Do you have a website you love visiting because it’s easy to use and visually appealing? You have front-end developers to thank for that! These professionals take what a back-end developer creates and turns it into an interactive, responsive web page that users can view and use with ease.
Are you interesting in becoming one of these sought-after professionals? Take a deep dive with us into the role of a front-end developer, what skills are needed to become one, and more.
What’s a Front-End Developer? An Overview
Front-end web development is a process that involves creating and designing the user-facing portion of a website or web application. Front-end developers, sometimes known as client-side developers, create elements like buttons, navigation, images, graphics, and various other aspects.
These software experts rarely work independently and often join forces with other developers and designers to achieve their goal. For example, front-end developers work closely with back-end developers to test their applications and integrate the user interface with the server-side functionality. They also collaborate with UX/UI and graphic designers to fully optimize and organize the visual elements of a website or webpage.
Responsibilities of a Front-End Developer
The job description of a front-end developer can vary based on the project or company. Still, there are still some key responsibilities these professionals share. This includes creating layout templates, styling text and fonts, adding graphics and animations, writing code to interact with databases or servers, and debugging errors.
They may also be responsible for updating the style of a website or application’s user interface design. More common responsibilities of a front-end developer include:
- Writing mockups and prototypes
- Working with with back-end developers, graphic designers, and UX/UI designers to create a seamless user experience
- Testing and debugging code
- Making sure web applications are available to all users, including those with disabilities
- Converting a website’s desktop functionality to mobile use
- Communicating with customers and other stakeholders to receive feedback
- Staying current on the latest industry trends and technologies
Top Skills of a Front-End Developer
Becoming a front-end developer requires a combination of technical and soft skills, but most of all, it requires a willingness to learn and adapt to new technologies. Let’s go over the necessary skills and quaities of a successful client-side developer:
Web Design Principles
Creating a cohesive website design is mostly a web designer’s responsibility, but front-enders should have at least a basic knowledge of principles like typography, color theory, and layout. This helps them to create aesthetically pleasing and intuitive user interfaces.
Front-end developers should understand testing procedures not only to ensure their code is functional and meets the required standards, but also to foster better collaboration with back-end developers and quality assurance analysts.
To communicate design concepts early on in a project, front-end developers will create prototypes of their vision with mock-ups of the final product. Clients or other team members can use these designs to provide input and feedback before they start working on the final product.
Communication and Collaboration
Front-end developers are one part of a larger team effort, often involving multiple stakeholders (other developers and designers, project managers, clients, etc.). As such, they should know how to effectively collaborate and communicate.
If you’re thinking of becoming a front-end developer (or any kind of software developer), you should start honing these skills now! They will help you with things like:
- Project coordination and goal alignment
- Team and individual productivity
- Conflict resolution
- Receiving and implementing feedback from clients and other stakeholders
No matter how well you code, different web browsers may inconsistently render your work. This is why it’s helpful for all front-enders to know how to create web pages that work correctly across all browsers and devices.
As a front-end developer, you can ensure cross-browser compatibility by testing your website or application on different browsers, validating your code against W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) standards, writing browser-specific code, and more.
Responsive Design and Progressive Enhancement
As more people browse the internet from mobile devices, responsive web design is becoming more important. Responsive web design (RWD) refers to the technique of creating web pages that adapt to the device they are being viewed on.
For example, a website built with a responsive design will look good whether it is accessed from a desktop computer or through a mobile phone.
Progressive enhancement (PE) refers to the practice of building websites in such a way that all content and functionality are available to all users, regardless of the devices they are using or the level of support their browsers provide. PE is often used in conjunction with responsive design.
What Formal Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Front-End Developer?
A degree in Computer Science or a similar area can help you stand out to IT hiring managers, but really, any individual who is passionate about and has experience in software development can become a front-end developer.
To be successful in an entry-level development role, you’ll need the basics:
- Intermediate-level knowledge of HTML and CSS
- A desire to learn about cutting-edge web technologies and techniques
How Much Do Front-End Developers Make?
According to the latest data collected by Indeed, the average salary of a front-end developer in the U.S. is just above $104,000. Of course, their total compensation can differ based on years of experience, location, industry, and other factors.
What else is there to know about a career in front-end development? Let’s go over some frequently asked questions:
What’s the difference between a front-end developer and a back-end developer?
The main difference between back-end and front-end development is where the majority of the work is focused. Back-end developers are responsible for developing and managing the functionality of a website or application, while front-end developers are responsible for making it look good.
What programming languages do front-end developers use?
Does front-end or back-end development pay more?
It really depends on the project, but back-end developers generally earn more than front-end developers since they’re in slightly higher demand. However, with the increasing popularity of front-end development, this may change in the near future.
Should I pursue front-end or back-end development?
It depends on what you like! Are you more interested in developing applications from scratch and managing databases? If that’s the case, then you may be better suited for back-end development. But if you’re more interested in the visual elements of an application or web page, then front-end development or design may be the perfect career for you.
Is Front-End Development Right for You?
In conclusion, the role of a front-end developer is essential in creating modern, appealing, and functional web applications. Without them, websites and applications may lack an intuitive, user-friendly interface, leading to frustration, confusion, and eventually, user abandonment.
Are you interested in this highly in-demand development role? If so, head over to the the Insight Global job board, where you’ll find thousands of listings!