Back-end handles internal processes and logic in an IT system, accessible to programmers/admins only.
Backend is the field of web application programming, that is, the part that the user does not see which concerns the external server. The frontend, on the other hand, is responsible for the presentation layer, i.e. everything that takes place on the browser side and interacts with users. The programmer in charge of the backend is responsible for the correct functionality of the system from the technical side, the storage and transmission of data on the server side, as well as ensuring the security of the site and its technological development.
Backend - the layer of access to data
Modern websites are extremely dynamic. This means that all their content is generated each time it is displayed in a web browser by running scripts on the server. The backend is responsible for various operations including:
- storing and updating records stored in the database, as well as encrypting and decrypting them;
- handling file downloads and uploads;
- running scripts used to generate HTML responsible for presenting the website in the browser;
- handling incoming requests on web pages;
- accessing data stored in a database using SQL requests.
All data is processed and made available in the presentation layer (frontend) using API (Application Programming Interface) type REST systems for communication between the client (browser) and the server. The backend programmer is most often involved in writing code in PHP, Java, Python and C++ programming languages and uses their farmework to speed up and simplify his work. Since every dynamic site runs on databases, a backend programmer must be familiar with such database management systems as: MySQL, Oracle, MongoDB or PostgreSQL.
In addition, he or she must constantly collaborate with frontend developers and have a basic knowledge of their work, so that each web application can form one consistent whole. He or she should also be well versed in the environment of the language he or she uses, have intermediate knowledge of English, be familiar with design patterns and the GIT version control system. He needs to ensure that the entire site runs quickly and highly efficiently, especially if it processes a very large amount of data, which could overload the servers. The backend developer also handles the security of the web application and corrects technical errors that arise on an ongoing basis.
What does a back-end developer do?
A back-end developer works on those elements of a website or web application that are invisible to the user. He works on the so-called server side and is largely responsible for the interactivity of the project. For this he uses databases that store all the content of the site, which he manages freely depending on the goals of the entire project. He is the one who monitors the performance of the site, makes changes and updates functions that the average user has no idea about. In addition, he creates communication between APIs and communication with databases, builds components and functionalities with which the user can perform certain actions on the site, such as making payments or signing up for the newesletter. Once the project is completed and commissioned, the back-end developer constantly observes and analyzes statistics and creates relevant reports for them. He also takes care of regular code optimization and fixes any errors that appear on the website or web application.
Back-end languages and technologies
A back-end developer may use several programming languages, depending on which he specializes in and which the company requires of him. They are characterized by varying levels of difficulty and a kind of universalism. Among the most popular of these are:
The basis of his work is databases. Therefore, he must have at least a basic knowledge of database operations and be well versed in one of the following:
In the work of a back-end developer, it is also necessary to know at least one framework that will improve and speed up the work with the programming language he works with. Their choice is often dictated by the employer, and most often companies require knowledge of:
- Ruby on Rails;
Skills of a back-end developer
To get a job as a back-end developer, you need to have a set of skills, the most important of which are:
- basic front-end knowledge;
- A minimum of intermediate knowledge of English;
- knowledge of design patterns;
- good knowledge of one framework and a database;
- knowledge of the GIT version control system;
- ability to manage local, test and production environments;
- good knowledge of API systems;
- ability to write high-quality unit tests.