What Does a Front-End Developer Do?
If you think of a stage show, the Back End Developer is the crew making sure the props and in place, the scene is set, and the actors are ready to go. The Front End is the actors on the stage, putting on their best performance to ensure that the audience leaves happy. Front End Developers are front and center when it comes to maximizing the user experience.
Where a Back-End Developer might handle the server and database of an application, the Front-End Developer is responsible for the visuals of the web application. This doesn’t just mean making sure those visuals are aesthetically pleasing, although that’s important. Front-end developers must also make sure the visuals are clear and easy for the users to understand, that the navigation isn’t complicated, and that the interface is one that will make it easy for users to return.
A Front-End Developer is the kind of web developer that most people picture when they imagine a web developer. Here are a few of the responsibilities of a Front-End Web Developer:
- Develop the user-facing features and functions of the application
- Optimize UI/UX by testing designs for for practicality
- Optimize the speed and scalability of the application
- Collect user input and take it into account when making changes
- Maintaining the structure and design of application based on user feedback
- Ensuring that the application functions well cross-platform (desktop, mobile phone, tablet, etc.)
- Creating reusable code
- Showing cohesive brand consistency in the design of the application
- Design mobile features for smartphones
- Create guides and other documents to help the application to function
- Assist back-end and full stack developers with troubleshooting
- Conduct regular research on emerging technologies
- Create mockups of the application design to share with stakeholders
- Attend training to be constantly improving in their skills
- Collaborate with other developers and stakeholders
Front End vs. Back End vs. Full Stack Web Developers
When it comes to the web development of an application, there are Front End and Back End Developers. However, because there’s often an overlap between the two, there are also Full Stack Web Developers — something of a jack-of-all-trades — who can go back and forth between the two disciplines. These web developers all have different, distinct roles when it comes to the development of the application, but each needs the other to function.
A Front End Developer:
- Deals with the interface and user-facing systems
- Develops the navigation and focuses on user experience
- Is the most visuals-forward web development position
A Back End Developer:
- Deals with the server and database of the application
- Creates the back frame that allows the Front End development to exist
- Utilizes Python, Ruby, and PHP
- Stores user information into database
A Full Stack Developer:
- Cross-discipline web development skills involving front and Back End
- Deals with the overlap between the Front End and Back End
- Utilizes all the coding languages of the first two plus MySQL, machine learning, and more
- Takes responsibility for the entire experience to make sure it goes smoothly
Education and Background for Front End Web Developers
On any job description, there’s the list of responsibilities followed by the job requirements — a list of minimum education and professional experience needed to do the job. Now that we’ve gone over the responsibilities that Front End Developers face, let’s discuss the background needed for the position.
A degree is usually necessary for the job of a Front End Developer, whether an associate’s degree or a master’s degree. Potential Front End Developers should major in computer science, software development, or other related fields. A minor or other studies in graphic design or marketing also can’t hurt in going up for this job. Following an intensive bootcamp in Web Development also allows you to learn all the skills you'll need to succeed in this position. In this kind of trainings, you'll also be able to develop your network and work on concrete projects to add to your portfolio.
In some cases, a Front End Developer position can be an entry level position — provided that you have a way to prove that you have understanding of all the programming languages and job responsibilities necessary. However, the lower your degree is, the more professional experience you’ll want to have. Of course, everyone has to start somewhere, so you might not have experience as a Front End Developer yourself. Other jobs in the field or even past experience as a freelance Front End Developer can go to your credibility.
Skills and Tools That You’ll Need
A Front End Developer should be able to speak the language — or the multiple coding languages, as the case might be. Make sure that you hone the right skills to go after your dream job, including:
- The ability to test and debug applications
- Familiarity if not experience with responsive design
- The ability to work within a team
- Strong verbal and written communications skills
- Experience with cross-browser and cross-platform design
- Strong creative problem solving skills
Beyond all of this, you’ll also need familiarity if not proficiency with the tools of the trade.These might vary from business to business or even project to project, but some of the standards that you’re certain to need when it comes to Front End web development include:
- Coding libraries like jQuery or JS frameworks or CSS
- APIs like REST
- Version control systems such as Git
- Command line interfaces or GUI
- Graphic design tools such as Adobe Photoshop
- Wordpress for easier theme creation
Interview Questions For Front End Web Developers
Getting ready for an interview to hopefully land your dream job? When it comes to any interview, you want to do your research beforehand so that you can be prepared to answer any questions thrown your way. These can vary depending on the business, so it’s best to do research on the company first. But here are some reported questions sometimes asked of Front End web developers:
How Do You Ensure User-Friendliness In Your Web Application?
This question will test both your diligence in the job as well as your understanding of user experience and user interface.
Explain the Role Of Meta Tags in HTML
Meta tags are an important part of HTML. This question will gauge your proficiency with HTML as well as a bit of your process.
This is another question to test your technical skill and knowledge. Not only does it give employers a sense of how much you know about programming languages and frameworks, but it tells them how well you stay on top of recent advances.
What Do You Love About Coding?
Employers want to know that the person they’re hiring is passionate about the job. This question gives you a chance to prove that you’re just that, as well as showing that what you love about coding fits right in with the company.
Explain a Challenge You’ve Faced in Web Development and How You Overcame It.
Now is a chance to share an anecdote from your past experience with Front End web development. Think about the hardest challenge you faced as a developer or your biggest accomplishment. What made it challenging and how did you rise to meet that challenge? This will show employers that you’re not afraid to push yourself.
How Much Do Front End Developers Make?
Coding is a booming field and there’s always demand for web developers, especially Front End Developers. Because of this, it can be quite a lucrative position, with an average salary of $73,399 in the United States according to Payscale, not including bonuses, commissions, and profit sharing. Some positions pay even more than that, such as Front End Developers with Amazon, where the average pay is $122,084. With high job satisfaction, this is also a job where you can grow and continue to advance in pay.
Growth Potential For Front End Developers
For some, work as a Front End Developer is the goal. Others, however, want to advance within the world of software development, and there’s certainly room for that by starting as a Front End Developer. Some of the jobs you might pursue after working as a Front End Developer even pay six figures on average. A few career paths with average salaries from Front End Developer include:
- Software Engineer - $86,222
- Senior Web Developer - $88,106
- Senior Software Developer - $105,168
How To Get Into Front End Web Development
Looking for a chance to hone your skills as a Front End Web Developer or immerse yourself in this industry? Le Wagon has the perfect solution for you: our 9-week full-time coding bootcamp, also available in 24-week part-time. During this Web Development bootcamp, you will work on projects, learn from industry experts, and network with your peers. This will offer something to add to your portfolio or experience to show off on your resume. In addition to honing your skills, it will also give you a chance to make irreplaceable industry connections, connections that will follow you into your career.
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