Today, the Internet is made of at least 4.9 billion pages. That’s more than one page for every two people in the world…and a lot of work for web developers!
In a way, web developers are the custodians, caretakers, and architects of the Internet. They are responsible for nearly everything that goes on in the web from building web infrastructure, creating source codes and programs, analyzing web data, and maintaining websites and their pages.
Because Internet use is growing faster than ever before, there is a burgeoning market for web developers. In 2015 alone, there were more than 7 million job openings for coding-related work (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). Moreover, jobs for programmers and coders are growing at a rate 12% faster than other occupations. To fill the demand, several institutions offer a coding bootcamp to fast track learning.
Frontend vs. Backend Development
There are two sides to the web development coin: frontend and backend development. In a nutshell, the frontend is what customers can view (the pages, text, layouts, images, etc.) and the backend is what allows the website to function (website infrastructure, data handling, inventory, etc.).
To cite an analogy, think of a website as a store. The frontend is everything the customer sees: display shelves, customer service, cashier, advertisements. On the other hand, the backend is everything that’s hidden from the customer: accounting, inventory, operations, and suppliers.
Conversely, backend developers handle the speed, responsiveness, and functionality of a website. The backend is usually composed of three components: a database, a server, and an application. When you key in information on a website, an application stores your data in a database that is supported by a server–almost similar to compiling data in Excel (the application) using a spreadsheet (the database) and saving it on your computer (the server). Except, with websites, the server is located in an external facility. Frontend developers are usually well-versed in languages like Java, PHP, .Net, Ruby on Rails, and Python.
Which Should You Choose?
Naturally, one of the most discussed issues when choosing between frontend and backend development is the pay. The difference between the two is not that big.
According to PayScale, the national average starting salary for frontend developers is roughly $67,000 while the salary range is $42,000-108,000–which isn’t too far off from backend developers who have a national average starting salary and a salary range of $70,000 and $38,000-117,000, respectively.
Given that salary is not that big an issue, you should choose which type of web development suits your skills and interests. Creative and visual people usually do well with frontend development, whereas technical people with an inclination for math do well with backend development.
If you’re looking to learn web development, coding schools like Dallas Coding Academy offer coding classes that can accommodate all skill levels. Anyone can learn how to code regardless of their background!