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Front-end developers: These are the states where you’ll find the highest average salaries

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Web development has, for many years, been a lucrative career path for millions of people. Though there’s been a recent downturn in the tech sector, with many companies collectively laying off thousands of workers, there’s still a need for developers—including those who can work as front-end developers.

For those unfamiliar with web development as a discipline, many developers can specialize as either back-end or front-end web developers, while others can practice “full-stack” development, working from front to back. As for what a “front-end web developer” actually does? They work on the part of websites that users actually see, says Dan Martino, the digital director and founder of 914Digital, a New York-based digital media company.

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“Front-end development includes using HTML and CSS, styling websites, and making it look pretty,” he says. Effectively, a front-end developer may receive a website design from a designer, and then make it come to life on the internet—whereas a back-end developer does all the “under the hood” stuff, such as connecting databases and the like, according to Martino.

How much do front-end developers make? 

As for how much front-end developers earn, a lot of it has to do with where the specific developer lives and or works. But overall, the average salary for front-end developers in the United States is $102,142, according to data from ZipRecruiter. But it’s important to note that salary, on its own, doesn’t account for a developer’s full compensation.

“For most of these types of roles, people get fairly generous benefits packages, and some type of bonus pay,” says Julia Pollak, Chief economist at ZipRecruiter. So, front-end developers may see significant bonuses—which scale up depending on how senior the developer is—and some may also get stock grants. In all, Pollak says that “looking at job postings will not give you the full figure—adding equity and bonuses can add as much as 50%” of a developer’s salary to their total compensation.

As for where front-end developers are earning the most, ZipRecruiter’s internal data shared with Fortune Education shows that a surprising state—Montana—leads the list with average salaries topping $117,000. It’s followed by New Hampshire, California, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, where front-end developers are all earning more than $113,000 on average.

Cost of living

For developers of all stripes, the cost of living in a given state is something that also must be considered—a relatively high salary can be moot if you’re living in an expensive area. Especially in an era of rising prices, as seen over the past couple of years, taking both earnings and expected expenditures into account can help developers get a sense of how far their salary will take them. 

That said, Pollak notes that it’s possible that front-end developers can find high-paying jobs in traditionally low-cost states, often because some industries tend to cluster in certain cities. Examples include credit card companies in South Dakota, or health care companies in Kentucky—both are cheap, relative to states like New York or California, but the companies based there need developers. 

As such, there may be opportunities in those states to increase earning and purchasing power.

Front-end developer salary by state 

You can find the states with the highest average salaries for front-end developers below. Salary numbers are from ZipRecruiter, and are the averages for each state as calculated between the beginning of 2024 through early May 2024. Each state’s cost of living (COL) index is calculated by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), which averages indexes from metro areas and cities, and incorporates costs for groceries, housing, utilities, and transportation.

Here are the states with the highest-earning front-end web developers:

Rank Location Avg. salary (as of May 2024) Cost of living
1 Montana $117,200 102.9
2 New Hampshire $114,650 114.1
3 California $114,424 138.5
4 Tennessee $113,950 90.3
5 Wisconsin $113,785 95.1
6 North Dakota $113,450 94.6
7 Washington $112,100 116
8 Alaska $110,200 125.2
9 New Mexico $109,400 94
10 Connecticut $108,529 112.8
11 Washington, D.C. $108,447 146.8
12 South Carolina $107,711 95.3
13 Ohio $107,644 94.7
14 Massachusetts $106,421 146.5
15 Pennsylvania $106,098 95.6
16 Minnesota $105,373 94.1
17 Idaho $103,636 98.6
18 Missouri $103,364 88.5
19 Delaware $103,080 101.1
20 New Jersey $101,378 113.9
21 Kentucky $101,369 92
22 North Carolina $101,301 95.3
23 Vermont $101,125 115.3
24 Kansas $100,545 87.1
25 Alabama $100,527 88.3
26 Oklahoma $100,525 86.2
27 Wyoming $100,250 92.4
28 South Dakota $100,092 92.4
29 Colorado $99,981 105.1
30 Michigan $99,732 90.6
31 Maine $99,357 109.9
32 Louisiana $98,900 91
33 Nevada $98,500 101
34 Rhode Island $98,388 110.7
35 Nebraska $97,854 90.9
36 West Virginia $97,669 87.7
37 Virginia $97,421 101.9
38 Iowa $97,325 90.3
39 Utah $96,413 103.2
40 Arizona $96,072 108.4
41 Mississippi $95,920 86.3
42 Arkansas $95,428 89
43 Georgia $95,108 90.8
44 Texas $94,258 92.7
45 Illinois $93,420 92.1
46 Maryland $92,185 116.5
47 Oregon $92,100 114.7
48 Indiana $91,279 91
49 Florida $91,082 100.7
50 Hawaii No data 180.3
51 New York No data 125.9
Front-end developer salary by state 
1
Montana
$117,200
102.9
2
New Hampshire
$114,650
114.1
3
California
$114,424
138.5
4
Tennessee
$113,950
90.3
5
Wisconsin
$113,785
95.1
6
North Dakota
$113,450
94.6
7
Washington
$112,100
116
8
Alaska
$110,200
125.2
9
New Mexico
$109,400
94
10
Connecticut
$108,529
112.8
11
Washington, D.C.
$108,447
146.8
12
South Carolina
$107,711
95.3
13
Ohio
$107,644
94.7
14
Massachusetts
$106,421
146.5
15
Pennsylvania
$106,098
95.6
16
Minnesota
$105,373
94.1
17
Idaho
$103,636
98.6
18
Missouri
$103,364
88.5
19
Delaware
$103,080
101.1
20
New Jersey
$101,378
113.9
21
Kentucky
$101,369
92
22
North Carolina
$101,301
95.3
23
Vermont
$101,125
115.3
24
Kansas
$100,545
87.1
25
Alabama
$100,527
88.3
26
Oklahoma
$100,525
86.2
27
Wyoming
$100,250
92.4
28
South Dakota
$100,092
92.4
29
Colorado
$99,981
105.1
30
Michigan
$99,732
90.6
31
Maine
$99,357
109.9
32
Louisiana
$98,900
91
33
Nevada
$98,500
101
34
Rhode Island
$98,388
110.7
35
Nebraska
$97,854
90.9
36
West Virginia
$97,669
87.7
37
Virginia
$97,421
101.9
38
Iowa
$97,325
90.3
39
Utah
$96,413
103.2
40
Arizona
$96,072
108.4
41
Mississippi
$95,920
86.3
42
Arkansas
$95,428
89
43
Georgia
$95,108
90.8
44
Texas
$94,258
92.7
45
Illinois
$93,420
92.1
46
Maryland
$92,185
116.5
47
Oregon
$92,100
114.7
48
Indiana
$91,279
91
49
Florida
$91,082
100.7
50
Hawaii
No data
180.3
51
New York
No data
125.9

The takeaway 

Front-end web development can be a lucrative career path, with average earnings ranging from between $91,000 to upward of $117,000, depending on where a developer lives and works. Though there have been recent rounds of layoffs in the tech sector, web development, overall, is expected to see overall growth in terms of job numbers—growing 16% by 2032, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As the data shows, front-end developers can earn fairly high salaries in every state, with the states where front-end developers earn the most being somewhat surprising, such as Montana and New Hampshire. But it’s also important to keep the total compensation package in mind when looking at earnings—stock grants and bonuses can provide a serious, and somewhat hidden, boost to earnings.

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