April 29, 2023
min read

What is a UI developer?

Eli McGarvie
Looking for a job?
Create a free profile and automatically get matched with companies that meet your requirements.
Get job offers

As the technology industry continues to evolve, the need for skilled UI developers is on the rise. But what exactly does a UI developer do, and how do they fit into the larger picture of software development? In this article, we will take a closer look at the role of a UI developer, including their responsibilities, skillset, and career path.

đź’ˇ Learn more about tech roles in our DevLexicon


What is User Interface (UI)?

User Interface (UI) is the point of interaction between a user and a computer or other electronic device. It includes the visual layout and controls of an application or website, as well as the way a user interacts with it with their keyboard and mouse. The goal of a good UI is to make the user's experience as simple and efficient as possible.

What’s the difference between UI and UX? 

The difference between UI and UX is between the look of an application or website (visual elements) and the feel of an application or website (how you interact with it). UI, or User Interface, is all about the visual design and layout of the site or application. This includes the buttons, text, and how they are arranged. On the other hand, UX, or User Experience, is about how it feels to use the product. It's about the ease of navigation, the flow of the interface, and how well it meets the user's needs. Together, UI and UX work in harmony to create a seamless and enjoyable experience for the user.

What is a UI developer?

A UI developer, short for user interface developer, is responsible for creating and implementing the visual and interactive elements of a digital product. This includes designing and building interfaces, such as buttons, menus, and forms, that users interact with. A UI developer is responsible for creating and maintaining the look and feel of a product, as well as ensuring a seamless and intuitive user experience.

What does a UI developer do? 

UI developers work closely with UI/UX designers. A designer will create a wireframe, and design the various web elements which will then be passed over to the UI developer who translates these designs into functional code. UI developers share a lot of similar responsibilities with frontend developers but they are not identical roles. UI is focused on design whereas frontend is focused on development.   

UI developer’s main responsibilities:

  • Creating and implementing visually appealing User Interfaces using front-end technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Ensuring that the interface is responsive and accessible across different devices and web browsers
  • Working with the development team to integrate the user interface with back-end functionality
  • Testing and debugging the interface to identify and fix any issues
  • Optimising the interface for maximum speed and scalability
  • Collaborating with other developers, designers, and stakeholders to understand project requirements and provide technical solutions

UI developer skills

Even though UI developers are primarily concerned with the front end of a website or application there will be times when backend knowledge will come in handy. Like many roles in software development, UI developers need to know a range of ever-evolving skills to say ahead of the curve. So let’s go through some of these hard skills.

UI developer’s main skills:

  • Strong understanding of UX and UI design principles
  • Proficiency in design and prototyping tools, such as Adobe XD, Figma, and Sketch
  • Strong knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Experience with front-end frameworks and libraries, such as React, Angular.js, and Vue.js
  • Experience with version control systems such as Git, SVN, etc

UI developer’s toolbox:

  • Design and prototyping tools: Adobe XD, Figma, or Sketch
  • Text editors: Visual Studio Code or Sublime Text
  • Web development tools: Chrome DevTools or Firefox Developer Tools
  • Version control systems: Git or SVN
  • Front-end development frameworks and libraries: React, Vue.js, or Angular
  • CSS preprocessors: SASS or LESS
  • Task runners: Grunt or Gulp
  • Package managers: npm or yarn
  • Collaboration and project management tools: Asana, Jira, or Trello
  • Testing and debugging tools: Jest or Selenium

In addition to technical skills, UI developers also require certain soft skills to be successful in their role:

  • Communication: A UI developer needs to be able to clearly communicate design decisions and technical solutions to both technical and non-technical stakeholders.
  • Collaboration: UI developers often work in a team environment and need to be able to collaborate effectively with other developers, designers, and stakeholders.
  • Adaptability: The field of web development is constantly evolving, and a UI developer needs to be adaptable and able to learn new technologies and techniques quickly.
  • Problem-solving: UI developers need to have strong problem-solving skills to identify and troubleshoot issues in the user interface.
  • Attention to detail: A UI developer needs to have a keen eye for detail and the ability to identify and fix small design or code errors. 
  • Creativity: A UI developer should have the ability to approach design problems creatively and come up with unique solutions.
  • Time management: UI developers often work on multiple projects at once and need to be able to manage their time effectively to meet deadlines.
  • Empathy: A UI developer should have the ability to understand the needs and perspectives of the users of the interface they are building
  • Patience and Perseverance: UI development can be a complex and challenging field, so a UI developer should have patience and perseverance to work through difficult problems and challenges.

How to become a UI developer

A career in UI development can be incredibly rewarding, with plenty of opportunities for growth and advancement. Many UI developers begin their careers as junior or entry-level developers, working on small projects while learning the ropes. As they gain experience, they can move up to senior or lead developer roles, working on larger and more complex projects. Some UI developers may also choose to specialise in a specific area, such as mobile or desktop application development or virtual reality.

If you’re thinking of changing your career, UI development is a great choice. To start out you’ll have to learn the basics of frontend web development. From here, you can take the following steps: 

  1. Learn programming & frameworks languages: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, as well as experience with front-end development frameworks such as React, Angular, and Vue.js.

  2. Gain experience with design tools: Familiarity with design tools such as Adobe Creative Suite or Sketch is also important for UI development, as it allows you to create and edit visual assets.
  1. Understand UI/UX design principles: A good understanding of UI/UX design principles is important for creating visually appealing interfaces. There are plenty of online courses and resources that can teach you these principles.  
  1. Build a portfolio: Start building a portfolio of your work to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers. This article goes into more detail about ways you can build your portfolio. 
  1. Keep learning: Web development is an ever-evolving field, so it's important to stay up-to-date with new technologies and trends by taking online courses or attending workshops and conferences.

  2. Get a job: Look for entry-level UI developer positions at tech companies, digital agencies, or freelance platforms to start your professional journey. This article goes into more detail about where you can find developer jobs. 
  1. Network: Networking with other professionals in the field can help you to find job opportunities, get feedback on your work, and learn about new technologies and trends. 

Check out our article How to Become a Software Engineer Without a Degree for more information about how you can break into the software development industry. 

UI developer salary 

So what’s the pay? To be honest…it’s good! It’s probably on the lower end compared to other developer roles (which are, let’s face it, more technical), but you’ll still earn a decent salary and have plenty of job opportunities whether that be in your home country or abroad. 

Not surprising to anyone, you are most likely going to earn more in the USA than in Europe. That being said European jobs offer a range of other benefits that might offset this financial difference. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a UI developer in the United States is around $85,000 per year whereas the average in Germany is €37,600, and £42,500 in the United Kingdom. Let’s break it down by experience and location! 

UI developer jobs

With the right skill set, a career in UI development can be incredibly rewarding, there are plenty of opportunities for growth and advancement plus an increasing supply of jobs around the world. 

If you’re a front-end developer looking for a new career opportunity, we’ve got some great options in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. We partner with Europe’s top tech companies to match them with software engineers like you without the hassle of traditional job-search. Head over to the WeAreDevelopers career page to see what’s waiting for you!

Thanks for reading ✌️


What programming languages do UI developers typically use?
UI developers typically use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, as well as frameworks like React, Angular, or Vue.js for creating interactive user interfaces
What is the difference between a UI developer and a UX designer?
A UI developer focuses on creating the visual and interactive aspects of a user interface, while a UX (User Experience) designer focuses on the overall user experience, including usability, functionality, and user satisfaction.
What is the average salary of a UI developer?
The average salary of a UI developer varies depending on factors such as experience, location, and company size. In the United States, the average salary ranges from $60,000 to $100,000 per year.
Do UI developers need a degree in computer science or design?
While a degree in computer science or design can be helpful, it is not strictly necessary for becoming a UI developer. Many successful UI developers have learned the required skills through self-study, online courses, or coding boot camps.
How important is collaboration with UX designers and other team members in a UI developer role?
Collaboration is crucial in a UI developer role, as it ensures a seamless integration of visual design, functionality, and user experience. Working closely with UX designers, developers, and other team members helps in creating a cohesive and user-friendly product.


This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.
min read