Understanding the nuances of a particular job title can be confusing in any industry, but with a relatively new field like Internet services, the terms seem to run together even more than usual!
A common misconception for people outside the industry is to believe that any web developer can also design your site or manage your SEO strategy. It’s a wider field than many realize, and most individuals only specialize in a few areas. Whether you’re looking to hire someone, or you’re just curious, you’ll find these common title definitions helpful!
Let us start with the foundational role of the web developer, which can really be split into two categories: back end developers and front end developers.
Back End Developer
This is your code genius – the one who can look at a page of what looks like plaintext gibberish to you and diagnose why your API isn’t functioning exactly right. Back end developers work with servers, applications, and databases to ensure that website is able to pull information from the host server and distribute it to the users all over the world. Their languages include Python, Ruby, PHP, ASP and many many more, which is why back end developers tend to have a specialty within their specialty.
Back end developers construct the functionality of the Internet, basically. So it’s good they’re around, right?
Front End Developer
While building a design, a front end developer also needs to have a head for what makes a fast, user-friendly website, as well a good eye for design in order to render the site beautifully. Not all front end developers are also original designers, though, so that’s where there is a distinction for the role of the…
Some web designers are also developers, but other designers will create a layered file (in Photoshop, usually) of the site design and pass it on to a front end developer to “carve” in HTML and CSS. Even if they don’t code, though, a good web designer needs to know at least a few basics about what functionality is possible, as well as the best web practices for design.
This position rarely involves any code at all, but rather a thorough knowledge of social media or SEO (or both). These are the folks who can set up your pay-per-click ads, help you develop a social strategy, and track your success with Google Analytics.
Luckily for us at LunaWeb (warning: self-promotion ahead!), our team consists of a variety of web developers, designers, and marketers who can work together to provide a total solution.