Table of Contents
Table of Contents
With commitment and adequate knowledge, you can fast-track your career as a backend developer. If you have already started as a backend developer but overwhelmed by information overload, you should align your career goals with your skills.
Start with the elementary concepts and make your way to more logical backend development aspects. In this article, I will list the must-have hard skills for backend developers.
Who is a Backend Developer?
A backend developer is a software engineer that works on the remote or unseen part of websites and applications. Backend developers often plan and design the core components that make a website function optimally.
These core components often include backend technology like ASP.NET, Node, Redis, etc. The greatest perk of backend development is its lucrativeness; the average backend developer earns an estimated $100,000 yearly.
Top 10 Skills For Backend Developers
If you will be a proficient backend developer, you need to hone your hard and soft skills. Soft skills are usually attributed to your character, enabling you to have a smooth relationship with others, while hard skills are expertise gained through practice and experience.
Soft skills like critical thinking, adaptability, communication, time management, people management, etc., are necessary for backend development.
Below are the top 10 skills for backend developers:
Basic frontend skills
Basic frontend development knowledge is essential for backend developers. Besides, most backend developers started as frontend developers. So, you should know the rudiments of HTML and CSS. HTML helps provide basic image and text structure for websites while CSS makes them appear in a readable format by adding perks to such text and image. This makes webs look pleasing to the users.
Backend programming language knowledge
As you progress, you will need to learn about programming languages used by backend developers; the three most popular are PHP, Python and Ruby.
While PHP is the language used by most developers because it can quickly automate tasks, you are encouraged to learn Python as a newbie developer because it uses easy syntax and is readable. On the other hand, Ruby is used for more intrinsic backend development, which may include data processing, server building, web crawling and scraping.
Styles and frameworks skills
Styles and frameworks are other basic skills for backend developers. Styles refer to coding guidelines or rules that help programmers avoid coding errors, while frameworks refer to programming tools that help design the underlying structure of webs and applications.
- Commonly used styles include Bootstrap and Material UI; both Bootstrap and Material UI are open-source. Bootstrap is based on CSS structure while Material UI makes use of Google Material Design via React library.
- Django, Flask, Webpack, Vue, Angular, and React are commonly used frameworks. Frameworks help you to focus on a more interesting aspect of a project by performing low-level tasks.
You can choose any style or framework that easily aligns with your professional experience. However, if you are a beginner, you should focus on Bootstrap style and any of the following frameworks.
- Flask or Django (for Python)
- Laravel (for PHP)
The knowledge of API is one of the must-have skills for backend developers. APIs are responsible for the easy exchange of data between servers and clients. In simpler terms, APIs accept enquiries from users or clients and direct them to the server. The APIs commonly used today are SOAP and REST, SOAP is function-driven because it is used to perform specific tasks, while REST is data-driven because it is the main access source for data.
Server usage skills
Understanding and working around the server is another skill needed in backend development. You need to know about the server-side frameworks and commands. You should start with Linux, and then you can get exposed to Apache, IIS servers, Nginx, etc.
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For every web or application, databases are needed to store and retrieve users’ data. Organizing and managing these data are important skills for backend developers. Hence, you need to know the rudiments of these structured query languages. Databases may include;
- Message Queues like SQS, RabbitMQ, Kafka, and ZeroMQ
- NoSQL like Elasticsearch, Casandra, Mongo and CouchDB
- RDBMS like MySql, MSSQL and PostgreSQL
- Graphs like ArangoDB or Neo4j
Read Also: What Does A Full-Stack Developer Do?
Version control (system) skills
The version control skills for backend developers are needed to manage any alteration to web or application programs. Version control systems are used as part of software configuration management.
If you are skilful in version control systems, you will be able to track any alteration in your project. Besides, the version control system ensures that every team member is working on the right version of the project. Examples of version control systems you should know are GitHub, Git, Helix Core (Perforce), Mercurial, AWS CodeCommit, etc.
Web security and network protocol skills
Web security and network protocol are other essential skills for backend developers. If your web is not secure, it can easily get damaged or hacked.
A network protocol ensures that information is efficiently disseminated between several devices within the same network. Following the right network protocol ensures that your web is secure and safe from external attacks.
Data structures and algorithms (DSA) knowledge
Accessing, organizing and modifying data are vital skills for backend developers. You can learn these skills with the help of DSA; DSA helps you to organize a more efficient and optimized code.
If your code is optimized, you can easily retrieve and manage its data when needed. Common key concepts you should know in DSA include linked lists, sorting, recursion, strings, arrays, trees, graphs and graphs algorithms.
Automation and virtualization skills
Automation and virtualization enable high delivery of network services. They are important skills for backend developers because it helps to receive configuration information from hardware through automated software tools.
Besides, you will need automation and virtualization skills with the knowledge of basic DevOps infrastructure like AWS, ELK, and Azure.
- Automation tools include Chef, Ansible and Jenkins
- Virtualization tools include Kubernetes, Docker, Vagrant, Bladecenter and VMWares.
Basic knowledge of frontend development is essential for backend development, especially if you are a newbie. However, if you are more proficient, you should learn other needed skills for backend developers.
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- Olawale Moses Oyewole is a digital strategist who stays on top of current events and curate informative and engaging articles for his readers. He helps brand locate their target audience and enhance their online visibility.
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