Front End vs Back End

Front End vs Back End: What's the Difference?

Author: Helen Rebane

29 June, 2021

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If you are into programming, you might have heard about front end and back end development. But if you are a complete beginner, these terms might be confusing to you. What exactly do they mean, and what is the difference between the front end and back end? In this blog post, we will take a deeper look at both of them so that you can finally understand which one is more suited for you. 


Let's start from the central question:


Front End VS Back End: What's the Difference?


Front end VS Back end: which one should you choose? Well, to make the right decision, you should first understand what each of them does. 


Here's the difference between front end and back end in one sentence: the front end deals with the stuff the website user sees and interacts with, the back end deals with more technical aspects of website maintenance. 


But, what if someone asked you right now, front end VS back end developer? Still not sure which one you would choose? Well, here's a more profound overview: 


What is the Difference Between Front End and Back End Development?


As a front end developer, you will work on the elements of a website that are visible to the user. But don't confuse it with a web designer. The web designer designs the website and the layout, but the front end developer is the one who implements and builds it. 


The work of the back end developer, on the other hand, is not visible. He is the one who works on the core logic of the website or application. The user still interacts with the components designed by the back-end developer, but indirectly. 


Now let's explore each of them. 


What is Front End Development?


Now let's look at the role of a front end developer from a more technical perspective. How will it be described in the job portals? As a junior front end developer, here's what you can expect to find in an average front end developer job post: 




Excellent knowledge of CSS, HTML5, and JavaScript

Eagerness to grow and learn new skills

Good organizational skills

Familiar with web browser testing and able to debug 

Passion for web development 

Familiarity and understanding of SEO principles 

& more 




Create user-friendly and interactive web pages 

Maintain and improve the website 

Speed optimize the website 

Collaborate with the design team 

Stay up to date with new technologies 

Build and maintain mobile-friendly features 

Collaborate with the back end developers

& more 


Above was an example of a job description you might encounter as an entry-level front end developer. To be ready for it, here is what languages and frameworks you should be familiar with: 


Front End Programming Languages




HTML is the markup language used to create websites. It stands for Hypertext Markup Language. HTML deals with various aspects of your website. You can use it to create paragraphs, headings, fonts, sections, and other principle features of your web page.


 It is pretty easy to learn, even for a complete beginner. You can learn the basics in a few hours, and two weeks should be more than enough to have a full grasp of the language. 




CSS opens up as Cascading Style Sheets. True,  HTML helps you to build the basics of your website. But CSS makes them fancier by defining your website style. It deals with page layouts, fonts, colors, and other similar aspects. 


You can think of it like this: if your website is a house, HTML is its foundation, and CSS is its interior design. Two homes can have the same foundation, but one may have a contemporary, industrial setting, while the other a more bohemian one. 


The same goes for your website. So to come back to more technical terms, you use CSS to describe how your HTML elements get displayed on the website.




Finally, the last important language you should know as a front end developer is JavaScript. If you want to spice up your web development game, JavaScript is what you need. It takes your website to a whole new level.


 You can use it to add more complex features such as 2D or 3D animations, interactive maps, scrolling videos, and more. In short, it helps you to make your website more interactive and engaging.


Now let’s jump into: 


Front End Frameworks and Libraries




AngularJS is an open-source framework that is based on JavaScript and is maintained mainly by Google. 




React.js is an open-source JavaScript library. You can use it to build UI components or user interfaces. React.js is maintained by Facebook.  




JQuery is an open-source JavaScript library that simplifies your work by making HTML DOM tree traversal and manipulation, CSS animation, event handling, Ajax, and other things much easier. 




SASS stands for Software as a Service. It refers to cloud-based services, where instead of downloading applications or software, you access it through the web browser. 




Flutter is a UI software development kit, which is created by Google and is open-source. 




Other frameworks that might come in handy are Vue.js, Bootstrap, Laravel, and etc.


What is Back End Development?


Here is what they will require from you as a junior back end developer: 




Basic knowledge of front end technologies 

Working knowledge of PHP, C++, Java, and other back end programming languages 

Good knowledge of SAAS, LESS and other CSS preprocessors

Understanding of OWASP security principles 

& more




Integrate UI elements designed by front-end developers into the server-side logic 

Build and maintain reusable code 

Speed optimize the application

Build and implement data storage solutions 

Take care of the data security and protection 

& more 


Back End Programming Languages


Here is the list of the back end programming languages you need to learn to get a job. 




PHP was designed back in 1994 as a small open source project. However, it was fast to turn into one of the most popular back-end programming languages. PHP is an acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. 


It is a server-side scripting language that can be easily embedded in HTML. You should learn PHP to manage databases, session trackings, and similar aspects. You can even build a complete eCommerce website with PHP !




Created by Bjarne Stroustrup C++ was initially an extension to the C programming language. It stands for  "C with Classes."  However, it was also fast to grow throughout the years, becoming a popular object-oriented generic language.


It is used to build games, operating systems, browsers, and so on. C++  is extremely powerful. Some of the large apps like Photoshop, Spotify, YouTube were written in C++.




Java is another general-purpose, object-oriented programming language that is a must for a back end developer. Java is a simple and secure language with many open-source frameworks that is why it is so popular. It is used to develop Java applications in data centers, supercomputers, game consoles, etc. 


Other important languages you will need are: 




A general-purpose, high-level language that is easy to read. 




JS is the world's most popular programming language, which is very easy to learn. 




An open-source and cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment. 


Here is a quick overview of back end frameworks, that will help you: 


Back End Frameworks


We will quickly name the most popular back end frameworks. 


Django : the framework for python. Famous use cases include Instagram and Pinterest.

Laravel: the framework for PHP. Famous use cases include Deltanet Travel, MyRank

Ruby on Rails: the framework for Ruby. Famous use cases include ZenDesk and Shopify.

Flask: the framework for python. Famous use cases include Reddit, Red hat. 


& more. 


One more question left unanswered is: 


What is full-stack development?


It's simple: if you are good at both front and back end development, you can become a full-stack developer. So, full-stack development requires a solid knowledge of both front end and back end aspects of web development. 

Sum up


In short, front end development deals with the stuff that the user sees or interacts with, while back end development deals with the server-side logic. And full stack development covers it all. 


So figure out which is the most interesting for you, and start learning! 

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