Learn About Being a Front-End Developer

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published December 10, 2019

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

What does a front-end developer do?

Front-end developers use coding languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript to implement visual elements into web applications that users see and interact with. Front-end developers typically work alongside back-end developers, who integrate the work of the front-end developer and support server-side applications. Specific responsibilities for front-end developers may vary, but they typically include:

  • Implementing responsible web design principles to ensure the company website renders well across multiple devices 

  • Designing a framework for creating user apps that grow with the needs of the company 

  • Monitoring website performance, watching for traffic drops related to site usability problems and rectifying the issues 

  • Reviewing app and feature coding and planning website upgrades with the development team 

  • Assisting with the functionality of user-facing features and responsive design

Average salary

Front-end developers are typically full-time, salaried employees. Salaries for front-end developers vary depending on their level of education, relevant work experience, the geographic location of the job and the size and industry of the company. Front-end developers may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses. Some front-end developers work as freelance contractors for an hourly rate. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

  • Average salary in the U.S.: $108,456 per year

  • Some salaries range from $30,000 to $211,000 per year.

Front-end developer requirements

Securing a position as a front-end developer may involve certain requirements depending on the industry and size of the company. These include:

Education

Front-end developers need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. This position also requires a strong knowledge of web development tools and programming languages. 

Training

Training for front-end developers typically includes post-secondary education, self-directed training and on-the-job training. Front-end development is a technical career and thus requires candidates to have a broad technical knowledge base and a thorough understanding of web development tools and systems and programming languages. Front-end developers may also receive additional on-the-job training specific to their roles as part of an onboarding process.

Certifications

There are several certification programs front-end developers can obtain. Certifications allow you to prove your skills and qualifications to current and potential employers. Front-end developers can also earn certifications to gain additional knowledge about their responsibilities and further their career advancement opportunities. Popular certifications for front-end developers include: 

Adobe Certified Expert certification

Adobe is the preferred software choice for many web developers and web designers. Individuals seeking a career as a front-end developer should consider this certification to prove their proficiency in a variety of interactive and online content areas, such as web design, rich internet applications, video, technical communications and e-learning. 

Certified Web Development Professional certification

This certification requires you to take a course to show proficiency in HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP. 

W3C Front-End Web Developer Professional certification

This certification covers the techniques necessary to build responsive and interactive user experiences on the web. It focuses on the three foundational programming languages: CSS, HTML5 and JavaScript.

Microsoft developer certifications

Microsoft offers two web developer certifications that are highly respected in the industry: Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD). The MTA certification verifies your expertise in areas such as software development, Windows development, mobile development and game development. The MCSD certification displays your expertise in areas such as Windows Store Apps, web applications, SharePoint applications and website application lifecycle management. 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) certification

This certification verifies your proficiency in developing and maintaining applications on the AWS platform.

Skills

Because web development is a technical career, front-end developers need a solid foundation in several hard skills combined with relevant soft skills. Some of the most common skills required for front-end developers include: 

Communication skills

This involves the ability to communicate both verbally and nonverbally with active listening, observing, speaking, writing and empathizing. Front-end developers must communicate with back-end developers and web designers to implement visual design elements using coding and programming language.

Computer skills

Front-end developers need to have strong computer skills as they perform most of their job responsibilities on a computer, including typing and system and software knowledge.

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills refer to the ability of an individual to use knowledge, facts, data and reasoning to provide solutions to problems. Front-end developers must have the ability to think quickly and respond appropriately to issues users encounter while using the company’s web applications. 

Programming language skills

Front-end developers must have a strong understanding of programming languages like HTML, JavaScript, jQuery, CSS3, PHP and JSON. 

Front-end developer work environment

Front-end developers typically work full-time in standard business hours in an office environment. They spend most of their day sitting behind a desk at a computer working with coding and programming language to implement the visual elements of a web application. Some front-end developers work as freelance contractors from home.

How to become a front-end developer

Becoming a front-end developer requires a combination of education and relevant skills and experience. Here are the steps you should take to become a front end developer:

  1. Earn a degree. Front-end developers need a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or another related field. Recommended coursework includes web development, programming, web design, database management, networking and mathematics. 

  2. Get certifications. Because web development is a highly technical career, seeking a relevant but voluntary certification will help you build and prove your skills and stand out to employers.

  3. Gain experience. Employers looking for a front-end web developer often want candidates who have proven experience within the field and can show a portfolio of their work and written code.

  4. Become proficient in multiple programming languages. Front-end developers need to understand how to program websites and applications to be responsive across various platforms. They should know the major programming languages and understand when to use each one. Front-end developers need to stay informed about updates in technology, including new programming languages.

Front-end developer job description example

Our organization is looking for a front-end developer who can use HTML, CSS and jQuery to develop effective user interfaces on our website and mobile apps. The successful candidate will work closely with our web development and software design teams to update the website and internal web tools to make them more efficient. The front-end developer will also create innovative solutions to web design issues to help make the website more visually appealing and enhance usability.

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