If there is one job that has a constant thrum around it, it is that of a web developer. Not surprising really, considering that the Internet today contains more than four billion pages and counting. Since web developers are the people entrusted with the maintaining, coding, analysing and building of these web pages, they are right on the top of the heap when it comes to jobs that matter.
Since every business knows well that it is critical to run a website to stay in the business, developers are unlikely to go out of fashion. The question however is about the kind of web development that one needs to seek out and train for.
Three branches of website development
Web development is usually talked about in terms of three concentrations -- front-end, back-end and full stack.
Front-end is where everything is visible. It is the part of the website that interacts with users -- it is what you see when you open a website. The front-end developer is responsible for the look, feel and the design of the website. The front-end developer focusses on analysing codes, debugging applications and other such code-related activities to ensure a smooth user experience.
Back-end development, on the other hand, is all about the tools, technologies and languages that run inside the browsers. A back-end developer is responsible for building and maintaining this technology that powers the entire website. It is the back-end developer's job to ‘make it happen’ as they say.
Back-end developers need expertise in languages such as PHP, Ruby, Python and Java. They also need to be well-versed in PHP frameworks and version control software. Another important job requirement of a back-end developer is the ability to work along with the business stakeholders and be able to convert their vision into technically effective solutions.
Often, front-end and back-end processes overlap; sometimes front-end developers need to pick up additional back-end skills and back-end developers need to understand quite a bit about website design and user experiences. This is where a full-stack developer comes in. Essentially, he is the all-rounder; a jack-of-all-trades. Full-stack developers work on the servers as well as understand front-end languages.
The fact is, web development is the amalgamation of front-end and back-end development. One cannot do without the other. For a business to benefit from its website, front-end development must work in tandem with back-end processes and one cannot be weaker than the other.