Front end web development is a career that allows developers to flex both creativity and technical prowess in creating user-friendly and eye-catching visual web experiences. Front end development careers are also versatile, with an equal quantity of employee and freelance positions to choose from. The contract rates for this position can vary based on skill level and experience.
The front end developer contract rates range between $57,000 to $60,000 per year for entry and mid-level positions. Whereas, lead or senior front end developers can make between $75,000 to $150,000 per year. Hourly rates for freelancers range between $60 to $100 per hour.
Front end development presents many options to the developer in setting the terms of a contract based on skills and experience. Read on to find out how contract rates can vary for entry-level, intermediate, and senior front end developers and positions in the freelance market.
Before we begin, take a look at this video that provides general salary information for front end developers:
Front End Development: The Basics
You wouldn’t be too far off to think of a front end developer as the surveyor of a website’s overall design with the readability and easy website user navigation as their main objective.
When you visit a web page, the first thing you notice is how the website looks. Therefore, what you are seeing is the work of a design team, yet the navigational and layout composition of the web site’s information is the front end developer’s work. The front end developer is responsible for making your visit to the site an easy and smooth process with no errors or broken navigation links.
Front end web developers are in high demand. Clients need websites that look fresh and modern, and that can incorporate all of the constantly-changing trends that arise in development yearly.
This also means that front end developers need to have a strong skill set and a good track record of creating web pages with a stellar look and a seamless transition to the back end aspects of the website, such as databases, website functions, etc.
Front end developers are in such high demand because both mobile and desktop design layouts need to be fashioned amidst millions of developed websites each year. With this also comes existing websites that constantly need to be updated to match the changing design layout trends. The amount of work is plentiful and widespread.
Since front end development can be equally scattered across the workforce and the freelance market, let’s look at each field and the expected skillset that determines the salary you can expect to make.
Front End Web Development in the Freelance Market
In all honesty, the employer/employee model is quickly becoming an optionable concept in our increasingly virtual world. One of the great things about being a front end developer is that there are just as many, if not more, independent clients looking to hire a freelance front end developer for every company looking to hire.
Freelancing allows you to control how much work you want to take on. With a large amount of available work, you can make a comfortable salary or an above-average salary based on the commitment you are willing to accept. Most freelancers will choose to scale their contract rates at an hourly rate since no variables affect how a freelancer chooses to balance their time.
The typical hourly rate for freelance front end web developers is about $60 to $100 per hour based on the client’s specifications. If you have a client who is requesting a full sequence of development, this can take a long time, and the final contract rate you can expect to receive will be in the thousands range for compensation.
You can do as little or as much work as you want, and clients are always seeking talented front end developers. You will likely have to work with firm due dates when it comes to freelance work. Therefore, always keep this in mind when considering taking up a freelance position.
When it comes to freelancing, finding authentic and trustworthy clients can be a major concern for front end developers. The work involved is intense and the rates you charge will add up to substantial amounts of money owed to you. Always stick to job boards that vet the clients in their database to prevent possible fraud issues.
Consider using job boards like WeWorkRemotely and GitHub Jobs. These job boards ensure that clients verify the possible contracting rates upfront, which can ease your mind when considering a major project. The competition in the freelance market can also be fierce. Therefore, make sure you have a stellar and visually appealing portfolio to showcase your past work.
Freelancing does take some work and patience on your part, but the payoff and flexibility of remote work is always a great prospect to consider.
Front End Web Development in the Workforce
When it comes to digital technology, companies prefer to hire people who are masters of their field; this makes the prospects of finding a front end developer position highly competitive, even at the entry-level position.
Entry-level front end developers need to have a work portfolio completed to pass the pre-screening process by an employer. To be crystal clear, make sure that you have mastered the basics and gotten your feet wet in front end development.
Most companies will consider a degree an acceptable prerequisite for positions such as a programmer or even entry-level developer. However, front end web development is all about your skills and proven experience.
According to ZipRecruiter, the standard national yearly average for an entry-level front end developer is about $57,000. This can raise or even fall based on your skills and how much experience you have. This is still quite a large leap in compensation compared to other entry-level positions such as entry-level programming.
Websites number in the millions. Therefore, the need for front end developers will only increase as the world becomes more and more virtual. Your rate will also vary widely depending on where you are in the country. Not all locations balance the salary for a front end developer equally. Take a look at this chart which outlines the expected yearly salary for 7 major cities:
As you can see, it pays to aim your job search to San Francisco, which is the home of technology in the United States. Most companies are generous when it comes to helping you relocate if they like what they see on your resume and your proven skill set.
The contract rates for front end web development are in-demand and attractive. If you are looking to work for a company, always prioritize your job search to major cities, particularly on the West Coast, where digital technology has a large, regional presence. Salaries can exceed well into the six-figure range, the more experience you have and the stronger your skill set becomes.
If the workforce is not a train that you want to ride for the long haul, the freelance market is booming.