IT language of the Back-End Developer
5 basic terms and 7 tips for novice Back-End developers from Senior Software Engineer at Anywhere Club Kamil Alekberov.
— Back-End engineering involves numerous complex components, particularly when working collaboratively. To be effective professionals, we must optimize our project impact while minimizing the noise that can result from an expanding codebase. I would like to share some tips that have helped me over the years, in the hope that you will find them useful.
— Code review is an essential part of the development process, during which a developer reviews the code written by other developers on the team to ensure its quality, readability, and maintainability. Code review also confirms that the code follows coding standards and best practices. As a Back-End Developer, you should be familiar with reviewing code in version control systems like Git or SVN.
— Tech stack is an important consideration for Back-End Developers. It is common to simplify development by using frameworks, libraries, and tools to improve application performance and optimize response times. As a Back-End developer, you should be familiar with the popular technologies and tools used in the industry and be able to evaluate their suitability for the project at hand.
— Data management is a crucial aspect of Back-End development, and it involves designing and implementing data storage and retrieval mechanisms. This includes determining how data is stored, how it’s accessed, and how it’s secured. You should be familiar with various data storage technologies such as SQL, NoSQL, and caching mechanisms like Redis, Memcached, etc.
API design and development
— You’ll need to create RESTful APIs that can be used by front-end developers and third-party applications. This involves designing API endpoints, documenting them, and verifying their security and reliability.
Scalability and performance optimization
— You’ll need to ensure that your applications can handle large volumes of traffic and user requests without compromising performance. This involves implementing caching mechanisms, load balancing, and optimizing database queries, among other things.
Write code at last
— It may seem obvious, but it’s advisable to write code in the final phase of your development cycle. Although, at times, you may possess a solid understanding of the domain knowledge that makes it tempting to bypass certain stages in the development cycle. For instance, before performing any extensive development, it’s wise to create a local script, prototype, or proof of concept to test potential solutions and confirm that requests to downstream APIs can be processed. This can help you eliminate issues early on and gather valuable feedback about the system you are integrating with, allowing you to plan your next steps accordingly.
Do not exclude people
— Back-End Engineers must also communicate with stakeholders effectively. Avoid the mistake of using too much technical jargon and alienating non-technical team members. Instead, use sketches or diagrams that describe the behavior of the system in simple terms, ensuring that everyone involved understands what’s being built and the desired outcome of the system. By doing so, you can ensure that everyone has a shared understanding, and you don’t miss out on valuable input from colleagues.
Use version control for all your code and scripts
— Version control is a fundamental tool for any software development project, and it’s particularly important for Back-End engineering. When working on a project with other developers, version control allows you to collaborate on code without fear of losing work or creating conflicts.
It’s also a good idea to use version control for any scripts or prototypes that you create during the development cycle. This way, you can keep track of changes and easily roll back if something goes wrong. Additionally, using version control for scripts and prototypes can help you keep track of experiments and decisions you made along the way, which can be helpful later on when you need to explain your reasoning or approach to others.
Write tests for all your code
— Writing tests for your code is critical for verifying that it works as intended, and it’s particularly important for Back-End engineering where a single bug can have far-reaching consequences. Tests help catch bugs early in the development cycle, which can save you time and money in the long run.
When writing tests, it’s important to write them for all your code, not just the parts you think are most likely to have bugs. Additionally, your tests should cover edge cases and unusual scenarios, as these are often where bugs can be hiding. By writing comprehensive tests, you can be confident that your code is working as intended, and that you won’t have any nasty surprises down the line.
Prioritize code readability
— When working on a project with multiple developers, it’s important to prioritize code readability. Code that is difficult to read or understand can slow down development, introduce bugs, and make it harder to maintain the codebase over time.
To improve code readability, consider using consistent naming conventions for variables, functions, and classes. Additionally, break up large functions into smaller, more manageable pieces, and use comments to explain complex logic or unusual behavior.
By prioritizing code readability, you can make it easier for your fellow developers to work with your code, and make certain that your codebase is maintainable over the long term.
Automate your workflow
— Automation is an important tool for any Back-End Engineer. By automating repetitive tasks, you can save time and reduce the chance of human error. Some tasks that can be automated include building and deploying code, running tests, and creating documentation.
There are a variety of tools and technologies available for automation, including:
- continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines;
- build automation tools like Gradle or Maven; and
- configuration management tools like Ansible or Chef.
By automating your workflow, you can focus on more important tasks, like writing high-quality code or debugging complex issues.
Continuously learn and improve
— Finally, one of the most important things you can do as a Back-End Engineer is to continuously learn and improve your skills. Technology is constantly evolving, and it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest tools and techniques.
You can do this is by attending conferences or meetups, reading technical blogs or books, or taking online courses or tutorials. Additionally, consider working on side projects or contributing to open-source projects, since this can give you valuable experience working with new technologies or solving different types of problems.
By continuously learning and improving, you can become a more valuable and effective Back-End engineer and help ensure the success of your projects and your team.
In conclusion, Back-End engineering is a complex and challenging field, but by following these tips, you can improve your skills, work more effectively with your team, and build high-quality software that meets the needs of your stakeholders.