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How to Tell If a Front End Developer Job Posting Is Right for You (and Start Applying)

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If you’ve recently learned front end development skills and are hoping to land your first job in the field, where do you look first? In this article, I’m going to do a deep dive on front end developer job postings and how to interpret the results you see on job boards.

Searching for a job is a job in itself, all the more so if you’re making a career change and are new to the scene. Sorting through job listings, making sense of job titles, looking through requirements. It can get overwhelming if you’re not even sure if you’re qualified for the roles you’re finding.

One reason it can feel so tough to get started is that job listings can be confusing! Sometimes it’s hard to tell just how much experience you actually need to apply for the jobs you’re seeing, and even harder to tell if the job will actually put your skill set to use and be a fulfilling role for you.

Most job listings follow a similar format, so I’m breaking down the anatomy of a front end developer job posting section-by-section. In this post, we’ll look at:

Job Listing Titles: What do they actually mean?

Job titles in tech aren’t always straightforward, and front end development is no exception. Employers don’t all use the same terminology to describe the roles they’re looking to fill, so it can be hard to figure out what jobs will put your front end development skills to use.

When companies use so many different job titles to mean “front end developer,” it makes it harder to actually find roles that are relevant to you.

Here are just some of the titles you might see when you’re looking for front end roles:

  • Front End Developer
  • Front End Web Developer
  • Front End Engineer
  • Front End Specialist
  • Front End Architect
  • Front End Designer
  • Front End Ui Developer
  • Developer
  • UI or UX Developer
  • Software Developer
  • Software Engineer
  • Web Administrator
  • Web Developer
  • Web Programmer
  • Webmaster

On the other hand, you can also find roles with “front end developer” or one of the other titles above in the description that are not actually front end jobs. Roles listed as “front end” could actually involve skills ranging from design to WordPress and more. Just take a look at these “front end developer” job listings that actually include responsibilities outside of that scope:

front end developer job posting responsibilities

Source: CGI Communications

 

While the above posting has “front end developer” in the job title, the duties and responsibilities include work that’s often done by designers, like mockups, prototypes, and graphics.

And the front end developer posting below lists WordPress, web apps, and ecommerce, which you might expect to see for WordPress, back end, or full stack developer roles rather than front end developer roles:

front end developer job posting title

Source: Blueshoon

 

The following posting for a front end developer is looking for front end, WordPress, back end, and design skills. So, it’s for more of what’s called a “unicorn” in tech circles — someone who can do it all, and doesn’t mind wearing a lot of hats.

front end developer job posting must haves

Source: Bryant Digital

 

As you can see, job listings for front end developers can encompass a lot more than front end development. That might work for you, if you’re open to it. But it’s still important to note that not all front end developer job postings are for the same kind of role.

So, how to find front end developer job postings for the kinds of work you want on job search platforms?

  1. Search for multiple job titles (like “front end developer” and the ones listed above)
    and
  2. Include skills in your search, to narrow it down to the jobs that will put the skills you want to use to work (See the Requirements section below for more info on these.)

By doing both, you’ll find jobs that suit you regardless of how the company has named them or the particular skills they expect from different roles. It means a bit more effort on your part when it comes to browsing job boards, but it’s worth it to find a role that’s the right fit for you.

How to interpret the job level in a listing

Also, be aware that you may find listings that include the job level in the title or somewhere in the listing — using words like junior, entry-level, or even early-career — but don’t limit your searches to only ones that include these terms (or ones that are classified that way by the job board search tool). Instead, you’ll want to look at a listing as a whole to find out if it’s a fit for you.

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Job Responsibilities: What does the job really entail?

The Responsibilities section of a job listing is where you’ll need to spend some time carefully looking at what’s there.

First of all, know that this section might not be labelled “Responsibilities” at all.

front end developer job posting responsibility

Source: Urban Influence

This job listing just describes the job in the main text of the listing and is also fairly general.

 

front end developer job posting responsibility

Source: SAM Labs

 

This company, on the other hand, gets more specific about the responsibilities, detailing some of the technologies you’d be working with and types of projects you’d be working on.

front end developer job postings

Source: Revolution Prep

 

front end developer job postings

Source: Yoko Co

 

And the two listings above go into the main tasks required in the jobs, tech used, and even the teams and collaboration involved with the roles.

However detailed a company gets in their listing, it should describe what you’ll actually be doing if you land the job. This part of a job listing is what most often scares beginners away from even applying. If you’ve never done the job before because you’re new to tech and lacking formal job experience, how can you be certain you’re ready to handle the tasks listed?

It’s true, the majority of the tasks and projects described in a job posting should be work that you’ve done in the past — whether for a class project, your own portfolio or passion project, for a freelance client, or for an employer — or work that you feel confident that you could do.

But try not to let imposter syndrome get in your way here. It’s totally normal to be unsure, especially when you’re getting into a brand-new field. In fact, we often try to help our students see that they’re ready to apply for jobs even though they don’t feel like they are.

You don’t need to know everything to get started in tech. You just need to show you have most of the skills for the job you’re applying to. You might need to review your coursework or work projects to remind yourself of that. Or reach out to your instructors or even a developer friend to help you assess the responsibilities you’re doubting you can do. This can give you a more objective take on if you’re up to the job plus confidence if you decide to apply.

Soft skills

In many job descriptions you’ll also find a list of “soft skills” needed for the job.

front end developer job postings

Source: Ignite Mental Health

 

This company is looking for a front end developer who’s excited to learn and dedicated to their goals.

front end developer job posting soft skills

Source: Paymerang

This company is hoping to find a proactive problem-solver who communicates well and works well on a team.

 

front end developer job posting soft skills

Source: Urban Influence

 

And this company would like a developer who strives to do their best, is flexible and open, can give and take constructive criticism, and is just generally a nice human.

If you are a career changer and you are looking to get your first job in tech, soft skills are a great opportunity to stand out. Use your resume and/or cover letter to show how your background makes you uniquely suited to the role.

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Job Requirements: What experience do you need to apply?

The job requirements section describes the skills and experience the employer thinks will help you succeed at the job. (This part can also go by names like Qualifications or Skills.) If you find yourself skimming to the requirements section of job listings and closing the tab as soon as you notice a hard skill you haven’t learned yet, think again.

You actually don’t need to feel confident using every single skill listed on a job posting. It can be an art to figure out just how much of the job requirements are actually necessary to succeed at the job and which ones are nice-to-haves or things you can learn on the job. Let’s dig in more.

front end developer job postings

Source: CGI Communications

 

This front end developer role also asks for knowledge of the Adobe Creative Cloud, but it doesn’t specify what skill level is required. So, if you’ve worked with it or similar tools before, a bit of a review could get you feeling confident again. Or you can start a graphics software course when you apply for the job, make some progress already before the interview, and talk then about how much you’re excited to keep learning if needed.

front end developer job postings requirements

Source: Revolution Prep

 

In addition to front end development, this posting lists WordPress and other skills that fall outside of front end dev. Again, it doesn’t say how much background you need in those things. Since there are many tools and technologies listed, it might not be a deal breaker if you haven’t gotten into WordPress, for example. So, it’s worth applying and stressing your front end developer skills and your eagerness to learn more.

Technical skills

The technical skills are the non-negotiable parts of a job listing, right? Well, it’s complicated. Sure, the hard technical skills are the most important front end developer skills that you’ve learned. Things like:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript

Other skills you’ll often see required include:

  • jQuery
  • JavaScript libraries (like ReactJS)
  • Responsive web development
  • Advanced CSS (like Flexbox and CSS Grid)
  • Version control systems (like Git and GitHub)
  • Testing and debugging
  • Browser tools (like Chrome DevTools)

The posting below shows that the list of technical skills can be even longer and include some front end technologies or tools beyond the standard ones.

front end developer job postings technical

Source: Urban Influence

 

But, before letting a long list of job requirements scare you off, know that it’s usually only the first few skills listed in the requirements section that are most critical, says Caro Griffin, Head of Operations at Skillcrush. So, if you’re comfortable with those, you’re in a good position for the position. ;)

And what about the rest of those skills? Here’s where you’ll need to take a closer look at the listing to tell if you should apply without certain skills anyway. First, take into consideration Caro’s point about the most important requirements being listed first. For the job above, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are number one. No surprise for a front end developer job.

Next up is “Appreciation for UI/UX”, which might throw you off for a second — how is “appreciation” a skill? But since the posting asks that you’re able to appreciate, not necessarily do and definitely not be an expert at UI/UX, you don’t have to be a UI/UX whiz. It sounds more like they need someone who understands high-level UI/UX concepts and respects the design process. Someone who can work well with designers. An introductory UI/UX class or even a good book on the topic will likely be enough to at least get you through the recruiting process for this role.

After that, the next two skills are again typical for front end developers: mobile-first responsive design and JavaScript, jQuery, and DOM manipulation. So, if you’re at a solid level with the four points this job listing starts with, you’re likely in good shape to apply. And you can always up your game by at least doing some online research on what the other skills asked for are and, if you have time, starting some learning in those areas.

How well do I need to know the skills listed in a Requirements section of a job listing?

Job listings can indicate the level of confidence you need to have with each skill with phrases like: experience with, ability to, familiar with, comfortable with, understanding of, proficiency in, knowledge of, etc.

What exactly do these phrases mean? That depends — maybe on the company or the role or the hiring manager or your future boss or simply the person who wrote the job listing. But don’t let that keep you from going for a job you’re actually ready for.

front end developer job posting skill level

Source: SAM Labs

 

Since these terms are all subjective, you can’t know beforehand exactly what they mean or exactly what skill level is required to get hired in the role. But you can let the employer know what your skill level is. You can do that by showing it through your online portfolio and describing it in your resume, cover email, and interview.

For example, if you’d like to apply for the role above, you should feel very comfortable with responsive web development using HTML and CSS and be genuinely excited about UX, since those areas are at the top of the list. But, if you’re still getting your GitHub (i.e. source control) and Adobe skills up to speed, that shouldn’t stop you from sending your application for this position.

In other words, the main thing is not to let yourself be so intimidated you don’t even try to apply for jobs that look exciting and interesting (and doable) to you. Caro says “Most job postings are a wish list, not a list of hard-and-fast must-haves.” Companies might be hoping for a dream developer who knows it all and has done it all, but, as we all know, nobody’s perfect, and it’s likely someone without every skill on the list can get the job done well.

There are of course developers with more skills and experience than others, but they’ll almost certainly be going for roles that are more in line with their background and experience levels, so don’t worry about how you measure up to all developers. Just stay focused on looking for jobs that are close to or just above your current level, and then presenting yourself as best you can for them.

Experience and education

At Skillcrush, we don’t put years of experience or education requirements on our job listings because they don’t necessarily mean someone has a certain skill level or is more qualified. Caro recently pointed this out on Twitter in response to a listing asking for experience with a tool starting 2.5 years before the tool was even created!

front end developer job postings twitter

While it’s thankfully becoming less common nowadays, you might also find work experience and education mentioned in the Requirements section. Sometimes specific degrees are indicated, or years of work experience in a specific niche.

This is another area that’s open to interpretation. It could mean that the company is looking for someone with skills similar to those someone with a degree would have no, matter how they’ve gotten them. Sometimes requiring a degree is just a catchall way to weed out applicants who don’t have specific skills. So, think about how your experience and your unique path has helped you develop the skills you need, even if you got the experience outside of a “traditional” tech job.

front end developer job posting experience

Source: AmeriLife

 

Regardless of your experience, if you think you can do the job, you can apply for it in any case. One way to assess in advance if the company might be open to someone without a degree or with different kinds of experience is to check the company’s website or LinkedIn profile. See what kind of background their current team members have. You might find that the CEO is a self-taught developer or that none of their front end team has a computer science degree, so you can mention in your cover email that you really appreciate companies that value all types of learning.

Pluses and extras

And, finally, you may come across front end developer job listings that include “Pluses” or “Nice-to-haves” in the Requirements section. These are skills or experience that aren’t a necessity to be considered for the role but could put you higher on the list of candidates or just help you get started in the job more quickly.

front end developer job posting extras

Source: SAM Labs

 

The company who posted the job above would be happy to have candidates with some experience with game development or marketing tools. So, if you come from either of these fields, that’ll be a bonus for you. But, if you don’t, like the posting says, they’re not required so you’re still OK to apply.

front end developer job posting nice to haves

Source: Ignite Mental Health

 

Security, social media, web apps, and programming fundamentals plus a lot of patience and a certain sense of humor are areas that could help you if you apply for the role above. But, again, they’re not requirements.

front end developer job posting pluses

Source: Revolution Prep

 

And here, the employer would be happy to see a CS degree or some experience with JavaScript frameworks, email services, preprocessors, or design. But remember they list all of these as “Pluses” not “Must-haves”.

And the company that posted the following listing might put you higher on their candidate list if you are active online with social media, a blog, a code repository, or a portfolio, all things you could get going right after you apply. But not having them doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of the running.

front end developer job posting pluses

Source: Urban Influence

 

If you don’t have a “nice-to-have” skill, that shouldn’t stop you from applying. But if you do have them, that’s something to emphasize to try to stand out from the crowd.

You can also consider if you already have a “nice-to-have” skill but just need to refresh it. For example, maybe a front end developer job posting is looking for someone with bonus experience creating content or doing personal branding. If you’ve been tweeting about your coding journey but never thought to include a link to your Twitter account on your website or resume, you could easily put together 3-4 articles on some tech topics you’re interested in and publish them on Medium or your own site.

If a job posting lists design skills as an extra, but you feel rusty, you can apply first and then take some time to brush up on a few things before you end up in an interview. You might have dabbled in Photoshop back in college or used Mailchimp or HubSpot now and then in a marketing job you had. If you spend a bit of time with either of them again, you could feel confident saying you have experience with those skills.

Even if you don’t have a background in one of the “bonus” areas, consider if you can learn the skill before you’d start the job, make significant progress towards it, or familiarize yourself with it enough to help land the job. It might not be the best use of time to learn skills for all the jobs you’re applying to, but you could make a point of diving in deeper after passing a phone screen, or getting through a specific stage of the application process.

While getting into object-oriented programming, CSS preprocessors, or design fundamentals will probably take more time than pulling together some blog posts or polishing your Adobe skills, you could get the fundamentals down or a good start on them in a few weeks if you have time.

Should you choose this option, just stay honest in describing your level to your possible future employer. Even though you shouldn’t claim to be proficient or have strong experience yet, you can say you’re familiar with or have knowledge of them and especially that you’re eager to keep building those skills.

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Company Info: How to read between the lines

Besides letting you know about the job, listings also often tell you something about the company you’ll be working for. Often a job ad will start with some background information.

This listing shares quite a bit about the company: its industry, products, size, location, history, customers, and mission.

front end developer job posting company background

Source: SAM Labs

 

front end developer job posting company background

Source: 1Password

 

And the listing above focuses on its users, team, and goal.

You can and should do your own research on any company you apply to. But it’s still worth looking at the company information they include in the job posting, because it’s sure to be what they consider most important to know about the company.

As you’re reading it, gauge your own reaction. Would you like to work in that field or with those products or services? Would you be comfortable in a company that size? Would you feel proud to be a part of an organization with that history? Would you be eager to serve the customers and mission they mention?

Compensation, benefits, and perks

Unfortunately, it still seems to be the exception and not the rule for companies to include compensation in a job listing, but at least some benefits and perks are in many of them nowadays.

If salary is mentioned, it’s usually stated if it’s hourly, monthly, or yearly and if the role is full-time or part-time like in this example.

front end developer job posting compensation

Source: Revolution Prep

 

front end developer job posting compensation

Source: Yoko Co

 

If pay level isn’t included, you’ll still usually see information about work location (or the possibility for remote work) and time off, like in the above listing.

And many companies also include details about health benefits, retirement plans, and leave as the following listing does.

front end developer job posting compensation

Source: Paymerang

 

Whatever’s included in the posting, you should feel comfortable confirming whether or not a position is full-time or part-time and in-person or remote before applying. But, in general, detailed discussion of other benefits is usually left until later in the recruiting process (like after an in-person interview) if not included in the job listing.

Values and culture

Whether it’s mentioned directly or not, you’ll often be able to learn a little or a lot about a company’s values and company culture from a job listing.

front end developer job posting culture

Source: SAM Labs

 

There might be something about the atmosphere, ways of working, principles, and standards, like in the above posting. Again, if they’ve bothered to put this information about the values or culture in the job description, you should take them into consideration when you’re deciding if this company could be right for you and if you could be right for them.

And don’t overlook the hidden indicators of the company’s culture in the job listing. Terms like “bro” or “dude” could mean a male-dominated environment. Phrases like “intense”, “high-pressure,” or “startup culture” might point towards hectic or stressful conditions or expectations of long working hours. If anything makes you feel uncertain, get the opinion of a trusted friend or mentor or find a way to bring it up diplomatically but directly during the interview process.

 

Diversity, equality, and inclusion

Even more unfortunate is the fact that many companies also don’t include their policy on diversity, equality, and inclusion in their job listings. There are several anti-discrimination laws regarding employment in the U.S. and many countries around the world. But many candidates want to know about a company’s own statement on following and going beyond these to create a workplace that’s representative, fair, supportive, and safe for everyone.

Here the company refers to following the employment laws and striving for diversity and inclusion.

front end developer job posting dei

Source: Academic Partnerships

 

front end developer job posting dei

Source: Paymerang

 

And this listing specifically details the statuses protected by equal opportunity laws.

Hopefully companies you’re applying to follow these laws and even go far beyond them. But, as Skillcrush digital marketing specialist Aleia Walker points out, you should know that some may only claim to hire fairly and value diversity, equality, and inclusion. These statements are often boilerplate additions that aren’t based on the company’s mission or inclusion strategy.

So, if a job listing you’re interested in doesn’t include any DEI statement or you want to be more sure of their practices, you can look on their website or request one directly from the company.

📌 Related: How to Tell if a Company is (Actually) Supporting Women of Color

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How to Apply (And why to follow instructions)

If, after checking out all the sections of a front end developer job posting, you decide that you’re ready to go for it, there’s still one more section you have to look closely at: How to Apply.

In today’s world of virtual job boards and job listings, you’ll usually click a link or button in the job listing that says “Apply.” This will then take you to an online applicant management system (AMS) where you’ll enter some basic information about yourself. You might answer some initial screening questions like “Tell us more about yourself” or “Why are you interested in this role?” You’ll also usually upload your resume, cover letter, and the URL to your portfolio website.

In other cases, instructions for how to apply for a job are included in the job listing itself.

This company requests certain materials from each candidate.

front end developer job posting dei

Source: Revolution Prep

 

front end developer job postings how to apply

Source: Bright Corner

 

And this one also gives instructions for the email you send with your materials.

Whatever the method, I speak from my experience hiring in saying that it’s critical that you pay attention to all the directions for applying. Applying through an avenue not recommended on the posting can just cause a headache for the hiring manager. For example, if you go around the automated system and email your materials in, someone on the other end is left to upload your info into the system — not a great way to start the relationship.

Know that with an automated system, if your information and uploads don’t match the requirements, your application will probably not be processed — so the company won’t even know you’re applying for the role.

With a more “manual” system (like email), the company might receive the application even if you, for example, don’t include the title of the position in the subject line. But failure or unwillingness to follow what the employer asks for could be something they hold against you or even disqualify you for.

 

Searching through front end developer job postings can be time consuming, but the silver lining is that that’s partly because there are so many jobs available! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be over 20,000 new jobs for developers between by 2028. That’s almost three times as many new jobs as in any other field. Once you understand more about job postings for these roles, you can feel confident identifying potential jobs for you and applying to the ones you’re excited about.

Kelli Smith

Kelli worked in international logistics and then freelanced for years as a corporate language trainer and translator before following her passion and making a career change into tech - in her mid-40's!

She was both one of the first Skillcrush students and one of the first Skillcrush team members, starting as our customer support manager and now serving as our Operations (aka HR) Manager, a writer for our blog, and a career counselor.

Kelli is a Texan living in Finland who loves tech, podcasts, Corgis, emoji, gifs, and, most of all, practicing for and going to catalan style line dancing events all around Europe.