Front End, Back End, and Full Stack Developers: A Comparison
8 min.

The three main types of web programming are full stack vs backend vs frontend development. These three perform different but vital roles in web programming. While the last two are specialists, the first generalize. So, contrasting full stack vs front end developer or full stack back end developer is not as easy as one would front and back.

Websites allow businesses to spread information and meet branding goals today. Which kind of programmer/engineer fits right into a project’s needs? Find here an analysis of important areas in web development, which skills must be harnessed to tackle each, and also recommendations to hire the right programmers (whether backend vs frontend vs full stack).

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Front End Developers

Who is a Front End Developer?

In frontend web development, the latter commonly addresses the interface, which a user can view and directly experience. It concerns the overall presentation: style, feel, and look. Hence, it is also called client-side (‘client’: technical word for the generic user).

The approach requires such technologies as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They are to convert code data into a graphical interface.

  • HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the basic framework or bare structure of any website.
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) determines the visual presentation of an HTML document.
  • JavaScript determines how the elements interact

The front end vs full stack developer writes the code for this client-side. Visuals are only one feature of user experience, which also relates to operation, responsiveness, speed, and so on.

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A front end developer vs full stack can create sites requiring no server-side features (e.g. databases); those are called static sites, the very basic website type. For more complex websites, they work with server-side programmers and other professionals.

Front End Developer Skills and Responsibilities

Being a front end programmer even is no mean task. Some responsibilities required include the following:

  • Balancing functionality (technical) with aesthetics (creative)
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Optimizing for speed and efficiency
  • Enhancing user experience

These responsibilities, however, can only be fulfilled when the frontend developer is adequately equipped in:

  • HTML, CSS, and Javascript programming proficiency
  • Proficiency in these is a no-brainer. These three technologies are foundational tools.
  • Proficiency in front-end programming frameworks. Different Javascript and CSS frameworks are necessary for specific needs. They should be applied depending on the required features. Top Javascript frameworks include: Angular, React, Vue.js (read more about Vue.js benefits), etc.; top CSS frameworks include Bootstrap, Semantic UI, Bulma, and so on.
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  • Mobile Design (Responsive Design)
    The modern website UI standard: page displays (layout, style, etc.) should adapt automatically to the type (and size) of the device being used to access the website. It is important to pay the most attention to mobile design since more mobile devices are accessing the internet than computers now.
  • Knowledge of Content Management Systems
    Many websites operate by a CMS, which enables seamless regular updates of the site. A front-end programmer needs proficiency in them. Some very popular ones include WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and Magento (particularly for e-commerce sites).

Front End Developer Hourly Rates and Salary

In the U.S., the pay is generally around $70,000 to $120,000 per year. A full stack vs front end developer, and a back end programmer as well earn similar rates. From various sources:$119,224 (range $106,922 to $130,083)
PayScale$73,886 (range $49k to $113,000)
GlassDoor$76,929 (range $48K to $131,000)
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Back End Developers

Who is a Back End Developer?

What’s the difference between front end developer and backend developer?

Unlike frontend coders, back end professionals are responsible for a site’s internal operational constituents. Hence, the server-side facilitates the smooth interaction of elements for correct display. These elements include the server, application, and database.

What’s the difference between front end developer and full stack backend developer?

front end vs. back end

Back End Developer Skills and Responsibilities

Back end programmers are often referred to by the programming language in which they are most proficient, such as ‘Ruby Developer’, ‘PHP Developer’ or ‘Python Developer’. However, some responsibilities apply to all back end coders, irrespective of these languages.You can use the right backend interview questions to check the following skills:

  • Building a system architecture
  • Managing resources (databases, APIs, etc.) for seamless running
  • Organizing system logic
  • Cloud computing integration, where necessary
back end developer

What’s the difference between front end developer and full stack backend developer? Skills for the latter:

  • Database Management
    This is crucial particularly if collecting user info. Server-side programming requires maintaining a database, adapting to scale as needed. Some top systems are Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, etc.
  • API Integrations
    Application Programming Interfaces allow interactions between different software applications. For instance, APIs allow a user to sign in with their Google account. APIs are integral for seamlessness.
  • Security Protocols
    This is about a website’s security compliance, especially as it pertains to access control. Data is attractive to cyber attackers.

Back End Developer Hourly Rates and Salary

GlassDoor$101,619 ($81,000 to $124,000)$107,476 ($91,360 to $121,912)
Indeed$125, 309
PayScale$77,567 (range $49,000 to $130,000)
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Full-Stack Developers

In backend vs frontend vs full stack web programming, skills exclusivity isn’t common. A back end programmer needs a rudimentary grasp of client-side tools (at least, the trio of JavaScript, CSS, and HTML). It happens vice versa too for a front end vs full stack developer and mostly because for effective collaboration, each person should communicate in each other’s own words.

Who is a Full-Stack Developer?

Most projects (especially big ones) need separate categories of talents. However, the full stack front and back end developer is capable of contributing meaningfully whichever way.

full stack developer

Full-Stack Developer Skills and Responsibilities

No defined responsibilities exist for full stack front and back end developers. They vary by job descriptions. However, these are common:

  • Project planning and life cycle management. The overview of full-stack programmers is vital for organizing a project through to execution.
  • Facilitating software improvements alongside data analysts, etc.
  • Implementing certain features (security, scalability, reliability, etc.)
full stack overflow developer

Some Full-stack programmer skills are highlighted below:

  • HTML, CSS, and Javascript, and relevant frameworks
    Front end programming relies on these three technologies. Particularly for the website’s overall visual experience.
  • Backend programming languages
    A full-stack developer needs proficiency in one of PHP, Python, Ruby, and Java, etc. Likewise, knowledge of relevant frameworks is important; they simplify the process.
  • Database and Basic Design
    The back end requires database management skills. In contrast, the user interface requires some basic design knowledge.

Full-Stack Developer Hourly Rates and Salary

GlassDoor$105,813 (range $72,000 to $145,000)$91,788 (range $81,615 to $108,080)
PayScale$75,057 (range $48,000 to $113,000)
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Backend vs Frontend vs Full stack

What’s the difference between front end developer and backend developer as well as full-stack programmer?

Back End DeveloperFront End DeveloperFull-Stack Developer
Responsible for the server-sideResponsible for the client-sideCan build either side of a website
Ruby, PHP, Node.js, Java, Python, etc. proficiencyHTML/CSS, React, Vue.js, Angular proficiencyAny frontend framework as well as one backend language, minimum
Manages databasesEnhances program functionality and visual styleEntire web project life cycle

So, whom do I need for my project?

So, when to hire backend developer and a frontend specialist separately and when to choose a full-stack expert? As modern technology evolves, full stack vs backend vs frontend developers blend together. Web programming is dynamic and requires the collaboration of various professionals because every business wants to find the best technology stack for web development. Whichever type your project requires is informed by what’s lacking.

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For instance, to improve your website’s look and visual experience in accordance with contemporary styles, you should hire a frontend specialist. Although, integrating a payment processing API requires a backend programmer’s knowledge. If testing web applications is your task – consider hire a professional QA tester.

Technically, hire full stack developer seems less costly. Compared to hiring two specialists (one for the server-side and another for the client-side). However, that would double the required project completion time and the time costs might cancel out the financial savings. Although, a full stack coder would be more efficient with minimal project specifications. But if you want to start a new project from the scratch, for example, make a transportation app, create a music streaming app or make a delivery app, the chances are good, that you need both frontend and backend developers.

backend vs frontend vs full stack

In any case, if there are enough specialists, your project could benefit from the perspective of a full stack programmer. That’s regardless of which area their strengths tilt towards.


Irrespective of full stack vs backend vs frontend, hiring a professional abroad may be more cost-effective. Ukraine, Poland, and India, etc. have skilled talents, whether front end developer vs full stack or back end, with salary rates lower than US rates. Particularly, Ukraine has many IT universities and hubs for training new generations of front end developer vs full stack and back end talents ready to make their mark in the global talent pool. You can find out the average cost to hire an app developer in our blog.

Whichever type your project requires between full-stack vs backend vs frontend developers, communicate your requirements (including) with us at ProCoders and get a skilled professional that meets your needs.

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