Pros of front end development

Books on web development

Video version of this article: https://youtu.be/L4WErEXGY2E

This is a series of posts on whether or not you should learn front end development
Pros of front end development (this post)
Cons of front end development
Should you learn front end development?


Front end development is an extremely popular field, and there are many more reasons people choose it as their main development practice.

So here are some of the pros of front end development:
– It’s probably the easiest to get started with.
– More and more applications today are web applications, (which includes front end development).
– Back end can be replaced in simple web applications, but it’s much more difficult to replace front end.
– Front end development will make you a better programmer in general. The skills will transfer to any other type of programming you do in the future.

Here are the reasons in a bit more detail.

Easy to get started with

All you need to know is some HTML and CSS (which aren’t even considered programming languages), and you can make a website.

It’s probably possible to find a job just with those two.

Later, you can add JavaScript to the mix which is a fully-fledged programming language. It’s also very forgiving and easy to use, making it a good choice for a beginner who wants to feel productive.

In other words, you can build complete websites with little knowledge when using front end, compared to other types of programming.

Web applications are very popular

I like to say that "the web is winning".

More and more applications today are web applications (websites that also resemble native applications).

Websites and progressive web applications (PWAs) are becoming more popular day by day, are cheaper to make, have near native performance if you use the right technologies, and can be used on all common platforms.

PWAs vs native apps may be a controversial topic, but what’s certain is that they are very popular and only increasing in popularity.

This makes front end development a very good field, as front end is necessary in web applications.

Back end can be replaced / may not be needed

Alright so it probably makes sense to have in-house back end for very large projects, but for small projects or prototypes something like Google firebase or an alternative can probably do the job.

There are backend as a service providers for databases, authentication, real-time updates, and much more.

In other scenarios, a database and / or authentication may not even be needed (e.g. the JAMstack with third-party APIs).

Now, it’s true that you can replace front end as well. You can get customisable templates or page builders and such. However the front end is your application, what the user will see, the thing that will make you money. Whereas the back end is more like your house-keeping or the battery for the front end.

If you have to make a choice between one of them being spotless, and the other working just "okay", front end is what you want to choose because it’s the "money-maker".

Long-story short: Back end can be replaced by third-party services, but front end should not be replaced. More focus should be put into it (at least for a small application).

Disclaimer: The above is just my opinion.

Front end will teach you programming

Any programming you do will make you a better programmer, front end development is no different. The skill you acquire as a programmer is transferable to any other kind of programming you do.

So front end development will make you a better developer in general.

Overall

Front end development is more popular than ever, and there are some great reasons to learn it.

However it’s not all great, there are also reasons why front end development may not be for you.

See the next post for some of the downsides to learning front end development.

This is a series of posts on whether or not you should learn front end development
Pros of front end development (this post)
Cons of front end development
Should you learn front end development?

^