Front-End vs. Back-End Developer Career: What To Choose?

Simon Frey

In the next ten years, the demand for software development specialists is expected to grow by 22%, which is much higher than the average growth in other industries. That’s why more and more college students are looking into this career opportunity. Meanwhile, the older population is also considering a career switch.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for specialists in the IT industry has grown. The developers’ ability to work remotely without losing productivity made this position even more appealing.

When considering a career path in development, you have many different options to choose from. Two of them are front-end and back-end development. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two.

Short definition: The results of front-end developer’s work are what the users see when interacting with the program. The “back-end” development focuses on making the program work at the levels that users don’t have access to.

Front-End Development

The front-end developer works on designing the surface (i.e. storefront) of the app, program, or platform. They change the appearance of the user interface to meet their needs. Essentially, this developer works on the part of the program that the user can see and interact with to perform the desired tasks.

Front-end web developers work on the appearance of a website. They design menus, customize layouts, add images, build easy navigation, and much more. In short, their key focus is user experience. This developer makes it easy for the user to take advantage of the program and achieve their goals.

Languages: Front-end developers tend to use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Back-End Development

Similar to front-end developers, back-end specialists work on making sure that the program is functioning properly. However, their goal is to make sure that the software runs well behind the scenes.

They make it possible for the front-end developers to do their job. However, without the work done by front-end developers, the back-end efforts could never come to light.

It’s impossible to see what back-end developers are actually doing without checking the source code.

Languages: Back-end developers work with a huge variety of programming languages. Some of them are JavaScript. Python, and C#.

What About Full-Stack Development?

Full-stack developers can combine front-end and back-end development to create the entire product. The full-stack programmer would need a substantial set of skills to become the hybrid of front and back0end developers. This specialist can work on designing an entire program from scratch.

While full-stack developers need to have multiple skills, it doesn’t mean their salaries are higher than those of back-end or front-end developers. The salary can depend on a variety of factors that don’t have to do with the skillset.

How to Choose the Right Type of Software Development?

If you are starting from scratch, both front-end and back-end software development careers can be a great choice. If you already have a certain knowledge of the programming languages then you may want to choose the direction that requires what you already know.

Consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you prefer to take an artistic approach to development?
  • Do you like working toward improving user experience?
  • Would you like to focus on website appearance?
  • Do you prefer working on the visual framework?

If you answered “yes” to these questions then you can consider a career in front-end development. If you answered “no,” ask the following questions:

  • Do you prefer using algorithms for making an informed decision?
  • Do you like a coding challenge?
  • Do you enjoy complex programming languages?
  • Would you be happy with working behind the scenes?
  • Are you a fan of exploring frameworks and libraries?

If these questions sound more appealing, then consider becoming a back-end developer.

The Takeaway

Both front and back-end development are excellent career paths for candidates of all levels. The difference in salaries isn’t drastic. So you have to rely on what looks more appealing to you.

Take the time to study what both career paths entail. Look at the work in progress. Perhaps, an example or an experienced developer’s advice can help you make the final decision.

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