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What Does a Front-End Engineer Do?

May 20, 2023

Front-end engineers focus their software design and development skills on the user interface elements of a website or application. With their extensive knowledge in computer science, they ensure these elements are user-friendly and function properly.

Developing well-functioning user interface elements involves issues such as site loading speed, security, coding, and overall efficiency and ease of use. In addition to functionality, front-end engineers also focus on how a website or application looks and feels.

Many of those who work as front-end engineers earn a master’s degree in computer science with a concentration in software engineering. Graduates are prepared to immediately transition into software development and design positions.

Job Duties of a Front-End Engineer

A front-end engineer or front-end developer works on the client side of a web application, including areas such as the development of an interface, data transformation, and scripting language. While their job duties vary depending on the employer, they typically work on project teams that develop, maintain, and test various websites and apps.

Some front-end engineers work directly for a company and others work as freelance contractors. With the increased use of the internet for business purposes, their skills are needed in every industry, as well as for nonprofit organizations and government agencies.

Some of the common duties of a front-end engineer include:

  • Designing, installing, and testing user interface elements
  • Focusing on functionality and the look of a website
  • Creating website prototypes to present to employers and clients
  • Coding and testing a site to ensure functionality
  • Ensuring web design is mobile phone capable
  • Streamlining and optimizing for loading speed

Front-End Engineer Skills and Salary

The top skills needed for front-end developers include user interface design and working with JavaScript, according to ZipRecruiter. They also wrote that successful front-end engineers can work with HTML and have knowledge in both computer science and software engineering. The ability to collaborate with others in a team environment is also a key skill.

A commitment to the education and training needed to become a front-end engineer provides a large return on investment. Federal government data projects a 22 percent increase in the number of software engineers by 2030. The average salary for a front-end engineer is $120,471, according to Glassdoor.

The Versatility of a Computer Science Education

Computer science encompasses many different technology-related topics, including artificial and machine intelligence, computer systems and networks, cybersecurity, database administration, programming languages, and more. Those who focus on software development develop knowledge that encompasses algorithm design and analysis, programming languages, and software development methodologies.

A degree in computer science opens the door to many different careers. Computer science graduates may work in a wide variety of computer and information technology jobs, ranging from computer systems analysis to database administration and information security.

The main difference between computer science and software engineering is that software developers and engineers focus on the development, building, maintenance, and testing of software products. Computer scientists consider entire systems and how hardware and software relate and interact.

Learn Both at Merrimack College

Understanding how computer science and software engineering complement each other, Merrimack College developed its online MS in Computer Science, Software Engineering Concentration to provide graduate students the ability to learn the foundations of programming as well as the skills needed for advanced software development in an Agile environment.

Merrimack offers the program to those with or without experience in the computer science field. Also, no coding experience is required. The industry-aligned program is a perfect fit for those with math skills and an interest in programming and software development, including roles in front-end engineering.

Students typically complete the 100% online program in as little as one year, part-time. Merrimack College offers a tuition rate for the program at under $20,000 a year. The program features core courses and software engineering courses that prepare graduates for success in the workplace.

Foundations of Programming. Emphasizes algorithms, test-driven design, development, and structured programming in the Python language.

Algorithms and Discrete Structures. Introduces algorithmic thinking and the mathematics of computer science, including abstract data types such as lists, stacks, queues, hash maps, trees, and graphs, as well as basics of asymptotic analysis, recursion, and various algorithmic strategies, including brute force, decrease-and-conquer and divide-and-conquer.

Data Governance, Law and Ethics. Introduces students to fundamental concepts surrounding legal rights and responsibilities associated with data capture, storage and leveraging data for decision-making.

Software Design and Documentation. Introduces the software development lifecycle with a focus on design and documentation methodologies, including waterfall, spiral, scrum, and agile. Other topics include version control, issue tracking, software project management, debugging, and profiling.

Database Principles. Students learn effective design, implementation, and deployment of relational and non-relational databases. Topics include relational databases, normal forms, consistency, basic SQL, stored procedures, query optimization, non-relational, and no-SQL databases.

Advanced Programming Concepts. Introduces students to advanced concepts in programming. Topics include the development and use of large-scale application programmer interfaces (APIs), effective documentation of APIs, authoring clean and useful APIs, sockets, generics, regular expressions, client-server model applications, and design patterns such as factories, decorators, and MVC.

Earning an MS in Computer Science, Software Engineering Application prepares graduates to excel in software-related careers such as front-end engineering. They also will have strong foundational knowledge in how to use computer systems for the analysis, storage, and application of data.