As the different disciplines of the tech world start to cross-pollinate more and more, new roles start to emerge. Today, let’s delve into one of these roles—the UI developer.

What is a UI developer?

Is it a web developer? Is it a UI designer? The answer is a bit of both. With over 30,000 job vacancies in the United States alone, one thing is for sure—that people with this skill set are in demand.

A UI developer is a tech professional who carries out the process of conceiving, designing, and coding a user interface flow that provides the smoothest user experience possible.


What is a UI designer?

Typically, UI designers will be working on the screens of a digital product, be it a mobile app or a website. As well as the visual aspects of this (so knowledge of color theory comes in handy), they will also be working on the interactive properties of the screen as well (think animations).

For those of you wondering what’s the difference between UI design and UX design

UI (User Interface) design and UX (User Experience) design are two distinct but closely related fields in the realm of digital product design.

  1. UI Design (User Interface Design):
    • Focus: Primarily concerned with the look and feel of the product, including its visual elements and interactive components.
    • Components: Involves designing the visual aspects such as color schemes, typography, icons, buttons, and other graphical elements that users interact with.
    • Goal: Aim to create an aesthetically pleasing and visually appealing design that is easy to understand and use.
    • Responsibilities: UI designers work on the surface-level elements that users directly interact with, ensuring the design is visually coherent and consistent.
  2. UX Design (User Experience Design):
    • Focus: Encompasses the overall experience of users as they interact with a product, considering their emotions, perceptions, and ease of use.
    • Components: Involves user research, information architecture, wireframing, prototyping, and testing to ensure a seamless and enjoyable user journey.
    • Goal: Aim to optimize the overall satisfaction and usability of a product by enhancing the user journey and addressing user needs.
    • Responsibilities: UX designers focus on the holistic experience, considering the user’s interactions from start to finish and addressing issues that may arise at different stages of the user journey.

The Role of a UI Developer

As a result of being responsible across a large process, there’s a wide range of tasks that UI developers are expected to perform. Here are just a few:

UI Developer Tasks

  • Using existing company style and UI guidelines
  • Creating a wireframe or prototype
  • Planning interactive elements
  • Coding frontend layout
  • Testing across platforms and browsers
  • Debugging the code

UI Developer Skills

  • Fluency in HTML/CSS
  • Frontend JavaScript and libraries
  • Knowledge of UI design tools
  • Visual communication skills
  • Prototyping and wireframing
  • Applying psychology principles to design
  • Testing and debugging

UI Developer vs. Frontend Developer

“UI Developer” and “Frontend Developer” are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, but they can have distinct roles depending on the context. Here’s a breakdown of the general differences:

  1. UI Developer (User Interface Developer):
    • Focus: Primarily concentrates on the user interface aspects of a website or application.
    • Responsibilities: Involves designing and implementing the visual elements of the user interface, such as buttons, icons, layouts, and other interactive elements.
    • Skills: Proficient in technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Often skilled in UI design tools and may have a good eye for aesthetics.
  2. Frontend Developer:
    • Focus: Encompasses a broader range of responsibilities related to the client side of web development.
    • Responsibilities: Involves implementing the entire front end of a website or application, which includes both the user interface and the underlying functionality. This may include interactions with APIs, handling data, and ensuring a smooth user experience.
    • Skills: Proficient in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and often uses frontend frameworks or libraries such as React, Angular, or Vue.js. Familiarity with backend technologies may also be beneficial.  (know more here)

How to become a UI developer

Because of the broad skillset involving elements of UI design and web development, it makes sense to start by taking courses and working on your skills in both. Unsurprisingly, many UI developers were either UI designers or frontend developers first, and they added the other discipline.

Like with learning any technical skills, these days there are a huge amount of ways to approach this. First, assess your reserves of time, money, and so on. You can learn autonomously via books or videos, practice with free tools or online courses, invest in a boot camp, or get a certification. Becoming a UI (User Interface) developer involves acquiring a combination of design and front-end development skills. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you become a UI developer:

  1. Understand the Basics:
    • Learn the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. These are the building blocks of web development and will be essential for creating the structure, style, and interactivity of UI elements.
  2. Study UI Design Principles:
    • Familiarize yourself with UI design principles, including layout, color theory, typography, and usability. Understand how to create visually appealing and user-friendly interfaces.
  3. Practice Design Tools:
    • Gain proficiency in design tools such as Adobe XD, Sketch, Figma, or Adobe Photoshop. These tools are commonly used in the industry for creating mockups, wireframes, and visual designs.
  4. Learn Responsive Design:
    • Understand responsive web design principles to ensure that your UI is accessible and looks good on various devices and screen sizes.
  5. Explore UI Frameworks:
    • Learn popular UI frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation. These frameworks provide pre-built components and styles that can help you create consistent and responsive designs.
  6. Develop Coding Skills:
    • Enhance your coding skills by learning advanced JavaScript and mastering frameworks or libraries like React, Angular, or Vue.js. These tools enable you to create dynamic and interactive user interfaces.
  7. Build a Portfolio:
    • Create a portfolio showcasing your UI design projects and coding skills. Include examples of responsive designs, different UI elements, and any personal projects you’ve worked on.
  8. Stay Updated:
    • Keep up with industry trends, new design tools, and emerging technologies. Follow blogs, attend conferences, and engage with the UI/UX design and development community.
  9. Seek Feedback:
    • Share your work with peers, mentors, or online communities to receive constructive feedback. Continuous improvement is crucial in the ever-evolving field of UI development.
  10. Apply for Internships or Entry-Level Positions:
    • Look for internships or entry-level positions to gain practical experience and build your professional network. Real-world projects will help you refine your skills and learn how to collaborate with development teams.


Remember that becoming a UI developer is an ongoing process of learning and refining your skills. Stay curious, practice consistently, and be open to adapting to new technologies and design trends. If you’d like to read more about the subject areas of tech you’d like to explore click Here


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