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What you need to become a Front-End Web Developer

Demand for front-end developers is booming across every industry, with the average base salary in Australia at an estimated $103,000 per year (Indeed Australia).

It’s certainly an interesting time to enter web design. In some ways it’s like jumping on coal futures before the Industrial Revolution. The only direction is up.  

The US Bureau of Labour and Statistics reckons employment for web devs will boom 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, rocket-fuelled by the rise of e-commerce, AI, chatbots and mobile-friendly design. Basically, everybody needs a website. And every website needs a rockstar front-end developer.

But it’s not all straightforward. There’s a long-running line in development that the only constant is change: user expectations are growing all the time. Grabbing a target audience’s attention isn’t enough anymore – developers need to understand RAIL principles, UX and UI, write tight code and create frictionless landing pages that really drive conversion. All while remaining engaging, intuitive and fun. Tricky.

The good news is that these skills, including Javascript, are relatively easy to acquire. In fact, RMIT has recently launched a new online short course for Front-End Web Development.

Why the rise in demand?

A few reasons. The first is obvious: there are over 1.7 billion web pages on the world wide web today, and 700 million of those were built in 2017 alone. Demand for quality web developers has never been higher, the trend doesn’t look like plateauing any time soon. The emergence of chatbots, progressive web apps, static websites and motion UI also means up-to-date design skills are more important than ever.

What does a front-end web developer actually do?

We’ve got to be a little careful to distinguish front-end web developers from ‘web designers’. Front-end web developers do most the heavy lifting: they build and code webpages, write web applications, measure and optimise performance and (depending on the role) handle UI, site aesthetics and user testing. The best web developers are invisible: if a website is working, you shouldn’t have to think about why it works. Clear navigation, intuitive design, clean code, fast speeds – all hallmarks of a good web developer.

Why you should learn web development?

Web development courses (like RMIT’s Introduction to Front-End Web Development) have become very popular over the last few years, and there’s a few reasons why. The first is the exponential rise in demand. The second is accessibility: you don’t need a Bachelor degree to become a web developer, a short course will do (some even teach themselves via Javascript blogs and coding books like HTML & CSS). Considering the low entry requirements, a potential six-figure salary is an excellent return on investment. Not to mention you can freelance with nothing but a laptop and an internet connection. These days everyone’s talking about a ‘future-proof’ career. Well we can guarantee one thing – whatever the future looks like, we’ll be watching it online.


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This article was originally published on 1 November 2018