Imagine buying a brand-new phone — it’s fashionable, feels comfortable in your hand, and it’s sure to make a good impression at meetings. But then you try to make a phone call and nothing happens. You press the buttons, but the phone isn’t responding. Your stomach drops with the realization that your beautiful phone is a useless brick.
This is what any website or application without a back end looks like. Only the back end can bring the product to life. It's what makes the interface interactive, launching the processes that make a digital product useful. Otherwise, the screen is just a pretty picture.
What Is the Back End?
The back end is the internal part of a website or app that is hidden from the user behind what is known as the front end. The back end is responsible for the user’s interaction with internal data, which the front end displays. So the main task of the back end is to process the user’s request and provide a response with the required information.
Generally, the internal process logic for any service comes down to four points:
- Getting data from a user. Let's say the user is planning a weekend trip to a neighboring city. They go to the search engine and type in a request for “San Diego plane tickets." The server immediately receives this request and moves on to the next step.
- Data processing on the server. The search engine server starts querying the database for this request. It finds millions of sites that can help you find or buy tickets. Data processing on the server is carried out 100% through the back end, unlike the other steps, which work from the front end.
- Getting a response from the server. When the server has found information on the request for ”San Diego plane tickets,” it translates it to a language humans can understand.
- Translating the response to display it to the user. Once the response is translated, the server displays the search results on the screen.
Looks simple, right? Well, the implementation of this process can be quite complicated. Different servers speak various programming languages to process the data. They use different databases in addition to multiple interfaces and architectures.
The back end is not only about writing code but also about creating the architecture of the application. This development architecture defines the structure and use of databases and other computational resources. It's important that the database interacts correctly with the application code and is continuously delivered to the server.
Depending on the product, the tasks of the back end may vary. On some projects, it’s about creating and integrating databases. On others — providing security or configuring backup and recovery technologies. Sometimes it’s about training advanced neural networks to understand data and make predictions that power the user interface. It all depends on the product and company.
Back End Tools
The back end applies tools that can interface with servers. This can include any of the universal and most popular programming languages. The three most widely used ones are:
The same survey states that Python is the fourth most popular programming language for the back end. Python has become the language for data science and machine learning. This makes it a popular choice for back end systems that require data-driven decision-making.
Java helps handle large-scale enterprise applications. It provides tools that simplify the development of complex, scalable, and secure back end systems.
Some less popular back-end programming/scripting languages are C#, PHP, GO, C++, Ruby, and Swift. As per Stack Overflow’s 2022 Developer Survey, less than 30% of professional developers use them.
How to Start
The good news is that your first step as a back end developer comes with the help of tutors, code reviewers, tech support, and a community manager.
Join TripleTen's Software Engineering Bootcamp—an online program for everyone, regardless of experience. As you work toward graduation, a career coach will aid you in finding the tech job of your dreams. But keep in mind, this is not a program just for back end developers. The back end, like the front endAll about Front End: What is It, How It Works, and Why It Worth Your Time, is merely one of the core competencies of a software engineer.
Over six months, you'll receive a full set of IT skills that will help you become not just a back end developer but also a full-stack one. Full-stack developers work with both the back end and front end, making their skill set absolutely indispensable. These specialists solve problems both on the server and client side. As a result, they are more in demand on the job market. The proof is in their $75,100 annual median salary.
If you enjoy working with data, understanding algorithms, and coming up with ways to optimize complex systems, you might prefer to work with the back end. The back end is applicable in virtually every industry that uses a database, APIs, and servers. There's much to learn, but it's all achievable if you simply stick with it!