Commercial websites allow users to interact with organizations in many ways, from ordering products and services to downloading instruction manuals and depositing checks. And when this process unfolds in an intuitive, engaging and hassle-free way, it’s the front-end web developer who deserves much of the credit.

But what does a front-end developer do that makes them so vital to a smooth user experience?

Put simply, these sought-after technology professionals strive to make websites and web apps visually appealing and easy to navigate. It’s a critical role and, because websites come in all shapes and sizes, a diverse one, as well.

To help you evaluate this rewarding career, here’s a rundown of the typical front-end web developer job description and the responsibilities and skills needed for the role.

Front-end developer duties and expectations

A front-end web developer is generally expected to:

  • Develop functional and appealing web and mobile sites and applications with a focus on usability
  • Provide website maintenance and enhancements
  • Use a combination of markup languages to write webpages
  • Write functional requirement documents and specifications
  • Create quality mockups and prototypes on tight timelines
  • Provide back-end developers with coding and troubleshooting assistance
  • Create cascading style sheets (CSS) that are consistent across all browsers and platforms
  • Maintain graphic standards and branding throughout the product’s interface
  • Stay up to date on emerging technologies
  • Promote usability best practices

Professional experience and skills

The most sought-after front-end web developers have experience and knowledge of the entire web development life cycle, from design and analysis to testing and deployment.

You must also have a deep understanding of layout aesthetics and proficiency in core front-end development skills such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Familiarity with at least one front-end framework (usually React but possibly Vue, Angular or the increasingly popular Svelte) is also essential.

Other valuable skills include:

  • A deep understanding of industry trends and content management systems such as Drupal and WordPress
  • Experience with micro front-end architecture (particularly for projects where scalability is essential)
  • Knowledge of progressive web apps and artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots
  • Back-end programming skills, which could allow you to market yourself as a full-stack developer if sufficiently honed

Because front-end web developers are responsible for interpreting and executing designs correctly, they must be able to communicate effectively with the creative team and clients. Other vital soft skills for front-end web developers include time management, critical thinking and adapting quickly to new web design and application trends.

Want to start working with a recruiter to find a front-end developer role or another position in tech? Get the ball rolling and submit your resume to Robert Half today!

Front-end web developer salary benchmarks

Check out the latest Salary Guide From Robert Half to find the midpoint starting salary for a front-end web developer.

You can also use the Robert Half Salary Calculator to get location-specific salary ranges and national comparisons for front-end web developers.