Back-end developers should be able to manage hosting environments, database administration, understand accessibility and security compliance. Skills that will set a back-end developer apart from his/her coworkers include extensive database knowledge, understandings of frameworks, server handling abilities, and being able to connect to Application Programming Interfaces so that written programs can operate on multiple interfaces properly. Desirable back-end developers will also have knowledge of both back and front-end programming languages.
In addition to the technical skills, it is necessary to also have “soft skills” for this career choice. These include being a great communicator and able to collaborate with others. While each developer has their own expertise, they must work as part of a larger team to create and maintain projects for companies and organizations.
Before diving deeper into the skills needed for this profession, it is important to look at the job description for this career.
What is a Back-end Developer?
This developer is responsible for the server side of web development. They ensure that data can be stored and accessed correctly for websites and apps. They code and debug storage and database systems as necessary and make sure that the database correctly communicates with the browser. Essentially, they are responsible for everything the user of a website or app doesn’t see to make sure the user has a seamless experience.
Top 10 Skills Needed to Become a Back-End Developer in 2022
After looking through job descriptions and bootcamp curriculums, here are the top 10 skills you would need to enter this profession.
1. Programming language(s).
Every back-end developer must know at least one programming language. Python, Java, Ruby, and PHP are the most used in this field and highly sought after although Kotlin and Golang are gaining traction.
2. Knowledge of front-end programming languages.
3. Manage hosting environment.
Since every website has a hosting environment, it is imperative that back-end professionals know how to manage these environments and choose the best one for the website.
4. Knowledge of compliance for accessibility and security
All websites and applications are required to comply with accessibility guidelines. Information stored in databases also needs to remain secure. Back-end developers are key players in both of these implementations.
5. Knowledge of version control software.
Experience with version control software, such as Git, is important as team members work on source code so that changes are tracked and stored.
6. Knowledge of database administration.
Since the back-end developer writes the code for the information in the database to be transmitted to the browser, knowing how databases work is an important part of this field.
7. Knowledge of frameworks
Frameworks are prewritten code which will save the developer time. They are also already tested and secure pieces of code.
8. Server handling
Every website needs a database with a remote server. Developers need to be able to manage appropriate servers and manage servers on different operating systems.
9. Connecting to APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)
Since so many websites also offer mobile apps, developers must be able to ensure the website information can also be found via the app. This is done using APIs.
10. Soft skills
Since back-end developers work as part of a team, soft skills are as important as technical skills. The best developers can communicate and collaborate with their team. They are also problem solvers. They can troubleshoot problems and find solutions to help meet the goals for the website on which they are working.
Job Outlook for a Back-End Developer
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the job outlook for web developers, which includes the back-end, will increase 8% from 2019 to 2029. This is great news for this field. Glassdoor ranked this profession 16th on its list of Best Jobs in America. Salary, job satisfaction, and current job openings were all considered in this ranking. It is important to note that coming in at number one was Java Developer, which can be considered a specialized type of back-end developer. U.S. News also ranked software developers first in their list of Best Technology Jobs and web developers are ranked eighth. These rankings and statistics are exciting and encouraging for tech professionals in this area. Currently, according to Glassdoor, even top companies like IBM, Google, Zillow, Facebook, and Twitter are hiring for multiple back-end developers. Every industry needs these tech professionals since every company and startup, no matter what the size, now requires websites (and sometimes mobile apps) in order to do business.
Back-end Developer Salary
Indeed.com reports that the average salary for this field is $121,691 with a common cash bonus of $4,000 per year. Java, software, and full stack developers are other careers to look for with back-end experience. According to the State of Software Engineers report, back-end, front-end, and full stack engineers saw the highest demand in job postings in 2020.
Next Steps to Becoming a Back-End Developer
In order to enter this profession, here are the most important steps to take to begin an entry-level career in this field.
- Learn basic algorithms.
Learning how basic algorithms are written will help you become a better programmer. Algorithms for searching, sorting, queuing, trees, graphs, hashing, and data structures are all important building blocks in the coding world.
2 Learn at least one programming language.
Every developer must be able to code in at least one programming language. Refer to our list of skills above!
- Learn related frameworks and libraries to the programming language of your choice.
Knowing the best frameworks and libraries in your programming language will help make you a more efficient programmer and developer.
- Learn how databases operate.
Since websites require storage, learning the basics of databases is a no brainer.
- Learn a version history software.
Git is a great choice since it is the most popular and used software in this space. Proficiency in version history software will show that you are ready to work with a team to create websites.
And most importantly….Practice, practice, practice.
The best way to become more proficient in any field is to of course practice your skills.\
Once you have worked on these five steps, you can begin to learn the other skills mentioned in the “Top 10” above. Learning additional programming languages and their associated frameworks are great skills to work on and continue to add to your resume. The more skills you have in this area, the more marketable you are. You can also take the time to dive deeper in database administration. MySQL and Oracle are great places to start.
Are you not comfortable learning so many skills on your own or do not have the time to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science? A bootcamp to become a back-end developer could definitely be a great pathway for you. Bootcamps are offered across the country both in-person and online. Many even offer a combination of both formats. No matter the path you choose, rest assured that this is a fantastic career path to pursue.