a male backend developer coding on computer

Learn Backend Development: The Best Courses and Resources

The Internet is huge and every website needs to be hosted somewhere. But how do websites and applications know how to use the space where they live most efficiently? How do they know which functions to call up when a user needs them? To answer these questions, you first have to learn backend development.

All websites and applications have backend developers and these developers build the infrastructure that keeps them running well. And a well-running site keeps clients coming back. Read on to learn more about backend development and how you can master the field.

What Is Backend Development?

Backend development is the server-side work of site-building. The backend controls all of the behind-the-scenes functions that users never see. This part of site development differs from front end development, which builds all of the interfaces and controls on a site that users see and interact with. 

While user experience with the front end is extremely important to building a site, what happens behind the scenes is equally important. Backend developers make all of the beautiful work that UI and UX designers do on the client-side function. Backend developers focus on writing code that translates input from the user interface into the actions that users are asking for. 

For example, the search bar that you type your query into when you use Google and the button you click to commence your search are the result of front end development, but the algorithm behind the scenes that locates the information and presents it as search results is the result of backend development. 

What Jobs Use Back End Development Skills?

Master backend developers must know several programming languages to complete their jobs, and that can open a lot of career paths. Below are a few of the jobs that you may find yourself doing if you decide to go down the backend development path.

  • Backend Developers. The job you will land the easiest after mastering the ins and outs of backend programming is probably going to be the one in the same field. You will help craft the server-side tech that keeps sites running by building out the way sites use server and database space, along with any self-contained web applications that they may need along the way. 

  • Full Stack Developers. Full stack developers are responsible for both front end development and backend development. These generalists have not only mastered development languages that you might use on the backend like Ruby on Rails, Python, PHP, .Net, and others, but also the front end tools like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. By knowing how to build a website from top to bottom, you will be a pretty hot commodity in the job market. 

  • Project Manager. Talented backend developers may end up in supervisory roles for companies that build sites. As a person that has mastered the server-side of site-building, you would be aware of how the wheels turn behind the scenes and everything that could go wrong in that process. Of course, you will get a boost in this department by learning a healthy amount about what goes into the front end as well. 

However, you should be safe to supervise a team of developers after you have enough backend experience under your belt, as you will know more than most about the interplay between the sides of site development.


  • Consultant. Similar to a project manager, a consultant supervises the workers under a company to ensure that the code is working as intended before launch. A consultant can help keep projects on track by making sure a company has the best tools at its disposal. 

Consultants can give companies insight on ways they can implement the newest tools in their workflow, and help suggest ways to bring the workforce up to speed. If you are a backend developer that is also interested in keeping up with the latest developments in the field, this position could be great for you. 

Steps to Learn Backend Development

A man in a pink hoodie does research in a book with a laptop on the table next to him as he sits in a library.
You can become a self-taught master in backend development in no time as long as you stick to a step-by-step plan.

The path to mastering backend development involves learning, persistence, and lots and lots of typing, but it will pay off handsomely in the end. Follow these steps to enter the field. 

1. Take the Right Courses

You will have to learn a lot about the subtleties and idiosyncrasies of a few different coding languages. You must establish a good foundation in the field to start your journey on the right foot. 

The right course can make or break your future. Taking a course will give you a roadmap to help focus your learning. This focus will ensure you only learn the things you need to know so you can get started faster without wasting time on anything unnecessary.

2. Do the Reading

After you have started your backend development courses, you may have to supplement them with some reading to fully understand the topics that you are learning about. Consider buying a few key books on the subject to deepen your expertise and knowledge.

Remember, you will have to learn more than one of the aforementioned programming languages if you decide you want to take the route of becoming a full stack developer. A course may not answer all the questions you might have, so additional reading might help you grasp the topic better.

3. Get the Experience

It’s one thing to learn backend programming in a safe and scholastic environment, but it’s an entirely different thing when you have to apply your knowledge in a work environment. Imagine having to work quickly to solve what could amount to an emergency if you have made a mistake in your code. 

Don’t underestimate the skills you will learn while working under pressure alongside other professionals. On-the-job experience is a great way to help hone your skills.

4. Stay Up to Date

Technology is always changing and the tools to control that technology change along with it. After you have become an expert with modern tools, it is your responsibility to ensure that you keep your knowledge up to date, staying on top of changes to keep your performance and your code as solid as possible. 

The Best Courses to Learn Backend Development

There are plenty of courses available to help you get your bearings when it comes to backend development. Let’s explore them below.

Agile Development Using Ruby on Rails

This certificate course from edX gives you experience building out a Software as a Service application on the cloud. As the cloud is the basis on which most organizations are building out their sites and data in general, you will find this course very handy for preparing you for the future of work. 

You will be using the popular coding language Ruby on Rails in this course, which will help get you ready to go for that big job when the time comes. 

Building Modern Python Applications on AWS

This course focuses on giving you the tools you need to put together serverless architectures on Amazon Web Services (AWS) using Python. AWS is the leading cloud computing platform in the world, so understanding how it works will lead to job opportunities.

In this course, you will be learning how to move big sites over to cloud computing to reduce server overhead, and as the virtualization trend continues to take off, this niche may be very fruitful. 

PHP for Beginners – Become a PHP Master – CMS Project

This course will teach you to make a Content Management System (CMS), like WordPress, in addition to training you on MySQL and password hashing. Essentially, this class will teach you everything a beginner would want to know about PHP before they take a deeper plunge into the language. It helps to know a bit about HTML before starting, and there are plenty of free courses out there to give you that base before you start the class. 

Server-side Development with NodeJS, Express, and MongoDB

This course gives you an idea of backend development using the NestJS framework and its components. NestJS is a framework designed specifically to help programmers build applications on the server-side. 

This course is part of a track that seeks to educate people on how to become full stack developers. It will help you see how both sides interact and could possibly help you make a decision on which side you prefer, or if you would like to go into full stack and combine client-side and server-side development. 

Why Learn Backend Development?

The tech world is experiencing a boom with no end in sight, as more and more companies discover the power and money-making potential of the Internet. 

Those companies will need someone who can ensure that their server-side content for their apps and sites is rock-solid, and there is a very healthy amount of job openings across industries in both the public and private sectors. 

Backend development as well as front end development can be the key to securing a long, successful career without having to spend the time and money required to go to college, and in this era, that can be worth its weight in gold. 

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