Developer Roles

Understanding the different roles & skills

Timothée Simon
Sep 16 · 4 min read

Imagine this: you get your first position to find a candidate for, and you are asked to look for a Full Stack Developer. And you may wonder, what the h*** is that?

Many recruiters have been there at some point, and as it can get as confusing as you imagine, we will try to give you the sweet and short explanation of the different roles of software development and the required knowledge. Keep reading and make sure to contact the right profiles straightaway!

We also recommend that you read our blogs on what frontend and backend are before you jump in the lines below.


Frontend developers are those that take care of what the users see. Normally, frontend developers work closely with designers and UX experts in the creation phase, when the wireframes are prepared, and until the final product is delivered. Frontend developers are skilled with CSS, HTML and JavaScript knowledge. In addition to these three, frontend developers normally master one or more JavaScript frameworks like Angular, React, VueJS, Backbone…(no worries, we will get to these in the coming posts).

The backend developers are those taking care of the database and all the connections we as users cannot see. They master one or multiple languages like Java, PHP, Rubyn Python or .Net in combination with other tools like SQL and Databases that send the information to the frontend. In many cases, especially nowadays with the constant releases of new frameworks, backend developers are required to dive into frameworks like Zend, Symfony, Cake, Express or .NET Core and to be able to work with Linux as well as development and deployment systems to control and ensure the delivery.

For job descriptions looking for backend developers, as a difference from frontend developers, the particular language used by the company is normally put to the front. Differently from frontend devs, who need to master HTML, CSS and JavaScript (and some specific frameworks), backend developers can focus on just a specific language and frameworks within that language.

You can think of the roles as the different roles you have when you build a house. Imagine you are building your beautiful family home (aka your website/app). First you have the construction workers that prepare the ground, build the walls, add the connections to the pipes and put the walls and ceilings of the house. Those are the backend developers of your house. The foundation of the house can only be done by those experts to ensure the quality and duration. Without then doing a proper job, there is no need for your house to look beautiful if is not functional. Then, you may hire a designer to inspire you on how to decorate your house, how to paint the walls, distribute your furniture…and the workers who would paint for you, add the windows, furniture etc to make your house “ready to live in” are the frontend developers.

Last but not least, you may have seen or heard about the role of Full Stack Developer. This kind of role became popular about 10 years ago thanks to Facebook’s engineering team.

A Full Stack developer is a profile who knows and can work with both the front and the back end of your app or site, meaning it can work cross-functionality and be engaged with the full development of the project.

Is there a difference between the term developer and engineer?

In some job descriptions, companies and discussions you will hear the differentiation between software developer and software engineers. The most common answer when the community get asked this question is that the differentiation does not matter. Traditionally an engineer is someone with a computer science, engineering, background but that being said, one can’t go to college and expect to graduate with a degree in front-end engineering. You attend classes, develop skills and you become a frontend, backend or full stack developer after working on real-life projects and being out there. That is why it is probably more important to categorise tech profiles as junior, mid or senior profiles instead of using the words engineer or developer.

Texidi: Your Journey Into Tech helps you easily understand the tech recruitment field with weekly content, podcasts with experienced recruiters and much more to come!

Follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn to receive regular updates and stay in the loop for new content and tune in for the first episode of our podcast seriesRecs & Devs and discover how to build up strong relations with developers, and how to make your way into tech!

Missed our first blogs? Check them out!

Texidi: Your Journey Into Tech

The go-to resource to dive into tech recruitment. Offline workshops to discover the tech terminology & weekly content to get your way into the tech recruitment field.

Timothée Simon

Written by

Big fan of tech since forever, open-source engineer at Hackages

Texidi: Your Journey Into Tech

The go-to resource to dive into tech recruitment. Offline workshops to discover the tech terminology & weekly content to get your way into the tech recruitment field.

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