What is a Front End Developer?



A Front End Developer is a type of computer programmer that codes the visual elements of a software, application, or website. They convert data from the back end into a graphical interface with the use of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript so that users or clients can see and interact with the software, application, or website. 


What does a Front-End Developer do? 

Basically, everything a user sees, clicks, or interacts with to perform actions or get information on is the work of a front-end developer. They focus highly on user experience and ensure that everything runs efficiently, smoothly, and quickly with no errors. 

Front End developers make sure that the visual elements in the front-end look the way it was designed to look. They must also make the designs responsive, meaning they are consistent across multiple devices, such as laptops, tablets, or mobile devices. Front End developers usually work with Back End Developers and UI/UX Designers. Sometimes they may work with other members of the team such as a Graphic Designer or Content Creator. 


Some responsibilities of a Front-End Developer include: 

  • Using HTML/CSS/JavaScript to bring a concept of a product to life 
  • Understanding and prioritizing user experience and user behaviors 
  • Production and maintenance of websites 
  • Creating mobile versions of designs
  • Maintaining software workflows 
  • Testing the product for usability and fixing bugs 
  • Coordinating with other key members of the team to complete the design and development process 


Software and Tools used by Front-End Developers  

Front End developers work with a variety of tools that they can select themselves, however, it might also depend on what the company they work in use. In general, the tools can fall into two categories: graphical design tools and code editors. 


Graphical Design Tools 

These tools are used to build prototypes, try different user interfaces, and create designs or layouts. Front End developers may have a little to a lot of responsibility over the graphical elements, depending on the size of the team. Other times, designing and prototyping will fall under a UI/UX Designer rather than the Front End Developer. 

Common prototyping and graphical design tools a Front End developer might work with include: 


Code Editors 

Code Editors tend to be a developer’s personal choice since there is a wide range of code editors available. They can be lightweight editors such as Notepad all the way to ‘integrated development editors’ (IDEs) like Visual Studio.  


The Backbone: HTML/CSS/JavaScript 

The primary programming language used by Front End Developers are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. HTML organizes and lays out the content of the page or site, CSS creates the style, and JavaScript is applied to elements that need to go beyond basic interactivity. Modern websites that are highly interactive and have a lot of animation, for example, rely heavily on JavaScript. 

Front End Developers also rely on frameworks and libraries on top of HTML/CSS/JavaScript. These libraries help make development easier and include frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation, and libraries like React and AngularJS. 

Sometimes, Front End Developers will learn some server-side languages like PHP, Python, or Ruby to connect data with the back end. This isn’t always required but it can be helpful for Front End Developers to be familiar with common server-side languages. 


Thinking about a career as a Front End Developer? Learn more about them here.