What is a Back-End Developer?

What do you call the behind-the-scenes functionality, or brain of a site?

The 'back end' of a website is a combination of technology and programming that powers a website. It consists of three parts that a user never sees: a server, an application, and a database.

A back-end developer is someone who builds and maintains the technology needed to power the components which enable the user-facing side of the website to exist. Their back end code adds utility to everything the front-end developer creates.

These developers are responsible for creating, maintaining, testing, and debugging the entire back end. This includes the core application logic, databases, data and application integration, API and other back end processes.

What does a Back-End Developer do?

The back end runs a website—the user doesn’t see it or interact with it, but it is always running in the background, delivering functionality and a desktop-like experience. Back-end developers play a critical role in web development teams, and make sure that data or services requested by the front end system or software are delivered.

A back-end developer building and maintaining the technology which enables the user-facing side of the website to exist.

The back end is the combination of a database and software written in a server-side language, which is run on web servers, cloud-based servers, or a hybrid of both.

In order to make the server, application, and database communicate with each other, back-end developers use 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 to the user in front end code.

After communicating with a business owner and understanding what their needs and technical requirements are, back-end developers use the aforementioned tools to create web applications with clean, well-documented code.

They come up with the most effective and efficient solutions for engineering technology by converting and returning data into front end code a user can interact with, such as: filling out a form, creating a profile, shopping online, etc.

Responsibilities of a back-end developer can include working with:
- Database creation, integration, and management
- Back-end frameworks to build server-side software
- Web server technologies
- Cloud computing integration
- Server-side programming languages
- Operating systems
- Content management system development, deployment, and maintenance
- API integration
- Security settings and hack prevents
- Reporting—generating analytics and statistics
- Backup and restore technologies for a website’s files and DB

Interested in becoming a back-end developer?

We can help! Our membership gives you tools, resources, guidance, and support to pursue a career as a back-end developer. You’ll get access to scholarships, exclusive discounts on career coaching, online courses, and industry training. As an added bonus, tap into savings on food, entertainment, electronics, and so much more.

Learn more

What is the workplace of a Back-End Developer like?

The life of a developer typically involves working long hours. Back-end developers can be found almost anywhere, working as full-time permanent employees in both large corporations and small or medium-sized companies.

They can also work as freelancers or independent consultants, or as contractors for an employment agency.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a front-end and back-end developer?

Within the context of web development, front-end developers generally tend to work on the user-facing portions of a website or app. They generally spend their time working with client-side technologies that make up a website, such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

Back-end developers tend to work with the server-side technologies that power the site’s functionality.

The two roles are closely related in that they must generally work together to create a fully functioning website. The split itself comes from how the web is architected at a fundamental level, where the client-side is generally referred to as the browser, and the server-side is the technology stack that receives requests and generates responses.

What languages do back-end developers need to know?

Back-end developers generally work with languages like Python, Ruby, PHP, Go, or server-side JavaScript.

Because the technology that powers the web is based on open standards, there are many choices when it comes to what language a back-end developer should choose. This type of decision generally differs from company to company, and sometimes even within departments at a company.

Modern web sites are typically constructed using a variety of languages. All of the commonly used languages generally have several web frameworks to choose from when making a website. Back-end developers should stay aware of upcoming languages and frameworks, as the industry moves quickly.

Back-End Developers are also known as:
Back-End Software Engineer Back-End Engineer Back-End Web Developer Back-End Coder