How To Hire Back End Developers: Skills & Responsibilities

The process of hiring any resource in a company isn’t an easy one. And while shareholders leave the task to hiring managers and HR teams, they do not realize how precarious the searching and procuring side is. It is especially the case when you’re looking for IT resources and want to hire back-end developers.

Most people you come across will attest that the talent pool to choose from has either shrunk or expanded in recent times. Either way, knowing how to find good developers and getting them to commit to your company and its projects is still a lengthy endeavor.

Fortunately, our guide today aims to lessen the work required by your recruitment teams and provides all the necessary information you’d be needing to hire the best resource possible for the job.

By the end of this article, you will be familiar with all the skills to look out for in a back-end developer, what responsibilities they will be entrusted with, and where to find the best candidates.

Let's begin with defining a back-end developer’s position and the roles that he plays throughout the development process.

Who Is A Back-End Developer?

Back-end Development

Back-end development refers to server-side software building and maintenance required for any modern software, mobile application, or website. It is the inner workings of the product that ensures all data is flowing correctly from the user’s side to the server and back.

Back-end developers then are entrusted with the tough task to develop platforms to build high-quality web services and products or help integrate them into existing ones. They are also tasked with the maintenance of existing apps and websites and routinely perform bug-fixing tasks where required.

These developers are required at any software development firm to code the IT infrastructure of their projects, without which, all development efforts remain confined to the front end. Despite their globally shrinking numbers, back-end developers are an essential component of a solid IT team.

As more people gravitate towards hiring full-stack development resources, specifically hiring front and back-end developers can seem like an unnecessary step for most. But splitting up the workflow between two types of developers can provide various benefits, such as:

i. More Time For Tasks

Development firms that hire front-end developers and back-end developers separately notice that their resources have more time to engage in set tasks. Since the workflow is divided between the two types, developers have ample time to dedicate themselves to their part of the job.

ii. Remain Agile

Companies working within the Agile system can ensure all sprints are completed on time and that the workflow isn’t hampered. Full-stack developers have to constantly juggle between front-end and back-end tasks that can eat up productivity times.

iii. Improve Deliverable Quality

Since your resources will have more time to spend on each segment of the development, the overall deliverable quality will be better as well.

Most back-end engineers have specific responsibilities in companies that enable them to slot in seamlessly in the entire workflow. We'll go through a few of the major responsibilities of a back-end developer in the section below.

5 Major Responsibilities Of A Back-End Developer

Back-end developer responsibilities

While most of the responsibilities are relevant to coding and programming, others are necessary too. Let's go over some of the responsibilities of back-end development that you should expect when hiring a resource.

1. Writing Clean Code For Functional Web And App Development

App and web development relies on programming hundreds of thousands of lines of code and getting it to run well. Once front-end development is complete on any project, the task to connect the front end to the server side is the primary responsibility of a back-end developer.

Back-end engineers work with the development team to ensure the designs of the websites and mobile apps are translated well enough to function without errors and defects. Clean code also plays an important role in ensuring web development is efficient and does not have any unnecessary elements.

2. Gather And Address Technical And Design Requirements

Communication with other departments in the company is also a vital part of a back-end developer's responsibilities. Product managers brief design and development teams on the technical and design requirements of any project before work on it commences.

A good back-end software engineer takes these requirements and ensures they have a roadmap built for the project and the expertise to determine the best course of action. This trait comes in handy if businesses are working in the traditional Waterfall methodology and require planning and work on an individual level.

3. Participating In The Entire SDLC

SDLC or the Software Development Life Cycle is the entirety of a project’s lifespan from the start of its development till it is ready to ship. Developers need to understand all the necessary steps of the company’s SDLC and ensure that the entire team, and their work, are on schedule to meet the deadlines.

This practice is important when developers are focused on their part of the project, and especially when younger or junior-level developers are struggling to complete their part of the work. Ensuring everyone is working at maximum efficiency to drive productivity is a key responsibility of a back-end developer.

4. Perform UI Testing To Optimize Performance

Development isn’t a faultless job and nor does it follow a linear progression toward project completion. Most development of web applications and websites requires developers to become the first line of defense before the project is offloaded to QA testers. Ensuring the algorithm works, and every aspect of the project works as intended is an important role of a developer.

It is especially true when back-end developers are concerned since their job is to link the user-facing side to the server and ensure there is no loss in efficiency during operation, and that every facet of the software works.

5. Stay Up To Date With Emerging Technologies

Any developer that is confined to technologies, languages, and frameworks they’re familiar with isn’t going to progress as the company evolves. And this stagnation will be more evident as you receive more complex projects that require familiarity with newer technologies.

It is thus important for top back-end developers to stay up to date with emerging technologies and practice working with them. You never know when you might need programmers that break away from conventional working methods.

4 Skills Every Back-End Developer Should Have

Back-end developer skills

Web and app development is a complex task that requires developers to have a certain skill set at their disposal to complete projects well. The most important skills are mentioned below.

I. Knowledge Of Front-End Technologies

While it may sound counterintuitive for a back-end developer to know front-end technologies, expertise in this domain is vital. A back-end developer needs to be familiar with the frameworks and languages used to program the user side so any manipulation or changes required can be made in runtime.

Some of the essential front-end technologies include design principles and software, familiarity with CSS, HTML, Angular.js, and Javascript, and a handful of other languages such as Python and C.

II. Back-End Programming Languages And Frameworks

In the programming world, languages are the foundation for any developer to build their career. Back-end programming is no different and requires a solid grasp of key languages that help code for server-side applications.

Some of the languages you’ll want in your back-end engineers are:

  • PHP
  • Ruby
  • Python
  • Oracle Java

While developers will often know other languages too, assessing their technical grasp on the previously mentioned three should be the priority.

Similarly, knowledge of frameworks is also required for most coding projects. The framework is the backbone of the language of a program on which a developer works. Some of the ones to watch out for are:

  • Django
  • Laravel
  • Node.js
  • React.js
  • Express.js
  • Ruby on Rails

Alongside languages and frameworks, version control systems such as Git and GitHub are also important elements every back-end developer should know. These systems are important as they help keep track of code changes.

III. Databases And APIs

Relational database vs Non-relational databases

Developers must understand that the storage of data and a decent command over the database is necessary. Back-end developers are responsible for creating relational mapping to enable data retrieval when necessary. They’ll need to be familiar with MySQL, SQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc.

Similarly, Application Programming Interface or API makes connections between different applications. Back-end developers use APIs to enhance user experience. Key APIs to watch out for are, JSON, SOAP, REST, GSON, etc.

IV. Soft Skills

Any professional needs certain soft skills to ensure their product development journey in the company and those they work with are smooth and collaborative. All back-end developers need to have a passion for improvement and learning, should be good team players, and exhibit leadership qualities when called upon.

Most of all, they should have efficient communication skills to ensure they collaborate well with other departments and that their points and feedback are delivered appropriately when required.

Once you understand the responsibilities of a back-end developer, it is vital to know how to reach out effectively to begin shortlisting potential candidates for your next project. If successful in your endeavors, you’ll soon have a bustling team of software engineers gunning to work with you on your next development project.

7 Steps Involved In Hiring A Back-End Developer

Let’s take a look at the steps that we have established to help you with the hiring process:

Step 1: Analyze Your Requirements

Every job placement and recruitment drive starts in the same place; highlighting what you require and what may be surplus to your requirements. The following questions can help you get into the details of what you may require from your resource.

  • How soon do I require them to start?
  • What is the timeframe for the project?
  • Will I need a full-time or part-time resource?
  • What skills should they have for the project?
  • What project will the developer be working on?
  • Will I require them to work in-house or can remote work suffice?

Once identified, you can then move on to the next step. But since every project is different and requirements change, it is important to have a detailed conversation with your shareholders regarding the specifics.

Step 2: Building A Job Description

A job description summarizes a few key elements about any open position at a company. These are:

  • The location of the job
  • The skills and experience required
  • The timeframe of the hiring process
  • Any additional educational background
  • The nature of the job (roles and responsibilities)

You must have a detailed job description that prospective candidates can assess and apply to. But tread a fine line between detailed and extensive. You want your job description to be clear and concise, have all the necessary details for the candidate, and not sound too verbose or too lengthy.

Step 3: Posting The Job

Find an appropriate job portal where you can post an advertisement for the position. Most websites allow for free postings while others may require you to purchase a membership or plan for detailed insights or greater coverage of the post.

Some websites you can try are LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, and Glassdoor. While plenty of other websites exist, these four have the most candidates and are frequently updated by other companies too. You may even choose to post a link to your website’s career page on your social media handles for greater coverage.

Step 4: Screening Of Resumes

Development positions receive a lot of attention. Be prepared for the sheer amount of resumes you’ll soon get in your company’s HR email address or the websites you posted your job alert on. It can be a painstaking process to review hundreds of resumes but investing in software can make this process much quicker.

Resume screening software such as Zoho Recruit, Sage HR, and RecruiterBox are essential for any HR team that requires extra help sorting large volumes of resumes and cover letters.

Step 5: Interviewing

Interview Tips

Once you have shortlisted the best candidates for the role, it is now time to call them and see if they can come in for the interview process. This process is headed by the HR teams and the project manager to assess the capabilities of each applicant.

This may be a good time to assess in-house candidates and any future hires for remote work. The interviewing process can take anywhere from several days to weeks to complete, depending on how many applicants you have shortlisted for the role.

Step 6: Shortlisting

Further shortlisting commences once the interviewing process is complete where a final decision is made for a handful of applicants that have exhibited their skills and industry knowledge to be a part of your team.

Step 7: Make An Offer

The final step of the recruitment process requires you to make an offer to the shortlisted candidates and assess how soon they’d be willing to join. Salary expectations are discussed as well and the candidate(s) most suitable and within the company’s budget is ultimately hired.

4 Places Where You Can Find Back-End Developers

Not every recruitment drive is successful as it may seem at face value. Most candidates either end up in the rejection pile for not having the required skills necessary for the job or back out for various personal reasons.

But certain websites and portals can help you find the best back-end developers. We’ve listed the four most prominent methods below.

A. Aloa

Aloa Homepage

Aloa is one of the leading IT outsourcing companies with a meticulous vetting and hiring process. We have a pool of top-notch developers and IT professionals to work on your development projects at a moment’s notice.

Since we hand-pick only the best global talent pool with years of experience in development, you can quickly onboard full-time, part-time, and remote back-end developers to join your team. Aloa is also the quickest and most cost-effective method to obtain development resources for Android, iOS, and web apps.

B. Job-Posting Websites

Job posting websites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster are excellent places to advertise any vacant positions at your company and get the maximum number of applicants for any one particular role.

However, getting multiple applicants can also be a downside where you’ll have to manually sift through countless useless resumes to find resources available for your positions. These websites can be similar to finding a needle in a haystack. But they do work.

C. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the world’s most popular professional networking website. The free-to-use website by Microsoft connects millions of employees and employers from all over the world. LinkedIn also has a job section where you can advertise vacancies for your company.

Plus, by building connections and specifically searching for back-end developers, you can find the industry’s top talent in a matter of minutes. They’re then one connection request away from being a part of your team.

D. Upwork

Upwork is a portal for startups and eCommerce businesses where you can hire freelance back-end developers for single or multiple projects. Candidates bid on your project and provide you with an hourly wage and it is up to you to gauge their development expertise and hire them.

Upwork provides jobs to thousands of people all over the world but suffers from quality control and accountability issues. It may also not be the best place to look for candidates if you’re working with confidential data.

Conclusion

Hiring skilled back-end developers isn’t an easy task by any means. Familiarity with the job role and its responsibilities is the first major step toward hiring great resources for yourself. Our guide aims to provide you with all the necessary information to help you hire back-end developers.

And with online platforms such as Aloa, your hiring endeavors are made even simpler and risk-free. Aloa takes the stress of recruitment away from your HR department and provides the best talent to get started with the development process immediately.

You can reach out to us at resources@aloa.co to further discuss your needs, and we will be happy to assist you.

The views expressed in this post are the writer's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Aloa or AloaLabs, LLC.
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