What Does a Back-end Developer Do? From the Server Side and Back
A Back-end Developer tackles the server side of a web application, as well as integrating the work of Front-End Developers. They write much of the code that holds up the application from behind the scenes, as well as writing the API code that Front-End Developers use when making the application work for cross-platform use. Essentially, Back End Developers translate to the web application the user interactions facilitated by the Front-End Developers, as well as storing and maintaining the data and information that makes up the Back End. Some of the responsibilities of a Back-end Developer include:
- Adding server side logic to the user interface elements created by Front-End Developers
- Creating code and libraries for the scaling of the web application
- Optimizing the speed and growth potential of the application
- Keeping collected data safe with implemented security measures
- Implementation of data storage solutions and sometimes design of these storage solutions
- Debugging any potential issues that come up with the application
- Using the latest technology to replace or update legacy systems
- Offering training and support to others on their team
- Keeping a finger on the pulse of the latest technologies for constant growth and improvement
Back End vs. Front End vs. Full Stack — Three Types of Web Developer Jobs
The three main types of web developers are Back End, Front End, and Full Stack web developers. These are all parts of the puzzle, tackling different elements of the building and maintenance of a web application. These positions complement each other and are obviously distinct from one another. However, it’s important to know what the distinct responsibilities are so you know how a Back End Developer differs.
Back End Developer:
- Deals with the server and database of the application
- Creates the back frame that allows the Front End development to exist
- Utilizes Python, Ruby, and PHP
- Stores user information into database
Front End Developer:
- Deals with the interface and user-facing systems
- Develops the navigation and focuses on user experience
- Is the most aesthetically-forward Web Development position
Full Stack Developer:
- Cross-discipline Web Development skills involving front and Back End
- Deals with the overlap between the Front End and Back End
- Utilizes all the coding languages of the first two plus MySQL, machine learning, and more
- Takes responsibility for the entire experience to make sure it goes smoothly
While they are distinct positions, Web Development is rarely cut and dry and often there is an overlap in tasks. Back End, Front End, and Full Stack Developers all have to work closely together in order to develop the best web application.
Who Else Do Back-End Web Developers Work With? Engineers and More...
Obviously, Back End Web Developers have to work with Front End and Full Stack Web Developers in order to create the best web application possible. However, Back End Developers also have to work with others beyond the Web Developers in order to create the most efficient server for their web application.
Because Back End Development has so much to do with data, Back End Developers have to work with Data Engineers and Data Scientists. They also have to work with the decision makers of the company to ensure that the server truly meets their needs. It’s essential for a good Back End Developer to be able to work in a team to produce the best product.
Education and Background For Back-end Developers
To get started in any career, you have to have the right education and background. Pursuing your career as a Back-end Developer is no different. Employers will look for a certain amount of education and job experience in order to feel confident about hiring you. This includes:
Employers can ask for a bachelor’s degree, though some will ask for more education, such as a master’s degree. Some of the majors to pursue when working towards your bachelor’s in science include computer programming or computer science.
If you don't want to engage in long studies or if you are looking for a quick career change, a bootcamp in Web Development is another way to become a Backend Developer. It will equip you with all skills required to succeed in this position and help you develop your network in a short period of time.
Some employers will not require a college degree provided that you have enough of a work background and can prove your expertise. There are also freelance Backend Developers, who have a little bit more freedom to prove their skills in an unconventional way.
Employers will probably ask for previous work experience. You’ll need to have examples of code that you’ve worked on to prove that you know what to do. There’s always a give and take when it comes to education and work experience. The more thorough your education, the less field experience you’ll need, while years in a related field will make you stand out even without a several year degree.
Skills, Languages, and Techniques All Back-end Developers Need To Know — What Makes Companies Hire a Developer
Back-end Developers are skilled individuals, both in terms of the languages and technical skills as well as when it comes to interpersonal skills. These skills can be learned and practiced over time and with the right training. It’s best to know what those skills are on the outset so that you can master them by the time you go up for the job. Technical skills you need for the job include:
- Experience creating APIs
- Proficiency with HTML5/CSS3 layouts
- Programming languages like PHP, Python, Ruby, Java, Perl, and Node JS
- Experience with databases and cache
- Experience with popular frameworks such as Spring, Hibernate, Flask, or Django
- Proficiency with SQL and MySQL, ability to query a database
- Version control systems
Beyond these technical skills, Back End Developers should also have these personal skills:
- Strong organizational skills, especially time management
- Strong communications skills
- Management skills for a hosting environment
- Flexibility, adaptable to change
Potential Interview Questions You May Be Asked
Want to prep for the big interview? While the questions you’re asked may vary depending on the company you work with, there are certain questions that are commonly asked in Back End Development interviews. Here are some of the big ones:
What Is Your Favorite Programming Language?
This is a light and easy question, and one offered to most going up for programming positions. This is a chance to show off your know-how, as well as why you’re so passionate about the job you’re going up for.
How Did You Get Into Coding?
This is your chance to share your coding story. How did it start, what made you passionate about it, and what brought you to this particular job opportunity? This will help the company determine if you’re a good fit for their work environment.
What Is Your Process? Walk Me Through From Assignment to Finished Product.
This will show your diligence in your job, as well as your expertise. It will give the company a sense of whether or not your pace and your process is a right fit for the projects that they have currently.
What Do You Do To Ensure That Your Code Stands Up To Testing?
Businesses want to know that you are careful in your work and that you submit high quality work. This question is a way to show that you don’t simply turn in your first draft without a second thought.
What Is the CAP Theorum?
Consistency, availability, and partition tolerance — all key elements to the CAP theorem for distributed computing by Eric Brewer. The theory goes that no distributed computer system can offer all three as a guarantee.
How Much Do Backend Web Developers Make?
Most programming jobs are in high demand and well-paying, and Back End Developers are no exception. Payscale reports that in the United States, the average salary for Back End web developers is $72,553, with $5,000 in bonuses. Job satisfaction is 4.1 out of 5, a rank that’s easily considered highly satisfied. After a time as a Back End Developer, some might choose to make the career change to a solutions architect, which can pay as much as $118,755 on average.
How To Get Back Into Backend Development
Interested in getting started with a career in Back End Development yourself? If you really want to hone your skills and convince your potential employers with your portfolio, Le Wagon can help. We have 40 campuses internationally and offer an intensive coding bootcamp in Web Development, available in 9 weeks (full-time) or in 24 weeks (part-time) for those who need flexible hours.
In this course, you’ll have a chance to work on real projects and add to your portfolio. You’ll also be able to learn from experts and network with contemporaries in your field. This bootcamp will leave you not only with the skills you need to succeed, but the community to do so.
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