Blurred Lines: Three of the Biggest Misconceptions Behind Today’s Web Development Roles

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Photo by Ilya Pavlov

Is she a front-end developer, or a back-end developer?

I think he’s an expert in front-end, but not the back-end.

How can that be? The truth is, the lines between front-end and back-end development have blurred.

Let us correct the record — these roles should never be divided! Every good front-end developer will also possess knowledge about the back-end. Moreover, it’s nearly impossible to focus on just one.

How did the lines get so blurry? For a while now, web and app development has been going through rapid changes. In fact, there’s been much ado in the development circle about the shifting definition of front-end development and where, if any, to draw the line between front-end and back-end.

There’s so much confusion in the development world — and in business — that it’s in our best interest as professionals to help draw the line where we can.

With that said, here are the three biggest misconceptions about the “front-end vs. back-end” debate in web development today:

  1. Developers can be proficient in front-end or back-end development only. Wrong! In reality, you’re never supposed to choose one role — it’s actually nearly impossible, as these two are 100% connected.
  2. It’s common to specialize in front-end or back-end only. You must have a skill set in both; however, you can certainly specialize in certain areas of development. No matter what your specialization, you must have, at the very least, basic knowledge about both ends of the candle.
  3. It’s easy to specialize in just one area from the start of one’s web development career.Actually, when you want to begin your career as a web or app developer, there are so many ideas, platforms, frameworks, even IDEs — that it’s hard to choose which one to work with. Innovative developers are always exploring!

Each of the tools above can help you build apps and websites, and you can get “trapped” if you pick one tool, or focus on one direction, only for a new, better tool, solution, or trend to appear. In fact, what you know, or what you specialize in, can easily become obsolete. As Wordfence mentions, this is also one of the reasons why people should rebuild their websites, as the plugins used a few years ago may not be supported anymore, and websites very well may become vulnerable to attacks.

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Photo by Christopher Gower

Use your flexibility to take advantage of the many tools, webinars, courses, and sources where you can get 360 degrees knowledge — in many cases, for free. For example, check out these 100+ Development Resources from KeyCDN.

Obtain A Clear Focus

Now that you’ve obtained a clear focus of the truth behind front-end and back-end development, focus on official coding standards! For example, read W3C, and PHP official documentation, as well as JavaScript’s ECMA, before you start digging into tools, frameworks and other potentially helpful resources to speed up coding.

Next, don’t start with SASS or LESS until you’re proficient with plain-old, tried and true CSS — I’ve seen those cases first hand, and it usually doesn’t end well...

Written by Damian Samolej

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