Essential Skills for Backend Developers to Master in 2023 – IQCode

Backend Development: What is it and the top skills you need

Have you ever wondered what happens when you fill out a contact form on a website? This is where backend development comes in. It’s the functionality behind the scenes that makes websites work.

Frontend is what users see while backend is the logic that makes things happen. Backend development requires skills in programming languages, databases, APIs, and servers.

The demand for backend developers is high, and it’s a career that offers many opportunities. To excel as a backend developer, you need to learn and master these skills.

Backend Development: What It Is and What Backend Developers Do

Backend Development, also known as server-side development, refers to the activities that occur behind-the-scenes of a website, including databases, backend logic, APIs, and servers. It involves servers, applications, and databases, and the code written by backend developers helps browsers communicate with the databases to store, read, update, and delete data.

When a user submits details on a website, the data is sent to the server, processed, and stored in the database, all without the user seeing the behind-the-scenes work. Backend developers use various tools, languages, and frameworks to develop backend products, often collaborating with frontend developers, architects, product managers, and testers.

Backend developers use server-side languages such as Java, .NET, PHP, Ruby, NodeJS, and Java, and tools like MySQL, MongoDB, Oracle, and SQL Server to create and manage data and serve it back to the frontend of the application.

Top Skills for a Backend Developer

As a backend developer, there are four essential skills that you should have:

1. Proficiency in backend programming languages
2. Strong knowledge of databases
3. Understanding of server architecture
4. Competence with developing APIs

These skills are crucial for building robust and scalable web applications.

Backend Programming Languages

Backend programming languages can be divided into two types:

1. Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) – built on the concept of classes and objects. Popular OOP languages include Python, Java, and .NET.

2. Functional Programming – using mathematical functions. Popular examples of this type include Haskell, Clojure, SQL and R.

Some of the most popular backend programming languages are:

1. PHP – an open-source back-end scripting language that is easy to learn and use. Used to build dynamic websites. Companies that use PHP include Facebook, Lyft, Viber, and Hootsuite.

2. Python – an interpreted general-purpose programming language. It has simple syntax and extensive libraries. Used by emerging tech companies for web development. Companies that use Python include Uber, Mozilla, RedHat, and Spotify.

3. Ruby on Rails – a web development framework built on Ruby. Used to create web applications quickly without much coding. Companies that use Ruby on Rails include Airbnb and Codecademy.

4. Java – a general-purpose programming language that is platform-independent. Considered one of the most popular programming languages but not beginner-friendly. Its frameworks are used for efficient web development. Companies that use Java include LinkedIn, Flipkart, Amazon, and eBay.

5. .NET – a web application framework used to build websites. It is an open-source solution for building mobile, desktop, web, and cloud applications. Its MVC-based architecture allows for efficient data processing. Some companies that use .NET include Stackoverflow and Microsoft.

Knowledge of Databases

A website requires a database to manage client data. A database is responsible for storing and organizing information. A skilled backend developer must be well-versed in numerous DBMS technologies.

The two main types of databases are SQL and NoSQL. SQL databases rely on structured tables and interrelated data to produce results based on queries. NoSQL databases, on the other hand, do not require upfront data structuring. Instead, they function primarily on JSON and XML.

Understanding APIs

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of rules and definitions which allow different software applications, clients, or services to communicate with each other over the internet. The server provides the API, and the client consumes it.

APIs utilize HTTP methods like GET, DELETE, PUT, and POST to transmit data between systems. Backend developers create APIs using a variety of languages, including Python and NodeJS. This data transfer mechanism allows backend developers to fetch user data from databases.

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) and XML (eXtensible Markup Language) are the most common API data formats. Frontend developers can use APIs to collect data and improve the user experience of the website.

Understanding Servers for Backend Development

Web applications run on remote PCs called servers. Servers receive requests for web-based files, such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript, and send those files to the client. As servers are frequently used to deliver important services, they are always on. This makes server knowledge essential for backend developers. Examples of servers include Apache, Nginx, and Microsoft IIS.

Other backend development skills include managing a hosting environment and database administration, scaling applications, understanding accessibility and security compliances, proficiency in version control such as Git and GitHub, and excellent communication skills. Proficiency in deploying or hosting and knowledge of cloud-hosting platforms such as AWS, Heroku, and Google Cloud Platform is a plus.

Note that Heroku is a container-based PaaS, while AWS provides IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.

Backend Development Skills in Demand

A backend developer must possess knowledge of algorithms such as searching, sorting, recursive, and iterative, that form the foundation of problem-solving. Data structures, including arrays, lists, hash trees, and trees, are important for organizing and modifying data in programming. Additionally, a backend developer should be proficient in Python, PHP, and Java, version control systems like Git, GitHub, and GitLab, databases, such as MySQL, MongoDB, and PostgreSQL, both, relational (SQL) and non-relational (NoSQL), as well as have knowledge of hosting and Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms.

Backend Developer Job Description

A backend developer is responsible for writing APIs, interacting with databases, creating libraries, and improving data architecture. They must coordinate with frontend developers to ensure efficient data transfer to client-side web applications. Additionally, backend developers collaborate with project managers and quality assurance engineers to optimize user experience. They analyze requirements and optimize applications for response time and efficiency. Backend developers build scalable and stable system architectures, implement security best practices, and write reusable code and libraries for future use.

Why Backend Development is a Thrilling Career Choice

The web is constantly changing and everything we use in our daily lives has moved online. As technology continues to advance, the demand for backend developers is increasing. Pursuing a career in backend development can lead to excitement and thrill.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frontend vs backend development

Frontend and backend development are two essential parts of web development. Frontend handles the user-facing components, while backend takes care of the server-side of a website or application. Although they are both essential, they have different roles and responsibilities in different work environments. The front end is what users see, while the backend is how everything works behind the scenes.

What You Need to Know to Become a Backend Developer

To become a competent backend developer, you need a solid understanding of one or more server-side programming languages. Additionally, it’s essential to know how to perform CRUD operations on a database, manage APIs, understand the HTTP protocol, and work with version control systems like Git.

Python for Frontend and Backend Development

Python is a versatile language that can be used for both frontend and backend development. Its simple syntax and wide usage make it a core programming language for backend development, supported by frameworks such as Django and Flask. Although it is less common, Python can also be used for frontend development.

What Language to Choose for Backend Development?

Each programming language has its unique use cases, strengths, and weaknesses, and the choice of language depends on the developer’s preference and comfort level. However, some languages are more popular due to their ease of use and strong community support. The graph below shows the most popular and in-demand programming languages among developers for backend development.

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Frontend vs Backend: Which is easier?

Many people believe that frontend development is easier than backend development, especially for beginners. However, both require dedication, patience, and hard work to master.

Do Backend Developers Earn More Than Frontend Developers?

Backend developers typically handle more technically complex tasks and can expect to earn a higher average salary compared to frontend developers. On average, a Backend Developer’s market salary is $130K, while a Frontend Developer’s average salary is $115K, according to payscale. However, the salaries of both roles heavily depend on a developer’s set of skills. It’s worth noting that at the higher levels, both roles can earn an equal amount.

Backend Developer Salary

A backend developer earns an average annual salary of $130,000, as reported by payscale. In India, the average salary for a backend developer is approximately Rs. 1,200,000 per year.

Useful Backend Development Resources

Here are some valuable resources for those interested in backend development:

- Top Backend Technologies You Must Know

Find out the most useful backend technologies to learn.

- Top Most Popular Backend Frameworks

Discover the most popular backend frameworks to work on.

- Practice Coding

Practice coding and improve your skills.

- How To Become A Java Developer

Step-by-step guide on becoming a Java developer.

- Backend Developer Roadmap: The Ultimate Guide

A comprehensive guide to becoming a backend developer filled with tips and resources.

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