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article | 25 Mar 2022
Who is a backend developer? | 2022 Neontri
Przemysław Pala
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A back-end developer (variants of the profession name: backend programmer, developer, or simply backend) is a specialist who deals with the software and administrative part of the web application, the internal content of the system, the server technologies - database, architecture, software logic. Usually, backends administer their own systems, but if this responsibility is assigned to a separate specialist - DevOps, then the backend programmer can concentrate on writing the code itself. By the way, in 2021, ProfGid Career Guidance Center has developed an accurate career guidance test. It will tell you which professions are suitable for you and give an opinion about your personality type and intelligence.

 

Backend developer - "fighter of the invisible front."

Many modern websites, web applications (those that are not run on template builders) have become very complex, so a whole team of specialists works on them. In order to create a complete, beautiful, functional, and user-friendly website, you need a collaborative work of designers, frontend and backend developers, and those who will control all this work to get the correct application for the business: analysts, project managers, or the customers themselves, representatives of any business. The division of labor speeds up the work of creating a website or web application and makes it easier to maintain.

Figuratively speaking, the backend development is all the stuffing of the car, hidden from the user: the systems - fuel and cooling, engine, gearbox, ventilation, and air conditioning. And everything that the user sees and uses: the settings of the onboard systems, 2-3 pedals, the steering wheel, the beautiful body, and the interior - this is the frontend part.

The backend developer works closely with the frontend developer, receiving user information from him and returning the processed result to him. The main tools of a backend developer are server programming languages. In general, the specialist uses different puppets in his work:

  • PHP
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Java
  • C#
  • Node.js (software platform)

In addition to Node.js, it is helpful to study Express (the library for the interaction of Node.js platform with the server) and Mongo DB (database to obtain and store information). Additional tools used by backend developers are:

  • Laravel
  • Symfony
  • CodeIgniter 
  • Django
  • Flask
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Spring
  • Express

Tools that help with data storage are: 

  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • SQLite

 

Features of the profession

It is impossible for modern developers to write the code from scratch. That's how programmers worked 10-15 years ago. Now there are many aids to simplify the solution of typical tasks. One of them is frameworks, and the ability to work with them is an inseparable part of a backend developer's work.

However, a framework is a relatively low-level solution, which offers architecture of some auxiliary libraries - and that is all. No one will ever write the business logic for the programmer. Yes, builders like Tilda allow you to make a site without programming, but this has nothing to do with back-end developers. Developers have always written, are writing, and will continue to write the codes. In addition, for typical websites, maybe, you can build a ready-made solution, but step left or right - and have to work with a programmer, and sometimes it is easier to write from scratch than to finish the existing solution.

The modern developer is, to some extent, an engineer as well because out of many low-level things, you have to glue together a ready-made solution. It is not an easy task to combine everything together, write good code in all the right places, and work correctly and not break with time.  

 

List of backend developer’s tasks

Thus, the backend developer's tasks are as follows:

  • development of the subject area model (domain)
  • development of the platform and core functionality, i.e., business logic
  • developing secure applications that support the user interface
  • setting up servers (battle, test, and production) and programs to monitor their statuses
  • the use of a version control system (this is a common requirement for all programmers)
  • configuration of databases, creation of models of the subject area, and interactions between them
  • setting up continuous integration and delivery processes

The difference between backend development and frontend development is that the back-end developer's code works in a certain known, pre-configured environment. On the other hand, the front-end code can run anywhere, from clocks or e-books to huge monitors.

But setting up a backend developer's environment can not be the most pleasant thing to do. Various layers of isolation are now widespread, such as docker containers, which must be run in Kubernetes. It is also necessary to know how to work with Linux. Often the configuration is not through the web interface but through the console.

 

Pros and cons of the profession of backend developers

In backend development, the programmer works only with the code, additional systems and does nothing for the visual display to the user. This has its pros and cons: on the one hand, the results of the work are not so noticeable, but it's easier to check that code. It is a highly-paid and in-demand profession. 

To work as a backend developer, you need: 

  • analytical mindset;
  • logical thinking;
  • initiative;
  • the ability to plan and follow plans;
  • the ability to work in a team;
  • the flexibility of thought;
  • responsibility, persistence, purposefulness;
  • focus on results and quality;
  • the desire for constant learning new things and their application in their work.
  • Professional knowledge and skills
  • First and foremost, the backend developer will need knowledge of at least one programming language: Go, PHP, Python, Ruby, Java, C#. 

This base should come with: 

  • The ability to write fast, good-looking, and correct code;
  • knowledge of popular web frameworks;
  • ability to design databases and optimize queries;
  • knowledge of modern programming paradigms;
  • knowledge of design patterns;
  • understanding of web services devices, interfaces;
  • English for reading technical documentation.

Cloud solutions are popular in the Western market. The most popular is amazon web services, and a backend developer is required to have the knowledge and skills to work with these services. 

 

What about an educational degree?

It is essential to understand that even the best university fundamental education lays only a solid systemic basis of professional knowledge. It is not enough to keep abreast of changes in technologies and tools. That is why self-education is vital in the field of back-end development and any programming profile. Nowadays, employers do not impose formal higher education requirements on candidates for backend development jobs. What matters most to them is the specialist's experience, intellect, and motivation.

Specialized education is not a necessity for a backend developer, as it is everywhere else in programming. The main thing is the skills and their level. Companies require a college degree, but this is more of a bureaucratic procedure than a necessity to hire a person.

 

Career steps and prospects

From a backend developer position, after mastering the skills of a frontend developer, it's a straight path to a full-stack developer. For further growth, it is necessary to constantly learn new things: to study in detail software development technologies, configuration, and service systems settings. Backend developers work closer to system architects, and sometimes perform their role, so they often become the same architects, and later become technical directors.

What’s more, skilled backend developers can float between positions of architecture, design and technical leads. There’s a wide range of possibilities for them to even become CTOs. 

Are you a backend developer? Contact us and let’s check probable career paths for you in Neontri. 

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