'Front End' vs 'Back End' vs 'Full Stack'

This will clarify the different types of web developer skillsets that you'll run across.

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If you've been checking out web development resources, you probably heard the terms "Front End", "Back End" and "Full Stack" thrown around. What exactly do they mean?

Front End

"Front End" typically refers to the stuff that you actually see on the website in the browser (and is often called "client-side"). This covers how the content is presented including all the little user interface elements like menus and dropdowns and transitions and modals. The front end needs to be able to communicate with the user and also with the back end.

A front end developer will often focus heavily on understanding HTML, CSS, and JavaScript since these languages live in the browser. They aren't necessarily focused on making things look "pretty" (which is often left to a designer), but rather making sure that the information is presented effectively and the user's interaction with the web page is as smooth as possible. These days we're executing more and more code in the browser itself.

Back End

"Back End" typically refers to the guts of the application which live on the server (and is often called "server-side"). The back end is more focused on making sure all the right data gets sent out to the browser. It's the portion of iceberg below the surface... lots of stuff needs to go correctly to hand off data to the front end so it can be displayed.

Google may be a relatively straightforward search engine from our point of view, but they employ an army of engineers to make sure that all the moving parts you don't see are working properly.

Full Stack

"Full Stack" developers marry the two sides into one. While each "end" involves learning a significant amount of information, a full stack developer can comfortably speak both database and browser. These days the trend is to seek developers with a great working knowledge of both ends. You will still probably prefer one over the other, but a "Full Stack" developer can build a web application from soup to nuts.

In this program, we teach full stack development for many reasons. For starters, it's much easier to get a job when you've got the kind of flexibility that being Full Stack provides. It also makes it much more fun to learn because you can bring complete applications to life completely on your own.

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