Guide to Top Tech Roles: Frontend, Backend, Full Stack Development, and Cloud Engineering
The way technology has assimilated itself into the everyday operations of a business is testimony to the fact that the world is evolving rapidly.
Every operation is tied together with technology, from using automation to implementing artificial intelligence and business analytics to enhance decision-making.
The software aspect of technology handles everything on the frontlines while the hardware supports it, running in the background. An indirect impact of technology adoption in running a business is the creation of new roles for professionals that engage directly with its implements.
You may have noticed certain new designations recently – the ‘CTO,’ or Chief Technology Officer, and ‘Cloud Engineer,’ among others. These designations are the direct result of new technologies and the responsibilities that ensue in implementing and managing them effectively.
Consequently, the creation of new positions in the technology niche also translates into the requirement of niche professionals who can do the job well.
Your business needs professionals in cloud engineering to orchestrate your remotely housed digital operations in the most efficient way possible. In the same way, you need experts in full stack software development in and of its own to handle all the software aspects of your operations.
Similarly, for the plethora of roles and positions created by new-age technology, your business needs a clear-cut roster that defines each of their roles and guides them to work as productively as possible.
Let’s understand what the major technological roles at a business look like and what you can expect from such professionals.
Segregation of technology roles
Not all the technological operations in a workplace function on the same lines. In response to the organizational hierarchy, there are four distinct ways to segregate technological roles. Let’s see what they are.
In any organization, this is the most basic kind of segregation between IT and the rest of the departments.
In essence, it signifies that IT professionals shall be responsible for all the IT operations – for all the departments. Whether it is Finance or HR, they would not touch the IT aspect even in their own departments.
DBA, short for Database Administrator, is a superuser profile within the IT annals of an organization. This professional manages all the databases and information of the organization and therefore is subject to stringent segregation from all other responsibilities in IT for security purposes.
This professional works only on the tasks that are necessary to be performed for the smooth functioning of an organization and remains isolated from all other functions.
DevOps encompasses the activities of full stack software development, frontend, cloud, and backend engineering.
IT deals with maintaining and managing the information and communications of the company. In essence, this segregation creates a difference between those that develop an app and those that run and maintain it.
IS, or Information Security, is a sensitive function in any organization and needs to be executed in complete trust. For this reason, many organizations segregate their IS operations from the IT departments.
Let’s now break down the four major technology roles at a company and understand the nuances of each one.
What is frontend development?
Frontend development is the aspect of programming that deals with implementing your vision and design on a digital channel through coding. Let’s understand that in simpler words.
Every application – whether mobile or web-based – has elements on its interface that a user interacts with. These could be buttons, sliders, menus, or any other form of input. These could also be the colors and shapes you see, the animations, and other graphics, among others.
It is the job of a frontend engineering professional to bring your design to life on a screen by using coding platforms like HTML, CSS, or Java (or any other).
Roles and responsibilities in frontend engineering
Frontend software developers focus more on coding the look and feel of an application rather than building it up from a skeleton. Here is an exhaustive list of their major roles and responsibilities:
- Frontend engineering focuses purely on creating good user experiences.
- These professionals are tasked with creating the interactive, smooth, intuitive visual layouts and performance of an application.
- Anything that a website visitor can see and interact with on a website is the responsibility of a frontend developer to code.
- Their role is to translate the visual idea of a UI designer from a wireframe into an actual, functioning interface on a screen.
Skills required in frontend engineering
Frontend development requires the skill to understand a design wireframe and incorporate it into code. Below is the list of skillsets a frontend developer must have:
- CSS Preprocessors knowledge – This toolkit comes in handy when developers need to transition their code into a formatted CSS structure that can work well on all browsers.
- API and RESTful knowledge – Representational State Transfer (REST) makes network communications easier, and APIs make programming easier. A frontend professional should know both.
- Responsive design knowledge – Today, consumers use all kinds of devices to access an app. A frontend developer should, thus, know how to create responsive apps.
- Cross-browser development – Designing an application that loads well across all browsers is a must today. This is also a skill that frontend developers need.
What is backend development?
Backend development is all the programming and coding that governs the functioning and performance of an application from behind the scenes. Let’s understand that in simpler words.
Backend engineering involves creating an application from the ground up. It includes the framework, functionality and operation coding, performance coding, and much more.
In essence, whatever happens on an application after the user inputs their command is all a matter of backend development.
It is termed ‘backend’ for this very reason – the user does not need to see where his commands go or what gears they put into motion. They only need to see the result, which occurs on the frontend.
Roles and responsibilities in backend engineering
Backend engineering is a precision task that requires focused hours of coding. Below is an exhaustive list of the roles and responsibilities of a backend engineer:
- The key role of a backend engineer is to build and maintain software and apps based on business requirements.
- Backend developers are also responsible for monitoring and improving the speed and efficiency of current enterprise applications.
- Their role is to write high-quality codes for whatever implements an organization may require.
- Managing the hosting environment, troubleshooting, debugging, and quality testing also fall under the ambit of backend development.
- It is the responsibility of a backend engineer to stay updated with the latest coding technologies.
Skills required in backend engineering
A backend engineer needs to code applications with as few errors as possible. Below is a list of essential skills that a backend engineer needs:
- A backend engineer must be fluent in writing in programming languages like Python, Ruby, PHP, and more.
- Backend development requires familiarity with frameworks like Django, Laravel, Express, and Ruby.
- A backend developer needs to know how to work with databases using MySQL, Oracle, and SQL.
- This professional also needs to know about REST and SOAP web services.
- In addition, certain soft skills help a backend developer inculcate efficient coding practices: problem-solving aptitude, analytical thinking, and attention to detail.
Key Takeway: The major difference between frontend and back end is that frontend is what the users can see and interact with, while the backend is what drives the frontend.
What is full stack software development?
A Full Stack Developer is someone who can work on building an application on both ends – the front and the back.
Essentially, this encompasses the end-to-end development work of an application, making it well stitched together since both the engineering teams work with the same brief.
There is no distinction between the Frontend and Backend Developers. Instead, the roles are combined into a single professional: the Full Stack Developer.
Roles and responsibilities in full stack engineering
A Full Stack Developer has the following roles and responsibilities:
- A Full Stack Developer handles the development of an application from inception to delivery – both server and client side.
- This professional also designs a strategy to handle the development of an application in the most streamlined way possible.
- Designing user interactions and user experience according to the brand identity is one of the major roles of a Full Stack Developer.
- These developers are involved in the creation of databases and servers for the functionality of the app.
- This professional is also responsible for the performance enhancements and intuitiveness of an application.
- A Full Stack Developer is also responsible for the cross-platform compatibility of all the applications they write.
Skills required in full stack engineering
Full stack developers have a lot on their plate. Below is an exhaustive list of the essential skills they need to have:
- A Full Stack Developer needs to be well-versed with programming languages used for the backend and the frameworks used for frontend development.
- Additionally, Full Stack Developers must be familiar with MERN and MEAN stacks for app development.
- This professional should be familiar with database management, server management, and using APIs in workflows.
- A Full Stack Developer needs to know how to use third-party libraries and code packages.
- They should also be familiar with version control.
What is cloud engineering?
Cloud engineering is the aspect of fusing the discipline of engineering with the niche of cloud computing. It helps adopt a systematic approach to cloud computing and creates a digital environment in the workplace in the most efficient way possible.
Cloud engineering deals with designing a digital or IT system that makes the best possible utilization of the cloud resources available to an organization.
Roles and responsibilities in cloud engineering
Cloud engineering is an umbrella designation that is used to describe a variety of roles and responsibilities of an engineer:
- Cloud engineering involves an in-depth assessment of the existing IT architecture of an organization to explore opportunities for moving to the cloud and supervising the migration.
- This professional also orchestrates cloud architecture which involves assembling or designing the cloud infrastructure.
- Cloud development is another role for a cloud engineer that involves creating applications, functions, and databases to run on the cloud.
- Cloud administrator is the role where a professional supervises the cloud ecosystem of an organization.
Skills required in cloud engineering
Cloud engineering is a broad profession that requires a varied set of skills. Below is the list of the essential skills required to become a successful cloud engineer:
- A thorough understanding of the Linux operating system and working with a VM in the cloud environment.
- The professional should know ASP.net, SQL, Python, and PHP.
- It is essential to have knowledge of networking and internet protocols.
- The professional should also know how to work with Kubernetes, containerization, and knowledge of DevOps.
- The engineer should have good interpersonal skills to work with various cloud service providers.
- Web services and API should be second nature to a cloud engineer.
Technology is reshaping the structure of organizations and redefining professional roles.
Amongst everything, the technological roles for backend development, frontend development, full-stack development, and cloud engineering have assumed primary importance in modern business.
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