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Top 10 Skills to Learn to Become a Backend Developer in 2024

Backend developers are highly sought after within the tech sector. However, with demand comes intense competition, making it essential for aspiring developers to acquire a unique set of skills to stand out. If you're looking to break into this dynamic field, you're in the right place.

Top 10 Skills to Learn to Become a Backend Developer in 2024


Tech Talent Engine


Backend Developers are highly sought after and well-respected within the tech sector.

From providing robust web applications to intricate databases and efficient server management, they play a pivotal role in ensuring seamless functionality, scalability, and security of digital platforms.

Due to the high growth the tech industry is facing, the need for backend developers has become greater. Although this identifies an opportunity for growth, competition for these roles is high so a need for unique skills within this sector is essential.

If you’re looking to break into this sector, here are the top 10 skills to learn to become a Backend Developer in 2024.

In this article, we will cover:

  • What Backend Development is
  • Top skills to learn in 2024
  • How to get a job as a Backend Developer

What is Backend Development?

Backend development refers to the process of building and maintaining the server-side logic, databases and other components that power a software application or website.

A website is powered by two main areas: frontend development and backend development.

While frontend development focuses on what users interact with directly, backend development involves the behind-the-scenes operations that enable the frontend to function effectively.

In this role, you will typically work with programming languages such as Python, Java, Ruby, PHP or Node.js.

Top 10 skills to learn in 2024:

Are you looking to become a backend developer in 2024? Here are the top skills to learn:

#1 - Backend programming languages

Within this technical role, you will work closely with a variety of programming languages including:

  • Java: Java is a general-purpose programming language which is used widely for building scalable applications.
  • PHP: PHP is a server-side scripting language that is designed for creating dynamic web pages and applications.
  • Python: Python is a high-level programming language which is known for its simplicity and versatility.

If you’re looking to become a Backend Developer, gaining an understanding of these languages will help you get started.

#2 - Data structures and algorithms

Proficiency in data structures and algorithms is crucial for solving complex problems efficiently. You should be comfortable with:

  • Arrays, linked lists, stacks, and queues: Basic data structures form the foundation of more complex ones.
  • Trees and graphs: Essential for hierarchical data representation and network modelling.
  • Sorting and searching algorithms: Key to optimising the performance of applications.

A core aspect of backend development involves data, so understanding how to manage large amounts of data efficiently is key.

#3 - Communication and people skills

Backend developers often work in teams and interact with front-end developers, copywriters, project managers and stakeholders. Effective communication skills are necessary to:

  • Explain technical concepts: Convey complex ideas in a way that non-technical team members can understand.
  • Collaborate: Work seamlessly with others to integrate various components of a project.
  • Collaborate: Work seamlessly with others to integrate various components of a project.

Effective communication skills are often overlooked but are a necessary step to becoming a successful developer.

#4 - Knowledge of APIs

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) allow different software systems to communicate. A lot of backend developer roles require you to:

  • RESTful APIs: Understanding how to design and implement RESTful services that are stateless, scalable, and easy to maintain.
  • GraphQL: A query language for APIs that allows clients to request only the data needed.

Many applications use external services such as payment gateways or social media platforms, and APIs help connect to these services. This helps to create software that is easy to grow and maintain.

#5 - Understanding of servers

A solid understanding of servers is necessary to manage the backend infrastructure effectively. This includes:

  • Server configuration and management: Setting up and maintaining servers for optimal performance.
  • Load balancing: Distributing network or application traffic across multiple servers to ensure reliability and availability.

Understanding servers is crucial for backend developers because it enables them to manage the backend infrastructure, ensure optimal performance, handle configurations, and maintain the reliability and scalability of applications.

#6 - HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

While primarily front-end technologies, understanding HTML, CSS and JavaScript is beneficial for backend developers:

  • Understand client-side needs: Better collaboration with front-end developers.
  • Build full-stack solutions: Occasionally, backend developers need to work on full-stack projects, making basic knowledge of these technologies valuable.

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are key languages backend developers should know because it helps them to collaborate effectively with front-end developers, ensuring seamless integration between the server-side and client-side of applications.

#7 - Databases

As mentioned earlier, backend development involves handling data. Additionally, it’s important to know how to manage this data effectively as well as interpret it. This includes a knowledge of:

Backend developers must be proficient in database management. This includes:

  • SQL: Mastering SQL for relational database management systems such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle.
  • NoSQL: Understanding NoSQL databases such as MongoDB and Cassandra for unstructured data.

By mastering SQL and NoSQL databases, backend developers can ensure that they are equipped to handle a wide range of data storage and retrieval needs, ultimately contributing to the overall efficiency and performance of the applications they build.

#8 - Front-end development practices

Understanding front-end development practices helps in creating more cohesive and integrated applications. This includes:

  • Responsive design: Ensuring that applications work well on various devices.
  • Client-side scripting: Knowledge of how client-side scripts interact with the backend.

Mastering front-end development practices is crucial for backend developers as it fosters seamless collaboration, enhances the user experience, and ensures the creation of well-rounded, efficient, and user-friendly applications.

#9 - Time management

Although technical knowledge of backend development practices is key, time management is crucial in this sector because it directly impacts the efficiency and quality of work.

Effective time management enables developers to prioritise tasks, meet deadlines and handle multiple projects simultaneously without compromising on performance.

By allocating time wisely, backend developers can ensure through testing and debugging, which reduces the likelihood of errors and enhances the reliability of the application.

This fosters better collaboration with front-end developers and other team members, ensuring that project milestones are met, and the overall development process is streamlined.

#10 - Version Control Systems

Proficiency in version control systems, particularly Git, is essential for backend developers. Version Control systems allow developers to:

  • Track changes in the codebase: Keep a history of code changes, making it easy to revert to previous versions if needed.
  • Collaborate with team members: Work on different branches and merge changes seamlessly, reducing conflicts & enhancing teamwork.
  • Manage code efficiently: Handle large codebases and multiple projects with ease, ensuring that code is organised and well-maintained.

Mastering version control systems is crucial, allowing backend developers to collaborate more effectively, ensuring code integrity, and streamlining the development process.

How to get a job in Backend Development

Breaking into the field of backend development requires a combination of technical skills, practical experience, and strategic job search techniques. Here are some steps to help you get started:

Sign up to Tech Talent Engine

The first step to stay ahead of any upcoming roles in backend development is to sign up to Tech Talent Engine, an online jobs platform for people wanting to secure roles in tech.

With our free platform, you can access upcoming vacancies, bookmark opportunities and learn more about employers in the North East of England.

Create a portfolio of work

If you haven’t already, consider developing a portfolio which showcases your projects. This can include examples of your work with databases, APIs, and server-side logic.

Hosting your projects on platforms such as GitHub can demonstrate your skills to potential employers.

Take part in online challenges and courses

One way to gain industry experience is to take part in online coding challenges and courses, which can help you sharpen your skills. Platforms such as LeetCode, HackerRank and Coursera offer a variety of challenges and courses that can enhance your problem-solving abilities and keep you up to date with industry standards.

Stay updated with the latest trends

Finally, keep up with the latest trends and technologies in backend development.

Continuous learning and adapting to new tools and practices will make you a more competitive candidate, ensuring that you remain relevant in a rapidly evolving industry and are well-prepared to tackle the challenges of modern backend development.

This proactive skill set not only demonstrates your commitment to success but also enriches your skill set, positioning you as a valuable asset to any team or organisation.

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