Front-end developers are responsible for almost everything you see when you open up a new website. From the structural make-up of a website to its data, design, and functionality, user-facing website elements are all in the hands of a front-end web developer.
Using markup languages, program languages, scripts, and frameworks, front-end developers help bring websites to life with interactive elements, navigation patterns, and graphics that are both responsive and intuitive.
What are the skills required for a front-end developer?
What languages should I learn for front-end development?
The hard skills of a web developer include a solid understanding of markup languages and programming languages. First off, all web developers need to be well-versed in both HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).
HTML and CSS are the building blocks of any website: Think of HTML as the skin and bones of web design, and CSS as the clothes, makeup, and personality.
Another useful language for front-end developers is JQuery, which helps coders perfect the look and feel of a user interface. Bootstrap is also used for front-end development, allowing programmers to create websites that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
What’s the difference between front-end, back-end, and full-stack development?
There are two sides to website development: Front-end and back-end. Front-end web development, as discussed above, is about creating great user experiences, from the overall layout to navigation and all graphic elements. Front-end, often referred to as client-side, is the face of a website, while back-end, or server-side, is what lies behind the curtain.
The other major side of a website is the back-end, encompassing all the inner-workings of a website such as databases and servers. Back-end developers typically start out as front-end developers, and as they build their skills, eventually move to the more challenging work of back-end web development. Back-end developers need to learn a set of coding languages that deal in database management. PHP, Ruby, Python, and SQL are all common back-end languages.
There’s another type of developer that’s something of a jack-of-all-trades: The full-stack developer. Full-stack developers are well-versed in both the front- and back-end development and can build websites from the inside-out. The knowledge base for a full-stack developer is more comprehensive, as many will be fluent in multiple coding languages and frameworks.
What is the career outlook for front-end developers?
As with most tech industry jobs, front-end development has a promising future. New jobs are added by the thousands every year, and for good reason: Front-end development is a lucrative career with plenty of growth potential.
If you’re motivated by a high salary, you may want to work toward becoming a back-end developer.
Back-end developers earn more than their front-end counterparts: Entry-level front-end developers, on average, earn about $50,000 to 60,000 per year.
Back-end developers’ entry-level salaries are quite a bit higher at around $80,000. Ultimately, your earning potential will depend on where you live and your level of education.
If you’re keen on becoming a freelancer, entry-level front-end developers typically earn around $35 per hour, with top-level developers earning on average $50 per hour. Your geography and level of experience are both major factors in setting your freelance rate expectations.
How do you become a front-end developer?
Learning how to code can be a self-taught endeavor, but it’s not for everyone. Teaching yourself requires discipline, ample free-time, and strong motivation. While you don’t have to attend a four-year college to learn to code, it can be helpful to attend an immersive coding bootcamp, such as those offered by Eleven Fifty Academy.
Eleven Fifty has two options for prospective students: A 12-week full-time web development course, or 26-week part-time course. Both are offered online, allowing students some flexibility to maintain other responsibilities. Students learn foundational information such as HTML and CSS and begin building portfolios to eventually use when applying for jobs.
If you’re curious but want to learn more, consider attending one of Eleven Fifty’s free coding courses online. You’ll get the basics of coding and can learn HTML and CSS while meeting some of Eleven Fifty’s coding mentors.