What's the Difference Between Full Stack, Front-End, and Back-End?

front end development

What's the Difference Between Full Stack, Front-End, and Back-End?

In your search for a bootcamp to attend, you’ve probably crossed paths with the term “Full Stack Developer” or “Full Stack Program”. What does this term mean, and what makes it different from other types of development and coding?


Front-end development refers to the parts of the application that the clients see within a browser. You’ll also see it called “Client Side Development”. Front end developers focus on the way information is displayed to customers and product users.


Back-end development refers to the inside operations – the iceberg below the surface, within the database. There are the working parts that customers don’t see. A lot of back-end development deals with making sure all the data of an application gets funneled where it needs to go. It’s sometimes referred to as “Server-Side Development”. For example, when you click “submit” on a form, all you see is the functionality of the button click and the next page afterward. Internally, the system is sending your information where it needs to go.


If you haven’t already guessed, full stack development takes both back- and front- end development and combines the two. It’s more of a robust knowledge – and full stack developers often see the execution of a product from beginning to end, whereas back- or front- end specific developers dive deeper into one end.

In your search for a bootcamp, you’ll find that some programs focus specifically on one end of development, and other programs advertise a full stack education. Many developers go through a full stack program and then find themselves inclined to move into one specific type. Back- and front-end specific bootcamps take the time to dig deeper into specific concepts, so if you’re looking to find refined expertise in one field, that’s the direction you should head into.

No matter what program you chose to attend, rest assured you’ll find the education transformative. All Skills Fund partners have one thing in common: they change lives and jumpstart careers. Check out our partners and see for yourself.

Originally published June 6, 2017.