If you’re a coder, the first thing you have to understand is the difference between front end vs backend developers. The web is complex, and development is a very specialized field. Instead of doing it all, many developers choose a particular area. Some choose the front end (the visible parts of the website), others the backend (under the hood/behind the scenes), and the brave developers choose full stack, a combination of both.
Before making a decision, you should learn about the difference between a front end and backend developer. Not only because you can’t fully understand one without the other, but also because it’s worth finding out what works best for you. In the longer term, if you want to be a full stack developer, you should be an expert in both areas.
This means that choosing to focus on full stack development is a choice you should actually make a while into your career, or else you risk spreading yourself too thin. In this guide, we will discuss the differences between front end vs backend developers as well as bootcamp courses that teach each aspect of the development process.
Front End Development
You type in a URL and hit enter. The site loads instantly, and its ultra-clean layout takes your breath away. Who’s responsible? Web developers that specialize in front end development.
Websites are now a critical component for any business to stay competitive. As web development trends and best practices change practically with the season, there’s no shortage of work for front end developers. A software developer who works in front end development will be able to find work with a variety of companies.
What Is Front End Development?
Using these tools, front end developers, designers, and user experience analysts work to deliver mockups, or wireframes, from development. Strong front end developers can also accurately identify specific issues in user experiences and provide recommendations and codified solutions to influence the design. It’s also important to be able to fluidly partner with other teams across the business to understand specific goals, needs, and opportunities and then execute those directives.
If you love making an impact on user interfaces, front end is probably what you’re looking for versus backend. If you still don’t understand exactly what front end development is, think of it this way. Front end developers are responsible for the interior design of the house that’s been built by backend developers. The style is dictated by the homeowner, and you work to build something that fits them best.
Front End Developer Skills
As with any profession, there are specific front end developer skills that you will need in order to be successful in the position. Front end developers work on the visual aspect of a website so they will need a combination of design skills and strong coding skills. Learn more about essential front end developer skills below.
- Logical thinking. When building user interfaces, you need to be able to think from a customer’s perspective. The website should flow naturally and be intuitive, which requires logical thinking on your part.
- Problem-solving. The technical aspects of front end development do not always work exactly as you imagine they will. Problem-solving skills will be highly important as you establish the building blocks of a website.
- Responsive design. As consumers today use a variety of devices, technical knowledge in responsive design is essential for front end developers. It is crucial to make sure your web page adjusts to computers, tablets, and phones accordingly.
- Creativity. There are many soft skills that are useful to a front end developer, but having creativity is essential. You will need to implement a client’s wishes in new and innovative ways that best serve your client’s customers.
Languages Used in Front End Development
If you want to understand the difference between front end vs backend development, you need to understand the tools each sector of development uses. Front end developers work on user-facing code and the architecture of its immersive user experiences.
|Language||Applications||Average Salary||Companies That Use This Language|
|HTML||Create web designs, build web pages, store website data for offline use, navigate between web pages, embed multimedia content||$68,000||Google, YouTube, Amazon|
|CSS||Customize website layouts, implement flash animations, responsive design, expand on the visual elements of a markup language||$68,000||Asana, Salesforce, Twitter|
Technologies Used for Front End Development
Besides the languages discussed in the previous section, it’s also important to have skills in different front end technologies. Bootstrap, Foundation, Backbone, AngularJS, and EmberJS all ensure great-looking content no matter the device.
Front End Developer Jobs and Salary
Have you ever looked at your favorite website and wondered what makes it tick? If you have looked at how it was laid out or how the buttons acted when you clicked them and thought, “I wish I knew how to do that,” then there’s a good chance you’d end up really enjoying being a front end developer.
Front end development is a fast-growing area. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, web developers and digital designers will see 13 percent job growth from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than the average for all occupations. BLS reports an average annual salary of $77,200 for these occupations.
Meanwhile, PayScale reports that the typical front end developer job’s salary is $77,538. However, front end developer salaries can vary significantly based on your location, experience, and knowledge of programming.
How to Become a Front End Developer
The primary front end developer skills you need to have are HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, and Bootstrap. Knowing Angular and React will also help a lot in the job search. Angular is a particularly good tool. It’s more extensive than React, and you’ll learn the ins and outs of front end development with it.
Further, we always recommend that you work on proving your technical skills. Just having them isn’t enough. You have to build a portfolio. Hands-on experience matters more than theoretical knowledge when it comes to developer roles. Projects are also the first thing recruiters look at.
What Bootcamps Teach Front End Development?
Though many bootcamps teach coding skills that are valuable for front end devs, not all bootcamps will prepare students to work with front end frameworks properly. Since there are major differences between front end and backend developers, it is better to choose development bootcamps that focus on the key elements of front end programming.
- Program: Front End Web + Mobile Development
- Cost: $2,300
This bootcamp teaches students to become front end and mobile app developers in just 17 weeks. This part-time online program consists of just 15 students per class. In addition, Nucamp offers a variety of payment plans and financing options to help students with tuition.
The Tech Academy
- Program: Front-End Web Developer Boot Camp
- Cost: $5,300 (full time); $6,300 (part-time)
Nashville Software School
- Program: Front-End Web Designer/Developer Bootcamp
- Cost: $12,500
This offering from Nashville Software School is an online bootcamp that lasts six months. Students will get a comprehensive education and develop a strong knowledge of front end development technologies. To pay for tuition, students can access a variety of scholarships, payment plans, and financing options.
Have you ever wondered what’s behind a website or an app? What data do they parse through, and how do they collect it? What are the mechanisms that make it work a certain way? How do algorithms work? Who controls them, who writes them, who decides them? What do they determine?
If those are questions you’ve asked before, you’re probably interested in backend development. So what does backend development entail exactly? Well, it’s a complicated job and one that’s in very high demand. People often think there isn’t as much room for creativity in backend development, but there actually is.
You’re constantly problem-solving and having to find solutions to new, unexpected issues. You have to be inquisitive, curious, and hard-working. If that sounds like you, then you might be on the path to becoming an excellent backend developer.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
What Is Backend Development?
When trying to answer the question “what is backend development,” it is best to think of it as the framework and wiring of a house. The backend of a website is the combination of programming and technology that structures the website. It’s basically the brain of the site. There are three parts the user never sees: the server, the application, and the database.
Backend developers vs front end developers build and maintain the technology needed to enable the user-facing side of the website to exist. Backend development code makes everything the front end developer creates work more smoothly.
Backend devs are responsible for creating, maintaining, testing, and debugging the entire backend of a website or application. This includes the core application logic, databases, data and application integration, API, and other backend processes.
Backend Developer Skills
Backend development is a highly technical field of work. As such, there are a variety of backend developer skills that are essential. Backend developers need to have programming skills, general software development knowledge, and experience in database management. Learn more about key backend developer skills below.
- Backend languages. To be an effective backend developer, you will need to know more than one backend programming language. You can start by learning Ruby and Python.
- Knowledge of backend frameworks. One of the most essential backend developer skills is proficiency in multiple frameworks. This will allow you to build solid websites that offer a seamless experience to users.
- Database management. Knowing how to utilize database management tools properly is key to developing robust websites. These backend developer skills will allow you to make sure data is collected, stored, and used in a way that helps your client reach their goals.
- Application programming interfaces. APIs are an essential aspect of complex websites as they allow multiple software systems to communicate with each other.
- Communication. Backend developers need to communicate effectively with their clients, front end developers, and their development team. As such, being able to clearly communicate about technical topics is highly important.
Languages Used in Backend Development
The decisions usually change from company to company, and sometimes even within departments. Learn more about several of the key backend developer languages in the table below.
|Language||Used For||Average Salary||Companies That Use This Language|
|Python||General web development, automation, machine learning, prototyping, data analysis||$93,000||Google, IBM, Meta|
|Ruby||Web development, data processing, static site generation, web scraping, and crawling||$104,000||Airbnb, Shopify, Twitch|
|PHP||Server-side scripting, desktop applications, editing images||$73,000||Slack, Upwork, WordPress|
|Go||Cloud-based applications, online booking systems, cyber security, maintaining media platforms||$120,000||Alibaba, Capital One, Dropbox|
Technologies Used for Backend Development
Most modern websites are typically built with a variety of languages. The commonly used languages generally have several web frameworks to choose from when making a website. Like other parts of the tech industry, backend development moves quickly, so aspiring backend developers should stay aware of upcoming languages and frameworks.
In addition to mastering popular backend languages, backend developers will need to work with the technologies that build off of them. Developers may use backend technology such as Django, Flask, Ruby on Rails, Laravel, and more.
Backend Developer Jobs and Salary
On average, backend web developer jobs allow individuals to earn nearly $88,000 yearly, according to PayScale. However, you can have a higher backend developer job salary once you gain more experience and build a portfolio.
The job is fast-paced and challenging, and there are many jobs available. In fact, web developers have a faster-than-average job growth rate. Backend web developer jobs also allow for creativity and innovation, making it a rewarding position. Many people are satisfied with their backend developer jobs.
How to Become a Backend Developer
Most backend developers have some sort of formal training, like a bachelor’s degree or a bootcamp. Backend developers work more abstractly: they could be data mining, writing abstract algorithms, and so on.
Job openings for backend developers often call for experience with PHP frameworks like Zend, Symfony, and CakePHP; experience with version control software like SVN, CVS, or Git; and experience with Linux as a development and deployment system. A coding bootcamp is a great way to become a backend developer. It’ll give you benefits similar to those of a computer science degree in a fraction of the time.
What Bootcamps Teach Backend Development?
Backend development bootcamps teach students essential professional skills in a short amount of time. When considering front end vs backend developer roles, you should think about what technologies you are most interested in learning and what type of work suits you most.
If you want to work as a backend developer, you will want to search for backend development courses that teach you the job-specific skills you need. After all, there is a big difference between front end and backend developer roles, so a front end development course will not be as useful to you.
- Program: Backend Development Course
- Cost: Contact a program advisor for information
- Topics covered: Python, Django Web. Django REST, Django ORM, Selenium
This online course lasts for three months, during which students will complete three backend development projects. It is a part-time program that equips students with a variety of skills in Python and Django. Students can pay for this program through installments, an income share agreement, or student loans.
- Program: Python Course
- Cost: $3,950
- Topics covered: Python, object-oriented programming, data science, web development
This course will teach students to become Python professionals. It is an online course that offers students a variety of flexible financing options. The part-time schedule of the program also allows students to continue working full-time while building their skills. Students will learn important Python terminology and applications of the programming language.
- Program: Web Development Bootcamp
- Cost: Depends on location
This course prepares students to work as full stack web developers, so you will learn aspects of both front end and backend development. The full-time program lasts three months, and the part-time program lasts six months.
With locations around the world, tuition for this program varies. However, the full-time bootcamp in Miami costs $12,500, while the part-time program costs $13,000. Students can also take advantage of a wide range of payment options, including loans and payment plans.
What Is a Full Stack Developer?
Full stack developers are multifaceted programmers with a wide range of web development skills. They perform the full range of website building responsibilities, including both front end and backend work. To do so, full stack coders must learn all of the coding languages used by both trades.
Companies view these programmers as enormously valuable, as a business can hire one person (or group of people) to manage its entire website operation. In addition to a high salary, full stack developers enjoy a host of job opportunities due to their wide range of skills. This is a very popular field for coding bootcamp students to choose from due to its versatility. As a full stack web developer, students can choose a path in either front end or backend development.
In the United States, full stack coders make an average of $80,000 annually, according to PayScale. Experienced coders often break the $100,000 mark. Their salaries are slightly higher than front end and backend developers because full stack workers need to master more skills overall.
Choosing Which Type of Development Is Right for You
Choosing between front end vs backend developer roles can be difficult. However, the differences between front end and backend developer positions make them more suitable for different types of people.
If you enjoy the technical aspects of coding but still want to utilize your own creativity, then choosing to be a front end developer is wise. This will allow you to play around with visual elements while still building coding skills.
On the other hand, maybe you do not want to have to worry about user interfaces. If you would just like to focus on the technical coding aspect of web development, then working as a backend developer would be a better fit. Overall, even though front end vs backend developer roles vary, that does not mean that you cannot make the jump to the other side later on in your career.
Front End and Backend Development Programs With Career Karma
Now that you have some perspective on front end vs backend development, you probably have some more questions. At CareerKarma, we can help you find the perfect bootcamp that fits both your coding goals and your schedule. Sign up with us today to get started.
Front End vs Backend Developer FAQ
Front end and backend developers get paid roughly the same amount. The main factors that will influence how much you earn in one of these roles include your experience and location as well as the company you work for. Your earning potential as a front end vs backend developer will also be influenced by your own skillset.
Which is better front end or backend developer?
If you enjoy visual and creative processes, then front end development is better than backend development. However, those who do not enjoy designing user interfaces will be happier working as backend developers.
Which is easier front end or backend developer?
Neither a front end nor backend developer role is easier than the other. When asking whether front end vs backend developer roles are easier, you should know that both positions are highly technical. Though backend developers may take longer to master the necessary skills, front end development changes rapidly and requires a lot of adaptation.
Who is a full stack developer?
A full stack developer is a web developer that is skilled in both front end and backend development. With this, a full stack developer has the skills to facilitate the entire web development process.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.