What is a front end developer and why should you consider becoming one.

Education

Some people ask me if I think I wasted 6 years of my life in college. I graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in Biology. I was planning on going to pharmacy school and getting a doctor of pharmacy degree. I soon found out that pharmacy was not for me. The long hours, redundant tasks and unappreciative patients left me craving for something more.

I had always been very creative growing up. I tell everyone that I invented the iPod. I really think Apple was spying on my sketchbook. I walked to school with the old walkman and dreamed of having all my favorite music saved to the device instead of the media. I use to draw prototypes of this futuristic device that would one day become the modern day iPod. This creative craving never really left me. Growing up my parents told me healthcare is the safest bet in terms of job outlook and job security. So I listened to them and the creative side of me entered a hibernation phase.

College was not a waste, but if I could change the past, I would have gone the tech route. Don't get me wrong, having a college degree is essential if you want to be considered in management level positions but that leads me to what I am going to share with you today.

As of 2015, the average U.S. college student graduates with $35,000 in debt. The last U.S. census shows that 66 percent of Americans earn less than $41,212.

So if you graduate college and land a decent job, you have this huge burden before buying a house and getting married. Why do you think millennials are getting married at an older age?

Which brings me to my point. There is no college program that offers a front end developer degree or certificate. Computer science courses cover programing languages and tacking on front end development would be overkill. That being said, it is a perfect opportunity for those that do not want a tuition mortgage when they graduate, because the cost of becoming a front end developer is so low.

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Job Outlook

The national average salary for a front end developer is $75,000. The average cost to educate yourself and become a front end developer is just a few hundred dollars, unless you are like me and take the long route and learn on your own, which in that case, it's free. Experienced front end developers can work anywhere they want and make well over six figures. Big cities can have salaries close to $150,000 and more companies are offering remote positions since technology is making communication and team collaboration a lot easier. Check out angel.co to find remote jobs north of $100,000.

There is definitely a shortage and it is only going to get worst. The backend developer is becoming easier to fill since programming languages are taught in schools and the concepts barely change. Front end development has exploded in the past 5 years. With the introduction of NodeJS and Restful APIs, front end developer's with strong Javascript skills is in strong demand. By 2020 there will be approximately 1.4 Million computing jobs but only 400,000 students. A large portion of those jobs will be for front end technology.

As a front end developer, you will enjoy your pick of employers as they try to bait you with brand new Macbooks, amazing workspaces, Playstation and XBOX, Red Bull and Starbucks and the list goes on and on.

Easy to learn

It is now easier to learn front end than ever before. You can find free resources online all day long, the challenge is filtering out the bad or outdated advice from the good. Technology is always changing, and a tutorial posted 1.5 to 2 years ago is probably outdated. The best part of United Pixel and Code, is that the courses are always being updated and the content is always fresh.

Play Money

Most front end developers start their careers by freelancing. Some will land great jobs at startups or agencies and still do some work on the side. I normally accept 4-6 projects per year depending on how much play money I want. The beauty is, the work is a bonus to my salary. Some front end developers can earn an additional $20,000 - $40,000 per year depending on the quantity and quality of the projects.