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Front-End Versus Back-End?

What's the difference between front-end and back-end software development?

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Front-End Versus Back-End?


December 15, 2021


Alex Miller

In web development, two skills come up more than others and generally encompass the full deal – Front-End and Back-End Web Development.

To learn either skill, you’ll often need programming courses or tech courses in the relevant field. It’s important you learn the differences between both terms as this will help you choose the right coding boot camp for your career needs.

Let's start with a crash course on them.

Web Development 101

This might be simplifying things a bit, but essentially, web developers are people who work to create functional websites. This includes both the layout of the platform and the functionality and usability of the website.

There are two types of web developers – Front-End and Back-End Web Developers. For web development, these two are crucial. However, people tend to mix up their functions. These are two distinct terms with quite a few differences.

Let's take a look at each term and figure out how it differs from the other.

Front-End Web Development

This is concerned with the creation of “front-end” elements of a website. These front-end features are what users are concerned with.

Essentially, the front-end developer takes a website’s design and makes it functional using a set of relevant languages.Everything from navigation, text style, colour, buttons, images, and other interactive features to anything that is considered relevant to the client side of the website is the job of the front-end developer. Basically, the design, behaviour, and even content that pops up when a user browses a website is their responsibility.

Other than the basic stuff, the overall performance of the website when a client/user uses it is also part of this.

Front-End Languages

Front-end programming languages include HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and others. Think of these as building blocks of the web interface.


HTML, Hypertext Markup Language, is a markup language used to design the client-end of the website. It uses a set of markup symbols that basically tells the browser how to display words and images on the page.

It's super important in front-end development as you'll be needing HTML to add graphical interfaces to the webpage.

  1. CSS

Cascading Style Sheets, CSS, contains coding elements that allow you to efficiently structure your web pages and layout. While HTML elements are displayed on the screen, CSS describes how this happens.

  1. JavaScript

Beyond the technical design of the website, JavaScript is what makes for an intuitive user interface.

You’ll need this for a front-end web development where the site is functional and able to successfully engage with users.

Front-End Developer Career Paths

There are quite a few career paths a front-end developer could take such as becoming a Web Designer, User Interface (UI) Designer, User Experience (UX) Designer, Front-End Engineer, or even a Front-End Developer.

Back-End Web DevelopmentBoth front-end and back-end web development are geared towards creating a fully functional website. However, unlike the former that takes care of the user side of things, the back-end deals in the parts of the website that users don't see. Back-end programming takes what the front-enders have come up with and builds on it to create a platform that performs optimally. It’s basically the server side of the process.

This is where one can find relevant data stored and arranged so they can be maximised by the users, because although it's not used directly by the users, they still indirectly use it via front-end applications.

It's a back-end developer’s job to come up with a program that can deliver any requested data.

A few other aspects of back-end web development include writing APIs, managing databases, testing back-end processes, building libraries, creating services that define business logic, and lots more.

Back-End Programming Languages

Essential back-end languages include Python, Ruby, PHP, JavaScript, and Java.


This is pretty popular in the programming world. It's a high level, general-purpose programming language used in web development for server-side technology to help with URL routing, HTTP request, and accessing databases.

  1. Ruby

Ruby is another high-level programming language used here. It’s a robust, dynamically typed language used in back-end web development.

  1. JavaScript

Turns out this isn't only used for front-end development. It's a foundational web development language also  used across the web development stack for back-end web development.

  1. Java

No, this isn't a typo. Java is different from JavaScript. Java is strictly back-end. It’s often written in an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Afterward, it's compiled into bytecode which is read by a software interpreter.

  1. PHP, Hypertext Preprocessor

This is strictly for back-end web development. It's an open-source scripting, programming language characterised by a multi-threaded model.

PHP is a scripting language that interprets programming instructions or scripts to automate the process of the website, thereby improving overall functionality.

Back-End Developer Career Paths

There's a few back-end programming jobs you can take on include becoming a Software Developer, Java Developer, Full Stack Developer, and Back-End Developer.

Frameworks and Libraries

This is another very important aspect of web development. They’re essentially reusable code written by someone else to help you solve common problems.

While a library has specific applications to perform, a framework is just that – a framework where the application determines the operation.

Several libraries and frameworks are used in front-end development including Angular JS, React.js, jQuery, SASS, Flutter, Semantic-UI, Foundation, Ember.js, etc.

For back-end web development, libraries and frameworks used here include Django, Laravel, CakePHP, SyncanoJS, etc.

Becoming a Web Developer

At this point, you know what being a back-end or front-end developer means. Now, it's time to take the actual steps that could get you to become either one (or both of these).

Basically, you need development courses and programming courses. If you're already in the tech world but in different field, a little upskilling will help you add web programmer/developer to your resumé.

To become a back-end developer, you need to have a few skills. We recommend you learn Python, Java, JavaScript, PHP, HTML, and CSS.

To become a front-end web developer, you will need to learn CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and other front-end programming languages.

Also, communication skills will come in handy, especially when you need to collaborate with front-end or back-end developers on a project.

Additionally, both types of developers should be skilled in relevant frameworks and libraries.

Throw some problem-solving skills into the mix and you're well on your way to becoming a top performer in web development.

To take adequate web development courses and also learning coding, reach out to us at Knoma. We've got a marketplace with a huge range of online tech courses. Simply visit our website and you can start learning now! We've got some great financing options so you can go ahead and start learning to pay later. Visit Knoma for more information.

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