Intro to HTML and CSS

An overview of the web development landscape and common terminology

Christina Truong


Prefer to watch a video? This article is a companion piece for my Decoded by Christina series on YouTube.

In the early days of web development, it wasn’t uncommon for one person to do everything. The job title was often referred to as “webmaster,” “web designer,” or “web developer.” These days, there is often more specialization because the web has become so much more advanced. The different areas of focus are usually broken down into three categories: front-end, back-end, and full-stack.

Front-end vs Back-end vs Full-stack


Front-end developers work with browser based languages: HTML for displaying content, CSS for adding styles and JavaScript for interactivity. With the growth and popularity of JavaScript-based frameworks, such as React and Angular, front-end technologies can also be used to create functionality that was once reserved for back end languages.

These languages are also categorized as client-side languages because the browser is also referred to as the client. The client in this context is not someone you’re doing work for!


Back-end developers are responsible for the “behind the scenes” functionality such as submitting payment information when making an online purchase or when you’re logging into an account.

Back end developers work with languages that run on a server, such as Python, PHP, C#, Ruby or Java. Back-end developers also work with database technologies, such as MySQL or MongoDB. You don’t need to know all of these languages to be a backend developer and many specialize in a couple of languages and may have some familiarity with others.


There’s also a third category, full-stack, which usually refers to someone who works with both front-end and back-end languages. While the exact languages a full-stack developer specializes in will vary, most are able to work with the foundational front-end languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), and one or…



Christina Truong

Tech Educator. Twitter @christinatruong Instagram