What is a Front End Developer?
A front end developer builds the front end, also known as the client-side, of a website or web application. They’re in charge of coding the interactive visual elements that users interact within a web application. Front end developers work with back end developers, designers, and managers to build, maintain, and troubleshoot websites.
What does a Front End Developer do?
Front end developers create the pages we see across the internet. Each webpage is made up of multiple layers – structural, data, design, content, and function. The data and design portions of a website are created by back end developers and web designers.
Front end developers can work for large organizations, small startups, or on their own as a freelancer. This means that each front end developer probably does things a bit differently from the next.
As a Front End Developer, you’ll probably be responsible for:
- Implementing user experience and user interface design
- Maintaining website and web applications
- Creating tools to enhance how a site interacts with a browser
- Implementing responsive design for mobile devices
- Managing the development workflow
- Implementing SEO best practices
- Testing the site for usability
- Fixing bugs
- Researching and choosing the best technology for the site
What skills does a Front End Developer need?
On any website, you can see the work of a front end developer everywhere. They built that navigation bar, they determined the layout of the page you’re looking at, and they made it responsive to fit your phone’s screen.
All of this functionality requires front end developers to have strong technical skills, but front end developers also need soft skills to succeed. They usually work on a team with back end developers, designers, and other people within an organization, which means they’ll need to be able to both understand the needs of their teammates and be able to articulate their own ideas.
Another major soft skill for Front End Developers and any developer is problem-solving. Front End Developers are constantly debugging their code and working with their team to make an idea come to life. Knowing to find the right answers with patience is a major asset for a developer.
Front end developers should have these technical skills:
- Object-Oriented Programming – the method of structuring a program by grouping related properties and behaviors into individual objects
- HTML and CSS – HTML provides the structure and content of a webpage while CSS styles it.
- Working with APIs – Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) provide developers with prewritten chunks of code that act as a liaison between two technologies that don’t usually work together.
- Using SQL – SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It’s used to communicate with servers where data is stored.
- Version control with Git – Git is the most popular version control software in the world.
- React – is used for building user interfaces. It was developed to build the front end of a website. It’s the most popular framework of its kind.
Job Outlook for Front End Developers
Front end developers have some of the most sought after tech skills. They practically power the internet as we know it and nearly every industry is looking for Front End Developers. There is more demand for these skills than trained candidates for hire.
This supply and demand gap makes for an abundance of opportunities for front end developers. Not only is this a high-salary position, but it also offers a uniquely versatile stepping stone to a long and strong career.
Becoming a Front End Developer is a start to a lucrative, nearly limitless career. Front End Developers in the U.S. make $110,490 per year on average with potential for cash bonuses annually.
There’s no shortage of upward mobility options for front end developers. By learning new languages and methodologies throughout your career, you could upskill into a full-stack developer, back end developer, or data science position.
You could move up through tech projects or product management. You might even make your way into a chief technology officer position with the right training throughout your career.
There are full-time, part-time, remote, in-person, and freelance job opportunities for front end developers. You’re sure to find a position at a large organization, small startup, or remote team that fits your lifestyle.
Do I need to have a certificate or a degree to land a front end developer job?
You do not need a degree or certificate to get your first job as a front end developer. It is true, however, that many front end developers have a four-year degree in computer science or a coding bootcamp education.