experienced Magento developers with knowledge of React.js and a large portfolio of successful PWA projects under their belts. We are lucky to have such guys at Onilab! Our team has been working with Magento 1 and 2 for over 7 years. Feel free to hire our developers for creating and customizing your JS solution.

Where Are Magento Front-end Developers To Be Found?

You can look for front-end Magento developers among freelancers and outsource agencies. Ask the candidate you like about their experience with the latest version of Magento 2 (the most important thing), as well as about other skills that the potential employee has, discuss milestones, and the ability to change things if urgent situations happen.

Do not forget about PWAs. Ask your candidate about their experience in creating PWAs on React.js focusing on the issues that are most relevant to your project.

Is the Magento 2 Front-end Certification Critical?

Some time ago, Magento implemented a professional Front-end Developer Certification aimed at confirming a high level of both theoretical and practical knowledge sufficient for handling and customizing UI/UX and theming components, as well as applying design-related configs via the Admin Panel (so, some back-end knowledge is also required). In order to gain a certificate, developers need to pass an exam to prove the relevance of their front-end expertise.

Here are some exam topics for a Magento 2 Certified Front End Developer:

  • theme building
  • understanding design configurations
  • layout XML in themes
  • customization of template files
  • static asset deployment
  • customization of JS files, and others.

As mentioned above, the interview questions are kind of obsolete. You will fail to find questions regarding the progressive frameworks Magento 2 is built on, as well as there are no questions concerning the PWA Studio and the process of creating Progressive web applications.

So, is this certification essential?

Well, it depends on your project and what you mean by “Magento front-end developer”.

If the front-end of your website is built on the React.js framework or you are going to create a PWA on top of your Magento site, this certification breaks no squares. As far as there are no React-related questions within the exam, you can’t check your candidate’s skill set by this route.

A Magento Front-End Certificate can be sustainable evidence of a developer’s expertise only if you have a standard responsive website that uses standard frameworks such as knockout.js, jQuery, require.js.

Final Word

The evolution of PWA technology along with React.js and other progressive frameworks has entailed a different understanding of who a Magento front-end developer really is. 

Experience, references, live portfolio – all of these things, indisputably, are major assets to the hiring process. However, the ability to work on an advanced technology stack and adapt to the changing web environment is no less important.

The certifications can be considered as a good but not critical bonus as they don’t always prove that a candidate has enough skills and knowledge to deliver what you need.

We hope this article would be useful for those e-commerce store owners who are planning to hire professional Magento front-end developers.

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