If designing interfaces for web applications, websites, and mobile applications sounds interesting to you, then you might want to consider becoming a front end developer. Front end developers are responsible for creating excellent user experiences by using design elements and programming languages to build interactive websites.
This comprehensive guide has all the information you need to launch a career in front end development. We’ll describe how to learn web development, the job outlook for front end developers, and what the average day in the life of a front end developer might look like.
What Is a Front End Developer?
Front end developers ensure websites function on different browsers, operating systems, and devices. Unlike backend developers, front end developers focus on the design process, design elements, and overall user performance of a website.
Front End Developer Job Description
Professionals build tools to optimize website interaction, create and update the user interface, and develop mobile-friendly websites. Front end developers will also test website interfaces for bugs and execute SEO to increase a website’s performance.
Front End Developer Salary and Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t have information on front end developers specifically, but it does report on web developers and digital designers. According to the BLS, web developer job opportunities will grow by eight percent by 2029. This is double the average growth for all occupations, which means the job outlook is strong.
If you think the average job growth for front end developers is high, the median salary is just as impressive. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for front end developers is around $94,639. ZipRecruiter also reports that the highest-paid front end developers can earn up to $147,000 per year.
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Top Reasons to Become a Front End Developer in 2021
There are a lot of reasons to consider a full-time job in front end development. The career allows ample job flexibility, and professionals earn an excellent salary. You will be able to work in any environment you want and have the opportunity to use your creativity regularly.
- The job is flexible. Like many other professionals in the tech community, front end developers can work from home or offer freelance work. Many web developers are self-employed.
- It’s a lucrative career. As stated above, ZipRecruiter reports that front end developers earn an average salary of $94,639. This is very high compared to other jobs.
- You have creative freedom. As front end developers work with design elements and CSS code, your job allows you to think creatively. You can think outside the box and be experimental with your website or app designs.
- There are diverse career options. Front end developers can find jobs in a wide range of working environments. You can work for huge companies like Microsoft, nonprofit organizations (NGOs), or even your own company eventually.
Front End Developer Job Requirements
- Know SEO basics. SEO (search engine optimization) techniques allow the websites and apps built by front end developers to be seen by the maximum number of users possible.
- Be able to create responsive design. Front end developers must know responsive design features to identify how to modify their websites to reach maximum performance.
Types of Front End Developer Careers
The careers available for front end developers include full stack development, mobile development, and backend development. Read on to find out more about these different career options.
Full stack developers have the technical skills and understanding of web frameworks to build both the backend and front end components of a website or app. This professional will need to understand both server-side and client-side scripting. This job is a step up from front end development, so it is a good mid-career job.
Mobile developers specialize in app development. They will create functional, end-to-end apps for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. According to ZipRecruiter, mobile app developers earn $105,037 per year, so this is a lucrative career to get into.
Backend development entails creating the server-side functions of a website. Developers must learn Python, APIs, Ruby, data structures, and other technical skills to accomplish these tasks. Although it is different from front end development, many skills overlap.
Front End Developer Meaning: What Does a Front End Developer Do?
Front end developers maintain and update websites, follow and apply design trends, and run usability tests. The responsibilities can vary depending on your experience and position in your company. Below are more details about the most common daily tasks of a front end developer.
Maintains and Updates Websites
Front end developers always need to ensure websites are functioning correctly. When design issues such as incorrect formatting occur, front end developers must fix the problem while keeping websites visually appealing and relevant.
Follows and Implements Design Trends
Front end developers need to stay updated on new or improved design trends so the websites they design are relevant. It’s also crucial to keep ahead of new technologies and software. The best coding bootcamps include up-to-date information about the current tech industry, which makes them a great place to learn.
Debugs and Tests Code
Websites will have problems from time to time, and front end developers are in charge of locating the issues and fixing them. They will also need to run usability tests to ensure websites still meet the user experience requirements.
Essential Front End Developer Skills
Learning Git is essential for front end development as Git tracks the changes you make in code. If anything goes wrong, you can use Git to restore the code you had and locate the problem. If you’re just starting to learn web development, GitHub is a great place to communicate with other developers.
Front end developers must be familiar with databases and understand how their functions are stored. You should learn databases like MongoDB, Firebase, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. These skills are applicable to many other tech jobs, which means they’re great to learn no matter what your career goals are.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Front End Developer?
You can learn the skills you need to become a front end developer within six months by attending a coding bootcamp. Some coding bootcamps offer online learning platforms to accommodate students all over the world. Aspiring front end developers can also opt for self-directed learning through online resources like tutorials, videos, and guides.
For a formal learning experience, you can study computer science or take a coding degree program at a university or college. While this option is expensive and takes longer than coding bootcamps or self-studying, an accredited degree is still good to have.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become a Front End Developer?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you become a front end developer. Online coding bootcamps welcome beginners, semi-professionals, and experts who want to gain the skills required for front end development. Your learning journey with a coding bootcamp can include in-person, remote, part-time, or full-time training based on your preference.
Most coding bootcamp programs consist of high-quality courses that give you practical experience to ensure you are job-ready. Some bootcamps also offer career development support to help you land a job after graduation.
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Can I Become A Front End Developer From Home?
Yes, anybody can become a front end developer from home. There are loads of companies that offer remote positions in front end development. You can also become a freelancer and work on a contract basis. Studying from home is easier than ever with online web development degrees, online coding bootcamps, and online courses.
How to Become a Front End Developer: A Step-by-Step Guide
To become a front end developer, you will first need to learn the basic programming languages for web development. You will continue to learn essential front end development skills with practice as you complete real-life projects and gain certification.
Step 2: Gain More Essential Skills
Depending on the learning process you chose in step one, you might still have to expand your skillset with essential skills like Git, SQL, and React. If you attended a coding bootcamp program or a degree program, you might have already gained these additional skills.
Step 3: Hone Your Skills
Practice makes perfect, so put your skills to the test. You can do this through projects like creating your own website with interactive elements or taking extra online courses. If you feel that your learning route in step one covered enough practical training, you might not need to worry about this step.
Step 4: Become Certified
If you want to rise above industry standards for front end development and maximize your employment chances, complete a course and earn a front end development certificate. This can help you prove your skills and get better jobs in the field.
Best Schools and Education for a Front End Developer Career
Some of the best schools and education pathways for a front end developer include coding bootcamps, vocational schools, community college, and four-year degree programs. Let’s examine each of these options so you can decide which is best for you.
Front End Developer Bootcamps
Coding bootcamps are favored among the development community as they teach career-ready training. You can also learn the soft skills you’ll need for a successful career. The best front end development bootcamps have courses tailored to beginners as well as advanced professionals. Coding bootcamps are cheaper and faster than traditional education options.
Vocational school is an educational path worth considering if you want a combination of academic and practical training. Similar to coding bootcamps, vocational schools offer job-specific training, allowing you to become a front end developer after graduation. Some vocational schools also have an online learning platform to support remote learners.
Community college is perfect for students who want the experience of a front end development undergraduate degree but can’t study for four years. These degree programs run for two years, and offer part-time, full-time, online, in-person, and accelerated study options. However, community college can be expensive for some students.
Front End Developer Degrees
A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Programming will help you land high-paying jobs at many renowned tech companies and add more credibility to your name. Most professionals in the development community may avoid four-year degree programs because they’re expensive and time-consuming, but they do offer the best chance of you landing a job.
The Most Important Front End Developer Certifications
Many online resources provide certificate courses for front end development. These courses cover more than just the building blocks of front end development, and most allow you to gain front end developer skills as you go.
This certificate course centers around building web pages using React. Students also cover React-Redux architecture and Reactstrap for creating interactive, responsive web applications. You can complete this course at your desired pace through Coursera’s online learning platform. This course is offered by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
How to Prepare for Your Front End Developer Job Interview
It takes more than just practical front end developer skills to ace a job interview. You might need to explain front end development functions and prove you accomplish essential tasks. You should prepare for your front end developer job interview by looking at some commonly asked questions below.
Front End Developer Job Interview Practice Questions
- Explain what a Coffee Script is.
- How do you solve incompatibility in browser-specific style?
- What’s the difference between cookies, local storage, and session storage?
- Describe what lazy loading means.
- Why did you decide to become a front end developer?
Should I Become a Front End Developer in 2021?
If designing and maintaining interactive websites that deliver optimal user experiences is something that interests you, then you should definitely become a front end developer in 2021. There’s a wide variety of ways to gain the necessary skills, and the earning potential is high. You’ll also have creative freedom to design websites and applications.
Front End Developer FAQ
Can You Become a Front End Developer Without a Degree?
Yes, you can become a front end developer without a degree. There are plenty of coding bootcamp programs, vocational school programs, and online courses for front end web developers. These options are much quicker and more economical than degree programs.
Is It Hard to Become a Front End Developer?
No, it’s not hard to become a front end developer. Front end development skills are easy to learn, and there are ample resources to help you. However, it takes a lot of practice to become a skilled front end developer.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Front End Developer?
It can take around six months to become a front end developer through a coding bootcamp program or online courses. Studying programming in a community college or university will take a lot longer.
Do Front End Developers Make Good Money?
Yes, front end developers do have a high earning potential. These professionals have a median salary way above the industry average. The more you expand your skillset and experience, the higher your salary will be.
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