So you want to become a web developer ? One of the questions I get asked routinely when talking to recruiters is ‘Are you more interested in Front end or Back End development ?’ Whereas I’m not sure that the typical recruitment consultant truly knows or even cares what this means, I thought I would share some insight here on what I have come to understand in recent months.
In terms of contemporary web development ‘Back End’ typically means ‘Server Side skills’ which I guess sort of starts at the HTTP server level and ends with expertise in some sort of high level scripting language such as PHP or maybe Java. Backend development can also encompass system configuration , data backups and migrations, Content Management System (WordPress themes development for example) . For Back End development you are more likely to need to know about databases ( SQL) and maybe even some system admin. type tasks as well as an understanding of the associated server hardware platforms and their respective operating systems.
As a front end developer, your tasks might typically involve, creating HTML and CSS code from provided designs, working with server side API ‘s ( e.g. google maps, social media) , using frameworks such as Twitter Bootstrap and writing code to interact with the user ( checking input before sending to server etc) . You may perhaps also be interested in graphic design , usability etc
As a backend developer I think you are more likely to be working autonomously and from an agreed specification document, you are likely not to be motivated by see all your hard work appear on screen as pretty web pages. As a fronted developer you are more likely to be working in close contact with Project Management or the end users client in an iterative process ( Clients always change their minds after you have done all the hard work !)