How to decide between becoming a frontend, backend, or full-stack developer

Picture this: you’re fresh out of school or your first internship, with several programming languages under your belt. With a knack for web development, your next most calculated step would be to dive into becoming a full-time developer. But what to do, what to do? Do you run headfirst into the spotlight as a frontend developer, stay in the wings as a backend developer, or take on the daunting role of a full-stack developer? Don’t fret, we’re here help you make a decision by breaking down the nitty-gritty details of each position!

Frontend Developer

Literally everything you click and see on the internet is coded by frontend developers. From the minimalist frontpage of design sites to the mish-mash of items spilling out of your screen on taobao, frontend developers code for the people! Frontend developers are experts at what makes people click, weaving visual appeal with functionality to bring an exciting interface to the table.

If you’re looking at the title of a frontend developer, you’ve got to brush up on the basics. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are the essentials of every frontend developer starter pack. The thought of mastering these languages might see some of you running away in fear. But the good news is that solid working knowledge of these languages can be attained in a jiffy! Sites like GitHub and CodeAcademy offer free books and guides to jumpstart your coding journey. Most aspiring frontend developers also rely on the mighty JavaScript to create web elements like forms, modal windows and drop down tabs.

Bear in mind that frontend developers code for functionality. Of course the overall aesthetic of the website does play a part, but frontend developers bring the website to life with interactive, user-friendly functions.

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Backend Developer

Doesn’t the frontend developer do everything then? No way! Although frontend developers are in-charge of the front of every webpage, they can’t do any of that without backend developers. Hiding in the shadows of the frontpage is the sophisticated maze—the backend. The backend is the server-side portion of the website you don’t see. Responsible for organising and storing data, this area is where your backend developers come in. Working on algorithms, networks, and databases, backend developers are the backbone of every website. They keep pesky bugs away and your data safe.

Strings of numbers and code dominate the backend of every website. It’s all greek to us, but backend developers are able to battle their way through it all! Server side languages such as PHP, Python and Ruby are the basics needed for backend developing. Most backend developers also pick up frontend languages on the side.

As the front-end relies heavily on the server side, backenders certainly have their work cut out for them.The hardware and mechanics of each website are hard stuff, so backenders will have to communicate efficiently with frontenders. A small glitch on the server end could damage the frontend badly. That’s why most backenders dabble with frontend knowledge as well!

Full-stack Developer

Exactly as the title suggests, full-stack developers come chock-full with web development knowledge. This new job trend might sound snazzy, but it comes with a sack full of responsibilities. Not only do full-stack developers have to handle databases and servers, they’ll also have to juggle clients and design.The jack-of-all-trades of developers, full-stack developers are savvy at both front and backend coding. That being said, you don’t have to be an expert at all languages. Rather, full-stack developers are required to understand and work on both sides of a website or application.

To tackle the nooks and crannies of web development, full-stack developers should possess the languages mentioned above: HTML, CSS, Java, Python, Ruby and PHP. These full-stackers will be able to grapple with a wider range of web development possibilities and create one-of-a-kind products.

Your next job is waiting for you. Why postpone it?

Which one: frontend, backend, or full-stack developer?

You’ve got a few programming languages under your belt, but not enough for a clear indication of which developer role to take up. How do you know which role is your calling? We recommend looking into your own talents and personality. Ask yourself if you prefer plugging bugs and working on the ‘quieter’ side of things, or if the idea of giving life to dull front pages excite you?

One thing to note: demand for developers is extremely high, especially for full stackers. This is because young tech companies and startups are hunting for people who can flawlessly do both the frontend and backend jobs.

If you love the idea of seducing people with your web design, and how different elements of a webpage interact, a career in frontend developing might just be for you! Whether it’s choosing the right element placement or improving the smallest chatbots on the site, if it gets you excited, then the front of house is where you’ll belong.

On the other hand, managing and manipulating data are a large part of a day’s work as a backend developer. If you prefer working with strings of code and traversing different servers in search of the most productive algorithms for your site, the backend side of web development might be a better choice!

Tap, tappity tap, developer! 

No matter which side of web development you choose to pursue, bear in mind that web development is no easy feat. The transferring of data to and fro sites has opened up more loopholes for bugs and viruses to get through. So tap away, developers, and make the world wide web a safer place for everybody!

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