What Is a Back-End Web Developer?

Today’s tech job market is still red hot, and back-end developers are at the top of the most-wanted list. According to a recent HackerEarth recruitment survey, “back-end engineers are the most in demand, with front-end engineers, AI/ML experts, DevOps engineers, and data scientists also being in relatively high demand.”

In this article, we’ll look at the role of back-end web development, describing skills and responsibilities and providing training resources to help you get started.

What Do Back-End Developers Do?

We previously discussed the role of front-end web development, which focuses on the client side, or the part of the website that users interact with. Back-end development, on the other hand, refers to server-side development, or behind-the-scenes action. 

As Codecademy states, “in the context of web development, you have code that runs either on the client side (the user’s web browser) or on the server side (the computers at the company that are creating the website). The back-end engineer writes all the code that happens on the server side.”

The back end focuses on databases, scripting, and website architecture, says Guru99, and “code written by back-end developers helps browsers to communicate with database information.”

Skills and Responsibilities

To get the server, the application, and the database to communicate with each other, “back-end devs use server-side languages like PHP, Ruby, Python, Java, and .NET to build an application and tools like MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server to find, save, or change data and serve it back to the user in front-end code,” says Udacity.

According to Robert Half, typical duties include:

  • Building and maintaining web applications
  • Writing secure, high-quality code
  • Managing hosting environments
  • QA testing
  • Troubleshooting and debugging

And, according to CareerExplorer, the responsibilities of a back-end developer can involve:

  • Database creation, integration, and management
  • Back-end frameworks to build server-side software
  • Web server technologies
  • Server-side programming languages
  • Content management system development, deployment, and maintenance
  • API integration
  • Security and attack prevention
  • Generating analytics and statistics
  • Backup and restore

Recommended skills, per Robert Half, include: 

  • Fluency in scripting languages such as Ruby, Python, PHP, .NET, or Java
  • Experience with Laravel, Django, or Express frameworks
  • Experience with SQL, MySQL, and Oracle database systems
  • Familiarity with version control, such as Git, CVS, or SVN
  • Knowledge of SOAP and REST web services

Salary and Job Outlook

As mentioned in our article on front-end development, jobs for web developers are expected to grow as e-commerce continues to expand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, web developer job growth is projected to increase 13 percent between 2020 and 2030.

The average salary for a back-end developer in the United States (as of February 18, 2022, according to Indeed) is $117,122 per year. ZipRecruiter, however, puts the national average slightly lower at $100,281 per year. Salaries in general correspond to levels of experience and education, and entry-level back-end developers can expect to earn around $80,000.

Training Options

A variety of training courses and resources are available online to help you learn the fundamentals and qualify for a job in back-end web development. 

LinkedIn Learning, for example, offers a back-end development learning path that teaches foundational skills and shows how to “put them into practice using the popular server-side programming language Node.js.” In this training series, you’ll learn to “work with databases, test your code, build and consume RESTful APIs, and dig deeper into security and HTTP.” 

Other training options include:

The following resources can also help you learn more about back-end development and related tools.

Learn More

If you're ready to find a job, check out the open positions at Open Source JobHub.

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