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Front-End, Back-End, and Full Stack Developers: What Are Their Differences?

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Front-End, Back-End, and Full Stack Developers: What Are Their Differences? 1

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As you start looking for a developer for your next project, you may have been asked by a recruiter, or anyone helping, if you are looking for a full-stack developer, or front-end or back-end developer? And you may have wondered what their differences are? Well, this article is here to help you find out! 

Front End, Back End, and Full Stack developers are the usual terms you can find in any job post or any software development firm you meet. Before knowing what these positions really mean, it may even occur to you that all developers are the same. You might also be thinking that all of their functionalities are identical, which is quite right in a manner that they are interconnected. 

Before digging down the differences, we must note that an application developer is the one responsible for programming applications that loads from the server and run inside the client, such as a mobile device, or a web browser. Their specialties are divided into three: Front End, Back End, and Full-Stack. The three are different from each other, such as the skills needed and roles in creating codes. It is best to note that starting from the web’s URL, crisp layout, responsive pages, to impressive graphic visuals, all of these are part of the web developer’s crafts.

According to statistical reports, there are already over 1.5 billion websites created, which means that skilled web developers’ demand would reach its highest peak. Their skills for coding, building, analyzing, and maintaining websites would help businesses stay competitive and on-trend. 

Fullstack vs Backend vs Frontend: Which is Better for Your Business?

If you’re a start-up business or an established one that would be thrilled to hire web developers, then we’ll break this down to you quickly. 

What is a Front-end Developer?

The Front End developers are the crafters of the website’s front page where users can navigate around the internet, such as the fonts, colors, lists, dropdown menus, and sliders. This is a collective hustling side of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS languages. Some called this page the “client-side.” These guys are the main ones responsible for the website’s user-facing architecture experience and code. 

What Does a Front-end Developer Do?

Front-End developers handle the face of your application. Having expert front developers ensure your Business has great-looking content on the application as they can also leverage their creativity in designing the interior part of the website. This is also the area where these guys collaborate with the clients as they dictate the website’s taste and style along with the designers who create the logo and graphics, content writers for the content creation and messages, and photographers for high-definition brand images. They will then assemble all of those products, translate them into web-speak, and build the user experience.  

Front End Languages

In order for the Front End developers to execute the functionality, they must obtain specific skills and extensive familiarity with coding languages. The primary language that they have to be experts on would be CSS, HTML, and Javascript. They also must be familiar with technologies such as React, Foundation, Bootstrap, EmberJS, Backbone, React Native, or AngularJS. And to complete the Front End development expertise, the guys would be familiar with Ajax. 

Some of the front-end developer capabilities include, but not limited to

  1. HTML
  2. JavaScript
  3. CSS
  4. JQuery
  5. CSS3
  6. UI
  7. UX

Some Javascript frameworks include

  • Angular.js,
  • ReactJS,
  • Vue.js,
  • Ember.js, and
  • Meteor.js

Aside from creating the user interface experience smoothly, the Front End developers can point out specific issues in the UI and be able to provide code resolutions for the design. Though they are the one who is responsible for the website’s design, this does not necessarily mean that they are the graphic designers. But they are associated with the design and layout principles like what graphic designers’ practice in web development. 

Technically, the front end developers are the ones who construct the outward appearance of the website. They have to be particular that the front would be readable and responsive as possible or per the client’s discretion. 

What is a Back-end Developer?

The Back End developers are the people who mine, create, and code on the server. The back-end area consists of the database, server, and application. They work side by side with the front-end developers to make their code responsive within the application design. They are also the one who maintains the technology that has been created inside the server and database. The back-end developer will communicate to the owner as to the website’s functionality and need then; they will translate it to technical requirements and create the best solution for architecting the technology.

What Does a Back-end Developer Do?

It is also their responsibility to build and maintain the website, making sure that the site remains live, functional, and searchable. This makes the back end developers the foundation builder of the website. Without their specialties, the website or app will fail to meet consumers’ demand and interest, sabotaging the mere reason of having a business website. 

Back End Languages and Tools

In order for the Back End developers to produce the technical solutions, they must be equipped with the right skills and tools. This will also make the application, server, and database communicate with each other. These languages are also specific to their functionality. 

Server-side languages and technologies include, but not limited to Node JS, Python, C++,  PHP, Ruby, Java and Microsoft .NET framework.

Backend application uses different server techniques to store the data, including relational and NoSQL databases Some of the relational databases include

  1. Oracle
  2. MySQL
  3. SQL Server
  4. Postgresql

NoSQL databases include Mongo DB and MarkLogic

These skills help the back-end developers build web applications in tidy, portable, and well-documented codes. This then gives that effective and efficient solution in architecting web technology. These guys will be the ones to deal with almost everything related to the inside of the website, which can be seen by any users unless opening through HTML coding. Before even the front end can do their interior website designing, the back end has to create the platform or sire beforehand, which includes databases, servers, applications, and other kinds of technology. 

Front-End, Back-End, and Full Stack Developers: What Are Their Differences? 2

What is a Full-Stack Developer?

The Full-Stack developers are the “Jack of All Trades” as he is the combination of both front-end and back-end expertise. These guys have all layers of expertise in web application development, including the client and hosting, server, data modeling or structuring, user experience and interface, and the client-facing. The idea of a full-stack developer is that they can work cross-functionally for both back-end and front-end development. 

What Does a Full Stack Developer Do?

When it comes to specific skills, Full-Stack developers must be knowledgeable in every category of how the web works, from setting up Linux servers, going into the client-side JavaScript for application, writing APIs for servers, and keen design to do the CSS. Having extensive ideas and expertise with both front-end and back-end tools, the full stack developers will be able to identify the client and server-side responsibilities. These people can then articulate the advantages and disadvantages of different solutions for the website. 

From a developer standpoint, it is unnecessary to settle down as a front-end or back-end developer, as you have the choice and ability to do both. However, this means that you are not mastering one skill set at once, but you can work it out. The Full-Stack developers can create sites from scratch and code web applications to satisfy the server-side and the client-side. They are also responsible for setting up services and components, using APIs that envelop business logic, resolving business dilemmas, and accessing website infrastructure like file servers, databases, and cloud services. 

To give clarity as to the Full Stack development, this does not directly mean that they will be the ones to do site coding all by themselves. Most of these guys are either in the back end or front end code of the site. This depends on the business’ needs and wants for their websites. But it will all come down that they will be able to support anywhere they are needed. 

Front-End, Back-End, and Full Stack Developers: What Are Their Differences? 3

How are they all connected?

Now that you are familiar with the roles that are handling different parts of the applications, how do they make sure the application is integrated? As talked about in the earlier part of this article,

  • front-end developers creating application screens using HTML, CSS, Javascript and creating a wonderful visual experience for the users.
  • back-end developers write the business logic and store and load the data to and from the databases

But how both of this work is connected. Few additional items to consider.

  1. API – the backend of the application is exposed as an API (Application Programming Interface).
  2. Front-end of the application, whether browser or mobile app interface, communicate with the backend through the API
  3. The build process is used to package the application to be deployed on the server
  4. Development environment could be Linux, Windows, or fully cloud-based
  5. Application is deployed on the cloud such as Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure.

There are many business reasons for any approach. At Technology Rivers, we work with customers to come up with the right tools, technologies, and strategies as per business requirements.


The increasing demand for the creation of business websites also leads to a higher demand for skilled web developers and software consultancy firms. And as the year progresses, there is no sign of it slowing down either way. As for some published reports, the web development profession has been growing gradually by 13% than other professions. Web developers are now also being viewed as valuable assets in any type of Business. Getting to know the distinction of their skill categories is one step in understanding any software business needs.

Developing a business website itself is quite dynamic; the distinguishable differences between web development specialties might change later on as the technology progresses. One must always be versatile, adaptive to change, and forward thinker as much as possible to keep up with the growing technological trend. And as we have discussed above, their difference, distinct areas, and skills should now be more evident than the vague description you had before.  

To summarize, the front end developers work with the browser and programming standpoint, back end developers work with the server or cloud and algorithms, and the full stack developers work for both areas. If you focus more on developing your website’s visual aspects and sound design, then that’s the time you have to work with software developers or consultancy firms.

Looking for software developers that will help you build and enhance your software application? Get in touch with us today! We can help you brainstorm.

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