Front end developers build the user interface (UI) of interactive or responsive websites, mobile apps, and interactive media on other platforms. They use a number of different programming languages and web technologies.
You could be:
taking concepts created by designers and using specialist software and programming tools to develop them
discussing technical and design requirements with clients and planning prototypes
creating responsive solutions for different digital platforms, such as the web and mobile devices
testing programs or applications and fixing faults, known as bugs
utilising application programming interfaces (APIs), such as Google Maps, in your developments
making sure all developments meet web accessibility standards
liaising with clients and other IT professionals, such as UX or UI designers, web developers and project managers.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
The salary for graduate front end developers is around £20,000 to £30,000 a year, rising with experience to between £30,000 and £40,000 a year. A senior developer can earn between £45,000 and £65,000 a year, or more.
If you work freelance, your income will vary, depending on the contracts you get.
You will work from an office or studio.
You will usually work normal office hours from Monday to Friday, but you might sometimes have to work evenings or weekends to meet deadlines.
You might have to travel to meet clients from different organisations and possibly have to spend overnights away from home.
Most entrants have a degree (SCQF Levels 9-11) or HND (SCQF Level 8) in a subject such as interactive media, digital media or web development and design. You should check that the course content is suitable for the career you want to enter.
There are postgraduate courses available for those with or without a computing-related degree.
For entry to an HND course you normally need 1-2 Highers plus some subjects at National 5. For entry to a degree course you need 4-5 Highers.
You might be able to move into front end development from other computing jobs with relevant experience in programming, web or software development or graphic design.
You might be able to get in without a degree or HND if you have an exceptionally good portfolio of work.
You might get in through a Modern Apprenticeship in IT and Telecommunications or Digital Applications at SCQF Level 6, then work your way up with experience and further specialist training, or a Technical Apprenticeship at SCQF Level 8.
As part of the application process, it is common to have to complete a practical test.
Studying for a relevant Foundation Apprenticeship, such as Software Development, while in fifth and sixth year at school could count towards entry of a course. Entry requirements vary between colleges, but you usually need relevant subjects at National 5 such as Maths, Physics or Computing Science.
Entry is competitive but there is a steady demand for front end developers. Jobs are available in software development companies, multimedia publishers, e-learning companies, digital agencies and the media. They are advertised in the press and on the internet.
What Does it Take?
You need to have:
good programming and technical skills
excellent knowledge of up to date web technologies
creativity and an eye for colour and shape
vision to develop ideas to achieve what the client wants
good communication skills to exchange ideas with colleagues and explain projects to clients.
You need to be able to:
learn new technologies and languages quickly
work accurately under pressure, and meet deadlines
find creative solutions to complex problems
understand what other specialists do
work well in small project teams.
Training can be on the job with part time study.
You would usually do other short courses whilst working.
You can take short courses, run by manufacturers, in different types of design software, to fill gaps in your knowledge and to keep up to date with more advanced packages.
This is a fast moving industry and you must be willing to learn new programming or scripting languages and technologies.
With experience, you could become a project manager, overseeing a technical team.
You could work freelance and contract services out to relevant organisations.
You could move into other areas of information technology.
You may be able to work abroad.
If you are considering a career in IT, take a look at the Tech Future Careers website. You will find the video case studies of workers and general information on the industry useful.
For more information please see organisation below: