10.16.2017

WHO WINS THE FRONT-END VS. BACK-END BATTLE?

Klika #front-end #back-end

By Marina Miličević, Front-end turned Back-end developer

 

When you work in one specific area for a long time, it is hard to make a change and quite a challenge to step into something new. I have spent four years working as a Front-end developer, someone who is responsible for the interior design of the house that’s been built by a Back-end dev. It felt like the right time for me to change my perspective, so I switched roles, and started working as a Back-end developer. And only now, I can see the difference and the advantages/disadvantages of the two parts of dev. The battle between the two is still real in my head, and this is how things look right now from my perspective.

Back-end vs. Front-end
               1:0

Back-ends are rarely criticized by customers/clients, and have very straight-forward requirements.  Assessing the quality of a back-end is basically a question of "How well does it perform, handle errors, edge cases, and how well does it scale?" Whereas, a Front-end could be criticized for its look and feel which is something far more difficult to get right, but something that  yet everyone has an opinion about.

Back-end vs. Front-end
               1:1

What I see with the Back-end guys is that they happen to have issues for which there is no Google answer, contrary to the Front-end devs.

Back-end vs. Front-end
               1:2

Also it’s not that unusual that Back-end developers spend days fixing a single bug. Often it’s not even theirs as it lays outside the scope of their code (system, runtime, external lib or service).

Back-end vs. Front-end
               1:3

Moreover, Back-end needs time to show progress and to deliver. With Front-end you see things happen fast. This is why Back-End may appear less productive as they have to do a lot of things that don’t have a visible outcome. And for me, at the very start, the big problem is how to test some things.

Back-end vs. Front-end
               2:3

Back-ends are from the beginning very tool oriented. They tend to automate repeatable stuff. In Front-end, continuous integration, delivery or deployment are a new concepts. In fact, these things save lives. So, for me, the test automation is something new. Until now, I thought that tests were written only by the QA engineers, that it was not my job.

Back-end vs. Front-end
               3:3

Technical challenges on the Front-end side are “always the same problems for all applications”. In essence you have millions of smart developers working to solve the same problems you are solving every day. This is why the platform innovates so rapidly. I think the Front-end is a great place to work, but the most exacting requirements and the challenges in software is on the Back-End. That's my opinion.

So, who wins?

As you could have seen, both, Front-end and Back-end developers have their challenges. Still, people who have skill in both Front-end and Back-end development have a full range of skills that can be applied to the user interface and everything that makes it work in the background.
Some people consider a Full Stack developer not as good as a Front-end or Back-end developer, and often refer to the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

As a developer, I think having both Front-end and Back-end proficiency means more opportunities. You will be able to apply for more positions and get more contracts.
From the customer or employer perspective, you will be able to understand projects as a whole,  both, how it needs to work for the user and how it needs to work in the background. You will give them one point of contact for all their needs, and you will be able to support them when things go wrong on either side, which makes you even more valuable over the long run.