What is Backend Development?
Backend development is also known as server-sider-development. It is everything that the users don’t see and contains behind the scenes activities that occur performing any action on a website or a app. It focuses primarily on databases, backend logic, APIs and Servers. This is called backend development in a simple way. The backend of a website or a mobile app is a combination of servers, applications, and databases, it reads the data from a database and update the data and delete the data or information from the database. Recall the example of a Medium website, What do you think happen when you submit your login/Signup details? To give a brief overview let us see the terminology of it.
When you click on submit button after filling the form, they are sent to the server that then processes your data and stores it in the database. Now they’d have the details shared by the user, then it stores that same data in a database. But did you see any of this happening? No, because it happened behind the scenes. Thus, it is known as the backend development. It is just an overview of what the backend is, but this is not it, there is a lot to it.
Now we’d have an idea what backend is? let us discuss what backend developers are?
A backend developer is one who makes us of the technology required to develop the products for the backend of any website or a app. A backend developer is responsible for building a structure of a software application.
Backend developers typically work in groups with a team. They’d use various types of tools, languages, and frameworks to accomplish these tasks. To do all this, they use a variety of server-side languages, including Java, .NET, PHP, Ruby, NodeJS, and etc. They do use databases like MySQL, MongoDB, Oracle, SQL, PostgreSQL, HarperDB, etc. to create, read, update, and delete the data and server it back to the client-side or the frontend of the application/website.
Backend Developer Skills
To become a backend developer, you should have good knowledge about these topics:
- Backend Programming Languages
Backend Programming Language
There are 2- Kinds of backend programming language:
- Object-Oriented (OOP) — It is a programming architecture built upon the concept of classes and objects. It is used to structure a program into simple, reusable pieces of code snippets (called classes), which are then used to create individual instances of objects. A class is an abstract blueprint that is used to create more concrete and specific objects. And objects are the instances of a class.
- In object-oriented programming languages, statements are executed in a particular order. Some of the popular object-oriented backend languages include Python, Java, and .NET.
- Functional — Functional programming is a programming paradigm in which everything is bound in mathematical functions style. It is a way of software development by creating pure functions. Functional programming languages avoid the concepts of shared state and mutable data that is observed in OOP. They emphasize expressions and declarations rather than execution.
- Functional programming languages use declarative syntax, which suggests that statements are often executed in random order. Some examples of functional languages include Haskell, Clojure, SQL, and R.
- PHP — PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is an open-source back-end scripting language used to build dynamic websites. It was first released in 1995 and is one of the first languages with the ability to build dynamic websites, it quickly gained momentum. PHP at present empowers 78.2% of the dynamic websites. In traditional websites, PHP is generally used to gather user information and store it securely in a database.
- One of the advantages of PHP is that it is easy to learn and use because of its simple syntax. PHP is a great language to start with for the following reasons:
- Being dynamically typed, it reports fewer errors, which means that you should compile and run a program until you identify the problematic part.
- There are a lot of resources dedicated to the language as a result of the large community and support.
Some of the companies that use PHP as a backend are Facebook, Lyft, Viber, and Hootsuite.
- Python — Python was first curated by Guido van Rossum in 1991. Python is an interpreted general-purpose programming language. It declines the need for coding to a significant level.
- It has high usefulness because of the ease of use and extensive libraries offered for backend development. Many emerging tech companies use Python web frameworks such as Django and Flask to power their web apps.
- Furthermore, the syntax of Python is easy to understand compared to other backend languages. Python can be used for cross-platform shell scripting and quick automation. Using frameworks like a flask, we can also deploy machine learning models on the websites.
- Some of the companies that use Python as a backend are Uber, Mozilla, RedHat, and Spotify.
- Ruby — Ruby is a dynamic, open-source, high-level programming language. Ruby focuses on productivity and simplicity.
- Coding with Ruby allows developers to create web applications quickly without writing much code.
- Ruby is similar to Python in that it’s fantastic for prototyping. It prioritizes conventions rather than configuration, which helps the backend developers as they don’t have to waste their time configuring the files to get started with the development process. With ruby, we can automate repetitive tasks, build web applications, build mobile applications, and create prototypes.
- Ruby on Rails is an open-source web development framework. It is a web development framework built on top of Ruby.
- Some of the companies that use Ruby as a backend are Airbnb, and Codecademy.
- Java — Java is an object-oriented, platform-independent, and general-purpose programming language. According to a survey by Indeed, Java is one of the world’s most popular programming languages.
- Java boasts of high convenience, cross-stage capabilities, and security. Thus, it has become the most preferred language among developers.
- While Java is extremely popular with desktop and business software developers, it is not beginner-friendly. And thus loses in front of a language like Python. This is because Java is verbose and requires more code to build out even the simplest of the features. With Java, we can perform database connectivity, image processing, networking, etc. easily.
- Spring Boot is one of the top Java backend frameworks used for efficient web development.
- Some of the companies that use Java as a backend are LinkedIn, Flipkart, Amazon and eBay.
- .NET — .NET is a web application framework that is used to build websites using languages like C#, VB.NET, and more. It was first developed by Microsoft in response to Oracle’s Java programming language.
- .NET is a unified one-stop solution for building fast and robust mobile, desktop, web, and cloud applications. It is open-source, and supports all platforms including macOS, Windows, and Linux. .NET is fast and friendly and goes well with other programming languages and platforms.
- .NET mainly follows an MVC (Model-View-Controller) based architectural pattern. It is a development pattern that allows duties to be handled by a controller, which interacts with a model to process data.
Some of the companies that use .NET as a backend are Stackoverflow and Microsoft.
Every website needs a database to deal with the client data. A database stores the data and site content in a way that makes it simple to recover, arrange, alter, and store information. A backend developer should have extensive knowledge of various DBMS technologies.
Knowledge of APIs
The entire internet works via the medium of APIs. API stands for Application Programming Interface and API is a medium through which two computer software can talk to each other.
API is a set of rules and definitions that allow different clients, software, or services to communicate with each other over the internet. When two systems communicate, the server is the one that provides the API, and the client is the one who consumes it.
APIs take a request from the client or user and send it to the server, which then sends back a response based on the request.
This communication is done through HTTP methods such as:
- GET: used to retrieve a resource.
- DELETE: used to delete a resource.
- PUT: used to replace an existing resource.
- POST: used to create a new resource.
Backend developers should have extensive knowledge about APIs since they are medium which enables data transfer. APIs generally act as a mediator between the backend and the databases enabling the developers to fetch the user data. Backend developers create APIs using various languages and frameworks including Python, NodeJS, etc. These APIs then can be consumed by frontend developers to collect the data, and show it on the frontend side of the website, and enhance the User Experience.
Knwoledge of Servers
Since servers are the most commonly used medium to deliver important services, most servers are never turned off. This part of the servers makes it an essential element for a backend developer to learn about. Some examples of the servers are Apache, Nginx, IIS servers, and Microsoft IIS.
Some other backend development skills include –
- Ability to manage a hosting environment along with database administration.
- Knowledge of scaling applications to handle the load changes that is a large amount of data traffic.
- Knowledge of accessibility and security compliances.
- Knowledge of version control such as Git and GitHub.
- They should be good communicators so that they can communicate ideas and add value to their teams.
- In-depth knowledge of deploying or hosting.
- Knowledge of AWS, Heroku, Google Cloud Platform is a plus. These all are cloud-hosting markets. Heroku is a container-based cloud platform service (PaaS) and AWS is a cloud platform that provides IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS, and SaaS (Software as a Service).
The web is a rapidly evolving universe. Everything that we use and see in our daily lives has moved to the web. With this upsurge in technology, the demand for backend developers is also rising.
If you want to take your programming skills to the next level, be sure to check out “Zero to Full Stack Hero” here.
Share this article with anybody you think would benefit from this. If you have any suggestions, feel free to hit me up. If you enjoyed this article, make sure to let me know in the comments down below and don’t hesitate to buy me a coffee by clicking below👇
(PAPA Team Writer)