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Ayush ShahSoftware Engineerauthor linkedin

The Difference between a Full Stack Developer and a Web Developer

The future of web developers is secure, as global markets anticipate rapid growth in this decade. The demand for Full Stack Web Developers is at an all-time high, and eminent companies are on the lookout for skilled developers.

If you’re aspiring to wear the hat of a web developer, you’d be thrilled to know that full-stack developer skills are in high demand. But do you know how full-stack vs. front-end vs. back-end web development stack up against each other? If you plan to pick any role for your career, you’d naturally wonder, “What is the difference between them?” 

What is web development?

Web development is closely related to the job of designing the features and functionality of websites and apps (often called “web design”), but the “web development” term is usually reserved for the actual construction and programming of websites and apps.

Think of all the web pages you have used over the years – Web Developers built those sites, making sure they functioned properly and performed in ways that allowed for a great user experience. Web Developers do this by writing lines of code, using a variety of programming languages, which vary depending on the tasks they are performing and the platforms they are working on.

Who is a front end developer?

A front end developer has a crucial role in crafting and implementing an application's user interface. This interface is the gateway to users accessing and interacting with the application. A web designer shapes a website's visual appearance and layout. At the same time, the front end developer ensures that this design seamlessly functions online by employing coding languages such as CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.

What Does a Front End Developer Do?

  • User Interface (UI) Design: Front end developers collaborate closely with UI/UX designers to translate design mockups and wireframes into functional web pages. They are responsible for ensuring that the visual design elements are faithfully implemented.

  • Web Development Languages: They use HTML, CSS, and JS to build and style web pages. HTML structures content, CSS defines layout and styling, and JavaScript adds interactivity and functionality.

  • Cross-Browser Compatibility: Front end developers must ensure that web applications work consistently across various web browsers and devices. This involves testing and resolving compatibility issues.

  • Responsive Design: In today's mobile-centric world, they design and code web pages to be responsive.

  • Performance Optimization: They optimize web pages for speed and efficiency, minimizing load times and ensuring a smooth user experience. This may involve techniques like minification and lazy loading.

  • Accessibility: Front end developers ensure that web content is accessible to all users by adhering to accessibility standards like WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).

  • Front End Frameworks and Libraries: They often work with front end frameworks and libraries like React, Angular, or Vue.js to streamline development and enhance user interactivity.

  • Version Control: Proficiency in version control systems like Git is necessary to track changes, collaborate with other developers, and maintain codebase integrity.

  • Web Performance Monitoring: They may use tools like Google Lighthouse or WebPageTest to monitor and improve web page performance metrics, including page load times and resource optimization.

  • Troubleshooting and Debugging: Identifying and fixing front end issues, such as broken links, layout problems, or JavaScript errors, is a crucial responsibility.

  • Testing and Quality Assurance: They conduct testing and quality checks to ensure the functionality and usability of web pages and address any bugs or issues that may arise.

  • Documentation: Keeping thorough documentation of code and development processes helps maintain and troubleshoot web applications.

    frontend development

What skills are required to be a Front End Developer ?

A front end developer skills involve solid knowledge of scripting languages such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS3. If you wish to become a front-end website developer, you need to master these three languages. 

However, by far, the most critical front end developer skill is proficiency in JavaScript. The versatile JavaScript, which works side by side with both CSS and HTML, features in various applications, including the date and time and “Add to Favorites” button.

Besides, working as a front end developer also requires skills around JQuery, Ajax, UI (User interface), UX (user experience) as well as familiarity with frameworks like AngularJS, EmberJS, Foundation, Bootstrap, and Backbone.

What are the job positions available for a frontend developer and their salary?

One requirement for working as a Front End Developer includes working alongside Back End Developers, Designers, and Project Managers in building, maintaining, and troubleshooting websites. By nature, working as a Front End Developer is a collaborative occupation that creates a diverse skill set over time and can lead to changing directions slightly to pursue other career opportunities in web development.

On average, Front End Developers earn around $103,000 a year nationally, which of course varies depending on where a person works as well as an individual’s level of experience.  The average salary of these professionals in India is around ₹5 LPA. When the minimum salary is around ₹1.2 LPA, it can go as high as ₹18 LPA with experience. As an occupation that depends on collaboration, working as a Front End Developer creates opportunities for working in many different areas of web development and technology, fostering a cross pollination of skills that can lead to options for shifting to other related careers.

Who is a backend developer?

Back-end development means working on server-side software, which focuses on everything you can’t see on a website. Back-end developers ensure the website performs correctly, focusing on databases, back-end logic, application programming interface (APIs), architecture, and servers. They use code that helps browsers communicate with databases, store, understand, and delete data. On a team, back-end developers collaborate with front-end developers, product managers, principal architects, and website testers to build the structure of a website or mobile app. 

What Does a backend Developer Do?

The role of a backend developer is crucial in building and maintaining web applications. A well-designed and efficient backend is essential for an application to function smoothly and reliably. Backend developers are responsible for building the foundation of the web application, including the database, server-side logic, and APIs. Without a solid backend, the frontend of the application would not be able to function correctly.

Additionally, a backend developer must ensure that the application is secure, scalable, and able to handle a high volume of traffic. The backend developer is also responsible for optimizing the performance of the application, which is crucial for a seamless user experience.

Back-end developers must be familiar with many kinds of tools and frameworks, including languages such as Python, Java, and Ruby. They make sure the back-end performs quickly and responsively to front-end user requests.

backend development

What skills are required to be a backend Developer ?

  • Knowledge of Backend Programming Language: Language is the foundation of the development field; thus, you must have a vast knowledge of it. A backend developer will construct a reliable framework, and the servers connected in the required manner. The three common languages used by large tech companies are Java, Python, and PHP.

  • Knowledge of Popular Frameworks: Frameworks provide a definite way of doing things and make it easy to develop complex applications. You might think about working on a few specific frameworks as a backend developer such as NodeJS, ExpressJS, Django, to name a few.

  • Data Structures and Algorithms: As a back-end developer, good knowledge of DSA is necessary to design optimized algorithms and efficiently solve problems. These include knowledge of data sorting, stacks, queues, lists, stacks, binary search, and hashcode implementations. You should be able to choose the most appropriate data structures to solve a given problem.

  • Version Control System: It is also referred to as the source control and is responsible for tracking changes in the codebase. The version control system records every change to a code in a distinct “version”. This helps protect source code when a developer messes up and wishes to undo it. Some of the most well-liked version control platforms for backend developers include AWS, GitHub, Gitlab.

  • Knowledge of API: The API, or Application Programming Interface, is responsible for setting up connections between various applications. Backend developers use these APIs to connect various applications and improve user experience. Developers frequently use JSON, GSON, SOAP, REST, and other standard APIs.

  • Databases and Cache: Database management systems, often known as DBMS, are how programmers stores and organize massive volumes of data generated by websites and apps in a structured and efficient way.A few popular database management systems that backend engineers should be familiar with are PostgreSQL, AWS DynamoDB, and Oracle.

  • Server Handling: All backend development is server-side development, so understanding servers are crucial. A server is a system or computer that offers information, resources, and services to other computers or clients across a network, including file storage, security, and databases. The most well-known servers include Microsoft Windows Server, NGINX, and Apache. Knowing the fundamentals of Linux is also very beneficial because most such servers support Linux OS. Docker and Kubernetes are some of the leading server management solutions.

What are the job positions available for a backend developer and their salary?

Some of the popular Backend developer roles are as follows- 

For freshers,the average yearly salary for backend developers in India is normally between INR 3 and 5 lakhs.Backend engineers in India often make an average income of roughly INR 7–10 lakhs per year with 2–5 years of expertise. Backend developers with more than five years of expertise typically make an average of about INR 15–25 lakhs annually. 

These are some of the points to note when learning about frontend vs. backend development. However, it is also vital for a backend developer to have a basic understanding of frontend and vice versa. 

Who is a Full Stack Developer?

Full Stack is a term that refers to exclusive knowledge of computer system applications involving front-end and back-end development.

A Full Stack Web Developer is a professional who’s adept at developing client and server software. An ideal Full Stack Web Developer is capable of working on both the front end and back end of a website. They are entrusted with developing the design and layout of the website as a front-end developer and handling the server-side components and website functions as a back-end developer.

Full-Stack Developer:

  • Front-End and Back-End Focus: Full-stack developers have expertise in both front-end and back-end development. They are well-rounded and can work on all aspects of a web application.

  • Skills and Technologies: They are proficient in a broader range of technologies, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript (for front-end), as well as server-side languages like Python, Ruby, PHP, Java, or Node.js (for back-end). They may also have experience with databases, server management, and deployment.

  • Responsibilities: Full-stack developers can handle the entire web development process, from designing and implementing the user interface to developing server-side logic, databases, and server deployment. They are responsible for creating fully functional web applications.

  • End-to-End Development: Full-stack developers can work independently on a project or collaborate with specialized front-end or back-end developers. They have a more comprehensive understanding of the entire web development stack.

  • Tools: Full-stack developers use a wide range of tools and technologies, including code editors, version control systems, databases, server management tools, and frameworks for both front-end and back-end development.

What does a Full Stack Developer do?

Here’s what a Full Stack Web Developer does:

  • Program a browser (JavaScript, jQuery, Angular, or Vue)

  • Program a server (PHP, ASP, Python, or Node)

  • Program a database (SQL, SQLite, or MongoDB)

  • They are adaptable and can assist with different developmental phases while keeping versatility and time management intact.

    fullstack developer

What are the different skills required for Full Stack Development?

  • HTML and CSS: Full Stack Developers are masters of HTML and CSS. Through HTML they ensure the text/image appearance, and CSS is used to customize the website using font, letter spacing, structure, etc.

  • JavaScript: The biggest weapon of the front-end application is JavaScript. Full Stack Developers are constantly working with Javascript tools to improve user interaction with the application. Here’s a list of Java tools: React, Angular, Vue, and JQuery.

  • DMS: In simple terms, a database management system (or DBMS) is a computerized system for data keeping or lodging. Users of the system are provided with the ability to carry out a variety of actions on such a system for either managing the database structure itself or manipulating the data in the database.

  • Back-end technologies: A Full Stack Developer is proficient in back-end technologies and frameworks such as JavaScript, Java, C language, Python, and other programming languages such as JSON, XNL, Angular, PHP, Perl, and Ruby.

  • Web Hosting: This skill leads the developers to host the website on cloud service providers/platforms. Though it may appear simplistic, the actual skill of web hosting is extremely important in terms of users accessing it via the WWW.

  • Version Control: GitHub and Subversion are a few popular version control systems that help track users’ histories and manage content, which is one of the key responsibilities of a Full Stack Developer.

  • Soft Skills: A Full Stack Developer’s soft skills include team management, creativity, analytical skills, critical thinking, strategic planning, and problem-solving skills.

What are the job positions available for a Full Stack developer and their salary?

After you have checked off every skill on the Full Stack checklist, you can apply for a job as a Full Stack Developer in any top tech company. With such an elaborate and specific set of skills, a Full Stack Web Developer can easily earn a high-paying job in a relevant industry and make a successful career out of it. Being a Full Stack Developer is therefore a difficult but worthwhile endeavor. If one has the passion to pursue it, the creative and financial opportunities make this one of the best occupations there are.

Developer jobs are expected to grow 13% between 2018 and 2028, much faster than the average occupation, according to BLS data. Full Stack Engineer is ranked fourth among the top emerging jobs for 2020 in LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report. According to the data, Full stack Engineers are now more valuable to any company than they were in 2015. Since 2015, Full Stack Engineer roles have been increasing at a rate of 35% annually.

An ideal Full Stack Developer salary in India ranges between ₹ 2.1 lakhs to ₹ 16.1 lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 6 lakhs.

What to choose?

Your area of interest will define the best route. 

Generally speaking, both roles are different in the initial stages of web development. However, the line between both is getting blurred with each passing day, bringing Full stack developers to the limelight. 

That said, companies accepting projects that have to do with multiple aspects of a website prefer Full stack developers. It’s because these professionals primarily dedicate themselves to the front and back end of the project. 

Besides, a high earning potential is another perk associated with a Full stack developer role. 

Overall, both roles are highly valued in the tech industry, and you can pick either after determining your qualifications, educational background, and preferences. 

Many prefer starting their careers as web developers. This allows them to focus on a single route - the website. Later they expanded their skills to front-end and back-end development, moving to the position of Full stack developers.

FAQs

1. Who earns more, a Web Developer or a Full Stack Developer?

An average Full Stack Developer in India earns considerably more than a Web Developer as Full Stack Development deals with front-end and back-end development of websites and has more global exposure.

2. What is the average salary of a Web Developer?

There are many factors that come into account based on location, company, and work nature. Nonetheless, on average, a Web Developer earns 6LPA in India. This is subject to differ when freelancing.

3. What is the average salary of a Full Stack Developer?

Full Stack Developer is currently one of the coveted jobs, not only in India but across the world. The average annual salary of a Full Stack Developer ranges between 8LPA - 25LPA.

4. Which is a better career path?

Both careers are incredible. A full-stack developer is a jack-of-all-trades: they know how to work with databases, web design, and development. Full-stack developers are more versatile and can adapt to different roles, while software developers are great at one specific thing. 

5. Is it better to start as a full stack developer or specialize in a specific area of software development?

The choice depends on your interests, career goals, and learning preferences. Starting as a full stack developer can provide a comprehensive overview of web development, making it a great option for those who enjoy variety and want a holistic understanding of how different parts of a web application interact.

On the other hand, specializing in a specific area of software development from the start can be beneficial for those who have a clear interest in a particular domain.