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Back-End Developer Career


What is a Back-End Developer?


Back-end developers are responsible for creating dynamic and effective website experiences. They work closely with front-end developers, full-stack developers, and other members of their web development team to integrate code seamlessly with a user interface, ensuring a cohesive and responsive experience.

Whether optimizing database queries for maximum efficiency or implementing new features to enhance user experience, the work of a back-end developer is both rewarding and impactful. If you enjoy problem-solving, working with databases, tackling complex technical challenges, and building reliable, scalable, and robust systems, then a career as a back-end developer might be for you. 


What Does a Back-End Developer Do? 

Back-end developers work behind the scenes of websites. They build the infrastructure that powers the functionality of web applications. They work with servers, databases, and applications, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and efficiently.

Unlike front-end developers, who primarily deal with the visual and user-facing aspects of a website, back-end developers are concerned with the functionality and performance of websites and apps. They write code that handles tasks like data storage, retrieval, processing, authentication, and security.

Key responsibilities of a back-end developer include:

  • Writing code that powers the website with Python, Java, Ruby, PHP, and other server-side programming languages. 
  • Designing, maintaining, and continually updating databases. 
  • Managing a website’s databases, server, and application programming interfaces (APIs). 
  • Configuring server settings. 
  • Facilitating optimal website performance and ensuring quick loading speeds. 
  • Implementing cybersecurity measures such as user authentication and authorization processes. 
  • Ensuring that servers are updated and secure.  
  • Troubleshooting and debugging websites and applications. 
  • Overseeing continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. 
  • Integrating third-party services such as payment processors into the website.

Where Do Back-End Developers Work?

Common industries that hire back-end web developers include:

  • Computer systems design companies
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services
  • Software publishers
  • Advertising and PR agencies 
  • Banking and financial institutions
  • E-commerce
  • Healthcare  


How Do I Become a Back-End Developer?

Pursuing a degree or certificate in back-end development or a related field can help you get your foot in the door early in your career. By focusing on both academic qualifications and professional certifications, individuals can better position themselves to enter the field of back-end development and succeed in their careers. Consider these steps:

Earn a bachelor’s degree or a certificate . A degree in an area such as computer science, software engineering, network engineering and security, or information technology teaches essential skills in back-end programming, software design, computer architecture, and web development. Certificates can also be a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and experience in back end web development. WGU’s Back-End Developer Certificate teaches scripting, programming, and UI design and can prepare you for earning professional certification.  

Gain experience. Apply for a remote or in-person entry-level IT role or internship to gain on-the-job training. This experience will help you understand which skills you may need to further develop and which area of back-end development you might like to specialize in.

Keep learning. Back-end development is an evolving field. Even after you earn a degree and certifications and land a job, continue learning to stay current with the latest web development trends and best practices. Additional IT certifications for professional development can be earned online and highlight your capabilities to employers. Taking your education a step further and earning a relevant master’s degree could significantly increase your earning potential and open the door to more job opportunities, particularly those that involve leadership or management.

Best Degrees for a Back-End Developer


Computer Science – B.S.

Problem solvers and math lovers needed! Your task:...

Problem solvers and math lovers needed! Your task:

Lay the groundwork for the computing breakthroughs that will enable tomorrow's technologies. Utilize your previous college courses or IT experience to help you complete your degree faster.

  • Time: 60% of graduates in similar programs finish within 25 months.
  • Tuition: $3,985 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 38 total courses in this program.

You'll have the opportunity to earn these certifications:

  • Linux Essentials
  • Axelos ITIL Foundation

Skills for your résumé that you will learn in this program:

  • Architecture and systems
  • Data structures
  • AI
  • Computer theory
  • Version Control
  • Linux

Software Engineering – B.S.

You're a creative and tech genius who wants the bigger opportunities....

You're a creative and tech genius who wants the bigger opportunities.

  • Time: 60% of graduates finish similar programs within 35 months.
  • Tuition: $3,985 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 36 or 38 total courses in this program depending on your track.

Certifications included in this program at no additional cost are:

  • CompTIA Project +
  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner 
  • ITIL®1 Foundation Certification

Skills for your résumé that you will learn in this program:

  • Scripting and programming
  • Web development
  • Mobile application development 
  • User experience design
  • Software quality assurance

Network Engineering and Security – B.S.

Launch your career in designing, securing, and optimizing complex networks....

Launch your career in designing, securing, and optimizing complex networks.

  • Time: 61% of graduates finish similar programs within 36 months.
  • Tuition: $3,735 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 34 or 37 courses in this program depending on focus area
  • Two focus areas: Students can choose between a Cisco or general program, allowing them to learn and gain experience in their chosen specialty.


  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Project+
  • CompTIA Cloud+
  • ITIL®*^ Foundation Certification
  • LPI Linux Foundations

The Cisco program also includes: 

  • Cisco CCNA
  • Cisco DevNet
  • Cisco CyberOps

The general program  also includes: 

  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CompTIA IT Operations Specialist (Stacked)
  • CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist (Stacked)
  • CompTIA Cloud Admin Professional (Stacked)
  • CompTIA Secure Cloud Professional (Stacked)

Skills for your résumé that you will learn in this program:

  • Network engineering
  • Network operations
  • Security management skills

This program will help you develop strong skills in network design, network operations, and security management.


Back End Web Development Certificate – School of Technology

The Back End Web Development Certificate helps students gain a critical...

The Back End Web Development Certificate helps students gain a critical foundation in databases, Java, SQL, and other areas that are crucial for success in the field.

  • Time: 6 months from start to finish.
  • Cost: $3,950 for the certificate.
  • Courses: 5 courses total in this program.

This certificate is designed to help individuals who want to pursue web development gain important skills and experience, boosting their résumé right away. In this program you will take courses that move directly into a School of Technology bachelor's degree at WGU, where you are guaranteed admission after completing your certificate. This program is an important step for your career.

Build your foundational skills in back end web development with a focus on SQL queries, user interface, database management, Java fundamentals and frameworks, and more.


Information Technology – B.S.

Award-winning coursework and value-add certifications make this online...

Award-winning coursework and value-add certifications make this online program a top choice.

  • Time: 61% of graduates finish within 39 months.
  • Tuition: $3,625 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 36 total courses in this program.

Certifications included in this program at no additional cost:

  • CompTIA A+ 
  • CompTIA Network+ 
  • CompTIA Security+ 
  • CompTIA Project+ 
  • CompTIA IT Operations Specialist
  • CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist 
  • Amazon AWS Cloud Practitioner
  • ITIL®*^ Foundation Certification
  • LPI Linux Essentials

Skills for your résumé that you will learn in this program:

  • Scripting and programming
  • Networking and security
  • Systems and services
  • Data management
  • Business of IT

How Much Does a Back-End Developer Make? 


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for web developers was $78,580 in May 2022. The lowest 10% of web developers earned less than $40,460 while the highest 10% earned more than $144,690. Annual salary depends on a variety of factors, including the applicant’s past IT experience, level of expertise, education, and the type of company.

What Is the Job Outlook?


Employment of all web developers is projected to grow by 16% from 2022 to 2032, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Around 19,000 openings for web developers are projected each year on average over the decade. 


What Skills Does a Back-End Developer Need? 

Back-end developers must possess technological proficiency, an analytical mindset, and interpersonal skills. Some of the main skills that they utilize on a daily basis include:

  • Computer programming. Back-end developers use Python, Java, Ruby, PHP, and other server-side programming languages to write the code that controls websites and applications. It’s also essential to understand associated frameworks, such as Spring or Micronaut for Java, or Django and Flask for Python. 
  • Data structures and algorithms. Back-end developers must have a basic understanding of processes, structures, and algorithms such as linear and binary search, data sorting, and hashcode implementations used to display data.  
  • Web testing and debugging. Back-end development is a continual process of writing code, testing it for functionality, checking for bugs or errors, and making improvements to the overall user experience.  
  • Knowledge of APIs. Understanding application programming interfaces and the role they play in the creation of back-end architecture helps to ensure seamless integration. 
  • Front-end programming. Understanding front-end programming languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in addition to back-end processes is useful for full-stack development. 
  • Server familiarity. Back-end development, also known as server-side development, requires an understanding of server infrastructure. Some of the most popular servers are Apache, NGINX, and Microsoft, which support Linux operating systems. Accordingly, knowledge of Linux is also an essential skill. 
  • Problem-solving abilities. An analytical mindset and a passion for solving complex technological challenges are key skills for successful back-end developers. 
  • Communication skills. Back-end developers must be able to communicate with other web developers, clients, and stakeholders to meet a website’s needs.  
  • Project management. Prioritizing tasks and managing time effectively is key to meeting deadlines and quality expectations.  

Our Online University Degree Programs Start on the First of Every Month, All Year Long

No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!

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Interested in Becoming a Back-End Developer?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.