Frontend vs Backend Development: What Is the Difference?
Turn to Google with any question in the world, and you have more than 5 billion websites at your fingertips in less than half a second. Web developers are responsible for a significant part of the smooth and hassle-free experience of surfing through the internet.
The internet has heralded a wave of opportunities for developers in two major fields- Frontend development and backend development. With the growing demand for websites for individuals and businesses alike, web developers enjoy tremendous job security. But what differentiates these two professions, and which one of these should you be going for?
What is Frontend Web Development?
Also, known as front-of-the-frontend development, frontend web development is all about the look and feel of the website. The frontend is the part of the website that users interact with, including drop-down menus, sliders, navigation panels, buttons, and attractive animation. In essence, a frontend developer is responsible for curating a seamless user experience for a visitor by making website navigation intuitive.
Recently, frontend web development has gained more momentum as UI/UX designers are beginning to understand the role of placement of tools and buttons in driving the user into a certain direction on your website.
Skills required to be a Frontend developer
It is absolutely essential for every aspiring frontend developer to be adept in these three languages.
Additionally, many frameworks have been introduced over the years to make the task of frontend developers easier. These include Angular, React, Ember and Backbone. While these frameworks have gained popularity for their ease of use and extensive libraries, they collectively present a major drawback to frontend developers. The most challenging part of being a frontend developer is the number of tools and frameworks you need to keep up with. As the sizes of screens vary with the variety of devices being introduced, it becomes difficult to make your website responsive to all screen sizes yet creative. Another challenge, due to the variety in network strengths, is that the website must be quick to respond, or else it may drive potential traffic away.
What is Backend Development?
Also called back-of-the-frontend development, this is the part of development that focuses on what happens when you click on a button or fill a contact form. By defining the processes the get executed in the backdrop, backend developers basically add the functionality to a website.
Backend development does not rule out the need for Frontend development, in fact, it only emphasizes it. For instance, when you search for a product on Amazon.com (in the frontend), the search query is received and processed by the backend and the relevant search results are returned. These results are then displayed to you in a specific format dictated by the frontend.
Skills required to be a Backend developer
The backend usually consists of a server, an application, and a database. For these three components to communicate effectively, backend developers use server-side languages such as Java, PHP, Ruby, Python for building server-side applications. In addition to this, they use MySQL or Oracle database management systems to maintain and update user data. Hence, it is imperative that backend developers have complete knowledge of a backend framework that can easily be integrated into the frontend. Rails is such a framework written on Ruby, thus Ruby on Rails is a popular technology for building web applications in a dynamic environment.
The presence of absence of the backend is what determines if a site is static or dynamic. For instance, if you simply want to build a portfolio for a restaurant, a business, or yourself, you simply want to display specific information in an easy-to-consume manner. This is an example of a static website. On the other hand, if you want your website to communicate with users and deliver information or services, such as booking air tickets or looking for hotels in nearby places, you need to build a dynamic website.
Programmers that specialize in backend development must make a concerted effort to stay current with changing technologies and coding languages. They must stay current with server technology such as Nginx, Apache, IIS, and Microsoft IIS.
Extensive Linux experience is always advantageous. It is also necessary to be familiar with web services and application program interfaces (APIs). A developer that is well-versed in techniques such as Representational State Transfer (REST) and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) will always be in demand. Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) companies have evolved into a viable alternative during the previous few years. They’re particularly helpful when designing mobile apps on a tight deadline.
How big is your paycheck?
According to Glassdoor, the average base pay of a Frontend developer is 5 LPA, however, it may increase with the complexity and duration of the project. Similarly, the average base pay of a Backend developer is 9Lpa.
Now that you understand what backend and frontend development are, and what entails these roles, you can choose which track you want to follow in your career. It doesn’t matter if you don’t belong from a Computer-oriented background. Programming languages are simple and easy-to-learn, and only demand dedication on your end.
In case you’re still confused about your preference, try your hands at both of these in boot camps. Try building projects in frontend or backend web applications to get a clearer understanding. If you like both these fields, you are on your way to becoming a Full-stack developer- a professional who can build both the backend and frontend of a website or application. The average salary of a full-stack developer is 7Lpa according to Glassdoor.
Web development has opportunities in various avenues. Depending upon your interest, level of creativity, and understanding of processes, you may choose to become a Frontend, Backend, or Full-stack developer. However, in all of these fields, soft skills such as a solution-oriented approach, team spirit, attention to detail and strong communication will help you excel quickly.