If we wanted to discover the many and greatly diverse reasons why today's developers decided to enter into this specialist world, all we'd need to do is ask. From those that adore graphic design and want to take their passion a step further, unleashing their visual creations to a webpage's interface, to those who love snooping around in the underbelly of databases, API's or exploring the inner workings of servers; in other words, everything that users don't see.
As such, depending on what they prefer to work on, they'll specialise either in the front-end or back-end. Although technology is continuously evolving and these two fields are becoming increasingly connected, there is still a marked difference that separates them. Although the skills needed for either side are very similar, they still demand certain skills and knowledge that are unique to either back-end or front-end development. Let's go over the main characteristics of each side of the development world.
As its name suggests, front-end development encompasses the configuration and design of everything that web surfers see when they use a website or app. It's the visual aspect of the job that tends to attract those developers with a keen interest for graphic design. These developers' task is to create interfaces that users will find as attractive as they do intuitive, making the user experience a much more gratifying one.
What's more, they need to be proficient in other tools not traditionally used by developers such as image editing programmes (one example might be Photoshop), or platforms such as Figma or Sketch that allow developers to create prototypes, preview navigation through the platform and test different concepts before finalising the development.
As a front-end developer, your job is to use all these technologies and languages to construct the visuals and design of the app or website in question, in order to therefore generate a certain feeling among its users so they want to come back. It's no easy feat.
Developers that choose to specialise in back-end development are those that prefer to configure databases, that prefer to work out how to optimise server performance so that they can adequately handle the workload, those who take advantage of the resources third party API's can provide to achieve optimum developments... Ultimately, these developers deal with everything that's hidden from view from users that visit a website or app and provide their data to register or make a purchase from that platform.
You wouldn't be the first one. If you enjoy front-end design as much as back-end development, you could steer your career path towards a job in full stack development. Although there's still some scepticism surrounding these profiles, given it's considered better to specialise in one area or another, the truth is that companies are increasingly investing in full stack developers that are able to operate seamlessly designing both the interface to be displayed in the browser and the infrastructure hidden below the surface.
Which one gets your development juices flowing? Front-end or back-end? Or perhaps you want to have your cake and eat it too; could full stack development be your calling?
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