Full Stack Developer vs. Front End Developer vs. Back End Developer

The role of a web developer is one that almost always makes it to the lists of high-paying IT jobs. And why not? In today’s digital world, web developers are indispensable. Whether it's a stunning website, a high-performing e-commerce site, or any other web-based application, it's the handiwork of a web developer.   

If you’re aspiring to wear the hat of a web developer, you’d be thrilled to know that full stack developer skills are in high demand. But do you know how full-stack vs. front end vs. back end web development stack up against each other? In other words, what makes these job roles different? We’ll break it down for you. In this article we will cover the following topics that will give you clear understanding of the differences between front end developer, back end developer and full stack developer: 

  • What is web development?
  • Types of web development
  • What is frontend development?
  • Who is a front end developer?
  • What are the front end developer skills?
  • Front end developer salary 
  • What is backend development?
  • Who is a back end developer?
  • What are back end developer skills?
  • Back end developer salary
  • Frontend vs. backend development
  • Who is a full-stack developer?
  • What are the full stack developer skills?
  • Full stack developer salary

But first, let’s get a couple of basics out of the way. 

What is Web Development?

Web_Development.

Web development is the process of creating a website on the internet. Web development refers to the non-design aspects of a website, such as creating features and functionality using programming, markup, and scripting languages. Developers concentrate on the technical aspects of website development, such as architecture, programming, and application integration, and graphics. 

A web developer is someone who - 

  • Builds and maintains websites and other web applications
  • Converts a web design into a website
  • To comprehend the vision, they collaborate with clients, stakeholders, and designers
  • Can specialize in either frontend or backend development. If required, even as a full-stack developer

Now that you know what web development is, look at the different types of web development. 

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Types of Web Development 

Types-of-Web_Development

Web development mainly includes frontend development, backend development, and when the two are put together, there is Fullstack development. 

If you’re wondering what exactly they mean, don’t worry. Before learning about frontend vs. backend development, you will look at them separately and understand each of them in detail below in this tutorial.

What is Frontend Development?

frontend_Development.

  • The aspect of web development that codes and produces frontend elements of a website, or features that are immediately observable and accessible by the end-user or client, is known as frontend development.
  • Essentially, a frontend developer is in charge of everything you see be it styling, graphics, text, alignment, navigation, colors, and so on, and attempts to improve the user experience to make it as seamless as possible. 
  • They also contribute to the overall design and aesthetic, along with debugging. 
  • The major goals of frontend development are responsiveness and performance.

If what you see in an application is the front end, then what do you think makes this happen? That’s right, it is the backend of the application. Continue reading this tutorial to understand this concept better, and start to learn about frontend vs. backend development.

Who is a Front End Developer?

Front-end web developers take care of the website’s style and user interface. As you’d probably know, HTML is the structural skeleton of a webpage. You can think of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) as the physique or the body of the skeleton. CSS enables front-end, web developers, to modify the shape of the physique, which, in terms of websites, is like pre-defining certain sections to make the website display a specific style.  

For instance, if the website is a human body, using CSS, you can alter the build of muscles and change the way specific muscles look. Now, with regards to websites, you can use CSS to adjust specific sections of the site to define the look and style it displays. Front-end web developers integrate these "style and look" into a CSS file and include it on top of the HTML file. Whenever they need a particular style, they refer to the CSS file that contains the pre-defined styles.

What are the Front End Developer skills?

A front end developer skills involve solid knowledge of scripting languages such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS3. If you wish to become a front-end website developer, you need to master these three languages. 

However, by far, the most critical front end developer skill is proficiency in JavaScript. The versatile JavaScript, which works side by side with both CSS and HTML, features in various applications, including the date and time and “Add to Favorites” button.

Besides, working as a front end developer also requires skills around JQuery, Ajax, UI (User interface), UX (user experience) as well as familiarity with frameworks like AngularJS, EmberJS, Foundation, Bootstrap, and Backbone.

Front End Developer Salary 

An average front end developer in the US can make an approx. $104,893 every year. 

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What is Backend Development?

backend_Development.

  • Web development that occurs at the back end of programs is accurately termed backend development. 
  • backend development covers server-side web application logic and integration, and activities, like writing APIs, creating libraries, and working with system components as opposed to frontend development, which focuses on customer-facing services and programs. 
  • backend developers create code that allows a database and an application to communicate with one another. 
  • backend developers are in charge of the back end of a website, which includes servers, databases, and apps. They are in control of what you don't see.

Surely you clearly understand what frontend and backend of an application means. But what really sets them apart? What constitutes the two? These questions are answered in the next section. 

Who is a Back End Developer?

The user-facing interface of a website needs to be aesthetically pleasing. But, without the software that runs in the background, the website's UI wouldn't even exist in the first place. That’s something that puts back end developer skills to test. Back end developers work on the server-side. 

What are Back End Developer skills?

The programming languages that back end developers typically need to know include PHP, Ruby, Python, and .Net to build applications. Plus, they should have good command over database technologies like Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and MySQL. 

Since the developer community widely embraces PHP, let’s take that as an example. A scripting language, PHP, works together with Structured Query Language, or SQL, which is the database from where PHP pulls information out to enter it into an HTML file for display. You can find examples of this process everywhere. 

For instance, when a user registers on a website, the SQL database stores the submitted information. Every time they log in, the server-side language gets the information from the database, and HTML displays it on your screen. It’s the job of a back end developer to set this process in motion.  

Back End Developer Salary

Wondering what’s the salary package of back end web developers? Compared to front end developers, they generally get a higher annual salary, which may fall within $128,880 per annum.

Frontend vs. Backend Development

There are several parameters to consider when differentiating between frontend and backend. Let’s dissect them one by one. 

Feature

Frontend

Backend

Languages and Frameworks

  • HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. The hypertext markup language controls the presentation of text/images on the screen. It formats the text as headings, paragraphs, pop-ups, and other elements. It usually consists of tags that give the words in a document structure a new meaning.
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a style sheet that allows you to change the font, size, and spacing of many web components. It enhances the aesthetic appeal of the website's content.
  • JavaScript is a strong client-side programming language that is primarily used to improve user interaction with the software. It includes several libraries and frameworks.
  • NodeJS and ExpressJS are examples of JavaScript environments. Node is a cross-platform, open-source runtime environment that allows programmers to create server-side tools and JavaScript applications. There are requirements for basic command-line skills, such as npm (Node Package Manager).
  • Java, in particular, was designed from the start to run on the server. Spring and Java Server Faces are two popular Java frameworks.
  • Python is the most widely used programming language. It's adaptable and simple to use. Developers do backend development with Python frameworks like Django and Flask. Django is a high-level Python web framework that allows for quick website building. It is open-source and free, with a large and active user community.
  • When it comes to backend programming in Windows environments, the C# language is the language of choice for many.
  • PHP, Perl, and Ruby are some of the other languages used for backend development.

Roles

  • Front End Developer
  • CSS/HTML Developer
  • Front End Web Designer
  • Front End SEO Expert
  • Full-Stack Developer
  • UI Developer
  • Back End Developer
  • Java Developer
  • Full-Stack Developer
  • DevOps Engineer
  • Software Engineer
  • iOS Developer

Responsibilities

  • A thorough understanding of front-end programming languages
  • The capacity to make a responsive design.
  • A working understanding of testing and debugging
  • Understanding of automation, content management systems, version control systems, APIs, and frameworks. 
  • Deciding on the layout and design of your website.
  • Creating features that will improve the user's experience.
  • Getting the right balance of functional and aesthetic design.
  • Making sure the website is mobile-friendly.
  • Creating code that you can reuse in the future.
  • Checking to see if it optimizes your web pages for performance and scalability.
  • When creating web pages, use a variety of markup languages.
  • To design effective and efficient solutions, you must first gain a thorough grasp of the website's performance demands and goals.
  • Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) development and administration.
  • Developing data acceptance and storage solutions for websites, particularly for those involved in payment processing.
  • Writing, testing, and maintaining development solutions for code-related problems are all part of the job.
  • To identify new features and communicate effectively with developers, designers, and system administrators.
  • It creates the website architecture using correct product lifecycle approaches, such as Agile Scrum and frameworks.
  • The logic of the system is organized.
  • Providing remedies to difficulties with the system.
  • Debug and troubleshoot apps.

Salary

  • The average salary of a frontend Developer in the US is about 106,233USD per annum. 
  • The average salary of a frontend Developer in India is about 5,96,840lacs INR per annum. 


  • The average salary of a backend Developer in the US is about 120,999USD per annum. 
  • The average salary of a backend Developer in India is about 6,95,544lacs INR per annum. 


These are some of the points to note when learning about frontend vs. backend development. However, it is also vital for a backend developer to have a basic understanding of frontend and vice versa. 

Full-Stack Developers

Who is a Full-Stack Developer?

A full-stack developer can be best explained as the “jack of all trades.” They are skilled in both front end and back end languages and can work with multiple frameworks.

What are the Full Stack Developer skills?

Full-stack developer skills and expertise are relevant in all layers of the web development process, starting from the planning stage of projects, to managing databases, building user interfaces to data structuring, and solving mission-critical needs. Therefore, full-stack developers must understand all levels of a website and how the web works. 

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Full Stack Developer Salary

Given their versatility and broad knowledge spectrum, full-stack web developers are sought-after professionals. The annual paycheck of an average full stack developer can fall within the $112,788 range but can go as high as $150,000 depending on their skillset and experience. 

Full-stack developers command the higher salary package than front end or back end developers. Employers are willing to pay more for a full stack developer because it makes more business sense to hire an individual with front and back end skills, rather than getting two people to do the same job. 

Therefore, for aspirants who are planning to carve a career in the tech industry, the role of a full stack developer is a lucrative option. 

Your Next Step

The demand for skilled full-stack developers is at an all-time high and shows no sign of slowing down. Over the next ten years, job opportunities for web developers will grow by 13 percent — that’s much faster than average for any other profession. Plus, with millions of websites adding every year to the 1.5+ billion sites existing globally, more web developers are needed to build them. There is no job shortage for web developers for sure. So, it’s not hard to see why web development is a popular career choice. 

While web developers are getting good salaries and being viewed as valuable assets, they need to be on their toes, always learning and adapting to new trends and technologies. If you want to be part of a fast-moving career, being a full-stack developer can be a rewarding experience for you. An online full-stack developer course will set you on the right track, and fortunately, you can start learning the strands of full stack development easily and effectively right now. So, what’s the wait for?

About the Author

Nikita DuggalNikita Duggal

Nikita Duggal is a passionate digital nomad with a major in English language and literature, a word connoisseur who loves writing about raging technologies, digital marketing, and career conundrums.

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