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What’s the difference between a Front End, Full Stack and a Back End Developer?

By: Aquent

LAST UPDATED: 07 March, 2024

Unless you are fully immersed in the technology sector, understanding the difference between front end and back end development can be tricky. Add full stack into the mix and things get really confusing!

We've created an infographic to help you understand who does what, the skills required for each role, which tools your candidates will have experience using and the salary expectations across all levels.

Front End Developer vs Back End_au

Front End Developer

The front end is the presentation layer of a piece of software. It is what the user can see and directly interact with. It is the Front End Developer's job to create the user-facing elements of the browser or app, and produce an environment for everything that the user interacts with. They write code that brings the site's design to life and enables the functionality created by the Back End Developer on the server.

Back End Developer

The back end is the server side of an application that users don't directly interact with. This includes everything that communicates between an application's database and the browser or app. The Back End Developer writes code to ensure data is stored and accessed securely. They create the functionality on the server that works behind the scenes to enable the front end features that users interact with. For example, login authentication, gathering personal information from a database, calculating a shopping cart, or processing credit cards. 

Full Stack Developer

Full stack is a combination of front and back end development. Though everyone's experience will vary, Full Stack Developers tend to have experience and understanding of the entire software stack. Many hiring managers make the mistake of thinking they want a Full Stack Developer when what they actually need is two people — a Front End Developer and a Back End Developer — especially for large, complex projects. It's hard for one person to be an expert in everything, but a Full Stack Developer will know enough to help coordinate the complex project, talk the talk and learn what they need to know in order to deliver the project.

If you're looking to hire developer talent, we can help with that too! Get in touch today and one of our Talent Agents will be happy to talk through your needs.