what is a front end developer

Whenever you browse a website, you're looking at a front end developer's work. Front end developers use code and software to make websites easy and convenient to use. You also remove errors, blank pages, glitches, and other issues that turn people off. A well-designed site makes a strong first impression, turning visitors into clients.

Businesses hire you alongside graphic designers and back end developers to build a new website. They also hire you to make their existing site easier to use. You place essential information front and center, remove cluttered text, rearrange graphics, and reduce the number of clicks that visitors have to take. Every second counts when it comes to conversions, and you'll make the most out of potential customers' visits.

With the rise of smartphones, mobile pages are just as important as desktop sites. Companies need your help to optimize their sites for smartphones and tablets. You'll rearrange content and make pages clean and scrollable instead of smaller versions of the existing websites. As a result, you'll need to learn about mobile-friendly software and programming languages.

Some front end developers specialize in this field whereas others master back end development as well. In any case, you could start with small business sites and end up working for major corporations.

Would working as a front end developer suit your technology skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a front end developer role.

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average front end developer salary

In 2021, web developer salaries averaged $79,890 per year. On the lower end, web developers earned $38,550 each year, and the top 10% of salaries reached $168,200. These salaries may come with employee benefits, such as health insurance, paid time off, retirement plans, and stock options.

Your chosen field influences your salary. Web developers who worked in software publishing in 2021 earned an average of $150,040 per year. Conversely, developers who worked for retailers, advertisers, and public relations teams earned a little over $60,000. You can switch industries if you're not satisfied with your pay, but you may have to learn new skill sets.

Employers periodically offer overtime hours, particularly if you're close to a project deadline. You may have to work on nights or weekends, but overtime hours come with higher pay rates. If you perform well, you may receive tips and bonuses, but some companies issue bonuses only when the entire team does well.

Learning more programming languages, working with major corporations, having an impressive resume, and earning several years of experience may entitle you to higher salaries. Be prepared to research the median salary in your region and highlight your achievements during the negotiation process.

male and female working together, looking at desktop monitor
male and female working together, looking at desktop monitor

types of front end developer

Front end developers can specialize in different industries, such as insurance, computer systems, finance, and education. You could also focus on building desktop or mobile websites or both. Each type requires a different skill set because mobile and desktop users have different needs. For example, smaller screens need large, simple text whereas traditional websites have more flexibility.

Some front end developers are full stack developers, meaning that they offer back end development as well. Many companies seek out full stack developers because you can work with both sides of the project, offering convenience and consistency.


working as a front end developer

Front end developers master software and programming languages, making them essential players in today's technology-focused world. Learn more about the necessary education and qualifications, plus your work environment.


front end developer skills and education

Some employers accept front end developers with an associate degree, but they often prefer applicants with a bachelor's degree in a technology field. Your bachelor's degree shows HR managers that you have extensive technical expertise. Similarly, earning a master's degree could impress businesses that offer high salaries.

Freelancers don't always need specific degrees because many clients look at your portfolio instead of your education. In fact, you might get away with just having a high school diploma. However, earning a bachelor's degree still enables you to provide the best service. Your degree also helps you find jobs if you decide to work for a company later on.

Whatever the case, you'll need training in software and programming languages. A coding boot camp provides the skills that you need with an accelerated program. You can also find online classes that don't offer a degree but teach you everything you need to get started.

Since technology develops rapidly, front end developers need to continue their education throughout their careers. Periodically, you'll take more online classes, read books, attend lectures, and read industry news. Your up-to-date knowledge keeps your services in demand as companies adapt to these updates.

skills and competencies

Mainly, front end developers work with code. Most front end developers need to master HTML, CSS, and JavaScript because they provide the foundation for most websites. You should also learn these skills and programming languages. 

  • DOM manipulation
  • Node.js
  • SQL
  • NoSQL
  • AJAX

You may not need them for every job, but Python, AngularJS, SASS, XML, Ruby, and PHP are other libraries and extensions that supplement your knowledge.

Likewise, you'll need to use source code software, such as Notepad and Visual Studio. Learn how to use multiple programs because your client might want you to use a specific one. However, some customers give you more flexibility.

Additionally, front end developers understand graphic design fundamentals. You know what makes a website layout appealing and use software to outline your plan. Copywriters and graphic designers may create the content for your page, but you give them the framework. You'll also create and test prototypes before completing the project.

Front end developers also need strong communication skills. You work with clients to build their ideal websites while making suggestions and pointing out potential issues. Clients expect you to respond to them promptly and professionally whenever they reach out.

male using stylus to touch up details on desktop monitor
male using stylus to touch up details on desktop monitor

FAQs about working as a front end developer

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about front end developers.

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