Understanding & Hiring Front-End Developers

What is a Front-End Developer?

A front end web developer works on the layout, content, and functionality of the web pages or applications that run in a web browser. It is usually what the user interacts with directly and often involves a big visual component.

What skills are required to be a Front-End Developer?

Front-end developers will rely on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to develop the website or web application. There can be a lot of variation in front-end roles, sometimes involving the layout of content and styling on a page requiring mostly HTML and CSS knowledge, and sometimes involving more interactive behavior and lots of JavaScript programming. Front end development has ever-changing tools and techniques. Highly-skilled front end developers will stay ahead of the curve and learn these new techniques as they go.

Front-End Developer archetypes

Architecture-Focused Front-End Engineer


This is a front-end engineer who focuses on application architecture. They stay up to date with the front-end ecosystem (build tools, testing frameworks). Modern front-end engineering requires every bit as much attention to architecture and performance as back-end engineering, and this candidate focuses on these things. They are less likely to focus on visual design, and more likely to focus on data models, code modularity, and performance.

CS-Focused Front-End Engineer


This is a front-end engineer with strong CS fundamentals. They are comfortable doing complexity analysis and reasoning about binary heap data structures. They enjoy solving mathy programming problems. Their experience is in front-end engineering (and they want to work in this area). However, the most important thing is that they are good at solving hard programming problems.

UI-Focused Front-End Engineer


This is a front-end engineer who focuses on user-facing product. They are strong in CSS and HTML (as well as JavaScript), and they like thinking about pixels and user experience and design. They work well with a designer or product person. They are a productive, iterative engineer, with a bias for getting things done rather than thinking about the perfect architecture.

Browse all engineers