If you want to choose a career path in software development, you may want to get a clear understanding of the difference between frontend and backend development.
These two terms are the most used terms in web development and act as the most fundamental parts of software engineering.
Frontend and backend development is very important for developing a website or web application, but they are totally different.
Each of them has its own unique role in developing a website or application. You can see them as the two sides of a coin, different but coming together to achieve a common goal (website).
The front-end is basically what you see and interact with when you visit a website, like buttons, links, images, etc.
The backend is that part of the website that you cannot see or interact with directly.
If you’re new to the tech community, then there is every tendency that you have come across these terms frontend and backend which might get you confused, because right now you might be wondering which of these you fit in or which you should consider taking as a career.
You are not alone, in this article I will be helping you get a clear understanding of some of these technical terms.
Things we are going to be looking at:
- What is front-end development?
- Web technologies used in frontend development.
- Responsibilities of a frontend developer
- What is back-end development?
- Programming languages used in backend development
- Responsibilities of a backend developer
- Salary comparison
- Summary of the difference between frontend and backend development
- Few questions to ask yourself before choosing frontend or backend
What is frontend development:
Frontend development is the part of web development that determines how the user sees and interacts with the website from the browser. It involves everything you can see and interact with directly when you visit a website.
Some features a frontend implements in a website include:
- Navigation menus
Frontend development ensures that the features implemented on the website are formatted in a way that is easy for the user to read and interact with directly.
Web technologies used in frontend development:
To be a frontend web developer requires knowing at least a few programming languages you can write code with and they include:
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
This is the most fundamental technology in frontend development, it gives structure to the webpage. It is with HTML that you decide what elements should be on the webpage such as:
- Defining paragraphs
- Embedding images and videos on your web page
- defining headers
- Links etc
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
CSS is used to give styles to the different elements in our HTML document. with CSS we can describe how the different content in a webpage should look. Example include:
- Giving colors to text
- Creating layouts
- Creating background images
- Determine the font size of a text etc.
A framework in programming is a customized tool that provides ready-made components or codes that developers can use in order to speed up development. Some of the most popular front-end frameworks include:
As you you advance in your career as a developer, you will want more freedom, that’s where libraries come in. Libraries are packages of pre-written code that developers can insert into their own code. Here are some libraries used by front-end developers:
Responsibilities of frontend developer:
Some of the responsibilities of a frontend developer include.
- Managing and improving the website
- Optimizing website for maximum responsiveness
- Work with teams of back-end developers and web designers to improve functionality
- Write functional requirements, documentation, and guides
- Creating quality models and prototypes
- Assist back-end developers with coding and troubleshooting
- Ensure high-quality graphic standards and brand consistency
- Keep up to date with emerging technologies.
Resources to learn Frontend Development
Below are some of my personal recommendations for learning frontend development.
- The ultimate guide to frontend development.
- The complete Frontend Bootcamp 2022.
- The ultimate web designer course 2022.
- Traversy Media Frontend Playlist on Youtube.
What is Backend development:
Back-End development is also known as the server-side, it is the part of web development in which there is no direct interactivity with the user.
it is responsible for data storage, management and also securing of the data received from the front-end and making sure it is available for the user when needed.
when a user sends a request, the backend receives the information, processes it, and sends back a response.
Most of the logic of the application is written in the back-end, in order to avoid access to the data by hackers.
Every interaction with the database is carried out exclusively at the back-end, so as to protect user data from malware( viruses, trojans, and other destructive computer programs threat actors use to infect systems and networks in order to gain access to sensitive information.)
Whenever you create an account with any social media platform eg LinkedIn or Facebook, your information like the password is stored at the backend, so whenever you want to log in you’re requested to put in your password.
when you put in your password, the backend receives it and processes it, to check if it corresponds to the password used in creating the account initially, if it corresponds then your page would be opened as a response from the backend.
But in the case where the password does not correspond with the initial password used in creating the account, the backend sends back a response letting you know that the password is incorrect. this is just a basic example of how the backend functions.
In general, the back-end includes the following concepts:
- Database management;
- Communication between servers and applications through application programming interfaces (APIs);
- Business logic;
- Compliance with accessibility and security policies.
Languages and tools used in Back-end development.
To be a backend web developer requires knowing at least a few programming languages to write code and they include:
Just like in the front-end, back-end web developers also use frameworks to carry out certain back-end tasks like infinite scrolling and also help to keep the sites running fast and secure.
Some of the most popular backend frameworks include:
- Django (Check out the ultimate guide to Django 2022);
- Laravel (Check out the ultimate guide to Laravel 2022);
Responsibilities of backend developer:
- Programming, maintenance, and updating of software and databases
- Security of the system data
- Make sure data is displayed on the front-end when needed.
- Documentation of the systems, features, and functions
- Connection and integration of external systems (APIs)
- Support and customer advice
Salary Comparison Between Frontend and Backend development
While both front-end and back-end developers are currently in high demand, back-end developers have more advantages in terms of average salary. This difference can be due to the more technical nature of the back-end role.
The best way to increase your chances of earning a high salary as a web developer is to specialize in back-end development while being prepared to do full-stack development for start-ups or small businesses.
According to Indeed.com the average salary for a back-end developer in the U.S. is $120,500 per year. They also often earn other benefits, like stock options, PTO, and health insurance. Front-end developers can expect to earn an average salary of $105,491 per year, plus similar benefits to back-end developers.
Difference between frontend and backend developer:
Here are some of the main differences between back-end and front-end development:
- The front end deals with how the website looks, the overall layout, videos, images, text, buttons, and every other visual element in the website whereas the back end deals with how the website should function in response to requests from the user.
- Front-end development is responsible for collecting user input, while back-end development is responsible for processing user inputs.
- Font-end is responsible for handling search engine optimization and user accessibility, while the backend is responsible for the security and backup of the website
- Backend is responsible for the server-side of the website, while Frontend deals with the client-side of the website
Resources to learn Backend Development
Below are some of my personal recommendations for learning backend development.
- The ultimate guide to backend development.
- The complete Backend Bootcamp 2022.
- The complete Backend Development Bundle 2022.
- Hussein Nasser Backend Engineering show on Youtube.
Which should you go for?
Choosing a career in tech, be it front-end or back-end development, will depend on your interests, strengths, and career plans.
You have to look at your personality and just go for the one that best suits your personality. Although there is no right or wrong choice I will be listing out some qualities you can look out for to decide which you should choose.
Few Questions to answer before choosing the frontend
- Do you have a love for beautiful visuals and design?
- Do you like seeing the results of your work instantly?
- Are you less interested in the details of how things function behind the scenes?
- Are you more interested in user experience when they use the internet?
- Can you work in a team of developers?
- Are you social?
Few Questions to answer before choosing the backend
- Do you love anything that involves detail and logic?
- Do you love to know more about what’s going on “behind the scene” of systems or websites, rather than their outward appearance;
- Are you able to think critically?.
Frontend and backend development is the most important aspect of software engineering, therefore developing a career in any of these specializations is paramount.
If you’re interested in learning web development, I believe anyone can— and perhaps you want to become a frontend developer, I strongly recommend freecodecamp.com their curriculum can take you from an absolute beginner to an advanced frontend developer.
You can also check out Traversy media on youtube he has some pretty frontend courses that can help you in your frontend career path.
If you’re also interested in becoming a backend developer then I strongly recommend Masteringbackend academy. Their course can take you from a zero to a paid backend developer, you will have the opportunity to communicate with your tutor, who will also guide you from beginner to advanced level.