Frontend development is traditionally focused on what users interact with: Bringing digital designs to interactive reality. In contrast, backend development deals with the behind-the-scenes functionality that processes user actions.

However, you don’t need a protocol droid to translate between these two development dialects as user displays are now being controlled with more dynamic programming languages, such as JavaScript and HTML5. This resulting development “grey area” is bridging the gap between what used to be two distinct career paths, causing some frontend developers to consider crossing to the other side.

Episode MMXIV: A new choice

Why would a developer want to move from frontend to backend development? Motivation to change is normally caused by the desire for more — in this case, more pay, more perks and more popularity. Additionally, many frontend developers naturally gravitate towards backend development due to their curiosity and interest in various programming languages. 

May the software constructs be with you

Basic computer science concepts have become “the Force” to be reckoned with in the world of development — and yes, a developer’s strength flows from it. Techniques like object-oriented programming (OOP) and functional programming are commonplace among well-rounded frontend developers who frequently use languages like PHP and JavaScript, and also help build a foundation for backend development.

As a frontend developer, learning the theories of computer science will help your transition to backend programming, while also increasing your frontend development capabilities. Familiarity with various backend development languages — such as Python, C#, Django and Ruby — is also required to become a viable contender for backend development. So you’ll want to make sure your backend language toolkit is well stocked, whether you do so via self-directed learning or in a higher education environment.

Ready are you? What know you of ready?

Changing job titles also requires a level of confidence when programming in backend languages. The traditional way to gain confidence is by doing, and that holds firm in this situation. However, frontend developers who become backend developers do have a tactical advantage over traditional backend developers when it comes to enhancing their experience profile: They can create a well-rounded project from start to finish without assistance.

In addition to beefing up your development portfolio, another good way to make a smooth transition is to become immersed in online forums, websites and local groups geared towards backend developers, such as SyncFusion and CodeGuru.

Is switching development disciplines your best course of action? Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.

Have you already made the transition from frontend to backend developer? Share your tips and experiences in the comments section. Wondering whether you should make the leap? Learn about opportunities that may await you.