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How to Become a Backend Developer

Do you enjoy creating all the behind-the-scenes functionality necessary to keep the digital world running? Backend developers use the Java programming language to create functional databases for almost everything we use. 

Although you generally won’t see their direct work, you’ve without a doubt seen the result of it. The entire user experience of every site you visit, and every app you’ve used is the result of front and back end developers working together to create a functional and attractive user experience.

In addition to creating the underlying utility on the back-end, these developers are also responsible for creating and maintaining the entire backend. This means debugging, testing, updating, rebuilding, and more.

So if you’re the kind of person that can effectively and efficiently provide solutions with an inquisitive and methodical mindset, and you have, or will have, a solid background in Java, this might just be the job for you!

Sample job description

Above all else, there are two factors that drive our mission: excellent engineering and customer satisfaction. Keeping this in mind, there are no challenges that we cannot overcome. We’re a multi-faceted team, filled with experts in their respective fields, and we’re searching for a backend developer. If you’re an excellent developer with years of experience and you think you’ve got what it takes to provide a frictionless experience to customers, and you are an excellent team player, we’d love to hear from you!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Design, configures, tests, and deploys web service applications using a wide variety of toolkits
  • Documents and maintains applications using best practices and standards
  • Gathers business needs and formulates that into specific guidelines with which programs will be written
  • Troubleshooting and resolution of issues related to applications
  • Creating, testing, and implementing enhancements of applications

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field or equivalent experience
  • Minimum 5 years hands-on experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Experience in Core Java, Spring Boot/MVC/Security
  • Working knowledge of scripting languages and tools
  • Excellent multitasking and organization skills
  • Expertise in application, data, and infrastructure architecture disciplines
  • Ability to work in a collaborative environment

Preferred qualifications

  • Working knowledge of Java, Python, PHP, Spring, Micronaut, Django, Flask, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and AWS DynamoDB
  • 8 years of hands-on experience in a related position
  • Experience working with Agile/Scrum methodologies
  • Advanced knowledge of SOA/MVC architecture
  • Passion for industry-wide technology trends and best practices
  • Strong backend development skills
  • Innovative and self-driven developer that works well alone and in collaborative environments

Typical work environment

Backend developers will exclusively work in an office as part of a team. This job has the opportunity for remote work, and there may be an occasional need for travel to participate in meetings at office locations.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a backend developer in an office setting are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. These hours may differ for freelance developers, which may have more or less flexibility depending on their workload.

Available certifications

As backend developers work in a variety of industries, there are many institutions that offer certifications, including:

  • OCAJP. The Oracle Certified Associate Java Programmer certification shows you’ve taken the first step to become a Java developer. It’s also known as just “OCA.” This is the first of two exams proving you are Oracle Certified as a Java professional. 
  • OCPJP. The Oracle Certified Professional Java Programmer distinguishes you even further from uncertified professionals. This course is focused on Core Java.
  • Spring Professional Certification. The exam for this certification is specifically designed to validate and reinforce your understanding within the familiarity of the Spring Framework. You can obtain this certification to set yourself apart from others if you plan on working within this framework.
  • OCEWCD. The Oracle Certified Expert – Web Component Developer is for developers specializing in the application of JavaServer Pages and Servlet Technologies, such as Servlet 3.0. If you’re interested in this certification, it can be obtained after obtaining the OCAJP and OCPJP certifications.
  • HDPCD. Apache Spark Developer Certification is a hands-on, performance-based certification for Apache Spark. Java developers familiar with Scala or Python will be able to distinguish themselves in an environment geared more towards big data.

Career path

The first step in the journey to becoming a backend developer is obtaining a bachelor’s degree. While this isn’t necessarily mandatory, it sets you apart from others in the competitive field. Obtaining certifications, experience, and gathering working knowledge of languages and frameworks is a suitable replacement.

After graduating with a degree, or accruing certifications and demonstrable knowledge, obtaining a position as a front end, back end, or full stack developer is the next goal.

After you’ve achieved this, proving you have excellent hard and soft skills, rounding out your education and experience, and applying best practices and staying up to date on trends will give you a substantial edge to stand out amongst the competition.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1257

2020 Employment199,400
Projected Employment in 2030224,900
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 13% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift25,500 increase

With Java being the most used language for the majority of application processes, and the world moving to an increasingly online state, the job demand is expected to grow significantly. There’s an ever-increasing need for app and site developers, and almost every business that comes into existence will need to translate into the digital sphere to stay relevant, meaning a team of developers will be needed alongside them.

As long as there’s a digital space, people will want to use their phones, tablets, and PCs to be connected to it. And backend developers will be needed to make sure everything is functional and presentable.