Should You Be a Back-End, Front-End, or Full-Stack Developer?

Web development

Websites are now a very critical component for any business to stay competitive in the market. Be it financial, pharma, real estate, or any other domain, web development has become a must rather than “good to have”.

We all know that web development trends and its best practices change practically with the season, but I must tell you — there’s no shortage of work for developers.

My company gets more than 50 open positions a day in the US for UI/UX/Full Stack/Frontend/Backend/Web development technologies. That’s a lot of positions if we add up all the staffing companies in the US!

But how do you know which kind of development work to seek out and train for? & what is front-end, back-end, and full-stack?

For a better and clear understanding, let me explain in simple terms what these 3 web development profiles are:

Front-end developer

The front end is the part that users interact with. Everything that you see on your device’s screen when you navigate around the internet, be it fonts, colors, menus, forms, sliders, images, videos, etc., are all a combination of HTML, CSS, and various programming languages being controlled by the browser.

So, the primary objective of any Front-end developer is to write the website’s user-facing code and create an architecture for a seamless and engaging user experience.

In order to execute this, front-end developers must be proficient at three main technologies: HTML, CSS, and Javascript programming.

In addition to fluency in these languages, they also need to be familiar with modern front-end frameworks like ReactJS, AngularJS, VueJS, and many more, which ensure that the content looks great to the user no matter the device and also these frameworks help the developers to make large and robust applications with excellent scalability.

Commonly used front-end web technologies are: HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, and JavaScript

Now, let’s understand what a back-end developer does.

Back-end developer

Let’s take an example of Amazon.com — the data that you see on your screen — the products, categories, login & sign-up forms, etc — all these are actually the work of a backend developer. So, when you open this site (or any other site for that matter), the request is sent to the server for the data.

The program residing on the server makes a request to the database which then receives the data and sends it further to the browser which is also called as client.

This entire process is the result of a back-end developer’s work.

So there is an application on the server, which receives the request, fetches and processes the data, and sends it back to the client, this entire process is developed by a back-end developer.

Front-end is only possible if there is a back end. All the data stored consists of an application, a server, and a database.

Back-end developers use server-side languages and make web services, server applications or components that communicate with databases and servers to the client requests.

Commonly used back-end web technologies are: Node.js, Python, PHP, Java, C# & .Net along with database tools like MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server

Who is a full-stack developer then?

Well, let me put it this way — full-stack developers are jack-of-all-trades…That’s it!!!

In today’s fast-paced world, companies are looking to cut costs and look for resources with multiple skills.

There is never a clear line of distinction between front-end and back-end development. They have to cross and work in each other’s territories. So, we can’t call them generalists, hence the term — full stack developer.

As their name indicates, they offer the full package. You get a developer who can work cross-functionally on the full “stack” of technology, i.e. front end, back end, and database-related operations.

Let me tell you — Full-stack does not mean that you must know all the technologies. Although, if you possess such skills then it is great, but full-stack developers usually should know specific technologies from the 3 sections mentioned below-

The programming community has come up with various stacks such as MERN, MEAN, LAMP stack, etc. Job positions are often categorized on the basis of these stacks.

However, Regardless of all these specific languages, frameworks, and tools, depending on the project in hand, full-stack developers should be knowledgeable in every level of how the web works, be it -

  • writing server-side APIs,
  • setting up and configuring Linux servers,
  • diving into the client-side JavaScript powering an application or
  • helping on the UX front with CSS specifics.

Interestingly, there’s never been a better time to pursue a career in web development than it is now!

Employment of web developers and digital designers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations in the US due to demand driven by the continued popularity of mobile devices and e-commerce.

Remember! No matter the type of development you’re thinking of pursuing, soft skills like the ability to learn quickly & solve problems efficiently, attention to detail along with strong communication & interpersonal skills will always benefit you on top of the hard skills outlined above.

About me:

Founder and CEO of an IT company in India, I have more than 23+ years experience of in dealing with people, processes, and codes. I started online training for my students when it was not in fashion and have trained more than 1000 students/working professionals personally which has helped them to secure awesome jobs or even start their own business.

I am also an active corporate trainer for several years now and have been consulting with top Fortune 500/1000 companies to streamline their development projects efficiently. My goal is to share knowledge with a primary focus on advanced tools & techniques, projects, and standard programming practices to help my students understand the basics and fundamentals and make awesome technological implementations.

A founder and CEO of an IT company in India, I have more than 22+ years’ experience of dealing with people, processes and codes.