The Day-to-Day as a Front End Developer
A Front End Developer builds the front end, also called client-side, of a website or web application. Some Front End Developers will update current websites to meet modern standards, create prototypes from wireframes, and use design comps to satisfy the needs of their employer or client.
Front End Developers usually work on teams alongside Back End Developers, Designers, Project Managers, and Product Managers to maintain, troubleshoot, and build websites and web platforms. They work in any industry that utilizes websites— which is nearly every industry. Front End Developers can find full-time and part-time work onsite and remotely. They can also work freelance and often work alone on those gigs.
What Skills Should Front End Developers Have?
Recruiters will also look for soft skills like good communication, ability to work well on a team, and critical thinking. Detail-oriented and self-motivated problem-solvers who do well under pressure will thrive in the Front End Developer position. A Front End Developer should also be adept at self-learning as technologies and best practices are constantly changing and learning will be a career requirement.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a Front End Developer
Web development is the practice of building, creating, and maintaining websites. Web development uses coding languages to build a website for the internet.
Front-End Web Development
Front end web development manages the part of the website that a user sees and interacts with in their browser. Front End Developers design, analyze code, write code, and debug the client-side of an application or website.
HTML & CSS
HTML is Hypertext Markup Language and CSS is Cascading Style Sheets. HTML is used to create web page structure and text while CSS is used to style the structure and text visually. HTML can be used to create objects like sections, menus, and functions within a webpage. CSS is used to select those objects and style them with fonts, colors, layout, and more to make the webpage visually appealing.
Git is a distributed version control system that is standard in software and web development. Git allows multiple developers to work on the same project at once or a single developer to keep track of changes. It also creates a simple environment to conduct A/B testing. Git is designed to optimize speed, data integrity, as well as distributed and non-linear workflows.
Developer tools are tools typically created by developers to do tasks like debug code, edit code more efficiently, test code, test interface, and more efficiently build websites and applications.
Front End Developer Salaries
A Front End Developer in the United States makes, on average, $109,659 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Front End Developers vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Front End Developer salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
Typical Qualifications to Become a Front End Developer
You do not need a higher education degree to become a Front End Developer, but some Front Developers have four-year computer science degrees. Candidates can make themselves more marketable by becoming proficient in the required skills for the position and demonstrating that proficiency through certifications or portfolio projects. There are no certifications for Front End Developers, but some coding bootcamps do award certifications which can hold some weight if you have no experience and no college degree.
Searching for Front End Developer Jobs
Front End Developers may be employed within a corporate company, a startup, a nonprofit organization, a government department, or a small business. Those who have strong time management, communication, and business skills may find more satisfaction working as an independent contractor or freelancer. Freelancers and independent contractors can make about the same salary as a full-time Web Developer employed at a corporation.
You can find Front End Developer jobs on these sites:
- Google Jobs
- Authentic Jobs
- Stack Overflow
You can find freelance and independent contractor Front End Developer:
Tips for Front End Developers
A Web Developer should have a well-rounded portfolio that is focused on the front-end. Posting these portfolio examples on GitHub and a portfolio website is common practice so that potential employers can view your code. Front End Developers should also be utilizing LinkedIn to its fullest potential. Your LinkedIn profile should be up-to-date. It should show all past experiences–even in unrelated fields. Plus you can include keywords relating to Web Developers’ skills and responsibilities to get viewed by recruiters. It should also show and tell how your past experiences offer transferable value to your position as a Web Developer.
To get a leg up, try to connect with a point person with a letter of introduction at each company you send an application to, whether you applied via LinkedIn or not. This will provide you name recognition and sometimes first-hand advice. You should also make these connections with people who might be your manager at any company you would like to work for regardless of whether they have posted job openings. As a freelancer or contractor, making these connections is equally important.
What Job Titles Would a Front End Developer Hold?
Front End Developers can apply for a variety of positions that may be narrowed down based on front-end, back-end, full-stack, industry, and location. Front End Developers will likely start out in junior or entry-level positions but will find that rising the ranks to a Senior Developer is possible within the first few years and will result in a better annual salary.
Front End Developers can look for these job titles:
- Front End Web Developer
- Front End Developer
- Junior Developer
- Associate Developer
- Senior Developer
- Web Development Apprentice
- Web Development Instructor
Those who are new to web development might find a position like Web Designer more approachable as a first job in tech, especially if they’re coming from a design background and only know HTML and CSS. Front End Developers can also look into related careers such as Mobile App Developer, Mobile App Designer, User Interface Designer, User Interface Engineer, Full Stack Developer, or Software Engineer enticing. Most of these positions pay similar salaries to a Front End Developer and have interchangeable day-to-day operations but use other coding languages. Some ways to upskill into these positions would be to learn languages like Swift, Objective-C, or Go; practice wireframing and prototyping; or pick up more back-end and mid-level programming languages Java C or C++.
If you’re a Front End Developer you might find that pivoting toward data science and machine learning is more your speed! This would include more algorithms, analysis, automation, and visualization instead of building but with some of the same languages that you’ve already used as a Front End Developer. Those positions would be titled Data Analyst, Data Scientist, or Machine Learning Engineer.
Salary Comparison to Front End Developer
Web designers design the appearance and workings of a website. They use their understanding of both visual design and technical design principles to create functional web layouts. Some web designers work from home and enjoy the flexibility of freelance work, while others work for agencies or businesses. Good web designers have the experience and foresight to anticipate the end-user experience and design for ease of use and navigation.
Software engineers use their extensive knowledge of user experience design, operating systems, and programming languages to develop software. They can create different types of software, from games to operating systems. After analyzing a client's needs, they design, develop, and test software to meet that need. Software engineers can be divided into two distinct career categories: application engineers and systems engineers.
User Experience Designer
User experience (UX) designers are responsible for ensuring that digital products offer a seamless user experience, through prototyping, user research, and user testing. They will test the navigation and functionality of websites, apps, and more. UX designers must stay current on design trends to ensure ongoing adherence to best practices. They will also conduct ongoing user research to understand the habits and needs of users.
Back End Developer
A Back End Developer builds the server-side of a web application and integrates front end development components.
Full Stack Developer
Full Stack Developers build web applications for both the visible front end that users see and the back end that powers the applications.