For the average person, website design can appear to be a great mystery at first. Once you begin to take a peek around the curtain, you’ll see that it’s not so complicated, and simply requires a strong skill set including learning coding languages, understanding the web design process, and honing excellent problem-solving skills.
What does a front-end developer do?
In the parlance of web design, a front-end developer (also known as client-side developer) is responsible for laying down the groundwork for websites. Think of it like building a house: Front-end developers first build the framework, then fill in the gaps with navigation, images, text, and color.
What are the skills required for a front-end developer?
While the skillset of a front-end developer is varied, there are a few common elements that every web developer will learn and master. The first and perhaps most important skills any front end developer will gain is learning markup languages HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). HTML and CSS are fundamental for all web design. HTML is used to build website framework, while CSS frameworks are used for styling a website.
Every successful front-end developer must also have soft skills including problem-solving abilities. Website development is fraught with details, meaning you’ll need to develop a keen eye for potential bugs or issues in your coding. Along with debugging, problem-solving, and paying attention to details, front-end developers will need strong communication skills to collaborate with other project team managers such as UI/UX designers, back-end developers, and other stakeholders.
What languages are used by front-end developers?
After gaining proficiency in HTML and CSS, developers will learn programming languages to help bring functionality to a website.
Another useful language to learn is Python, often praised for its versatility and ease of use. Python is known for being a jack-of-all-trades coding language, made popular due to its code readability and well-structured framework.
The language has been around for three decades, and there’s a robust community of Python coders out there, making it easy for developers to find support when needed. It’s used for both front- and back-end development, which is further testament to its versatility.
Structured Query Language, or SQL, is another helpful language for front-end developers to learn. SQL is used to interact with databases, making it useful for both front- and back-end developers. Other languages used by programmers include JQuery, Bootstrap, React, Git, and AngularJS.
What are the differences between skills required of a front-end developer versus a back-end developer?
If you’re unsure whether a career in front-end or back-end development is right for you, it may be helpful to consider the skills required of each. As discussed above, front-end developers must learn to code using markup languages and programming languages to bring structure and responsive design to the user interface of a website.
While front-end developers are highly focused on designing the aesthetic and interactive elements of web pages, back-end developers, also called server-side developers, deal with the often nebulous inner workings of a website. Back-end developers must also know how to code, debug, and must also gain skills in database management. The commonly used languages are different for back-end developers, and include languages such as PHP, NodeJS, and Ruby on Rails.
Most web developers will start out in front-end development, which helps pave the way for a developer to move to back-end work. Gaining knowledge and confidence on the front-end makes it easier to grasp the nuances of back-end development, which can be more complicated and challenging.
Some web developers choose to do it all. Full-stack developers are well-versed in both the front- and back-end of website creation. This expertise typically comes after years of experience in the industry.
How much are front-end and back-end developers’ salaries?
All web development careers are quite lucrative, with even entry-level positions earning competitive salaries.
Front-end web developers can enter the workforce earning an average of around $60,000 per year.
Back-end developers can earn more: the national average for an entry-level back-end developer position is upwards of $80,000, according to ZipRecruiter.
After several years of experience, the national averages for both reach over $100,000, depending on your level of education and location.
How do I become a front-end developer?
Unlike other lucrative careers such as working in medicine or law, becoming a web developer takes a fraction of the time and money. It’s possible to learn to code in just a matter of months by attending one of Eleven Fifty Academy’s immersive bootcamps.
Offered on both a part- and full-time basis, Eleven Fifty’s coding bootcamps help students gain proficiency in common industry-standard programming languages, build a personal portfolio, and even connect with employers upon graduation.