Whenever you fill out a web form or fill up your online shopping cart, front-end developers want your task to be a breeze.
Front-end developers are the tech professionals who code the user-facing side of websites and mobile apps. Their job is to build web interfaces that are easy to use and deliver the results you expect.
WHAT FRONT-END DEVELOPERS DO
Every website has two sides. Behind the scenes, back-end developers deal with the inner workings of the website, such as applications, databases and algorithms. The work of the back end developer is hidden from the user.
Front-end developers build pages that can be connected to back-end databases, making it possible for an application to display images, collect user data, return accurate search results and personalize emails.
Front-end developers choose the best interactive elements, such as forms, search fields, or drop-down menus. They also strive to use responsive design, so web interfaces work with any browser or device.
To that end, Zaretzky said, front-end developers look to personas and use cases to understand what they’re building, why it’s needed and who’s going to use it.
“If there’s no guidance given, they might just take the simplest, most standard approach,” he says. “Then you end up with something that just isn’t really optimal for the typical user.”
DEMAND FOR FRONT-END DEVELOPMENT
When it comes to the job market, jobs for front-end developers often overlap with those described as web developer — one of the fastest-growing sectors in the nation. According to O*NET, jobs for web developers are expected to increase 15% in the United States through 2026.
projected job growth
Washington state: +50%
Median Annual salary
Washington state: $87,190
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET
If you want to be a front-end developer in Washington state, that good news multiplies: jobs for web developers here are expected to increase more than 50%.
“In Seattle, many, if not most, product and program manager roles require some technical understanding,” said Zaretzky, co-founder and president of software company WireSpring. “As a UX designer or product manager, it’s really helpful to understand how the actual things your company is offering are going to be built.”
Jobs for front-end developers in Seattle are now in demand from employers like Facebook and Redfin. There’s plenty of jobs like this at companies that offer tech-enabled products and services; for example, Zaretzky said, Nordstrom relies on a big web operation to run its online retail business.
“As more and more commerce moves onto the web, I see the demand for this kind of role increasing,” Zaretzky said.
PREPARING FOR A FUTURE IN FRONT-END DEVELOPMENT
“We want you to understand what the building blocks are,” Zaretzky says. “If you need to jump into the code or you need to debug something, you’ll have the core skill to be able to do so.”
ADVANCING YOUR EDUCATION