Chances are, if you work in web development, you self-identify as a front end developer, a back-end developer or a full stack developer. We've teamed up with Randstad technology in Canada to bring you a guide to developing.

Back-End Developers.

What back-end developers do.

Back-end developers deal with all the coding on the server-side of websites or software that users don’t actually see. This includes all the behind-the-scenes (or back-end) mechanics that make a website, application or other software function. The back-end includes servers, applications, and databases. To become a back-end developer you’ll need strong programming skills (in one or more server-based languages) and a thorough understanding of database frameworks. You’re an expert at manipulating and managing data.

Back-end development skills.

  • SQL
  • PHP
  • Ruby
  • Python
  • Perl
  • .net
  • Java
  • Web frameworks
  • Database frameworks
  • Networking
  • Web servers

Popular job titles.

  1. Back end developer
  2. PHP developer
  3. Ruby developer
  4. Python developer
  5. Java developer
  6. Database developer

The demand for back-end developers.

Demand for back-end developers, like most developer jobs, is high. As a specialist in back-end coding, you’re expected to be an expert in servers, databases, and applications. The coding languages you know will determine how in demand you are. PHP, Ruby, and Python are all solid options.

Front-End Developers

What front-end developers do.

Front-end developers handle the coding for elements that end users interact with on screen. They build the user-interface and code design elements. Everything you see and interact with on the internet, mobile apps and software was coded by a front-end developer.

Since they’re responsible for user-interfaces, front-end developers often work closely with designers and UX/UI specialists, though they may be expected to have some design sensibilities themselves. Front-end developers are able to straddle the line between complex coding and visual appeal. They take web data and transform it into visually appealing websites, apps and software that users are able to engage with seamlessly.

Skills you need to be a front-end developer:

  1. HTML
  2. CSS
  3. JavaScript
  4. jQuery
  5. UX/UI
  6. XML-based languages
  7. Browser compatibility
  8. Responsive design and coding
  9. Photoshop and design skills are a plus

Popular job titles.

  1. Front-end developer
  2. UI developer
  3. UI/UX developer
  4. Web developer
  5. JavaScript developer

The demand for front-end developers.

Demand for front-end developers remains steady. However, front-end development is the most accessible development specialty for coding beginners. Many programmers learn HTML and CSS first, before advancing to more complex programming languages.

Full Stack Developer.

What full stack developers do.

Full stack developers are all-in-one developers, who are proficient in both front-end and back-end development and programming languages. The term ‘full stack’ derives from ‘development stack.’ The development stack is everything needed to create a complete web page, application or piece of software. The development stack is comprised of many different layers including front-end elements like web coding and UX design, and backend elements such as databases, servers, networks, and hosting.

To be a full stack developer, you have a full grasp on every stage of the ‘development stack,’ hence you’re a full stack developer. Theoretically, you should be able to complete a development project from start to finish. Some programmers liken full stack development to being a jack-of-all-trades (but master of none.) On the other hand, specialising in one area of development allows you become an expert in that niche (but less flexible).

Skills you need.

Both back-end development and front-end development skills. You’re expected to be able to work on the full development cycle, though the exact skills and programming languages you need to know will vary from job to job.

Popular job titles.

  1. Full stack developer
  2. Web developer
  3. Mobile developer

The demand for full stack developers.

Demand for full stack developers is off the charts. Startups and small companies with compact development teams, in particular, need full stack developers who are capable of handling both front-end and back-end development. Experienced full stack developers are uncommon (the majority of full stack developers report 5 or fewer years of experience), so employers are willing to compete fiercely to secure their talents.

Developer roles:

Front end developers: 

Back end developers:

Full stack developers: