Having a new backend developer joining a team can bring many benefits. However, finding the right developer, considering each organization's needs and goals, is far from being easy. This article explains what do backend developers do and why organizations need them. We further describe the skills and qualifications that are important to consider and how to find a great backend developer.
Table of Contents
What is a Backend Developer?
What do Backend Developers do?
Why do you need a backend developer to join your team?
How to find great Backend Developers?
➤ The skills to watch out for
➤ Where to look for the right backend developer?
➤ Let's partner up!
A backend developer focuses on the server-side of web applications, building the structure of a software application, as well as handling databases, and creating APIs. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) support web applications by delivering a response from a user to a system, which in turn is sent back from the system to the user. More specifically, APIs are created by backend developers and serve as a software intermediary that defines specific rules and determinations in order for applications to interact and communicate with each other.
A web application consists of everything that utilizes web browsers and web technology; hence, it can include websites, apps, social networks, and marketplaces. In order to work on the development of any web application, backend developers must handle a combination of technology: a server, a database, and a web application. The developer's code interconnects these three distinct parts to ensure the database information communicates with the browser.
Even though the backend developer's work is not perceived and viewed directly by the users, it is extremely vital to make a functional and logical web application.
Backend development is crucial for the success of a web application. It handles the business logic while simultaneously ensuring the front-end development work is well integrated and delivered, considering each project's goals and vision.
Further, a backend developer needs to work closely with the front-end in order to guarantee that the web application's functionality is aligned with the user experience. Moreover, it is also up to the backend developer to make constant updates, monitor and organize the database information, and secure the application's functionality while also considering good performance and speed. Among some of the most important responsibilities, a backend developer must be able to:
- Manage and develop APIs that are functional across devices;
- Develop the architecture of a system, making it logical and functional. Plus, implement algorithms and solve issues related to the system;
- Maintain the web applications secure and with reduced latency;
- Manage and store data efficiently and further provide relevant insights through the use of data science;
- Support the front-end with good communication and documentation.
Backend developers are, therefore, vital for the success of a web application since they develop components and features on the server-side, which the users obliquely access through the front-end application or system. These developers develop, maintain, debug and test the whole backend.
Now that we have seen what a backend developer is capable of, we will explain why finding the right backend developers is challenging but absolutely necessary.
Considering the statistics on Internet Usage Worldwide, as of January 2021, there were 4.66 billion active users in the world, which corresponds to 59.5% of the global population. Of this total, 4.32 billion (92.6%) users access the internet via mobile devices. As a result, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of software developers is expected to grow 22% from 2019 to 2029. According to these statistics, as the number of people who use digital platforms increases, so does the demand and need for software developers, as well as quality assurance analysts and testers.
Therefore, the field of web development is growing at an admirable pace. Consequently, there is a high demand in the industry to find experient and outstanding developers, which can definitely make it complicated to find the right backend developer.
First things first, every organization must have a clear idea and view of what it needs to thrive and how a new member can contribute to the established goals. In that sense, organizations must understand why they want a backend developer in the team and how that will be beneficial. Here are some of the main reasons why an organization should hire a backend developer:
Every organization must keep growing in a sustained way. Thus, as more projects arrive, it is important to know how to create an efficient workflow with the teams and maintain it, always ensuring that the workload is balanced despite the growing number of projects.
Furthermore, backend developers can develop and monitor testing schedules in a client-server environment, addressing every browser and device to make sure they all display the desired content.
Bring teams together
Outstanding backend developers have a good understanding of how everyone in a team, despite the different roles, can contribute to the shared objectives. Hence, they are aware of the positive impact of sustaining regular communication with project managers, stakeholders, quality assurance teams, and other developers who are part of the project.
Step up the level
Hiring a backend developer who is very thorough, fast, and overall writes quality code can motivate and raise the bar for the entire team, improving everyone's performance and efficiency.
Moreover, having a backend developer on the team who is proactive and able to recommend system solutions considering the pros and cons of custom development and alternatives can also be an excellent way to step up the team's level.
As mentioned, finding software developers can be very challenging. The industry's demand is high. Plus, there are many aspects to consider, such as the cultural fit, the responsibilities, projects, years of experience, etc. Adding these aspects to the tech expertise that this position requires can make it arduous to find the right backend developers. Fortunately, there is more than one way to spot a great developer, but first, let's take a look at the crucial skills to watch out for.
Moreover, a good understanding of web development architectures (e.g., Model-View-Controller (MVC), Interpreter pattern, and Event-bus Pattern) is also valuable as it can help create an adequate architecture system considering the quality attributes.
Truth be told, having a good knowledge of several programming languages and libraries is definitely a plus for any backend developer. However, when it comes to finding the right backend developer, it is also extremely important to understand how comfortable the developer is regarding the computer science foundations, the different programming paradigms, and overall how experienced the developer is.
Additionally, it is also very valuable to have a backend developer who understands DevOps principles, has a holistic view of the software's infrastructure and comprehends how CI/CD pipelines are established. These competencies can facilitate and speed production processes.
Last but not least, there are also some soft skills to watch out for, namely how much of a team player someone is and whether or not there is an interest in continuous learning and the developer seeks to acquire new skills. A developer that is curious and able to make recommendations and explore different solutions can be extremely valuable within any team.
According to each organization's needs and objectives, these are some of the main skills and qualifications to consider when looking for a great backend developer.
Once the organization's needs and goals are clear and well established, the time has come to search for a developer who will contribute to the team and enhance workflow efficiency. As we will describe, any organization can choose from at least three mains solutions.
The first hypothesis consists of hiring an in-house backend developer. On the one hand, this solution allows the organization to have more control over the recruitment process and it is also a good way to ensure that the new member is aligned with the organization's culture and vision. On the other hand, we are in a very competitive industry and finding the right fit can be very time consuming. Besides, there is a high risk for a bad fit, which can compromise budget, time, and lead to a heavier workload.
The second hypothesis is to hire a freelance. Since freelancers are not permanent, it might be a suitable solution for short and cost-effective projects. Plus, freelancers typically have public reviews of their work, and that can help reduce hiring risks. Nonetheless, it remains crucial to conduct interviews, which takes time, and it can be harder to align the freelancer with the rest of the team.
The third and last hypothesis is to contract a backend developer from a software development company. Regarding the advantages, this solution allows organizations to quickly find backend developers who are ready to join a team and contribute with quality code and valuable solutions. The integration between the "new" backend developer and the existing team is easier, considering there is an established development process that can be followed and adapted to help the in-house development team.
Further, partnering with a software development company saves the organization time since it does not need to worry about hiring. Plus, it reduces the risk of not finding the right backend developer for the identified needs and goals. Another great advantage of this third solution is that it can save the organization's money and allow more flexibility, considering that the invoiced days depend uniquely on the days dedicated to the organization's project.
The third hypothesis is often preferred by many organizations since it reduces the hiring risk that the first and second solutions entail. Also, it is faster and smoother for the organization and respective in-house developers. The downside of this solution is that it may be more expensive than a freelancer or an in-house developer, but those concerns are highly dependent on the number of hours and the project's dimension.
Considering the last hypothesis described, partnering up with a software development team can be the most suitable solution to address the particularities, needs, and desires of each organization and respective projects.
At Imaginary Cloud, our staff augmentation service is proudly made of outstanding backend developers who are committed to contribute to the success of web development teams and projects. We believe in bringing great and quality digital products to life, and that vision is transversal to every project we participate in. So far, we have developed more than 100 projects and since 2019, our achievements as a software development company have been recognized by Clutch, The Manifest, and Techreviewer. We are very honored to share our success with our partners, and of course, our Imaginarees.
The web development industry is expected to continue to grow, which consequently means that IT careers will continue to be in hot demand. This makes it very challenging to find the right backend developers. Yet, it is a challenge that any organization must overcome to deliver quality products and services successfully.
In that sense, we believe that every organization must have a defined idea of its needs and goals. Once that is clear, it is time to find the right person to help contributing! There are three main solutions: (1) hire an in-house developer, (2) hire a freelancer, (3) contract a developer from a software development company. We describe the pros and cons of each solution and further explain what makes us great partners!