Backend Engineer

What is a Backend Engineer?

A Backend Engineer is a software engineer who leads the development and ongoing management of backend infrastructure. A Backend Engineer may be responsible for the managing the databases or data warehouses of a company, or may work on projects to integrate payments or other secure transfers, for example. The types of projects Backend Engineers pursue can vary greatly by industry.

For smaller companies or startups, Backend Engineers are often founding members of the company, and have the ability to influence many product and development decisions.

What’s the difference between a Backend Engineer and other types of engineers?

Unlike Fullstack and Frontend Engineers, Backend Engineers don’t work on projects that consumers of a product see when they use an application or a website. Instead, Backend Engineers will instead work on projects that involve a company’s servers, or perhaps write code to store user information. Backend engineers may also need to routinely monitor and debug different code issues that arise - even if these problems aren’t visible to front end users, they can have very visible implications.

What is the typical background of a Backend Engineer?

A Backend Engineer will often have a bachelors or masters degree in Computer Science. In some instances a Backend Engineer may also have a PhD.

What are some of the typical responsibilities of a Backend Engineer?

  • Bringing new features to life: Backend Engineers are often the teams responsible for bringing large new visions to life, like a new feature for premium members of a website, or translating a product manager’s vision for an in-app perk into the mobile application.
  • Collaborating with Frontend and Fullstack teams: A Backend Engineer will need to have strong communications and project management skills to communicate across other engineering teams and departments on projects.
  • Building technical roadmaps: A Backend Engineer (especially those in management roles), may be responsible for building technical roadmaps that outline major milestones and due dates, working in partnership with product teams to scope out backend resource planning and timing.
  • Testing and retesting code: Backend Engineers will likely need to apply vigorous testing and evaluate their own code as well as other teams’ code, to make sure their infrastructure is running smoothly.
  • Developing MVPs: A Backend engineer may need to have experience creating MVPs, or Minimum Viable Products, especially at earlier stage companies and startups.

What are some of the skills a successful Backend Engineer should have?

  • Rigorous experience in a variety of platforms: A Backend Engineer may need experience in a variety of platforms, like Python, C++, Java, Ruby on Rails, PHP, Django, Kubernetes, SQL and MySQL databases.
  • Problem-solver mentality: Backend Software Engineers will often need to persist through challenging code problems, and will need a can-do attitude to identify and remove blockers on their projects.
  • Experience in integrating with APIs: Backend Engineers may often need to integrate their servers with those of their clients or customers, which can often be technical and time-consuming. Experience in these types of integrations can be useful when evaluating Backend Engineering candidates.

What are some of the typical job titles of a Backend Engineer?

We’ve recruited for many different Backend Engineer roles, including job titles like:
  • Senior Backend Engineer
  • Backend Lead Software Engineer
  • Engineering Manager