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What is the Average Front End Developer Salary?

Do you ever wonder how the websites you use every day are made? What makes surfing the site such a seamless experience? And why do your favorite apps and sites look the way they do? A career in front end development can answer all of these questions for you—and it can also land you a competitive salary.

As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for web developers is $77,200 per year. However, this figure only tells a part of the story.

To give you a better idea of what to expect as a front end developer, we’ll be exploring the realities of working in the web development field, including everyday responsibilities, career opportunities, and, of course, a salary range.

What is a Front End Developer?

As the name suggests, front end developers work on the front end of an app or website—in other words, the parts that users can see when they access said website. If a visitor can click it, share it, or otherwise interact with it, a front end web developer likely had a hand in its creation.

This branch of web development is a fascinating intersection of creativity and logical thinking. Front end developers combine their knowledge of programming languages with an eye for design and usability. The result? Well-crafted websites that are both functional and visibly appealing.

Front End Developer Roles and Responsibilities

Whether you’re a freelancer or an in-house web developer, you’ll be in charge of various aspects of a website’s front-facing design. In a typical workday as a front end developer, you might find yourself:

  • Discussing site design and functionality needs with clients
  • Designing and testing websites
  • Writing code for widgets or tools that improve site usability
  • Incorporating SEO practices into your work
  • Working closely with UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) designers
  • Collaborating with artists, marketing managers, and other designers

By doing all of this and more, front end web developers bring incredible value to companies with online presences (in other words, all modern businesses). First impressions are everything, and a site visitor’s first impression is almost always curated by a front end developer.

Programming Languages for Front End Developers

One of the most crucial skills for a front end developer is understanding computer programming languages. The most frequently used languages are:

  • HTML – HyperText Markup Language (HTML) gives your web browser the instructions for loading and displaying content. In short, HTML is the backbone of your typical web page; some amount of this language goes into every single page of the Internet.
  • CSS – Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) influences the appearance and layout of a web page.
  • JavaScript – JavaScript brings you the bells and whistles. Interactive features, animations, and video boxes all rely on JS.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in front end web development, exploring these coding languages is a terrific place to start.

Salary Expectations for Front End Developers

No matter where you look for front end development salaries, the numbers are promising.

As mentioned, the BLS lists a median salary of $77,200/year. However, it’s worth noting that the Bureau lumps all web developers and digital designers together. The job listing website Indeed has a distinct category for front end developers; they list a higher annual average of $92,930/year. Some sources even report median salaries above $100,000.

These discrepancies are to be expected. Exact salaries are difficult to predict, as factors like location, experience, and industry all play a role. The bottom line? Web developers are generally well-compensated for their hard work.

Beyond the reasonable salary, front end development positions often include bonus opportunities, giving you the ability to earn even more. Developers report an average yearly bonus of $4,500. What’s more, comprehensive benefits packages are also standard.

Is Becoming a Front End Developer Worth It?

Learning all the necessary skills for front end development takes time and effort. While you don’t necessarily need to go to college to work as a front end developer, completing a four-year undergraduate program is becoming the minimum degree for the industry. Four years is a long time, so it’s natural to wonder if it’s worth pursuing web development as a full-time career.

In many cases, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

When you consider that the median household income in the US is $67,521 (as of 2020), the average front end developer salary is certainly appealing.

Besides the above-average salary, other benefits of working as a front end developer include:

Remote work possibilities – Because all you need to work as a web developer is a computer and a stable Internet connection, you can base yourself from anywhere in the world. Remote work also allows you to live in lower cost-of-living areas, making your web developer salary stretch even further.

  • Flexible hours – Beyond locational flexibility, front end development offers freedom of another kind: the ability to make your own schedule. If you work as a freelance web developer, you can accept or refuse projects whenever you want, and you can complete them on your own time—so long as you meet your client’s deadline.
  • Job security – Demand for web developers continues to rise; the BLS predicts that job openings will increase by 13% between 2020 and 2030.
  • Personal and professional fulfillment – Although you may not see your name up in lights as a front end web developer, your work has an impact. Every app user or site visitor interacts directly with your handiwork.
  • Community – There’s a vast online community of web developers working to make the Internet a better place. If you ever feel stuck on a task, there’s a high probability that someone out there has come across the same issue, and they’ll often be happy to walk you through their solution.

Overall, if you have a knack for coding and an interest in crafting websites, becoming a front end developer could be worth it. It may not be the most lucrative career in the tech industry, but it’s a rewarding path that presents plenty of opportunities to learn and grow.

Potential Career Paths for a Front End Developer

Because front end development relies on a laundry list of transferable skills, transitioning into another higher-paying role is always a possibility. Here are some of the potential paths you could follow as an ambitious web developer.

Computer Programmer

If you’re open to learning new programming languages like C++ and Java, you can use your familiarity with coding to make the switch to computer programming. Like front end developers, computer programmers write and test code. However, instead of working on the front end, these professionals are more likely to work on the back end of software programs, such as firewalls and network security. If you’re not familiar with internet security and wonder “What is a firewall,” you can rely on our resource center to help protect your data.

The median salary for computer programmers is $93,000/year.

Software Developer

Are you more of a big picture person? Becoming a software engineer or developer may be the next logical step in your web developer career. Software developers plan out programs and apps before handing them off to programmers.

Software development explores the creativity and logic of web development on a larger scale. The median salary for software developers is $110,140/year.

Senior Front End Developer

Of course, you don’t have to branch out into other careers. If you love what you do as a front end developer, you can stay in your role to grow your knowledge and your salary.

As you gain experience and climb the ranks, you can reach the upper levels of web developer salary. The top 10% of earners in the field—usually those in senior positions—can earn more than $146,430 per year.

How to Earn More as a Front End Developer

Aside from taking what you’ve learned and applying it to a similar career, you can increase your earning potential by:

  • Learning back end development – As counterintuitive as it seems, learning the behind-the-scenes skills of web development can make you a more valuable front end developer. Not only will you be able to communicate better with back end developers, but you’ll also have the knowledge you need to create and maintain a website from scratch.
  • Furthering your education – Whether you learn some new skills in your spare time or go back to school for a more formal education, expanding your horizons and learning simple skills, such as how to perform a Google images reverse search, can open opportunities for more lucrative positions.
  • Selling your designs on the side – If you have experience with WordPress, you can use your design skills to create and sell WordPress themes on online marketplaces.

WP Engine: Another Way to Impress as a Front End Developer

Whether you’re looking into a career on the front end or you’re a longtime web developer, one thing’s for sure: You need the right tools for the job. That’s why many front end devs use WordPress, the leading CMS platform.

If you’re looking to expand your WordPress knowledge, the WP Engine team has you covered. Visit our Resource Center to learn more about all things WordPress. And if you’re a seasoned pro who hosts client websites, try our managed WordPress hosting for best-in-class speeds and security.

Sources:

  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook: Web Developers and Digital Designers. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm
  • Indeed. Front End Developer salary in United States. https://www.indeed.com/career/front-end-developer/salaries
  • United States Census Bureau. ​​Income and Poverty in the United States: 2020. https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2021/demo/p60-273.html
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer Programmers. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook: Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm

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