What Is a Front-End Developer?

A front-end web developer implements web designs using various coding languages (such as HTML/CSS and JavaScript). If you look at any site, almost anything you can see on the front-end, from the page layout to the navigation menus, have probably been designed by a front-end developer.

You might also be wondering how to become a front-end engineer. In most cases, the terms “developer” and “engineer” are interchangeable. So if you see a job listing with the title “front-end engineer,” don’t panic, it’s probably the same as a “front-end developer.”

Front-end vs back-end

So, what’s the difference between front-end developers and back-end developers? As the names suggest, front-end web developers work on the “front” of a web page or app (AKA the client side), meaning what you see and can interact with. Back-end developers work on the “back” or behind-the-scenes of a website or app (AKA the server side) using languages like Java, Python, C#, etc.

In simple terms, the front end is how things look to a user, while the back end is how things actually work.

Common front-end developer responsibilities

So now that you know what a front-end developer is, what exactly does a front-end developer do? Some common duties and tasks might include:

  • Turning static designs into functional web pages (i.e., a graphic designer hands you a design and tells you to replicate it using HTML/CSS and JavaScript)
  • Improving the look and UX of web or mobile apps to deliver positive experiences to users
  • Identifying, troubleshooting, and resolving performance issues
  • Working with other departments/teams and possibly clients directly to gather requirements, learn about needs, and provide technical expertise and recommendations
  • Implementing new front-end components and tools
  • Testing and updating web and/or mobile applications
  • Making sure interactions work smoothly (e.g., animations, scrolling)
  • Collaborating with back-end software engineers, other front-end developers, designers, business analysts, etc. to get projects done
  • Making sure code is in line with accessibility and usability standards
  • Participating in the complete development process from concepts and designs to deployment and launch

Different jobs at different companies will have their own sets of front end developer responsibilities, of course! Your exact tasks will also depend on whether you’re a junior front end developer or have more seniority and experience.