We now use the internet in practically every aspect of our lives. The internet has undergone a change of its own. It began as a static network, aiming to visually convey information or static data without the usage of a backend or user-specific data. Have you ever thought about how it is possible that you order food online and in the next hour the food gets delivered to you? When you want to ride, you book a cab, and the cab driver is able to pick you from your location and drop you at your location. There are tons of other real-life examples around us. But, have you ever thought about who’s putting in the work to make it happen? This is only possible due to backend scripts and logic written by backend developers. Backend developers connect users to apps, platforms, and systems on the web.
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Don’t worry if you are a complete beginner, this article will make you understand the entire path that you need to follow to learn backend development from scratch. So let’s get started.
Scope of the article: In this article, we will see the following topics.
- What is Backend Development
- Responsibilities of Backend Developer
- Complete roadmap to learn Backend Development
- Top 4 backend programming languages
Backend Development is also known as server-side development. It is behind-the-scenes activities that occur when performing any action on a website. For instance, when you press the add to cart button on any e-commerce website then you see how the item’s count increases on your cart. Backend development focuses primarily on databases, backend logic, APIs, and Servers. The scripts written by back-end developers enable the web browser browsers to communicate with database information i.e. to read data from the database, update the data from the database and delete the data from the database. Recall the earlier example of the e-commerce website. When you order online some product by filling in all the details of your address, etc. then they have all the details shared by you in their database. These all are behind the scene activities possible due to the code written by the backend developer.
Responsibilities of Backend Developer: Now that we are somewhat familiar with backend development, let’s understand the responsibilities of the backend developers.
- They are responsible for using any programming languages to create the code which actually makes web applications function the way they’re supposed to.
- The responsibilities will include creating libraries, writing database code, writing API’s and working on data architecture.
How to Start Learning Backend Development from Scratch?
Now let’s understand the complete roadmap to start learning backend development from scratch. Here are the steps you will need to follow in the same order:
Step 1: Basics of Data Structures and Algorithms
Most web developers skip this step and move forward to the learning framework. It is better to know the basics of data structures and algorithms. It will help in understanding the fundamentals and improve the logic behind the code. You should revise the basic data structures and algorithms like Arrays, Linked List, Stack, Queue, Graphs, Trees, Hashing, Searching, Sorting, recursion, and other core concepts of programming such as networking, how the internet works and HTTP status codes, etc.
Step 2: Learn to use Version Control System
If you are in the software development domain you must have across the term version control system more frequently. A version Control system is a system that maintains different versions of your project whether it’s a team project or an individual project. As the project progresses, new features get added to it, and it’s important to track all the changes that have occurred in the project. Git is the commonly used distributed version control system by the developers. From app developers to web developers, Git is very useful to track the changes in the code files. So you should be comfortable with how to use Git. It will not take much time to learn to use git.
Step 3: Choose a Backend Programming Language
After learning the basics, it’s time to choose anyone backend programming language of your choice such as Java, Python, C# etc. You cannot expect to learn different coding languages overnight. So, decide on a timeline and start learning the language of your choice accordingly. Firstly start with the basics and then gradually move towards the advanced concepts. Learn the language by doing code simultaneously. It should not be like learning the language theoretically, you must be able to convert the logic into code and that confidence will come from practicing.
Step 4: Choose the Framework
Since you have learned most of the concepts of any one programming language, it’s the right time to learn the framework. You should learn the framework depending on the programming language you choose. For instance, if you have chosen Java then learn Spring framework or learn Flask or Django for Python language, etc. Frameworks make your task easier. Although it is not necessary to use the framework, you can write the entire application code in a programming language. It will take more effort and time as you have to code everything from scratch. The framework lets you create templates that can be used later and reduces the line of code and makes development more efficient. Most of the frameworks follow the Model-View-Controller principle so you should learn the framework following the same principle.
Step 5: Learn to Use Databases
Now the next step towards learning backend development is to learn how to use databases. Nowadays almost all websites or web applications have some sort of storage to store the information of the users. So learning about various database technologies is one of the most important skills of backend developers. You can start with an SQL database or NoSQL database according to your choice. You should explore both of these databases and then choose the one which is most relevant for the project you are working on. You should know how to perform CRUD operations with the database i.e. create, read, update and delete.
Step 6: Time for Practical Learning
Now since you know most of the skills of backend development, it’s the right time to use that knowledge and build some worthy projects. It will help you to gain confidence and will sharpen your skills. Initially, you can start with some basics like a to-do list, blog app, etc. Once you will gain the confidence then start working on something bigger and tougher like a clone of any eCommerce app or social media app.
Step 7: Learn about Deployment
Now you’re ready to take the final step towards your learning and that is hosting or deployment. Deployment is nothing but all of the activities that make a software application available for use. In the last step, you would have worked on some worthy projects so now it’s time to deploy your project on a cloud service provider so that it can be accessed from the WWW. You can learn about any of the cloud service providers like Heroku, AWS or Azure according to your choice.
Top 4 Backend Programming Languages
Since there are many backend programming languages, this section will tell you about the top 5 backend languages that are used by developers widely across the globe. You can start with any of the programming languages of your choice following all the steps as mentioned above.
- Python: Python is another programming language that has gained immense popularity in recent years. Apart from its applications in the field of Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, etc it is also widely used for backend development. Python provides the developers with numerous useful libraries that make development easier and efficient. The other essential features of Python such as better code readability, portability, and numerous other features make it a widely used language for backend development. If you want to use Python for backend development then you can learn the popular backend frameworks of Python which are Flask or Django.
- Ruby: Ruby is a general-purpose, interpreted programming language that is being widely used for web development across the world. It is a beginner-friendly language for getting started with backend web development as it is comparatively easier to learn. Ruby on Rails is a popular server-side web app framework written in the Ruby language. One of the major advantages of using Ruby on Rails has reduced the development time as code can be reused to a great extent. Also, the code written using it is crisp, clear, and consistent. It has great community support so learning becomes easy.
- Java: Java is one of the widely-used programming languages for backend web development. It is the most stable programming language which is used by almost all companies. The object-oriented feature of Java makes it quite popular. You can surely start with java to learn backend development. You can learn the spring framework which is the most popular backend framework in the industry currently. Other important features of Java are platform independence, robustness, automatic garbage collection, and multithreading.
Since everything is shifting to the web day by day therefore the demand for backend developers is increasing rapidly. So, if you want to give your career some direction, backend development is an excellent choice. You can follow the content of this article in the same order as guided to excel in backend development.
- Best Resources to Learn Backend Development
- Difference between Front End Development and Back End Development
About the Author:
Naman Jain is a BTech, CSE undergraduate, Software developer, and a very consistent content developer. He writes across multiple platforms and focuses a lot on full-stack development and computer science fundamentals. Overall, he seems to enjoy sharing both his knowledge as well as code that inspires him.
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