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Front-End vs. Back-End vs. Full Stack Developers – What’s the Difference?

June 28, 2016

When you think of “web development,” the first thing that comes to mind is websites, but what does it mean exactly? Web development is a broad term that describes tasks associated with developing websites and webpages that are hosted on the Internet. No matter what type of website it is, it was built by a web developer and there are three different kinds: front-end, back-end, and full-stack. Don’t know the difference between any of them? No worries, we’re here to help differentiate between the three roles.

Front-End Developer

As the name suggests, “front-end” refers to the things that can be seen visually  on the website. To be able to do this successfully, front-end developers typically use and focus on the three languages that in the browser: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. By grasping these languages, it will give developers all they need to design the user interface in a more aesthetically pleasing way and much smoother for those who are using it. It also make the necessary information presented effectively to achieve the website’s purpose.

Back-End Developer

Unlike the responsibilities of front-end developers to make things look pretty, the back-end is never visible users and consists of three parts: a server, an application, and a database – also known as the “brain” of the website. Back-end developers take code from the front-end and implements it into an application where everything is displayed using data that is housed in a database. These developers work closely with functionality specifications that the end user wants to achieve and do all they can in order to meet those needs.

Full-Stack Developer

A full-stack developer gets the best of both worlds and works with front and back-end elements. When it comes to “stack,” it refers to layers of a website and developers need to have expertise in all parts of the development process. Since full-stack combines two types of development into one, full-stack developers can speak comfortably about both database and browser.

Did you find this post helpful? If so, you might want to check out our post on “Tech Terms You’ve Probably Heard But Make You Go Huh?”

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VP of Marketing at Digital Astronauts Ronny Cheng is one of the Co-Founder's of Digital Astronauts and has helped drive lead generation in the software industry for organizations of all sizes -- from start-ups to Fortune 500's. He helped build one of the first online software review websites, specializing in CRM, ERP, and HR software. He's a nationally published author with extensive experience working with the HR/Recruiting industries largest brands. In his spare time, you can catch him on Instagram doing his best food blogger impersonation.
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