You enjoy playing around with HTML and CSS. You’re creative and have an eye for design, and you spend your days in your favorite text editor creating websites or applications from scratch. If you can recognize yourself in those statements, a career in frontend development might be the perfect choice for you. Let’s take a look at frontend developer salary expectations.
But what exactly are the responsibilities of a frontend developer, and what skills do you need to become one? And what kind of salary can you expect as a frontend developer?
Those are the questions we’ll answer in this post. We’ll also compare a frontend developer’s salary with a regular web developer’s salary and other similar positions.
By the end of this article, you’ll know if a frontend developer career is a suitable choice for you.
What Is Frontend Development?
Frontend development focuses on a website’s or app’s frontend — the part that the users see and interact with. As a frontend developer, you’ll work closely with UI and UX designers to translate their designs into functional websites.
It’s also a highly collaborative career path as you’ll have plenty of opportunities to work with other people and teams. As a frontend developer, your workflow will involve several other people, including designers, artists, and marketing professionals.
It’s also worth mentioning that as a frontend developer, you can efficiently work from home. All you need is an internet connection and a computer. As such, some companies might be open to offering you a remote position and even reimbursing you for the computer or your internet bill.
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Frontend Developer Requirements
On top of that, you might also spend time doing customer or user research and conduct A/B tests to ensure the website or application in question gives the best possible ROI. Not only that, but testing allows you also to find and iron out bugs so you can produce websites and apps that are easy to use.
In terms of technical skills, you’ll need to be familiar with the following languages:
- HTML and CSS
- RESTful services and APIs
Frontend Developer Skills
Aside from the technical requirements listed above, there are several soft skills that you should master if you want to increase your chances of getting hired as a frontend developer.
- Good communication skills: You’ll have to work with and communicate with other teams, clients, and customers while you’re working on their websites and applications.
- Collaboration skills: Working well within a team is another crucial soft skill since you’ll be working with others.
- Problem-solving skills: Much of web development involves seeking the right solution to a specific problem — not unlike finding the missing piece of a puzzle.
- Creativity: This includes translating the customer or client’s vision into a working website or application. A good understanding of visual and design hierarchy will serve you well too.
If you have all of the above skills, you’re ready to start your search for a frontend developer job.
Do Frontend Developers Get Hired?
If you’re wondering if frontend developers have trouble finding work, you don’t need to worry. In 2021, Glassdoor advertised 45,000 frontend developer jobs in North America and the UK alone.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web developers employment in the US is projected to grow 8% from 2019 to 2029.
In other words, if you want to pursue a career in frontend development, you’ll have no shortage of opportunities for getting hired and making a steady income.
The Average Frontend Developer Salary
So now you know what your responsibilities will be as a frontend developer, and you know which skills you need to master if you want the job. It’s time to take a look at how much you can earn with a frontend developer salary.
According to Glassdoor, the average frontend developer salary is $86,013. That amount is based on 3,715 salaries submitted by frontend developers to Glassdoor. The lowest frontend developer salary is around $51K, while the highest is $145K.
Indeed lists a slightly higher salary, but their sample size is also larger than Glassdoor’s. They say the average frontend developer salary is $103,832, with an average $2,500 yearly cash bonus.
PayScale reports the average salary at $75,310 per year, with a low of $50K and a high of $90K. PayScale’s numbers are based on 4,206 salary profiles submitted by frontend developers.
ZipRecruiter says that the average frontend developer salary is $94,639 per year, with a low of $37K and a high of $147K.
Based on the numbers above, we can deduce that the average frontend developer salary is $89,948 per year — which is nothing to scoff at.
But is it on par with other similar jobs?
In the next section, we’ll compare the average frontend developer salary with similar jobs and how other factors such as location and experience impact earnings.
Frontend vs Backend Developer Salaries
Backend developers work on the backend of a website or an application. They ensure that everything works smoothly and are in charge of the server-side of things, such as databases, client-server data flow, server logic, and more.
As such, their job requirements and responsibilities are more complex than those of a frontend developer. It’s logical to assume that their salary will be higher, and the numbers below prove it.
First up, Glassdoor lists the average base pay for a backend developer at $79,518, with the lowest salary being around $48K, while the highest is around $132K.
Indeed reports the average backend developer salary at $118,856 per year, with an added $4,000 annual bonus.
PayScale lists the average backend developer salary being $81,161, with a low of $51K and a high of $131K.
Finally, ZipRecruiter calculates the average backend developer salary to be $83,770 per year, with the lowest being $33,500 and the high end reaching $149K.
That brings the average backend developer salary to around $90,826 per year, a slightly higher figure than the average frontend developer salary.
Frontend vs Full-Stack Developer Salaries
Full-stack developers have the combined skills and the knowledge of both frontend and backend developers. Their job is even more complex than a backend developer’s because their responsibilities and skill set are broader.
Let’s see how their earnings compare to a frontend developer’s salary.
Glassdoor says that the average salary for a full-stack developer is $97,849 per year. The lowest salary is $61K, and the highest is $156K.
According to Indeed’s numbers, the average full-stack developer salary is $106,242 per year. Indeed also lists an additional $4,100 cash annual bonus.
ZipRecruiter reports the average salary is $102,744 per year. The lowest is $38K, and the highest full-stack developer salary is $150K per year.
PayScale lists the average full-stack developer salary at $78,951 per year with a low of $54K and a high of $115K per year.
When you run the numbers, you get an average salary of $96,446 for a full-stack developer. While this number is higher, it’s not a massive difference from what frontend developers earn. However, the difference indicates that full-stack developers shoulder more responsibilities and have more job requirements to meet.
Frontend Developer Salary by Experience
So far, looking at the numbers above, we can see frontend developers make slightly less money than backend and full-stack developers.
But what happens when you factor in job experience? How much money can you make as an entry-level frontend developer, and, more importantly, how will your salary increase as you move into senior roles?
As an entry-level frontend developer, you can expect to make $97,377 per year, according to Glassdoor. The lowest salary reported is $54K, and the highest is $176K per year.
PayScale, on the other hand, reports lower numbers. Their average entry-level frontend developer salary is $61K per year.
ZipRecruiter lists the average entry-level frontend developer salary at $57,017 per year, with a low of $25K and a high of $113K.
As you gain more experience, your salary should reflect that. Not only will you have more knowledge under your belt, but you’ll also transition into senior and lead developer roles. You may even mentor entry-level frontend developers. Here’s what the numbers say.
Glassdoor reports the average frontend developer salary if you have more than 10 years of experience is $96,985, with a low of $65K and a high of $144K.
Based on these figures, a frontend developer’s average entry-level salary comes down to $71,798 per year, while the senior level salary averages $102,808 per year.
In other words, towards the end of your career, you can expect to be making an extra $40K per year.
Frontend Developer Salary by Location
No matter what your job is, where you live can directly impact how much money you make. The same applies to a frontend developer’s job. Given that this is a technical position, it stands to reason that some geographic regions where tech jobs are high in demand will pay more than others.
According to PayScale, frontend developers in San Francisco, California, earn an average of 51.5% more than the national average. Frontend developers can also find high-paying jobs in Seattle, Washington (20.2% more), and New York, New York (13.7% more).
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Similarly, Indeed reports that the highest paying city for a frontend developer is San Francisco, with an average salary of $157,674 per year.
It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re looking for a job outside of the US, Daxx reports Switzerland as the highest paying country for frontend developers in Europe, while Melbourne and Perth are the best places for salaries in Australia. Vancouver and Ottawa rank the best in Canada.
Frontend Developer Salary by Language
On the other hand, PayScale mentions Less.js, React Native, Django, Golang, Redux.js, and other languages as having a direct impact on your salary.
Freelance Frontend Developer Salary
If you’d instead not work for a single company for the entirety of your frontend development career, a freelance route is certainly an option. The benefit of this approach is that you’re free to choose which projects you take on, the number of clients you work with at a time, and how much you charge for your work.
According to Glassdoor, the average freelance frontend development salary is $70K per year, with a low of $42K and a high of $120K.
ZipRecruiter reports the average freelance frontend developer’s salary at $84,380 per year, with a low of $25K and a high of $146K.
Lastly, Codementor reports an average hourly rate between $61–$80 for freelance frontend developers.
How to Make More Money as a Frontend Developer
As we’ve seen, frontend developers make less money on average than backend and full-stack developers.
However, that doesn’t mean that these numbers are final. There are a few things you can do as a frontend developer to make more money.
For example, you could:
- Acquire additional skills that would be useful in your day-to-day job, including learning another programming language.
- Branch out into backend development, or becoming more familiar with UI and UX design.
- Create and sell a course on what you know to help others get into your field.
- Sell your designs as themes on marketplaces like CreativeMarket or ThemeForest.
- Move to a location that pays more for frontend developers.
- Start your own business and work as a freelance web or WordPress developer.
Is It Worth It to Become a Frontend Developer?
Given that frontend developers make less money than backend and full-stack developers, you might be wondering if it’s worth it to become a frontend developer.
With an average salary of $89,948 per year, a career in frontend development is a viable choice. The pay isn’t that much lower than similar professions, so money shouldn’t be an obstacle.
Where you live and the skills you have under your belt can impact your salary, so expanding your knowledge and moving to a different location can increase your yearly income.
With the question of income out of the way, it’s now time to consider the other.
If you’re a highly creative person who enjoys collaborating with others, iterative design, and you love testing and analyzing the results, the frontend developer job is a perfect match.
Pair that with the fact that frontend developers are in high demand, and you can see how this is a career worth considering.
If you choose to pursue a career in frontend development, you need to consider a few things. Firstly, it’s a creative and challenging position, as you get to bring ideas to life and help ensure websites and applications are easy to navigate and use.
Secondly, to ensure everything works, you’ll often collaborate with other teams, such as the UI/UX team and the backend development team. Few developers work in a vacuum, so it’s essential to keep your communication and collaboration skills well-tuned.
Thirdly, while the pay isn’t as high as some other careers in development and engineering, it’s certainly not so low that you can barely make ends meet. With the base salary averaging $89,948 per year, it’s clear you can make a decent living. Not to mention, you can even explore additional options to boost your income, such as selling courses on frontend development or themes and templates that other designers can use.
Lastly, frontend developers are in high demand, so if job security is a priority for you, this career path is without a doubt a great career choice.
What are your thoughts on these salary levels for a backend developer? Has your experience been different? Let us know in the comments section!
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