Basics of Backend Engineering

What is Backend Engineering?

Now that we know that the backend is referred to as the data access layer or server, what is backend engineering?

Backend engineering is a term used to describe the behind-the-scenes activities that happen when you do anything on a website or web application.

As we already know, backend engineering is an application's data access layer or server-side and everything communicating between the database and the front end (browser).

The backend comprises all the standard components a regular user does not directly interact with, such as databases, servers, application logic, and APIs.


Backend engineering is building any software application's business logic or server side.

To build the business logic of any application, you need to have domain knowledge of that business before you start building the business logic.

To do so efficiently, you need to understand the company's business. To understand the business, you need to study their niche, the users, the customers, and a little of all their business angles.

This new knowledge helps you to:

  1. Build logic that aligns with the business.

  2. Build logic that aligns with their target users.

  3. Code fast and reduce unnecessary research.

  4. Align and work with team members well.

  5. Engage in critical strategy sessions.

  6. etc

In essence, I'm just saying:

Having domain knowledge of your company and the business is a great addition to you as a backend engineer because you build the business logic.

Next, let’s explore who a backend engineer is and some of the responsibilities of a backend engineer.

Who is a backend engineer?

By now, you should guess who a Backend engineer is, which is based on what Backend engineering is all about.

A Backend Engineer is a skilled software developer responsible for or skilled enough to understand, plan, develop, and test an application's server-side/business logic.

In conjunction with other team members, he is responsible for deciding the most suitable tools and technologies for the project.

Backend engineers create this infrastructure and work to ensure that the components of backend engineering, such as Databases, APIs, Servers, and application logic, function properly.

Next, if backend engineers are responsible for the backend of a software application. What exactly are some of the responsibilities

Responsibilities of a Backend Engineer

This is a critical section as it answers the question:

“What do backend engineers do?”

Backend engineers build, maintain and debug the backend that runs an application. This can range from a simple application to a complex and enterprise application. Therefore, this is a large responsibility that can be broken down into different tasks.

In addition, the responsibilities of a backend engineer will solely depend on the company or the type or scope of the project the engineer is working on. However, here are some of the responsibilities of a backend engineer.

  1. Developing the systems and processes to meet business and application-specified requirements.

  2. Developing, managing, and working with external API resources across all devices securely.

  3. Finding and fixing bugs in the backend codebase

  4. Maintaining databases, including data storage, retrieval, organization, backups, and security.

  5. Organizing the logic of the system using and implementing proper algorithms.

  6. Creating and maintaining libraries of backend codes that engineers across the company can reuse

  7. Conducting performance optimization to increase efficiency and improve the user experience.

  8. Securing the application from attacks

  9. Managing any APIs, the company uses to integrate external and internal applications.

  10. Understands the goals of the software and come up with effective solutions.

  11. Helping develop the overall architecture of the application’s backend

  12. Compile and analyze data, processes, and codes to troubleshoot problems and identify areas of improvement.

  13. Collaborating with the front-end developers and other teams to establish objectives and design models (architecture).

  14. Manipulating data and ensuring authorized access to it at all times.

responsibilities of backend engineer.png

Backend Development: Tools and Technologies

To become a backend engineer, you need to learn and master many sets of skills and tools to build great backend systems.

I have discussed the responsibilities of a backend engineer and what they do, but what do you need to know to do it? In this section, I’ll cover the key skills to learn if you want to be a great backend engineer.

I will break down the different skills into three categories and work you through each of them in detail as we progress in this hub:

  1. Beginners

    1. Servers

    2. Operating System

    3. Server-side Programming Language

    4. Framework

    5. Git and GitHub

  2. Intermediate

    1. Databases

    2. API and API Design

    3. Software Testing

    4. Software Design Principles

    5. Web Security

    6. Algorithms

  3. Advanced

    1. Scalability

    2. Deployment

    3. Caching and CDNs

    4. Message Brokers

    5. Search Engines

    6. Containerization and CI/CD

    7. Deployment

backend roadmap.jpeg

I will start from the beginner's category down to the advanced category. This will be a long read, so if you’re already familiar with any topics in each category, feel free to skip to your desired topic.

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