How much back-end must a front-end developer know?

Good day to anyone who reads this. I have been working on freeCodeCamp for quite sometime now and I have decided to become a front-end developer. I have learnt the basics of react and redux and started building my first project on brackets. All this got me thinking a bit about how the front-end and back-end would interact. This all leads to my question, how versed in backend does a front-end developer need to be?

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It depends.

In a lot of places, web developers may be expected to do both backend and frontend development. This is especially going to be true when a NodeJS backend is used because it’s all JavaScript anyway.

Even if there are “frontend” and “backend” developers on a team, those who can do both will be more highly valued. I almost always work exclusively on frontend code and everyone would prefer me to take on frontend tasks because that’s the expertise I was hired for, but it still matters that I can go rooting around in the server if I need to. Usually that’s just “I need a change to the API, I’m just going to go make it myself.” or “This data I’m getting seems wrong, I’m going to go look at how it’s calculated.” But I work with other developers that are pretty evenly split between front and back end.

You should at least be able to understand what is going on in the backend (to an extent). In a “horizontally sliced” structure, you’re going to have to work very closely with the backend developers for your project. You’ll need to be able to have intelligent conversations with them and you’ll do much better if you have a high-level understanding of how their code works. Communication is hugely important, and a shared knowledge base assists that.

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Thanks for sharing. I am learning front end development also, focusing on JavaScript right now. I have been using node to run my code and so I am learning a bit of that too. I will continue to learn that and glad I am not wasting my time.

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I would focus on this one.

  • Why is there something else than a front end?
  • Where does data life? Why does some data not live in the front end?
  • How do we connect data and the user interface? Why do we do it like that? (= architecture)
  • Why do we separate concerns?
    …

In the end you want to know why stuff exists and how it works under the hood. The next step would be how to create this stuff on your own.

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Hi, I saved this link, it’s a list of technical advices

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I really didn’t fully understand APIs and endpoints until I build a few myself. Understanding those from a backend perspective improved my skills as a frontend developer.

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Thanks for the link, really puts things in perspective