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How to Become a Front End Developer

Do you have a passion for bringing form and function together online? A position as a front-end web developer might be the strategic, face-paced role perfect for you.

Front-end web developers execute concepts designed by the creative team by building user-friendly websites and mobile apps. By using their knowledge of computer coding and superior user experience (UX), front-end web developers help create the e-commerce platforms customers use to buy a company’s goods and services.

A front-end web developer must be able to create seamless UX for a variety of platforms. Websites and mobile apps are commonplace projects, but front-end web developers must also be versatile enough to implement good UX for other interactive media, including mobile games, digital menus, rich video, and more.

Mastering many digital tools and programming languages is vital for any front-end web developer. They must also be strong communicators, working closely with the creative team to make sure their work adheres to brand standards while observing UX best practices. Also, it would be helpful to have a strong background in search engine optimization (SEO).

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is in search of an experienced front end developer. This candidate will be responsible for using their knowledge of programming languages to code user-side applications including visual elements and overall layout of websites and applications. Duties include working with clients to develop the overall look and design of a website, writing website code with programming languages such as HTML, C++, and Java, producing, maintaining, and modifying websites and user interfaces, incorporating applications, graphics, audio, and videos int client websites, and creating tools that enhance the user’s website experience. The ideal candidate will be able to work well with a team, be organized, self-motivated, and a critical thinker. Knowledge of multiple programming languages is a must, and how to code for websites and applications is essential. This candidate will have one or two years of website development as a front end developer. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Plan the structure and layout of webpages
  • Create UX optimized for desktop and mobile use
  • Balance aesthetic and functional design choices
  • Maintain brand standards through web design
  • Build novel features designed to improve UX
  • Use various markup languages to write websites
  • Work with back-end developers to troubleshoot website code
  • Create wireframes and mockups to present to art directors and clients
  • Receive and implement feedback from internal and client reviews

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Candidates with extensive work experience may not require a degree, but formal training of some sort is always mandatory.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Expertise in CSS, JavaScript, TML, and jQuery
  • Understanding of crucial web and visual design elements
  • Solid knowledge of adaptive and responsive design
  • Understanding of server-side CSS
  • Knowledge of SEO best practices
  • Solid communication skills
  • Experience using graphic design tools, such as Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • Ability to thrive under tight deadlines

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience developing scalable and reliable software products for operational infrastructure projects
  • Experience creating APIs for large datasets
  • Previous work as a java developer, full-stack programming developer, front-end programming developer, software engineer, or software development engineer

Typical work environment

Front-end developers work behind the scenes in an office, usually in the IT department. They will work with the other developers and designers to ensure that the website is operating to the best of its ability. Usually, these employees will work typical hours, but sometimes, they may have to be on-call for emergencies if the website has problems.

Typical hours

The work hours for a front-end web developer are typically from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday in an office setting. However, longer or different hours may, at times, be necessary.

Available certifications

Front-end developers need extensive experience in web development, computer code, industry-standard software, and several years of experience. Here are some of the top certifications for this position:

  • Front End Developer eCornell. Cornell University offers an online program flexible for your own schedule, comprising 6 courses with an introduction to front-end development through JavaScript, jQuery, data collection, and website programming and design. Upon successful completion, you will receive a certificate certifying you as a front-end developer.
  • Java Development Certified Professional. Java offers a certificate through Learning Tree International with the opportunity to certify you as a working professional in web development and consultation. An exam is required, and renewal of the certificate is not required. 
  • Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP). This certification is offered through the IEEE Computer Society, and prepares individuals for software development and engineering. This certificate needs to be renewed every three years and an exam is required for certification.

Career path

The road to becoming a front-end web developer can take a couple of different directions.

Considerable experience using programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is necessary to landing a front-end web developer role. To formalize their training and help master these essential skills, candidates may earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Many colleges and universities offer certification courses in front-end development, as well.

Candidates with extensive work experience (and the portfolio to prove it) may not require a formal degree or certification, but this is the exception, not the rule.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1257

2020 Employment199,400
Projected Employment in 2030224,900
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 13% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift25,500 increase

More and more businesses want their e-commerce platforms to stand out from the competition. Templated websites aren’t cutting it anymore, and front-end web developers will be there to build better platforms for their clients. As long as our online and offline lives continue to merge, companies will require user-friendly websites to drive sales and connect with consumers.