Backend: Distributed Systems, scalable applications, fault tolerant systems, control plane applications, API development, uses higher-level languages like Java/Python.
Low-Level: Database Internals (Query Optimization, Transaction processing, Data/Storage engines), Compilers, GPUs, latency sensitive software, accelerators. Usually C/C++.
Which is better for long-term career growth and compensation?
Here is my (non-answer) to your question 😅
The way you would answer "Which domain is better for long-term career growth and compensation" is to look at things like:
In my opinion, these are the wrong questions to ask when deciding a career direction.
Since you're on Taro, you're ambitious, career-oriented, and a fast learner. Your should aim to be in the top 10% of the field, not to be average. Any of the stats you find online will bias toward avg data points, things like:
Instead of trying to work backward from whether backend or low-level systems are better, work forward from promising situations.
The people will the most successful careers benefit from outlier events or people. A company, project, or relationship that becomes transformative for their careers. Focus your energy on putting yourself in that position rather than trying to big-brain which domain will be hotter in 5 years.