How To Become A Junior Front End Developer

In the world of software development, there are a variety of jobs for different interests and ability levels. Today we will talk about one of the most in-demand jobs in the sector: Junior Front End Developer.

Throughout this guide, we will show you the steps needed to reach this role — including the educational route you might take, the skills you might need and more. We’ll also explain more about the position, such as the jobs you might have to do, how much you can earn, and if there’s room for you to progress as you gain experience.

Before all of that, however, there’s an obvious question:

What is a Junior Front End Developer?

The best way to understand this job is by breaking it up. Firstly, what does a fully-fledged Front End Developer do? Their role revolves around a website or web application elements that users see and interact with. They may also collaborate with Back End Engineers and UX Designers to create apps for use on a mobile device.

So, what is a junior version of this? Effectively, the junior part of this job refers to your level of experience. When you are new to coding, your daily tasks will not be as complex as those of a more experienced professional. It’s very much an entry-level job that can help you learn new development skills, build confidence and become more qualified for different roles in the future.

Job descriptions, and therefore, technical skills requirements will vary from employer to employer. At a minimum, juniors should understand the difference between markup language, scripting language, and programming languages and perform basic tasks using HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

UX Designer working planning their latest mobile app project
When we think of Front End, it immediately conjures up the idea of a website. However, front end developers often work with UX Designers to create mobile apps too.

What Do Junior Front End Developers do?

The daily tasks of a Junior Developer will vary depending on the kind of organisation you work for and the projects you work on. However, you will spend a lot of time working with different programming languages and conducting tasks to create websites or applications.

Some of your daily tasks might include:

  • Making minor tweaks to CSS code
  • Altering a small part of the user interface
  • Working with APIs
  • Creating tests to improve the user interface
  • Adding new features to a website

Essentially, you will handle the smaller and simpler tasks that the development team will need to complete. Assisting experienced developers frees up their time to focus on the more advanced software and programming problems. While doing their legwork may not seem so glamourous, it also enables you to build your confidence and move on to solving more complex problems.

Earning Potential

Exact salaries vary depending on the employer you work for and their location. For example, tech professionals earn more in London than anywhere else. These higher salaries are justifiable because London is an expensive place to live and work. However, when we consider travel and general living expenses, you might actually be better off on a lower salary living outside London.

Nevertheless, we can see a national average salary for this role by looking across the whole country. According to Glassdoor, the average Junior Front End Developer’s salary is in the region of £26,894 per year in 2021.

Career Progression Opportunities

Yes, you absolutely can further your career and maximise your earnings within this role. While you may start as a junior, you can go on to claim different and more experienced job titles. Typically, you can progress to becoming a Mid-Level Front End Developer, which means you can earn around £35,378 per year in the UK. Jobs within this bracket can vary, and your earnings can increase depending on your experience.

After a few years of experience, you might progress to become a Senior Front End Developer, where you will be in charge of a team of juniors. At this point, your salary can increase to around £54,975 per year.

There is still room to progress beyond this level and become a Lead Front End Developer. While this position pays a lot more, it provides you with more responsibilities as the head of a development team. It’s an excellent way of coming full circle and sharing your wisdom and experience with the new developers.

Starting as a Junior Front End Developer is a job that helps you get your foot in the door of the software development world. From here, you can definitely progress upwardly along the same career path or diversify your skills to sideways step into other areas.

Educational Requirements

The exact educational requirements will vary from employer to employer. Nevertheless, you technically do not need a bachelor’s degree to embark on this career journey. Some employers will request that you have one in computer science, but that is solely their preference. Typically, you will only need an associate’s degree to be eligible for these jobs. Ideally, this degree should relate to computer science, web development, programming, etc.

You don’t necessarily need to go to university to become a Junior Front End Developer. There are numerous online courses that you can take in your free time to gain the educational qualifications required. Most will last a couple of years, and you will receive an associate’s degree at the end. Strictly speaking, you might not even need a degree of any kind if you can prove that your skills are good enough.

It is possible to learn the skills and build your knowledge by taking online courses. There are many available that provide you with qualifications to prove your skills in web development.

Students in a computer science class sitting in a row with computers on their desks
A computer science degree is certainly not a necessity, but many developers still choose this route to gain valuable industry experience.

Key Skills Required

We’ve already touched upon some of the work you’ll do in your role, but what are the main skills you should have? Normally, Junior Front End Developers will be well-versed in the following:

  • CSS
  • HTML5
  • SASS
  • JavaScript
  • React
  • Bootstrap
  • WordPress
  • Responsive web design

You’ll also need keen problem-solving skills and attention to detail, as most of your work revolves around improving systems and creating answers to problems. Working as part of a team is also essential, as is the ability to manage your time and keep to a schedule.

Naturally, the primary skill requirements are programming and web development, so expanding your knowledge and training in this field is essential. Whether it’s through a university course or online courses, growing your skillset is key to helping you stand out from the crowd.

As you learn more, you will expand your skillset to cover CSS Preprocessors, SAAS, Version control systems and JavaScript frameworks such as React, Angular and VueJs.

Do You Need a Portfolio?

In most instances, employers will be impressed by candidates that have a portfolio of their work. Consequently, you must gain some sort of work experience as a Junior Front End Developer.

While a bachelor’s degree isn’t essential, many courses include a year working in the industry. This commercial experience provides ample time to work on different projects and grow a portfolio. Many companies also offer internships, but again, such opportunities are only available to university graduates. So while you don’t need a degree per se, many developers still go down the traditional university route.

Of course, you can always create your own websites. It still counts as an example of your work — and it might impress employers if you can showcase your ability to build a website from scratch. You could even offer web building services for free to people you know as a way of growing your portfolio, skills and confidence.

Another way of gaining experience is to contribute to open-source projects. Open-source refers to source code that’s available to the public so that anyone can change it. Linux, one of the most popular computer operating systems, is an example of this. Visit GitHub, and you will find many open-source projects that you can contribute to. Jump in, help out, and include these examples in your portfolio.

Junior Front End Developer working on his latest project at a computer
Although a degree isn’t essential, many people choose to go down this route purely because of the valuable industry experience they gain along the way.

Career Prospects

In general, pursuing a career in web development is an excellent idea considering that the industry anticipates demand will rise by 13% in the next seven years? This estimate is a lot higher than the national average for all other jobs, showing the apparent demand for developers throughout society.

Landing a job as a Junior Front End Developer is one of the smartest ways of joining the tech industry. You’ll have a job with a very positive outlook, meaning there’s a high degree of job security. From here, you can progress through the ranks, earning more money and becoming more experienced.

A Few Final Thoughts on Becoming a Front End Developer

In summary, becoming a Junior Front End Developer isn’t too complicated at all. No matter which route you choose, it starts with training and education. Once you know the basics, you must then demonstrate your practical skills in computer programming and coding. Gaining work experience is the only real way to grow your portfolio.

After reading this article, we hope you understand what you need to do to become a Front End Developer. Armed with an online portfolio that demonstrates your skills, there’s no reason you can’t land your dream job!

While you’re here, why not take a look at the Junior Front End Developer vacancies we currently have on offer? Of course, you may not be ready to apply just yet, but knowing what’s out there might give you a little motivation to succeed.



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