As web-based applications gain more and more traction, the demand for talented developers grows exponentially. It’s no surprise that so many young people are attracted to that career path: a lucrative field with great future potential – what’s not to like? But it’s one thing to want to become a software engineer, and another to actually pursue that specialty.
Web developers are split into frontend and backend specialists. Today, we’ll talk about the steps an aspiring programmer should take to become a qualified backend developer. Let’s dive right in.
What Does A Backend Developer Do?
If you’re interested in web development at all, you should already know that application data is typically stored on the server side and is then delivered to the client side. The server side is the solution’s backend, home to all of the app’s inner workings. This is where you will be spending all your time.
Simply put, backend developers write the code that makes the web app function. But that’s not all: backend devs also create the APIs that are necessary for the software’s mobile version to operate. Essentially, backend developers are responsible for the backbone of the application.
How To Become A Backend Developer?
To become a backend developer you, obviously, need to know several programming languages and have a good understanding of programming logic. If you’re totally new to the latter, a good place to start will be a basic computer language course. It will serve as groundwork for the journey that lies ahead.
As a whole, the path towards becoming a backend developer can be boiled down to 7 major steps.
Step 1. Learn the basics of algorithms and data structures.
A lot of developers disregard this step and jump straight to learning programming frameworks. But it won’t do you any harm to brush up on the basics. Here’s a list of the core concepts you should revise on:
- Data structures;
- Sorting and searching algorithms;
- Linked List;
- and others.
Step 2. Choose a programming language.
Currently, the most in-demand programming languages for backend development are:
If you’re new to programming as a whole, start with the more beginner-friendly languages, such as Java, C, and Python. This will help you get into the flow of operating application logic, common coding practices, and so on.
You can learn several languages at a time – the more of them you know, the merrier. But remember that mastering a programming language is a long process that requires effort and dedication.
Step 3. Study databases.
Next, select a relational database you want to work with. Almost all modern websites use some kind of storage, so learning how to handle them is a must. The most commonly used ones are:
- Microsoft SQL server;
Step 4. Choose a framework.
Sure, you can write a whole web application using the coding language in its bare state, but that would be laughably inefficient compared to doing so with a framework. Frameworks streamline the coding process by greatly reducing the amount of code you need to write, as well as providing templates and other useful functionality.
Step 5. Practice.
Theory alone won’t get you far. You have to actually use the knowledge you’ve accumulated, which is why regular practice is integral. Try developing small projects of your own or look for backend exercises and assignments. For example, you can try making a simple blog, a resume creator, a simple management application, a photo gallery, a planner, and so on.
Step 6. Get creative.
Once you feel comfortable with creating basic web functionality, you can try to experiment a little. True originality is very valuable and hard to find, so if you have a unique idea that you’d like to realize, you’re already at an advantage.
You can try creating a copy of a product that does something similar to what you’d like to achieve – for purely educational purposes, of course. This will help you understand how to bring the web application concept you have to life.
Step 7. Deploy the app.
When the web solution is complete, you’ll need a place to host it. To make the site accessible from the WWW, it needs to be deployed on a cloud service provider platform. A good choice for starters is AWS, since it allows you to host a web application for almost a year completely free of charge. Other popular options are Azure and Google Cloud.
You are now officially a backend developer! Whether you’d like to work for a backend development company or become a freelancer, the demand for your services will be high in a large variety of industries. But that doesn’t mean you can relax and stop growing your expertise. Keep expanding your resume, explore new technologies, learn new languages and frameworks, and you will be on your way to becoming a truly valuable team member in any software development project.