Frontend vs. Backend Development: What's the Difference?

The views expressed in this post are the writer's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Aloa or AloaLabs, LLC.

When it comes to software development, there are two main categories that we break it into: frontend and backend. Frontend development is reflective of what you see as a user. Frontend is everything that's able to be interacted with. Frontend development allows the user to view and interact with data. This can also be referred to as the client side.

Backend development refers to the code behind the scenes. The backend is responsible for the communication between the browser and the database. This is commonly referred to as the server side.

Both frontend and backend development are necessary components to any software development efforts. Without one, the other will not function to its ultimate purpose. Many developers are proficient in both frontend and backend, and are referred to as full-stack developers. Full stack developers are very impressive as with a full stack developer, you only need one person to do the work!

For the purposes of our discussion, we will consider frontend and backend development in the context of web development.

Frontend Development

Frontend development is most often made up of a mix of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. This commonly runs on your web browser itself (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.).

A desk with a desktop computer, laptop and phone

If you want to get started and learn frontend development, we've got some tips for you! For starters, you're going to want to learn HTML and CSS. These are core pillars of frontend development, so you need to be sure you get really good at it. Once you start to get it down, we recommend you start playing around with it. Build cool stuff. This should be a lot of fun!

Backend Development

Backend development is made up of programming languages such as Java, PHP, Ruby, Python, .Net, and more.

The backside of a computer hard drive

If you're interested in learning backend development, you're going to want to start in a slightly different spot: data structures and algorithms. If you start with the basics, it will become easier when things get more complicated. Once you've got that down, you'll likely want to choose a framework to start working on. I'd research what languages are common for what you're interested and looking to do!

If you aren't sure where exactly to get started to begin learning, you can take a look at many different sites, such as Codecademy, Udacity, Coursera and Udemy.

Our resources page have some more info on how to jump into development once you're ready. If you have other questions, don't be a stranger! Email us at

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