When browsing the internet, we come across websites and applications that consist mostly of the content we interact with in our searches. In fact, the social media platforms and e-commerce sites we visit daily are part of the complex web frameworks and technologies. But have you ever wondered how these websites are built and the technology behind them? That’s where frontend and backend developers come in.
Both roles play an integral part in web development; the final result is what we interact with daily on the internet. However, their roles, skill sets, and the tools they use are different. In simple terms, what we call the front end of a website is the user interface, while the back end is part of the website you don’t see. This guide will evaluate the key differences between frontend and backend developers and how they collaborate to create powerful web applications.
Frontend vs. Backend Developer: Side-By-Side Comparison
|Roles||They combine design technology and programming to design web pages and effectively implement a website’s visual elements. They also fix bugs, maintain user interfaces, and create tools that boost site interaction.||They create codes, manage server-side applications, and stores web pages customized with user data.|
|Libraries and Frameworks||jQuery, Bootstrap, SASS, EmberJS, AngularJS||Zend, Django, CakePHP, Spring, , Symfony, Laravel.|
|Additional Skills||Graphic design applications, SEO principles, communication, creativity||Problem-solving, familiarity with servers, logical reasoning, communication|
|Average Salary||$78,400 annually||$80,713 annually|
|Works with||Backend developers, business stakeholders, clients, management,||Frontend developers, business stakeholders, management|
Frontend vs. Backend Developer: What are the Differences?
If you are just starting in web development, choosing between front-end and back-end programming can be challenging. Both sides have very different roles, but they must work together for the website to function. We will explore the differences between the two sides to help you pursue the one that suits you.
What is a Frontend Developer?
Frontend developers are the people involved in ensuring visitors can access and interact with a web page. They combine design technology and programming to implement a website’s visual elements effectively. Frontend developers also fix bugs, maintain user interfaces, and create tools that boost site interaction.
What is a Backend Developer?
Backend developers specialize in the server side of the website. They focus on architecture, maintaining databases, and data and application integration. Backend developers use programming languages, including Java, PHP, and C++. These developers also use complex frameworks to build fast, responsive, secure websites.
When a user enters a URL, clicks a link, or submits a form, the browser connects to a web server, a computer running software that delivers web pages and images. When a web server receives a request for a source, it needs to respond with that resource. Programming webservers’ response with the right resources is the domain of backend developers.
Before a web page deliver resources to a browser, a web application written by a backend developer fills that page with data. The data is pulled from a database, a separate program that stores and retrieves data. Backend developers need to understand the programming language of the web application and the database where the data is stored.
Front-end developers deal with how things work. That is the content, structure, and images. The backend, on the other hand, deals with how things look. As a front-end developer, you will implement the website layout and build interactive elements. Other typical tasks include carrying out usability tasks, fixing bugs, maintaining software workflows, and developing tools that improve user interaction with the website.
The backend developer creates codes, manages server-side applications, and stores web pages customized with user data. Backend developers work closely with product owners to understand the project’s requirements. Their main roles include creating, managing databases, and building and integrating APIs.
Other general skills include a good grasp of frontend programming languages, the ability to create a responsive design, the knowledge of testing and debugging, and an understanding of frontend development tools like automation, content management systems, version control systems, APIs, and frameworks.
Backend developers deal with backend programming languages like Java, Ruby, and Python to make web pages and applications operate. Knowing commonly used languages and frameworks like Django, node.js, Expresjs, and many others is vital. Other important skills include database management, framework utilization, programming knowledge of accessibility and security compliance, understanding the requirements, and ensuring data consistency and integrity.
Backend developers are often the most paid compared to front-end developers. In the US, a frontend developer earns around $78,400 annually, while a backend developer earns an average of $80,713 annually. However, these salaries vary based on experience and specialty.
Frontend vs. Backend Developer: 5 Must-Know Facts
- To be able to do frontend development, you need a good eye for design because you will be working with visual elements of an application
- Frontend development is more customer-focused, while backend development is more about performance, maintenance, and scalability.
- The role of backend developers is to ensure they build a robust application that can cope with a large number of users.
- Frontend developers need to learn new frameworks quite regularly, while the fundamentals don’t change for backend development.
- Backend development uses frameworks and libraries like frontend, but it doesn’t tend to impact your code base as it does for frontend developers.
Frontend vs. Backend Developer: Which One Should You Pick?
You need to pick the path that will use your skillset the best. If you are artistic, you are better off as a front-end developer. If you are more logical, you might be better off as a backend developer. You essentially need to focus on becoming an expert at whichever path you pick, and then the pay will come.
As long as you enjoy what you are doing, that matters most, and you need to pick what will be best for you. Whether you pick frontend or backend development, it’s worth learning about the other side and all the different areas of software development so you can actually create something useful.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©TippaPatt/Shutterstock.com.