Front End vs Back End Development – What is The Difference?


Front-end and back-end development are two vital areas of coding. Front-end development describes programming that is done to a site to impact the client side or the user side of a website or application. Back-end development is the programming done on the server-side or the side that only a developer sees. 

Difference between front-end and back-end development

If you’re new to software development, don’t fret, it’s pretty simple to tell the difference between front-end and back-end development. 

What is front-end development?

When you hear developers refer to the front end of a website or an application, they’re talking about the part of the website that you can see and interact with as a user. The front end includes everything from the website’s design, structure, and layout to the content. When a new visitor clicks on a website or an app, the front end is the first impression of a company or brand, so a user-friendly (UX) front-end design is essential. You can read more about front-end development here.

What is back-end development?

While the front end is the look and feel of a website, the back end is everything behind the scenes of a website or application that the user can’t see. The back end collects data from external servers and apps and filters this information back into the website to process user requests. For example, if you’re booking a flight, you enter your information into the website, that information will be stored in a database created on a server and processed to book your flights. All of these stages are part of back-end development.

Back-end developers are responsible for building the technologies that host these database interactions and user requests. Their role is essential. They implement and manage all the behind-the-scenes elements of back-end development to ensure the smooth and efficient functioning of a website or an application. You can read more about back-end development here

Front-end and back-end technologies

Now that we know the difference between front-end and back-end development, let’s look at some of the languages and technologies used. 

Front end technologies

Three of the main front-end languages that software developers adopt to create seamless, user-friendly websites are: 

  • HTML
    HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language, and it’s all about content. It defines the structure of the web pages that we view in our browser every time we go to Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, or any other site. Most importantly, it allows us to link externally to other web pages.
  • CSS 
    Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is the language of style. It allows developers to provide visual impact for websites without having to write complex HTML. CSS allows you to modify the elements that you’ve created in HTML and gives an insight into working with different types of fonts and other style features. It adds the design element to web pages and applications.
  • JavaScript 
    JavaScript is another essential coding language for front-end development. It allows you to enhance your HTML with animation, interactivity, and dynamic visual effects. It integrates the ability to provide immediate feedback to users, making web pages more insightful. For example, a shopping cart or basket on a website that adds up the total cost is an interactive JavaScript feature.

Back end technologies

There are many powerful back-end languages. Let’s have a look at two of them. 

  • Python
    Python is a dynamic, general-purpose language. It is the perfect back-end language for learning due to its simple syntax. Developers can use Python to build web or app prototypes for development and data analysis. It is a constantly evolving language thanks to its open-source nature. Python is a popular language among tech giants like Google, Instagram and Reddit.
  • Ruby
    Ruby is a dynamic, open-source programming language focusing on simplicity and productivity. It is a popular language because it’s easy to read and write. In Ruby, developers can adapt all information and code to add particular properties and actions. It’s a flexible language; users can adjust and alter features according to their needs. Ruby is a developer-oriented language rather than a machine-specific language; it doesn’t restrict the coder.

Front end and back end opportunities

There is no real competition between front and back-end development. Both types of developers are in high demand when it comes to job opportunities.

However, if you are interested in pursuing a career that involves elements of both front and back-end development, a full-stack developer role may be for you. Full stack developers work to maintain applications from end to end, both the client-side and server-side, as well as the database and system administration.

Career paths

Depending on your chosen development route, there are different career paths best suited to get you there. 

For front-end development, you may find an interest in design, and UX serves you well, whereas, with the back end, data and analytics skills are beneficial. Soft skills that are key for both roles include good communication, creativity and an interest in the ever-changing trends and technologies in the industry.

Learn more about code

Hopefully, this blog helped break down intimidating terms like front end and back end so that you could learn more about the coding technologies involved in each stage of software development. If you’re interested in learning more about coding languages, why not sign up for our free 5 Day Coding Language? You’ll learn basic HTML, CSS and JavaScript and understand how these languages work.

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