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Front-End Developer

How to Become a Front-End Developer: 5 Soft Skills to Develop to Excel

Front-end developers are in hot demand. In fact, web developer employment in the US is projected to grow 23% from 2021 to 20301. A large part of this growth is for front-end developers, representing a much faster rate than many other occupations. As such, getting into front-end development is an excellent career choice. There are also great work-life balance opportunities since many of these roles are remote or hybrid. The location where you lay your head isn’t as important as it once was! In this article, we'll explain everything you need to know to become a front-end developer. This will include the technical skills and soft skills required. F4S helps people develop crucial soft skills through free personalized coaching. Unlocking these skills will give you a competitive advantage in the web development industry.

Illustration of a man doing what he learned on how to become a front end developer ensuring website visitors have a great user experience

What do front-end developers do?

Front-end developers have a very interesting job brief. If you enjoy a varied workday, front-end development could be a good fit for you. Front-end developers' main responsibility is ensuring website visitors have a great user experience. This is achieved using the latest design, programming, and technology conventions. The faster and simpler navigating the website is the better. Maintenance and debugging are also important for the role.

Front-end developers are proficient in several programming languages. These include HTML, JavaScript, and CSS frameworks. When you visit a website, every aspect has been designed and built by a front-end developer. Front-end developers also build and maintain libraries of code and use design frameworks. Code libraries make maintenance and optimization easier.

Front-end developers can choose to specialize in one or multiple areas. Popular specializations include interface graphic design, conversational AI, and Progressive Web Applications (PWA).

They may also be part of a software team that is responsible for various version control systems. Other software developers include back-end developers and full-stack developers.

There are many exciting opportunities for skilled front-end developers. These include jobs in public and private sector organizations of all sizes. You can also work as a freelancer or in an agency. There are opportunities to earn a very competitive salary.1

What are the soft (human) skills needed to become a front-end developer?

Front-end developers must have technical skills such as programming and debugging. But they also need to develop soft (or human) skills to improve their job performance. Some of the most common soft skills they need to develop are:


Front-end developers must have great verbal and written communication skills. This is because they will be interacting with clients, colleagues, and stakeholders. They need to translate complex technical jargon into plain English. If working directly with clients, they need to be able to ask the right questions to understand their needs. For example, they will need to comprehend the purpose of the website they're building so they can create the best technical solution. They also need to be able to communicate effectively within their team. For example, they will need to write technical documentation for their code so other developers can understand it.

Systems and strategic thinking

Front-end developers need to know how systems work. Designing, programming, testing, and optimizing applications are all about creating efficient systems. To create a great system, you must know how each aspect works and how it relates to others. Another critical skill to develop is strategic thinking. This involves understanding how your work contributes to business goals. If you understand this, you can optimize your output to have the greatest impact. Thinking long-term is also very important. For example, you need to think about how the application will handle higher visitor loads.


Front-end developers need to take the initiative when managing their time. This is important because you may often work independently. Development work requires you to work with deadlines and you can't always rely on others to motivate you. Having the ability to manage your time and optimize your workflow is very important. You need to be able to contribute your code in conjunction with other team members efficiently. As a result, you will be able to work in a variety of different project setups and will be reliable. Having initiative also means being able to find solutions to problems without having to rely on others.


Problem-solving is a very important soft skill to develop. When developing applications, you will encounter many problems and issues that need to be solved. The quicker and more accurately you solve problems, the more valuable you will be as a developer. There are many tools you can use to test code and other components of front-end development. But having a naturally curious mind will make you an even better developer. Common problems you will encounter include bugs and suboptimal application speeds.

Focus on the details

As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Front-end developers need to be meticulous, so their work product is accurate. Small code errors can affect the whole application. For this reason, you need to be aware of the details of the project you’re working on. You also need to balance functionality with great design. This requires attention to detail.

Develop these important front-end developer skills

Developing soft skills, such as communication, are critical to your success as a front-end web developer. Soft skills are just as important as hard skills such as programming. When you master the right soft skills, you can boost your career prospects and stand out from other developers.

At Fingerprint for Success (F4S), we have over 20 years of coaching experience. We can help you develop soft skills by using our analytics tools to give you self-awareness of both your current skills and the ones you may need to develop.

Once you’ve taken the free assessment, you can set a development goal. Coach Marlee will provide you with personalized insights related to your goal. You will receive feedback on your motivations and insights into your blind spots which can help you further develop your soft skills.


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So how much time do I need to become a front-end developer?

There are many paths to becoming a front-end developer. A combination of education, professional training, and experience is important. The pathway you choose will determine how long it takes to become one. Let’s review some of the important factors to consider.

What higher education is required to become a front-end developer?

41% of web developers worldwide have a bachelor’s degree, and 21% have a master’s degree2. Look for degrees in computer science, information technology, engineering, or math. If you decide to do a university degree, it can take up to four years to complete.1

There is currently a worldwide shortage of developers3. So, many companies that formerly required developers to have a degree are now hiring people without them. This is as long as they can show they have the right skills and hands-on experience. If you can show you understand client-side development, app development, responsive design, version control, and markup languages, you will find opportunities. A recent study of over 80,000 developers found 59.4% used online resources to learn how to code. Just 50.3% learned coding skills primarily through schools4.

What licenses, certifications and registrations are needed?

Front-end developers don’t require licenses, certifications, or registrations in most cases. However, there may be some industries that do require you to pass exams. For example, jobs that require you to handle sensitive information. Major companies such as Adobe offer courses in web development that include certification5. The purpose is to show you have competency using a specific programming language. The most prominent coding languages for front-end developers are HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery. You will also need to show an understanding of server-side CSS.

What on-job internships are typically undertaken?

Aspiring front-end developers may gain internships at private companies, universities, government departments, and non-profits. It’s a great way to get experience and gain additional skills in the tech industry. Some will require you to have completed a degree, while others will offer internships to self-taught developers. Most internships will last between six to twelve months. Large technology companies such as Amazon, Google, Salesforce, and Meta offer new front-end developer internships.

Internships allow you to gain experience across different parts of the development team. They're a great way to work on client projects and enjoy new learning experiences. Once you complete your internship, you can use your experience to help you apply for full-time positions. Some organizations might offer you a job if your internship goes well. Internships for front-end developers exist in many different countries.

What advancement or specialization opportunities are there?

During your career, you can specialize in several types of front-end development. You can also specialize in specific programming languages. If you find an area of the development process that you enjoy, you can focus on it. This can help you find better-paying jobs. One of the best ways to gain experience in a specific field is to build a portfolio of your work. This helps showcase your skills, making it easier for employers to discover you. Many meetups and online groups are set up for you to connect with other developers. Networking can help you find more job opportunities.

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Where can front-end developers work?

Front-end developers can find work in many different organizations or be self-employed. Organizations such as private companies, government departments, and universities require front-end developers. They are needed to build and maintain software and other applications7.

If you work for an organization, you will have a clear career path. Once you find your first front-end developer role, you can gain experience and, over time, move up into more senior roles. The alternative to working as an in-house developer is to work for a software development agency. This will allow you to work on a wider range of projects across multiple industries. You will also have the opportunity to find more senior roles once you gain experience.

You can also choose to become self-employed. If you choose to become self-employed and work as a freelance developer, you can select the projects you take on and build your portfolio. Once you gain more experience, you can charge more for your development services. Over time, you will create a rewarding successful career. Some freelance front-end developers go on to set up their own software development agencies. They hire other developers to help them do projects, as well as manage the business. This allows them to build a business while keeping full ownership.

Front-end developers are required in many industries. The industries with the most demand include technology, entertainment, government, and financial services8. These industries and others are constantly upgrading their websites to provide interesting and up-to-date information. This means demand for front-end developers will remain high.

There are also many opportunities for front-end developers to work remotely from anywhere in the world. This means you can find well-paid jobs but live in a location with low living costs. Many developers take advantage of remote work9.

How much can you expect to earn as a front-end developer?

Front-end developers make an average salary in the USA of US$104,45010. This makes it an extremely lucrative position to train for. The exact amount you earn depends on several factors. The most important is where you live. The highest salaries can be found in tech hubs such as San Francisco, New York City, and Chicago. But keep in mind these cities have higher living costs. Many front-end engineers work remotely from all over the world, which means they can earn great money but keep their living costs down.

It also depends on which programming languages you are proficient in. At a minimum, you need to know CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. Knowing frameworks and libraries such as React, Bootstrap, and jQuery will earn you a bigger salary11. Finally, the higher your education level, the higher your salary will be. There are exceptions for experienced self-taught developers with a track record of success.

Overall, front-end engineers are in demand. This means salaries are going up. Given the projected growth in front-end developer demand, it’s a great career to get into. Even as a junior developer, you will make great money.

Frequently asked questions

Can I work as a front-end developer without a university degree?

The best way to become a front-end developer without a degree is to do online courses. Once you have the basic theory, you can start to build basic applications. Once you get better, you can get industry certifications from companies such as Microsoft and Google. Then you can find paying clients and build your portfolio. You can also join a developer community to get valuable tips from other developers.

Is it realistic to become a front-end developer in three months?

If you want to become a front-end web developer in three months, your best option is to complete a coding boot camp. A boot camp will teach you skills that employers are looking for. Once you have the skills, you can build a portfolio of your work and start to apply for paid front-end development work.

How to become a front-end developer in the UK?

Start by learning programming languages such as HTML and CSS styles. You can then build applications that prove your skills. Once you have a portfolio, you will be able to find paid work. Alternatively, complete a computer science degree. You will then be able to find front-end developer jobs in the UK and other countries.

What does it take to become a junior front-end developer?

If you complete a coding boot camp, you can become a junior front-end developer in as little as three months. The best way to get started is to build a portfolio of your work. This will help you secure paid front-end developer projects. Once you have the experience, you can apply for full-time front-end developer positions. You could also try an internship to help get you started in the industry.

Is it easy to become a front-end developer?

Yes. But only if you put in the work. You can either teach yourself by doing online courses and boot camps or by gaining a computer science degree. You can then build up a portfolio of your work that showcases your skills. This will help you find paid work and full-time front-end developer positions.

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1. BLS. (2022) Web Developer Trends. Available at:

2. Statista. (2022) Web developer education. Available at:

3. Kingsland University Research. (2021) Front End vs. Back End Development. Available at:

4. Stack Overflow. (2021) Developer Survey. Stack Overflow. Available at:

5. Ibid.

6. BLS. (2022) Web Developer Trends. Available at:

7. Kingsland University Research. (2021) Front End vs. Back End Development. Available at:

8. BLS. (2022) Web Developer Trends. Available at:

9. Stack Overflow. (2021) Developer Survey. Stack Overflow. Available at:

10. Code Academy. (2021) How much do front end developers make? Available at:

11. Stack Overflow. (2021) Developer Survey. Stack Overflow. Available at:

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