What Does A Back End Developer Do? (With Average Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A back end developer is someone who works on development on the server-side of a business's technology infrastructure. Large businesses often require front-end and back end developers to create robust applications that their customers and employees can use daily. For this reason, being a back end developer is a high-demand career. In this article, we explain what it means to be a back-end developer and show how to become one.

Read more: Frontend Vs. Backend Development: What Is The Difference?

What does a back end developer do?

To better understand the answer to, "What does a back end developer do?", it is helpful to review their job duties. Here is a list of duties that a back end developer usually performs:

  • Creating, integrating and managing databases

  • Implementing frameworks on the server-side that are a part of customer-facing features

  • Assisting with web-server technology

  • Integrating servers with the cloud

  • Being well-versed in server-side programming languages like Java

  • Keeping up with current knowledge of operating systems

  • Developing, deploying and maintaining content management systems and updates

  • Integrating APIs with server-side components

  • Updating security settings to prevent hacking

  • Generating robust reports and analytics

  • Backing up files and assisting with restorations

What is a back end developer?

A back end developer is a software professional who develops applications by implementing code on a company's server. While front-end developers work with customer-facing application content, like user interfaces, back-end developers connect data channels or functions on a company's server to actions that allow the application to run successfully. Sometimes, back-end developers work with databases to ensure that applications can retrieve information. Other times, they build components that are essential for the basic functioning of a piece of software.

Back end developer salary

The average salary for a back-end developer in India is ₹6,95,440 per year. Common benefits include commuter assistance, health and life insurance, stock options and paid time off. The growth opportunities in this field are immense and you can get substantial salary hikes as you keep on gaining experience.

Read more: Backend Developer Skills: Definition And Examples

Back-end developer vs. front-end and full-stack developer

Back-end development is one path developers can take in their careers. Here is how back-end development differs from front-end and full-stack development:

Full-stack developer roles and responsibilities

A full-stack developer performs the entire list of duties that belong to both front-end and back-end developers. These technology professionals specialise in all areas of development. They understand many coding languages and frameworks and perform a wide range of duties that belong to both front-end and back-end developers.

Read more: What Is A Full Stack Developer? Benefits And Career Advice

Front-end developer roles and responsibilities

Front-end developers perform these duties:

  • Create and implement the visual elements of a website's interface

  • Implement responsive user interfaces

  • Test the usability of a website or web application

  • Troubleshoot broken code

  • Make improvements to the architecture of a website or application

Read more: Front End Developer Skills: Definition And Examples

How to become a back-end developer

Follow these steps to become a back-end developer:

1. Consider if an education program is right for you

To start in a technology job, experience with coding and frameworks is usually a requirement, but a formal education may not be. Enrolling in an education program, such as a two- or four-year degree or certification program, can improve your chances of securing a job, higher salary or senior position.

Consider where you would like to start your career in back-end development, at the junior-level or mid-career level and what trainings you require to get there. If you are not familiar with the basics of coding, it may make sense to choose an education program that exposes you to the fundamentals of back-end development.

2. Learn a programming language

Regardless of whether you choose formal education, an important step in becoming a back-end developer is to learn a server-side programming language. You may choose to learn a language like Java or C++. Some other examples of server-side languages are:

  • Ruby

  • Python

  • C#

3. Understand algorithms and data structures

A basic understanding of data structures and algorithms makes it easier to learn the frameworks necessary for the job. Core concepts like algorithm stacks and data structures, searching and sorting algorithms and creating link trees and graphs are all part of the required foundational duties. Understanding these concepts may also help you during the interview process for the job.

4. Learn a framework

Different learning frameworks are available, but for back-end developers just starting their careers, the best idea is to pick one and start practicing with it. Two common frameworks are Django and Ruby on Rails. The server-side programming languages you know may help you determine which one you could start with.

Most frameworks are a model-view-controller (MVC) resource that makes it easier to code an entire program. While some back-end developers may hand-code a program just using their knowledge of programming languages and not a framework, adjusting to using a framework makes your programming faster and more consistent, which is desirable in most workplaces. For this reason, it is generally expected that back-end developers understand how to work within common learning frameworks.

Read more: Web Developer Skills: Definition And Examples

5. Get current on database knowledge

Working with databases is another important skill for back-end developers. These professionals link applications to databases to retrieve information and create databases and manage the data lifecycle. So being up-to-date with knowledge of different databases is going to be important for you.

6. Practice regularly

Practicing is essential if you want to become a back-end developer. It sharpens your skills and offers experiences you can talk about in an interview. Hone key skills, like coding in a server-side language and building databases, to perform them competently. By practicing, you can make yourself more comfortable with the foundational concepts required to perform the role of a back-end developer.

7. Understand security best practices

Back-end developers develop server-side and also protect it. By understanding security best practices, you can help companies avoid security breaches to their servers. Knowing security guidelines issued by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) could be helpful for you.

8. Decide on practical training methods

Practical training methods are important to learning. These include creating your own server-side applications, practicing security enhancements, creating databases and more. Having a portfolio is important if you want to work as a back-end developer. To do that, you could start working on projects. Choose projects that interest you and see them through to completion. This way, you have a practical experience that you can show in an interview, in addition to any education that you choose.

Skills required to become a back-end developer

Here are some skills, technical and non-technical, that may help you become a back-end developer:

Database management

One of the essential job responsibilities of a back-end developer is to manage a hosting environment. Database management requires in-depth knowledge of database administration and database management systems (DBMS). Being familiar with recovering and stacking data from databases is important for developers. Also, they create storage solutions in the application database to store a large amount of information. Some commonly used databases include MySQL and MongoDB.

Programming and server languages

Back-end developers write code that helps build and maintain the technology that powers the frontend side of a web application. That is why being proficient in programming languages like Java, Python, .NET, PHP and Ruby is important. You do not need proficiency in all of these programming languages but at least one language. Based on your interest area, choose a language you want to learn and master.

Knowledge of middleware

Middleware is any software on a server that helps to connect the application's front end with the back end. Back-end developers require knowing middleware as it controls the flow of information between the database, operating system, application and server. Good middleware increases IT efficiency and enhances business process management.

Active listening skills

Back-end developers often attend meetings with clients and stakeholders. They usually have these meetings to understand the project's requirements. Having active listening skills may help them build connections with clients, win their trust and avoid missing any crucial information in these meetings.

Communication skills

The ability to interact with your colleagues and stakeholders to ensure the final product meets the project's specifications requires excellent verbal communication skills. Also, a large part of your work may involve documenting the code or designing and writing test cases. This requires mastery of written communication skills. When you document your work, it becomes easier for other developers and quality analysts to make changes as per project requirements.

Technical creativity

Technical creativity can be useful for back-end developers as it helps them design the look of a website and structure the code. Also, they may use their creativity to find out ways to structure a database to model complex project requirements. Another aspect of creativity is the ability to write codes that other developers and quality analysts can easily understand.

Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills help you become an efficient developer. Back-end developers work on a range of tasks like coding, designing APIs and troubleshooting. They spend much of their workday detecting bugs in the code causing the program to break. Back-end developers find solutions to different programming obstacles like debugging code, making revisions to a website without altering the functionality and preventing unexpected website crashes.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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