Front End vs Back-End Web Developers: Which Developer Job Is Right for You?

In today’s economy, you need web development to make your voice heard, your brand seen, and your objectives fulfilled. But you cannot do any of this without knowing the differences between front end vs back-end web developers.

Basically, front end developers work with the parts of a website that users see, whereas back-end developers work under the hood to keep the website up and running. But that’s not all. 

In this article, we take a closer look at the differences between the two roles, including information on front end developer salaries and back-end developer salaries. 

What Is Front End Development?

Front end web development, or client-side development, is the act of writing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code to enable an end-user to interact directly with your web page or web application. HTML and CSS are markup languages used for the visual features of a website, whereas JavaScript is a scripting language used to control the site’s dynamics.

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The front end of a website connects designs and technologies together. The tools and techniques involved in designing dynamic websites change constantly, so the developer needs to be aware of the latest technology and how the field is evolving.

As far as the user interface is concerned, the buck stops with front end developers. They have to make sure that the site design is the same across all platforms and screen sizes. A front end developer must be creative, artistic, and technically proficient at the same time.

What Is Back-End Development?

Back-end web development concerns the ways in which a website functions behind the scenes. Back-end developers write code that communicates database information to the web browser. They also have to make sure that the end-users get the services they request on time and without any trouble. 

Back-end programming can be either object-oriented or functional. Object-oriented programming focuses on coding specific objects. Java, .Net, and Python are some popular examples of OOP languages. With functional languages, the coding process revolves around applying and composing functions. Examples include SQL, F#, and R.

A back-end web developer works with web development languages, databases, servers, and APIs. Backend development requires advanced programming skills and knowledge, as well as a basic understanding of front-end technology like HTML and CSS.

Front End vs Back-End Web Developer: The Most Important Differences and Similarities

The differences and similarities between front end and back-end developers are discussed in detail below. 

Difference: Programming Languages

Front end web developers use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, whereas back-end developers use PHP, Ruby, Python, JavaScript, Java, and Node.js to do their jobs. Back-end developers should also be skilled in working with databases like MySQL and Oracle.

Second Difference: Skills and Tools

Front end developers deal with the appearance and user interface (UI) of the site. Along with knowledge of front end programming languages, front-end developers should be fluent in PhotoShop, Sketch, and Figma. Backend developers need to know the languages required for their jobs, have critical thinking skills, and understand web hosting and domains.

Third Difference: Functions and Outcomes

The aspects of the site that we see and experience are the work of front end developers, whereas back-end developers handle everything that happens behind the scenes.

First Similarity: Salary

According to Indeed, the average salaries for front end and back-end developers are both above six figures. The average front-end developer salary is $109,439, while the average back-end developer salary is $125,273. But it also depends on your level of experience. The more years of experience you have, the higher your pay will be.

Second Similarity: Job Growth

Front end and back-end developers in the United States have the same great opportunities for advancement. Both job titles come with solid prospects to improve, get promoted, and earn a higher salary.

Front End Development vs Back-End Development: Pros and Cons

man working on a computer
Both front-end development and backend web development have their advantages. 

Front end and back-end development are both in high demand. Companies are ready to shell out a lot of money for skilled developers. 

But should you work on the front end or the back-end? To make the choice easier for you, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of both fields.

Front End Development Pros

  • Easy to learn. The languages involved in front end development are quite easy to learn. Most of the coding is done using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Once you get a hang of these languages, the job will be pretty straightforward.

  • Quick to master.  Front end development is easy to master because of the modern frameworks and technologies in place to streamline the work. You can get from A to B much faster than used to be the case. 

  • Secure environment. All the frameworks of front end development provide a safe working environment. Because of this, both your code and your final product will be secure on any browser or mobile device.

Front End Development Cons

  • New versions. Updates to front end frameworks have tended to fall short of developers’ expectations. But once the old version is obsolete, developers are stuck with the new one.

  • Immature tech. Many front end technologies are quite new. In the case of JavaScript, which is the main component of front-end development, the technology is relatively unsophisticated, and frustratingly prone to crashing.

  • Code inflation. Certain frameworks used to customize websites inflate the code base, creating problems for front end developers down the line.

Back-End Development Pros

  • Faster information sharing. Any detail that a user submits while accessing a site’s UI is processed in the back-end. Because the back-end provides access to the server and database, it enables faster information between developers and relevant data. 

  • Runs in different environments. The back-end code remains the same no matter what platform or environment it is being developed in. This allows for easy portability and cross-platform deployment, making it somewhat easier compared to front end development.     

  • Control over user experience. At the end of the day, back-end developers are responsible for providing a good user experience without any interruptions. That’s because any issue with the back-end code can slow the website down or cause it to crash, which might turn off or turn away the user. 

Back-End Development Cons

  • Security issues. Security on the Internet is very important. Even a small vulnerability in the back-end code can expose the website to ransomware attacks. Since securing the privacy of the employees and customers is so important, you can remedy this problem by opting for a custom backend cloud.

  • No personalized automated operations. In an enterprise context, personalized automated operations are required to meet the needs of clients. In back-end development, however, there is currently no automated option, which makes it difficult to address specific business concerns. 

  • Tough Management. The management and maintenance of servers can be a difficult task. Back-end developers need to be on top of the latest techniques used for server optimization to ensure the smooth operation of servers. 

Should You Become a Front End or Back-End Developer?

a person thinking and using a laptop
There’s never any shortage of front end and back-end developer positions on the job market.

To become a good front end developer, you should have an understanding of event-based interaction and performance, in addition to programming tools like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. A skilled back-end developer, on the other hand, should have deep knowledge of servers, databases, and programming languages like Java, Python, and PHP.

Some people have a natural talent for visual things. If that’s you, front end development is where you should be. If you love working with data and are interested in the logical side of programming, then you should consider back-end development. 

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