For many outside the field of web development, it is not commonly known that there are several different types of web developers that exist. Within the developer world, we literally have dozens of titles that distinguish us from the rest based on our skillset and what we can create with it. Overall, web developers can be summed up into three general types with each one fulfilling a unique need in the process of creating websites for the whole world to see.
Before continuing, it is important to note that web development and web design are two different fields. Web design focuses on the designing the visual and look of a website using design software while web development focuses on creating it by writing code (programming) and other development methods.
The Front-End Developer (aka Front-End Engineer aka “Web Developer / Designer”)
The front-end developer is responsible for creating the look, feel, and interactive components of a website. They are often mistaken as the only role in web development as well as confused with the role of a web designer. How text, images, and colors are displayed on a website when you view them on a phone, tablet, or computer is what the front-end developer creates. Ever see a button change color when you hover over it or a popup appear when you click on something on a page? That’s what the front-end developer creates. They make sure everything you see is organized, aesthetically pleasing, and functional.
To accomplish all this, the front-end developer generally writes in (but not limited to) the following programming languages:
The Back-End Developer (aka the person no one really knows about)
The back-end developer has one of the most crucial roles in web development. They create and maintain what’s under the hood to keep your website running and functioning properly. A back-end developer writes what is called server-side code to make sure data flows back and forth from a website’s front-end (what the user sees and interacts with) to the back-end (the server, database etc.). The best example of this would be an online store. Prices and product images are stored on a database hosted on a server. When it comes time to update prices or initiate an automated holiday sale, product information and prices are updated on the database which then displays on the website. When you checkout and process a transaction, all that works because the back-end developer madeit so. They write the code that makes all those easy to use (most of the time) functions possible.
A back-end developer can program in a variety of programming languages depending on what needs to be done.
Typical programming languages a backend developer writes in include:
- Ruby and Ruby On Rails
The Full-Stack Developer (aka the Superman / Superwoman)
The full-stack developer is a unique developer type as they can program and work on both front-end and back-end parts of a website. They can literally create an entire functioning, dynamic website themselves (if they choose) as they understand both ends of web development. Full-stack developers tend to have prowess in coding in multiple programming languages and their knowledge and experience tend to be a mile-wide. Because of this, they generally work well with both the front-end and back-end developer during the development process.
While they understand and can do the job of both front-end and back-end developers, many full-stack developers typically do not have mastery in either role. Some usually are better at either front or back-end development. There are full-stack developers that have mastery over both ends of development but they are rare and hard to come by. The diverse knowledge of a full-stack developer helps speed up the web development process and troubleshoot any problems that may occur on the front or back-end of a site.
Typical programming languages a full-stack developer writes in:
- Some of everything!