what is a back-end developer?

A back-end developer works in tech and IT and facilitates data interchange between the servers, databases and site users. Your role is to develop the back-end logic and maintain the central database that will ensure responsiveness to requests from the front-end side of the website. While the work of a back-end developer is not seen in the front-end, it forms the foundation of a seamless and user-friendly experience. Hence, you understand the integration of front-end elements for smooth collaboration between the client-side and server-side.

what does a back-end developer do?

As a back-end developer, you design and alter the aspects of a website or software application that the user never sees. That means you construct the core features and components of software to aid in the functionality of a website. For instance, when a user places a request on the website (front-end side), your job is to ensure the programme delivers the requested information and data. You also maintain essential databases for the website and manage the application programme interfaces (APIs). Software and database management requires proficiency in server-side languages like Python, Java and Ruby.

Most back-end developers work in technology companies creating websites and software for their clients. Once they understand the business requirements, they develop the technical aspects using programming languages. Would working as a back-end developer suit your interest in technology and curiosity? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a back-end developer role.

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average back-end developer salary

The salary of a back-end developer in Canada varies based on factors such as experience, skills, and location. Junior back-end developers typically earn $60,000 - $75,000 per year, mid-level developers make around $80,000 - $100,000 per year, and senior developers can earn $100,000 - $150,000+ per year. However, actual salaries may differ, with larger cities offering higher pay to compensate for the higher cost of living.

how to increase your salary as a back-end developer

As a back-end developer, your compensation package depends on the company size and project complexity. Small start-ups pay less due to the limited resources and small project sizes, but they allow you to sharpen your skills as you juggle numerous tasks. Large companies have unlimited resources and handle complex projects; hence the compensation package reflects the additional tasks. Besides, in big organizations, you work alongside multiple developers and specialize in specific aspects of web development. Your educational qualifications and experience also determine your salary prospects.

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types of back-end developers

Some of the back-end developer roles include:

  • back-end engineer: as a back-end engineer, you complete the server-side scripting and maintain the servers. This allows front-end developers to access the website's data structure. Your role focuses on the creative and innovative aspects of the project.
  • database administrator: this is a back-end developer in charge of developing and maintaining databases. Your job is to perform regular back-ups and update permissions to ensure the databases run efficiently and support the website. Most back-end developers responsible for database administration are familiar with data science tools and SQL.
  • solutions architect: as a solutions architect, you build software for businesses to scale their online functions. You use your expertise to design solutions and implement them for businesses.
back-end developer
back-end developer

working as a back-end developer

Working as a back-end developer involves building a website from scratch and controlling its functionality. You need exceptional programming skills and attention to detail to ensure the back-end technologies work smoothly.


back-end developer skills and education

To become a back-end developer in Canada, formal education is not always a strict requirement, but having a relevant educational background can be beneficial. Many successful back-end developers have diverse educational paths. However, there are common educational routes and skills that can help you enter this field:

  • bachelor's degree: while not mandatory, a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field can provide a solid foundation for a career in back-end development. These programs typically cover programming, data structures, algorithms, and other essential topics.
  • online courses and bootcamps: many aspiring developers choose to take online courses and coding bootcamps, which can be a faster and more cost-effective way to acquire the necessary skills. These programs often focus on practical, job-oriented training.
  • self-study: some individuals are self-taught and build their skills through online resources, books, and hands-on coding projects. Self-study can be a viable path if you are highly motivated and dedicated.
  • certifications: earning relevant certifications, such as those in web development or specific programming languages like Java, Python, or Ruby, can be valuable for demonstrating your expertise to potential employers.
  • practical experience: building a portfolio of personal projects, contributing to open-source projects, or completing internships can be as important, if not more so, than formal education. Practical experience demonstrates your ability to apply your knowledge.
  • continuous learning: the field of back-end development is constantly evolving. Staying current with the latest technologies and industry trends through online courses, workshops, and self-study is crucial for long-term success.

skills and competencies

A back-end developer should have the following skills:

  • programming skills: coding is crucial for your role. Expertise in back-end programming languages like Python and Java improves your success rate. You learn to code in college, but you can improve the skills through boot camps and vocational training programmes that provide certification in various programming languages.
  • a learning attitude: you need a continuous learning attitude to keep up with the changing technologies and website environments. It is crucial to grasp programming languages as soon as they come into the market.
  • communication skills: while you work on the back-end side of the website, your designs and ideas should shine through the front-end side. Communication skills help you collaborate with other designers and developers in creating a seamless user experience. For instance, you need to explain to your team the data structure design you intend to achieve to improve efficiency in the design process.
  • time management skills: as a back-end developer, you work on various tasks, and without time management skills, you won't meet the deadlines. Time management skills help you prioritize and multitasks by creating work schedules and to-do lists.
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