How Much Does a Front-End Developer Make? (With Income Tips)

Updated 7 May 2023

Front-end developers are professionals who use coding languages to create and implement interactive web pages and oversee a website's visual identity. Pursuing this career can be deeply rewarding and offer you the chance to earn a high-paying salary. Learning about a front-end developer's salary expectations and required skills can help you determine if it's a job that interests you. In this article, we answer the question, ‘How much does a front-end developer make?’, explain what a front-end developer does, provide some tips to help you increase your income as a developer and list some beneficial skills.

Related: Top 12 Coding Careers: Full Guide With Average Salaries

How much does a front-end developer make?

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in computer science, you may wonder, ‘How much does a front-end developer make?’ The average national salary for a front-end developer is $125,864 per year. Front-end developers are typically full-time, salaried employees. Salaries for front-end developers vary depending on their level of education, relevant work experience, the geographic location of the job and the size of the company. Front-end developers may also earn additional compensation as performance bonuses. Here are the recorded average salaries of front-end developers in five of the highest-paying cities:

  • Canberra, ACT: $232,671 per year

  • Sydney, NSW: $133,830 per year

  • Surry Hills, NSW: $129,431 per year

  • Melbourne, VIC: $124,485 per year

  • Brisbane, QLD: $119,038 per year.

What does a front-end developer do?

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Front-end developers use coding languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript to implement visual elements into web applications that enable users to interact with an application or website. These professionals typically work alongside back-end developers, who integrate the work of the front-end developer and support server-side applications. Specific responsibilities of front-end developers may vary, but they often include:

  • Implementing responsive web design principles to ensure the company website renders well across multiple devices

  • Designing a framework for creating user applications that grow with the needs of the company

  • Monitoring website performance, including watching for traffic drops related to website usability problems and rectifying these issues when required

  • Reviewing application and feature coding and planning website upgrades with development teams

  • Assisting with the functionality of user-facing features and responsive design.

Related: How to Become a Software Developer

How to increase your front-end developer income

Consider using the following tips to increase your earning potential as a front-end developer:

1. Supplement your income with side jobs

As a qualified front-end developer, you can use your skills to supplement your monthly income by pursuing occasional freelance work. This might involve coding the front end of websites and blog pages for various clients during your free time. You can find advertisements for freelance work on employment websites or freelance bidding platforms. If you want to gain regular freelance work, consider building a professional website where you advertise your services to attract more clients. You could use your website to show samples of work, excellent reviews from past clients and information about your qualifications and career experience.

Another way you could supplement your income is by creating how-to tutorials and posting them on social media platforms or writing blog pages that discuss front-end development or teach beginners how to code. As views of your videos and blog posts increase, you may receive remuneration from advertisers who advertise their product or service on your website.

Related: How to Become a Freelance Web Developer: A Step-By-Step Guide

2. Relocate

The earning potential of a front-end developer can vary by state or territory. For example, a major city like Sydney or Melbourne may have a higher demand for professional coders and developers than smaller cities, such as Katoomba or Geelong. Relocating to a major city may increase your chances of securing employment with a company that offers more opportunities for salary increases.

3. Look for equity share employers

Equity share companies are typically start-up businesses that offer equity compensation like restricted stocks to their employees. Over time, equity compensation can translate into significant income, especially if the organisation is successful. Securing employment with an equity share company may provide you with additional income each year as the business grows. Additionally, the number of stocks an employee receives can correspond to their level of seniority, so performing well and gaining promotions in one of these organisations may lead you to receive a greater amount of restricted stocks and performance shares.

4. Become proficient in complex coding languages

Because most front-end developers typically gain basic programming skills through university or other training programs, taking the time to develop proficiency in more complex coding languages can help make you a valuable developer. Some complex coding languages include Haskell, LISP and Prolog. Having knowledge of these types of difficult code may enable you to command a higher salary. For example, programmers involved in high-level artificial intelligence (AI) often use LISP as a major programming language for developing various forms of AI. Having complex coding skills could help you attract employers in high-paying industries like those in AI development.

Related: What Is a Coder? Everything You Need to Know

5. Pursue advanced qualifications

Front-end developers with advanced qualifications, such as a masters degree or a PhD may command higher salaries. This is because, by completing advanced qualifications, you're likely to gain high-level skills and knowledge in areas of programming principles and scripting languages. With these developed abilities, you may be in a better situation to negotiate with an employer for a higher salary.

After completing a bachelor degree in computer science, you have the option to pursue advanced qualifications like a masters degree in computer science. This course is often available at most major universities in Australia and can take two years to complete, depending on whether you enrol full-time or part-time.

Beneficial skills for front-end developers

Here are some hard and soft skills that can benefit you if you decide to pursue a career as a front-end developer:

Responsive design skills

Responsive design skills refer to your ability to create websites that automatically adjust the screen layout and size to fit within the device on which the user is accessing the website. Having this ability is essential for front-end development, as clients require the assurance that you can make their website's design elements compatible with multiple platforms, such as mobile sites and desktop sites. If websites aren't responsive, it can deter people from visiting them. Refining this skill can make you a valuable front-end developer.

Programming language skills

For front-end developers to program effectively, it's typically required that they have proficiency in programming languages such as HTML, JavaScript, jQuery, CSS3 and other essential coding languages. Having programming language skills can enable you to implement complex features on a client's website, including interactive videos and maps, search bars and webpage animations. You're likely to develop programming skills at university, but you can also refine these abilities by completing available programming certifications.

Related: 8 Beneficial Computer Programmer Skills That Are in Demand

Communication skills

Communication skills refer to your ability to communicate both verbally and non-verbally, with the capability to listen, write, observe, speak and empathise. These are valuable skills to have as a front-end developer because the job often involves communicating with other professionals like back-end developers and web designers to implement visual design elements using coding and programming languages. As a developer, you may also communicate regularly with clients to keep them updated on a design's progress. If you decide to pursue freelance work, strong communication abilities can help you market your services and attract clientele.

Related: How to Improve Communication Skills (With Tips)

Knowledge of search engine optimisation

Having search engine optimisation (SEO) skills allows you to improve the traffic that a client's website can generate. Because many companies now have an online presence, it's becoming increasingly important for businesses to attract visitors to their website and gain their patronage. Learning about SEO and developing proficient knowledge in this area can help you maximise a client's website, making you a valuable front-end developer.

Critical-thinking and problem-solving skills

Someone with critical thinking and problem-solving skills can use knowledge, facts, data and reasoning to provide solutions to problems. Front-end developers often require the ability to think quickly and respond appropriately to issues users encounter while using a company's web applications. For example, a company may notice web bugs on their web page. A front-end developer might troubleshoot this issue by conducting functional or unit testing to debug the website and solve the problem in a fast and efficient manner.

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