Skills for backend developer in 2020

In this article, you’ll learn what are the skills for backend developer in 2020? So, what does a backend developer do? What are the technologies you need to master in 2020 to become one? Do all the coding tutorials and courses and articles make you feel overwhelmed? This article will give you an overview of your backend development path. The article will also include resources and will go deeper with every subject.

As a backend developer, you will be implementing server-side business logic. You’ll be implementing user authentication and working with databases. You’ll be responsible for server-side web application logic. And the integration of the work front-end web developers do. Back-end developers usually write web services and APIs. API’s used by front-end developers and mobile application developers. That will be the job of a backend developer.

Skills for backend developer
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Basics of Internet

But before you go on the backend development path and learn more about Skills for backend developer, there are a few things you need to know. No matter what path you select, you need to know the basics of the internet. How does it work? And what is DNS, HTTP, HTTPS, SSH? You need to know the basics of the terminal, of the command line. The rest you will pick up on the way. You also need to select edit to write your code with. This will depend on the language you select, but the common editors for beginners are VS Code and Atom. No matter what you do, you need version control. Life will be hell without having versions of your software. You want to be able to revert and move step by step. OK. These are a must no matter if you are a frontend or a backend developer. And then you can start.

Language Skills for backend developer

The first thing you need to do is pick a backend language to learn. For beginners Skills for backend developer, I would recommend you pick one of the scripting languages. Because Javascript is both on and client,node.js would be a great start. Another option based on popularity and usability is Python. It’s also quite easy to learn. Here is a graph from StackOverflow insights. StackOverflow is a goto page for every developer. Here you can ask questions, find solutions. Each time I have a coding problem, I paste it to Google, and Google more or less finds a solution for me on Stackoverflow. And this is a graph showing how technologies have trended over time. I am comparing scripting languages like Python, PHP, node.js, Ruby, and Typescript.


Python is leading, PHP follows. And node.js is behind them. As you can see Python is gaining popularity. You cannot go wrong by choosing Python.


PHP is going down. Is tarted with PHP like 20 years ago. WordPress is built with PHP, for example.


Typescript is really a superset of Javascript. Node.js is a great choice since it is a server-side javascript. You learn one language and can use it both on the frontend and the backend. Perfect. If you look at google trends the situation is similar. Last are Ruby and Typescript, which does not mean they are less important languages. In my opinion, it is not the question of the best programming language. Each has its perks and is best at different jobs. Your job is to find the best tool for the job. That will make you the best developer.

Functional Languages

If you have already mastered a scripting language try a functional language. Here are your choices and Skills for backend developer: Scala, Haskell. Erlang, Clojure, and Elixir. Google shows a similar trend: Scala, Haskell, and Elixir. There are other popular choices. As said, you need to pick a language based on what your project is. Windows technologies are losing their popularity. As you can see here C# and .NET are losing its momentum. Other options are Java, C++, Kotlin, Dart, Go, and rust. And here are Google results. Java and C++ are first. Go to my article to get to know more about all these languages. Yes? Just to give you a feeling. Here I compare Python, java, node.js, and Scalia. These were the popular ones. Can you see why these would be a smart choice to start with? But first, start with a scripting language. So, your choice could be Python or node.js. Ok? When you pick the language you start with the basic syntax. You learn about data structures and algorithms. You will get acquainted with design patterns, standards, and best practices of the language.

No matter what kind of project you are doing and what language and tool you are using, keep in mind two strategies.

The first one is the KISS method for the Skills for backend developer. Kiss method stands for Keep it super simple. Do not over complicate when it is not needed. What you could also have in mind in MVP, that means a minimal viable product. First, do the simple example of code functionality, then add to that. Do not over complicate anything. Which goes well with the next method. That is YAGNI. It means You ain’t gonna need it. That is very often true. So, my friends: keep it simple. Yes? As a web developer, your life will be a mess if you don’t use any kind of version control. GIT is a must. I cannot imagine programming without being able to revert and move on branches. And whatever you do, try working on real-life projects. If you need to find ideas for projects, and you would like coding challenges, you can write to me. To get to know a language, you need to use a language.


When you learn a programming language, you don’t memorize it, you use it. You develop projects, small and simple first. When you do projects you’ll be using package managers. In the case of node.js that is npm. Or you can use Yarn. Python has Pip, PHP has Composer and Ruby has Gems. Learning a framework will be the next thing on your list. A framework is a foundation on which you build your program. It is a set of libraries you can use. Or better it is a skeleton on which you build your app. There are several for each programming language.

The most popular one for node.js is Express. Express has a lot of utilities and features, making development easier. Django or Flask is a popular choice for Python. Ruby on Rails is for Ruby. PHP has Lavarel, And java programmers preferring.

For every application, you will build you’ll need a server. Many companies nowadays also use cloud solutions. The servers you need to be familiar with are apache, Nginx, IIS, Tomcat. Cloud providers you can use are Google Cloud, Amazon AWS, IBM, Azure, Heroku, and Digital Ocean.

Security and Networking

Security and Networking is important Skills for backend developer. As a backend web developer you need to know at least the basics of security and networking. You need to know what DNS is, HTTP & _HTTPS, FTP, and SSL. So, how to practice on real-life projects? If you have no ideas for projects, you could try contributing your code to an open-source project. You can try to make and distribute some packages or libraries. This will promote you as a developer. Why not try to contribute to an open-source project? Once you are creating your software, you will find the need to test it.


You will get familiar with unit tests and integration tests. You will learn what mocks are and what stubs are. In almost every software there will be a need to store and read data from somewhere. I recommend learning SQL databases first as it is essential Skills for backend developer. The popular choices of SQL databases are PostgreSQL, MariaDB, MSSQL, and MySql. Most backend developers soon or later need to develop a web service, an API. One of your projects could be to create a sample RESTful API. you can create a list of favorite programming books. And then you create CRUD methods. CRUD means create, read, update, and delete methods for the data. You will also understand REST and how to make restful API. When you have large volumes of data you will use a NoSQL database. NoSQL database choices are MongoDB and Cassandra. Almost every app also needs user authentication and authorization.

Authentication means confirming your own identity. While authorization means granting access to the system. Authentication is the process of verifying who you are. While authorization is the process of verifying what you have access to. OAuth is an authentication protocol you must know. It allows you to approve one application interacting with another on your behalf without giving away your password. You also need to be familiar with JWT or JSONWeb Token, Basic authentication, OpenID. I think about here you are ready to get the first junior backend developer job.

Web Sockets

To stand out from the crowd there are some technologies you can get familiar with practical Skills for backend developer. What is the roadmap from here on? Many apps nowadays, like chat, for example, are real-time. To create real-time apps you need to learn about Web Sockets. When your apps become data-heavy you will soon need to catch that data. Popular caching options are Memcached and Redis. When you write modular code, your pieces of software will need to communicate with each other. And here is where Message brokers come in. They provide asynchronous communication between different components of software architecture. They use the publish-subscribe paradigm. Popular choices are Apache Kafka, RabbitMQ, Apache ActiveMQ. Search is a super important feature. Search engines available to you are ElasticSearch, Solr, Sphinx, and Apache Lucene. The Elastic Stack is the name of three opensource projects: Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana. Check that out too.

Data Structure

For data query and manipulation, GrapgQL is becoming more and more popular. For many, it is an alternative to RESTfulAPIs. Optionally you can also check Graph databases. Graph databases to check are Neo4j, AzureCosmoDB and OrientDB. When your apps are growing you will want to make them scalable. You will want parts of your code to be isolated and run independently. You will want your deployment process to become easy and your system stable. This is why you will use Docker and containers. To manage containers and automate deployment and management you will use Kubernetes. But this will be way on your path.

Do not get scared of the big list of technologies and Skills for backend developer. You can start at the beginning. And go one by one. You don’t eat an elephant in a day. You also don’t learn web development with one day. You start with choosing a programming language. Then you learn about variables, ifs, whiles, whens, algorithms. You become an alien to the rest of the human race. But no worries. It is super fun and never boring in web development. Pay is also way better. There are many options to work from home, get extra benefits. Basically, being a web developer has its perks. You get to kill bugs all day, push to master and do git blame. You can also kill a child of a fork and not get arrested. And yes, you get to understand this kind of jokes 🙂 Not a thing an average person can do. And get paid for it.

Final Words

Let me review the backend learning path(Skills for backend developer) again. You start by picking a language, a scripting language like Python or Node.js would be a preferred choice. Then you learn the basics, data structures, and design patterns. You learn a version control system like GIT and you start working on real-life projects. You learn about package managers. You proceed with a backend Framework. You will need to know about servers and cloud providers. At least basic knowledge of security and networking is needed for a backed developer. To practice your knowledge you can contribute to an open-source project. You will learn about the unit and integration testing. Then you start working with databases. Start with SQL databases.

As a project, you can develop a sample RESTfulAPI. Then you can learn a NoSQL database like MongoDB. And almost every app will need to have authentication and authorization. As a fun project, you can do a real-time app, like a chat for example. With data-heavy apps, you will need to learn about caching. When your app is becoming more complex, you will make it more modular. Parts of your software will communicate with each other with Message brokers. Search is super important. Use the best tool to implement it. An alternative to RESful API is GraphQL. To make your app scalable and parts of isolated and manageable you will use Docker. And Kubernetes to manage containers.

Go one step at the time. Focus only on the one next thing. You will not understand how stuff works until you actually start doing it. You need to use the tools and practice to better understand. The best way to do this is by working on small projects or assignments. You can start off by doing projects like a simple blog with a photo gallery. You could proceed with a resume builder ora basic project management app and mention Skills for backend developer. If you are at the beginning all this must feel overwhelming. Are you ready to start your developer journey? Now is the best time. It will never be perfect. So start NOW.

Student at BUIT
I'm a student of computer science branch in BUIT Bhopal.
Pushpendra Jaat
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