Who is a front-end developer? What do they do? And what about a back-end engineer?
Even in 2022, some people wonder what characterizes those two. In this article, we’ll explain everything.
Let’s talk about the brains behind all the web and mobile apps that we use, the most popular languages and frameworks of 2022, and what are the differences between a front-end and a back-end developer.
Web development refers to designing, developing, testing, and releasing a new web-based product.
Web development has a wide range of sub-fields, specializations, and techniques that are constantly evolving, to make the development process easier or create more useful web applications.
Before we start discussing the responsibilities and skills of a front-end and back-end developer, we should probably explain what is said front-end and back-end development. Let us explain.
This is what most people are familiar with. This type of development uses languages such as HTML and CSS to style text, images, and other elements on a webpage.
This means that a front-end developer is responsible for the user interface of a website. The front-end development process involves making layouts, taking care of colors and font sizes, styling text and images, and putting together all the elements of a webpage.
Back-end development involves the storage and manipulation of data on the website's server.
This allows back-end developers to create programs that manipulate data from databases or files on a computer. Back-end systems are usually written in languages such as Java or Python.
Full-stack development includes back-end and front-end web development.
A full-stack approach to web development is the most common approach to web development.
According to the latest Stackoverflow survey, the most popular front-end languages and frameworks in 2022 go as follows:
Honorable mention to CSS – which stands for Cascading Style Sheets and is the standard used by developers to style and organize a website's layout visually.
Now let’s take a look at the most popular back-end development languages and frameworks that were the crowd’s favorites in 2022.
As you probably noticed, front-end development is focused more on visual elements such as website design, while back-end development focuses on the logic that makes it function.
Back-end developers are usually more concerned with how something works. They're trying to solve a problem. Front-end developers, on the other hand, are usually more concerned with how it looks.
Although front-end and back-end developers both have their challenges and use very different tools, they both work together to create websites and apps.
In 2022, over 46% of developers declare to be full-stack engineers. Right behind them, we have the back-end developers (43%). Front-end developers make up 25% of the surveyed professionals. This can mean that there’s still a shortage of front-end specialists, so if you’re thinking about a career change, front-end could be the way to go.
Being a front-end developer is not an easy task whatsoever. They have common characteristics and skills, so before you start applying for a developer position, make sure you have:
On the other hand, back-end developers have their own set of crucial skills, which include:
If we look closely at StackOverflow’s 2022 survey, we’ll notice that back-end developers, on average, get around $69,000 salary while their front-end peers’ median is around $60,000.
Of course, we have to take into consideration that the number of responses gathered for those statistics wasn’t equal (17,677 for the back end vs 9,915 for the front end). Still, we can conclude that a back-end developer position is better paid than its front-end equivalent.
For front-end vs back-end developers, there is no straight answer to this.
The back end is typically used to store the data and communicate with the application or database, while the front end handles user interactions like clicks, form submissions, etc. Many people argue that the back end is harder than the front end because a developer needs to learn more languages and frameworks when they build a back end.
It also takes more skill in web architecture because every piece needs to be meticulously planned out from start to finish with no room for mistakes.
Front-end development, as it has traditionally been seen, is more popular among web developers who work on websites such as WordPress. However, a popularity shift for back-end development can be seen in the new wave of web applications. These apps no longer require a browser to be used but are instead hosted locally on an application or downloaded to a mobile device.
Most applications require data retrieval, server processing, and storage. Applications also can work without any front-end frameworks, but their functionality, interactivity, and maintainability will be very limited.
On the other hand, the survey shows a smaller number of front-end developers, which can make us believe that the front-end skillset is more in demand now. What is more, thanks to the solutions like Node.js, front-end developers can easily ‘write’ the back end using front-end languages.
That being said, we also should mention that it’s possible to learn either back-end or front-end development without knowing the other one, however, it seems that a full stack position is still the most sought for.
HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) is a front-end language. It’s what the browser reads. It’s often thought of as the glue that holds a website together. It provides structure, such as defining how links should be displayed on different devices or designating certain text to appear in boldface. HTML is categorized as a scripting language because it's designed to produce entire documents rather than just text alone.
Java is a back-end language. It’s a programming language that was developed to be simple to use and powerful enough to meet the demands of an ever-changing tech world. Java is so versatile that it can be used for practically anything from writing Android apps to running a back-end system for large stores. It’s popular with server-side programmers because it can run on any type of OS, as well as on various platforms.
Python is a back-end language. This is because Python lets the programmer bind data with a user interface. Python's design focus is on its expressiveness and succinctness, which makes it easy to code your back-end code. Python can also be used as a front-end language, but this would require some extra work. For example, you can use Python to create an HTML webpage that works with AJAX or JSON. You also need to include a framework like Django or Flask to make it happen.
C# has been linked to both a front-end and a back-end language. It can be used in both areas and is considered one of the more versatile languages, although it remains the most popular among back-end developers. The C# compiler produces IL code that can be executed on a CPU or in the CLR, which is also an intermediate language. This means that it’s not possible to predict how C# will be interpreted by its target environment without actually running it, because different compilers and runtime may produce different outputs depending on the context and platform.
There are some key differences between a front-end and a back-end developer. Those can be seen in their skillset, programming languages, and frameworks they use or their average salary.
As for now, back-end engineers dominate the market of software engineers, so there’s more room for front-end newbies.
If you’re currently debating which route to go, start by reviewing your existing skills and interests, match them to the requirements of each aspect of software development, and go from there. Good luck!