If you’re a prospective or fresh developer starting out, it’s not always easy to know what you should know. What languages should I understand? What frameworks? And what the heck is a fullstack? To help you out, we’ve outlined the basics of what you need to know right here. While it should demystify the types of web developers, it’s by no means the ultimate guide. You can get more comprehensive and into the weeds, but this should provide you with a starting overview.
Front end developerA frontend developer is the one who makes the face of the website tick. Whatever you see on a website, is the work of the frontend developer. If you’re looking for an analogy, the frontend developer is the one who does the tiles, if the backend developer does the plumbing. Basically, the frontend developer makes the body of the website look good, while the backend developer handles the engine. This can involve the color of buttons, look of loading screens or simply the flow the site itself.
Advancing as a frontend developerSo what’s next? When you’re looking to advance as a frontend developer you need to expand your technical skills. First, you should pick up another language such as Python, PHP or Ruby. Furthermore, it’s important to gain in-depth knowledge of DOM elements, XHR 2, cookies, and even some SEO. Aside from the technical aspects, soft skills become important. Understanding organization as well as communication is key to help you advance from junior to senior roles. You must know how to structure and organize your work efficiently, and help guide others in the process when needed. Also understanding business decisions is important. When adding or implementing features, it’s important to think of the bottom-line. What does this add to the business and why is that important?
Backend developersThe backend developer is the plumber of the web development world. (In a good way.) It ensures all piping is in order and that everything flows smoothly. When a button is clicked, the backend developer is there to make sure that the proper data is gathered or manipulated. Handling the machinery, the backend developer often needs to get familiar with both backend languages as well as databases. And, frankly, some frontend technology as well.
Advancing as a backend developerAs you advance in your career as a backend developer, you’re expected to strengthen your technological grasp. This means adding further knowledge of databases, distributed systems, POSIX standard systems — such as Linux — and knowing at least one concurrent language.
Fullstack developerA fullstack developer doesn’t need to be as intimidating as it sounds. You don’t need to know everything to be a fullstack. Just, you need to know a lot… A fullstack is comfortable with taking a product from an idea stage to full launch. Essentially, it’s is someone who is familiar with each layer of software technology. That includes networking, database, user interface, API, and so on. There’s no need to be an expert in each element, but a knowledge technology from front- to backend is necessary.
What you need to knowAs a fullstack, you should know:
- Databases, such as MongoDB or MySQL.
- Content Management Systems: Such as WordPress or Drupal.
- Basic libraries, such as jQuery or Bower.
- Server-side web technologies, such as Node.JS, PHP or C#.
- Side technologies. Git, Jira, APIs, and so on.