Web development, also known as website development, refers to the tasks associated with creating, building, and maintaining websites and web applications that run online on a browser. It may, however, also include web design, web programming, and database management.
Web development is closely related to the job of designing the features and functionality of websites and apps (often called “web design”), but the “web development” term is usually reserved for the actual construction and programming of websites and apps.
Think of all the web pages you have used over the years – Web Developers built those sites, making sure they functioned properly and performed in ways that allowed for a great user experience. Web Developers do this by writing lines of code, using a variety of programming languages, which vary depending on the tasks they are performing and the platforms they are working on.
There are three main types of web development:
- Front-end development
- Back-end development
- Full-stack development
Front-end development involves the “client-facing” side of web development. That is to say usually, front-end web development refers to the portion of the site, app, or digital product that users will see and interact with. A Front-End Developer, therefore, is responsible for the way a digital product looks and “feels,” which is why they are often also referred to as Web Designers.
Front-End Web Developers focus on translating website design and visual ideas into code. A front-end Software Developer takes the design ideas created by others on web development teams and programs them into reality, acting as a bridge between design and technology.
If Front-End Developers are responsible for how a digital product looks, Back-End Developers are focused on how it works. A Back-End Developer creates the basic framework of a website before maintaining it and ensuring it performs the way it should, including database interactions, user authentication, server, network and hosting configuration, and business logic. Working behind the scenes – or server-side – Back End Developers are concerned with the systems and structures that allow computer applications to perform as desired.
The primary responsibility of Back-End Developers is to ensure the functionality of the site, including its responsiveness and speed. To do that, Back-End Developers have to know how to build servers with modern frameworks (while developing custom APIs and serving static websites and files), and how to manage databases and data on a web server.
Typically, Back-End Developers use server-side programming languages, including PHP, Ruby, and Python, as well as tools including MySQL, Oracle, and Git.
A Full-Stack Developer is someone familiar with both front- and back-end development. Full Stack Developers usually understand a wide variety of programming languages and because of their versatility, they might be given more of a leadership role on projects than developers who specialize. They are generalists, adept at wearing both hats, and familiar with every layer of development. Obviously, employers want to hire Full-Stack Developers – according to an Indeed study, they are the fourth-most in-demand job in tech.