How many people do you need to write a web application?

Technically, writing a web application needs at least five different specialties

Technically, writing a web application needs at least five different specialties:

  1. The UI/UX designer designs the user interface. He produces drawings of the web pages which we call “wireframes”.

  2. The HTML/CSS developer takes these wireframes and codes them in HTML and CSS.

  3. The front-end developer writes the JavaScript. Nowadays web applications are often JavaScript-heavy, and most front-end developers will use one of the three popular JavaScript frameworks: React, Angular, and Vue.js.

  4. The back-end developer writes the code that runs on the server. Most often the back-end developer uses one of these five programming languages: Python, JavaScript, Java, PHP and Ruby.

  5. Finally, the system administrator installs the web application and takes care of the server(s).

It’s common for people to do more than one of these—usually adjacent. Back-end developers often do the system administration (in which case they’re commonly called “devops”). UI/UX designers sometimes write the HTML and CSS.

There are also people who do all of them—they’re commonly called “full-stack developers”. However, as the saying goes, a jack of all trades is a master of none. Despite this, for some simple applications, it can be convenient and cheaper to have a full-stack developer.