So who is worth more a front-end or a back-end coder?
In short, it depends on the scope of the project and the skills of each party involved.
If we’re looking at a website where a frontend coder has spent 3 days taking a Photoshop design to HTML/CSS template and then hands over the a back-end coder who then spends 15 days writing the PHP/.NET code – then, providing these 2 guys are equally experienced, the back-end coder should be making more money.
But, if we’re looking at a website where a back-end developer writes some objects in next to no time and then hands the project over to the front end developer who spends what seems like an age turning the developer’s code into nice valid HTML, not to mention fiddling with a design that doesn’t work in Internet Explorer 6 and then creates multiple different templates for different pages on the website – in that situation the front-end coder deserves more money.
Freelancers v full-time staff
In my opinion, freelance front-end and back-end coders should have a very similar hourly rate. The only difference should be how long it takes each to complete a project.
In a full-time working environment, there should also be an equal pay scale. It’s unlikely (unless the projects are badly managed) that a front-end developer will be sat twiddling their thumbs doing nothing for weeks at a time whilst the back-end coder works his bum off.
The way forward
As mentioned above, I think HTML/CSS is crucial – and not even back-end coders understand this nor do web designers who merely design in their favourite graphics editor and hand over to a front-end coder and never write any HTML/CSS.
The web is in a place where everyone could/should easily know a bit of everything. What use is a designer who knows no HTML/CSS and can’t appreciate the job of the front-end developer who has to convert their design? What use is the front-end coder who can’t understand any of the back-end code in a website and breaks simple code in their templates without thinking? What use is a back-end coder whose code prints out invalid or bloated HTML that a front-end coder can’t work with (as easily)?
What do you think? Add your opinion here or join the original discussion at You’re not a programmer, we won’t pay you that much.