Web Developers Categorized

/ February 17, 2017/ Frontend

The Internet has more than a million of webpages and still counting. Websites have been an important component for any business to stay competitive. It doesn’t even count the non-organizations, professions, and other industries that put up websites for information purposes only. And with the constant changes in web development season after season, the demand for web developers hasn’t gone down.

But web developers are not the same. As a group, it has a sub-group of its own. And like our categories on this blog, web developers are categorized as frontend, backend, and full-stack (in between).

When we say frontend, it is what the users see, the part of the website that users interact with. Frontend developers are responsible for the website’s interior design to make a beautiful and functional user-experience. Frontend developers work closely with designers or user experience analysts to bring mock ups, or wireframes, from development to delivery. They identify specific issues in user experience and provide recommendations and code solutions that will influence the design. They are technical persons with a flair in visual arts.

Someone could create the logo, a photographer took pictures, a copywriter wrote the text (there are times they could do these, too), but the frontend developer will assemble all of these in a jigsaw puzzle, to translate them into web language.

They should be fluent in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript programming languages because these are the languages mostly used in the frontend web development. They should also be familiar with frameworks like Bootstrap, AngularJS, etc. which ensure great-looking content no matter the device, and libraries like jQuery. They also need an experience with Ajax, a widely used technique for using Javascript that lets pages dynamically load by downloading server data in the background.

When we say backend, it is the website’s server, applications, and database. The backend developers build and maintain the technology that power these components together to enable that website going. Therefore, it makes the server, the applications, and the database communicate with each other just for the user to experience the website’s functionality.

Unlike frontend developers, backend developers collaborate with business stakeholders to understand their particular needs. They then translate those needs into technical requirements and come up with the most effective and efficient solution in clean, portable, well-documented codes.

Unlike frontend devs, backend developers are fluent in PHP, Ruby/Rails, Python, Java, and .Net to build an application, and tools like MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server for a database. They should also be familiar with PHP frameworks like CodeIgniter, Laravel, Symfony, CakePHP, etc.; have an experience with version control software like Git; and with Linux as a development and deployment system.

But there are a few breed of developers who could go in between. These are the full-stack developers, the Jack of all trades in web development. They have cross-disciplined themselves in frontend and backend and switch from one mode to the other with ease. They could work cross-functionally on the full stack of technology (front and back), thus they’re named as such.

They’re both fluent in both frontend and backend languages and frameworks. Working on both the client and server side professionally opens more opportunities. However, like a chef, you could be good in cooking and baking but mastering them both takes time and experience.

Full stack developers should be knowledgeable in every phase of web development. From setting up and configuring servers, writing the server-side APIs, going to the client-side JavaScript, and fine tuning a design in CSS. By doing both ends, they could immediately identify the issues affecting each side and provide solutions.

However, aside from the technical skills listed above, developers should also hone their soft skills like attention to detail, problem solving, and communication skills to stand out among the sea of web developers worldwide.


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