Launching a career in computer science has some great perks. Along with entering an industry that’s always on the brink of discovery and innovation, you’ll likely enjoy a competitive salary with impressive earning potential.
Software and web developers are well-paid professionals. Even entry-level positions can earn upwards of $60,000. After a few years of experience, the United States national average front-end developer salary can jump to around $100,000, depending on your level of education and location.
The 2019 median pay for web developers, which broadly describes front- and back-end developers, was $73,760, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
PayScale singles out the job title specifically: It reports an average front end developer salary of $73,902.
Both front- and back-end developers earn high salaries, but back-end developers usually earn more. While front-end developers work on the visual aspects of a website, back-end developers work on the less glamorous side of web design, dealing with server logic, client-server data flow, and building databases.
What factors determine the salary for front-end developers?
While the earning potential is a great selling point for people who want to become front-end developers, there are several factors that will determine what a front-end developer makes.
One factor is your level of education. Front-end developers come from a variety of backgrounds: Some are self-taught while others go to four-year colleges on universities to learn to code.
Nowadays, it’s common for developers to learn coding at an immersive bootcamp, such as those offered by Eleven Fifty Academy. Your level of education will help determine your earning potential. As a rule of thumb, you can expect that the more education you have, the higher your salary will likely be.
Depending on the company you join—whether it’s a startup or Salesforce—your yearly salary could include equity, bonuses, or other compensation.
Another major factor that you should consider is geography. The salary expectations for front-end developers varies widely depending on where you live. For example, an entry-level developer in Los Angeles could earn $30,000 more per year than a developer just starting their career in Indianapolis.
Some of the highest-paid developers live in cities such as Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and New York. Keep in mind that the cost of living is higher in these cities, which is reflected in the higher salaries. However, you’ll likely live more comfortably here as a developer in Indiana and states with similar low costs of living.
What does a front-end developer do?
Front-end web development is all about creating functional and responsive websites and programs. Everything from a website’s layout to its cross-platform usability is under the auspices of a front-end developer. Front-end developers—often referred to as “client-side” developers—create all the interactive aspects of a website including visual elements such as pictures, links, and graphic elements.
If you’re just getting into coding and web development, front-end development is a more accessible track than back-end development. It’s more straightforward and easier to learn for most. Back-end development takes more time to grasp and can be more challenging because it deals in server-side functionality including building databases and frameworks.
Website design is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country, making front-end development a great career to pursue. The field is far from dying, with new jobs being added by tech companies by the thousands every year.
The job options are also diverse: Front-end developers can often choose their working style, whether it’s working full-time for an agency or part-time as a contract web developer or software engineer.
What do you need to learn to become a front-end developer?
Learning to be a front-end developer is primarily about learning how to code. While there are a number of different coding languages that are used in web development, a few common ones are indispensable for front-end developers.
The two most common coding languages that every front-end developer should learn are HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). These two foundational programming languages are considered the building blocks of websites, allowing developers to do everything from creating website layouts to choosing color schemes and fonts for web pages.
Learning coding languages takes time, and it’s helpful to learn from professionals. Eleven Fifty Academy offers both part- and full-time coding bootcamps online that help you work towards getting a job in web development in less than a year. You’ll work one-on-one with professional educators and build a portfolio that will help you land an entry-level job.
For people interested in coding, Eleven Fifty also offers a free online HTML and CSS for Beginners course, allowing prospective students to get a taste of what it would be like to become a front-end developer.