In order to fully understand how to become a back-end web developer, you must first understand the skills needed to be successful in this career field. As a back-end developer you must work collaboratively with front-end developers and other team members to create and maintain effective websites. The key to becoming a successful back-end web developer is to practice, practice, practice. To become an efficient and reliable master back-end developer, you must work on tasks such as coding, creating a website from the back-end with server software and using frameworks, and utilizing databases systems.
The server-side of web development is called the “back-end” and this is where back-end developers do most of their work. They are the architects of web development ensuring that web pages work seamlessly and securely. Back-end developers are in charge of making sure that the web page runs on different browsers and electronics, (including mobile apps) and must write all associated code. The back-end web developer uses the objective of the website and applications to problem solve and intentionally create the website from the server side. Back-end developers differ from front-end web developers because they are more focused on making everything run smoothly behind the scenes, rather than create what the user actually sees.
Since the job requirements for a back-end developer are extensive, many back-end web developers have a bachelor’s degree in a related field like computer science. A formal education and four-year degree are not necessary, however. Back-end web developers can learn the skills needed to perform all job requirements from online resources, open source programs, and bootcamps. Both in-person and online bootcamps are offered across the United States in concentrations such as software development, software engineering, and more which can help lead students to their desired career as a back-end web developer. One advantage of bootcamps is that they require less time to complete, however, in a field such as back-end web developing, students may want to pursue learning other skills to strengthen their resume such as the ones CodingBootcamps has listed in the steps to become a back-end web developer. The more programs a back-end developer specializes in, the more desirable they are to a future employer.
Knowledge of search, sort, and hashing algorithms are some of the basics that every programmer should know to be respected and remain competitive in their field. Knowing algorithms will help make for a better programmer and also will help back-end web developers better understand data structures.
While it is impossible for anyone to master all programming languages, a back-end web developer should be proficient in at least one. Java, Python, PHP, and Ruby are among the most used programming languages by back-end web developers. Practice writing clean and efficient code goes a long way in becoming a back-end developer.
Web server software allows a computer to be the server for a website. Back-end web developers must have knowledge of web server software to use server specific commands and successfully build technologies. The server connects what the user interacts with and the database so the back-end developer must understand how to make that connection.
There are many options for database services, like mySQL. You will want to practice its uses such as modeling, querying, and more. Many back-end developers also learn SQL, a query language used to communicate with databases.
Once you learn a programming language you will want to learn at least one of its related frameworks. Frameworks are popular because they provide a program(s) as the blueprint for the back-end of web applications. For Python, Django is widely used as a framework. Apache and Grails are Java frameworks that are helpful to know, and Ruby on Rails is one example of a popular Ruby framework. Libraries provide code that is pre-written and ready to use. Many, especially with Python, are open-source and available for anyone to use for practice and learning purposes.
Version control software manages source code changes to programs and websites. This allows previous versions to never be completely lost and helps during debugging as well as updating code.
7. Create a Portfolio
Creating a web developer portfolio provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate all the skills you’ve acquired to hiring managers and provide examples of past projects. If you’re interested in learning more check out our comprehensive guide to creating your own Web Developer Portfolio. Both articles include step-by-step instructions and tips, free online resources and templates, examples to inspire and more!
The job outlook for a back-end web developer is promising for this decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that the job outlook for web developers, which includes back-end developers, will increase 8% from 2019-2029, double the rate of the average career.
A search on indeed.com for back-end web developers yields a long list of possible career opportunities in the web development field. While some listings requested general back-end developers, others are more specific with the programming language desired in applicants.
In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported the median back-end developer salary to be over $73,000 per year. As of March 2021, Indeed.com reported the average bank-end developer salary to be over $123,000 per year. Salary depends on experience, resumes, and location, but these reports are extremely encouraging for those looking to pursue a career as a back-end web developer.