Front-end vs. Back-end Developers: What’s the Difference?

Front-end and back-end developers work differently. Our quick guide sheds some light on these unique distinctions.

Aviana Rogado
Aviana Rogado February 28, 2023

The Internet is full of websites with different purposes. You can connect with family and friends, learn new things, buy products you’ve always wanted, or play games on these online hubs. 

Front-end and back-end developers help companies build and maintain their websites. They’re the reason these web pages look great and stay up and running.

However, these programming professionals have several differences that distinguish them from each other. Let’s dig deeper into these distinctions.

Front-End vs. Back-End Development

Before jumping into the differences between front-end and back-end developers, let’s define their specific areas of expertise.

A website has a front end and a back end. The front end contains the elements your users see and interact with on the website, including images, graphs, tables, and buttons.

Meanwhile, the back end is like a car’s engine. It makes websites functional and processes and stores data. Users can’t interact with the back end.

Difference #1: Their Main Tasks

So, how do front-end and back-end developers help brands build a website?

Front-end developers create a website’s interface and visual elements with code. They build the features and components that visitors use on websites. We typically call them client-side developers, front-end coders, or user interface (UI) developers.

On the other hand, back-end developers execute a website’s functionality. They combine this task with content management, data structures and storage, and the website’s overall security.

Difference #2: Programming Languages

Programming languages also set front-end and back-end developers apart. Here are some of the languages they use to create websites.

Type of Developer Programming Language Description
Front-end Developer CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) CSS is a style sheet language that changes how a website’s markup language appears. Front-end developers set and adjust fonts, their sizes, weight, and position, and other visual settings using CSS.


HTML (HyperText Markup Language) HTML helps organize a web page and its content. Front-end developers can use this programming language to put content in paragraphs or bulleted lists, add images, or create tables.


JavaScript JavaScript is the scripting language for web pages and digital environments like Node.js and Adobe Acrobat. Many front-end developers bring animations and interactive elements to websites through JavaScript.


Back-end Developer Java Java lets developers create desktop and mobile apps, process big data, build embedded systems, and more.


PHP (HyperText Preprocessor) Many back-end developers create Web servers with PHP. This programming language runs on Web browsers and even command lines.


Python Python makes a developer’s code readable. In turn, they work faster and integrate systems more efficiently.


.NET Framework .NET allows developers to create desktop, web, and mobile apps that run on operating systems. Back-end developers can use ASP.NET to build web apps.


Ruby on Rails This full-stack web development framework gives developers essential tools to create a website’s front and back end.


Difference #3: Necessary Skills

Front-end developers must know basic coding principles and various frameworks, including Bootstrap and EmberJS. Bootstrap helps developers build responsive, mobile-first websites and runs on major Web browsers (except Internet Explorer’s older versions). Meanwhile, EmberJS gives front-end coders a full system to develop client-side JavaScript apps.

As for back-end developers, they often use different programming languages and adopt new technologies. Back-end developers should also show these skills to succeed.

Difference #4: Other Crucial Skills & Tools

Web development moves fast. Hence, adopting and using new and advanced tools is essential for front-end and back-end developers.

Additional Tools Used By Front-End Developers

A client-side developer should use CSS preprocessors and JavaScript transpilers when building a website’s front end.

CSS preprocessors use a syntax where they get CSS to ensure a consistent website design. Meanwhile, JavaScript transpilers turn code from one programming language into another. They’re helpful for front-end developers who code in a different language.

Additional Tools for Back-End Developers

As we’ve mentioned, back-end developers use multiple programming languages and new technologies. Both change over time and back-end programmers must adapt to these shifts. Their ever-evolving tools include servers, with Nginx, Apache, and more new solutions emerging. Staying up to date with these changes is a critical part of a back-end developer’s job.

Additionally, some back-end coders may use Linux and understand web services and application program interfaces (APIs). Companies may even look for back-end developers proficient in more advanced web development tools. Most importantly, a back-end developer should be immensely analytical and create effective web development solutions.

Difference #5: The People They Work With

Collaboration is another key difference between front-end and back-end developers. These individuals team up with people who fully understand their expertise.

If you’ve hired a front-end developer, you’ll usually see them talking to back-end developers, designers, and user experience (UX) analysts. Back-end developers work with front-end developers, company leaders, and stakeholders for clear objectives.

Find the Right Web Developer for Your Website’s Needs

Front-end and back-end developers vary in experience and tasks. Nevertheless, they ensure your website serves its purpose, whether it’s an E-commerce site or an online knowledge base. Understanding the multiple differences between front-end and back-end developers can lead you toward the best person to meet your website’s needs.

Do you need help launching or maintaining your brand’s website? Visit the Growth Rocket blog for actionable tips and insights, or talk to our team today.

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