Looking for back-end project ideas for beginners

andrewchou profile image Andrew Chou ・1 min read

I've been doing web development for about a year now, but I've definitely focused on front-end stuff during that time. This is mostly because I've found it to be a little easier to start and finish my ideas.

I've been wanting to do more back-end work but I typically have a difficult time thinking of simple, useful, and interesting ideas that I can finish. Most of what I've come up with revolve around building some API, which is something I definitely want to do but I'm not always sure about where to start.

I'd love to know if there are other fun or interesting ways to get into back-end programming. It would ideally provide a useful learning experience for someone who has conceptual knowledge but no practical experience with server-side development. The ideas don't have to be restricted to a specific language or technology, but I've been interested in using the following if it helps:

  • Python
  • Node
  • Go
  • Rust

Looking forward to seeing your ideas. Thanks!


Editor guide
ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Well, it might be fun to take part in the Pusher contest, which definitely covers the spectrum from back-to-front. I say that because that's where my head is at right now and the timing is pretty great.

With that in my mind, I always find realtime visualizations of things happening translated to a map is really cool. I know in New York, there are some pretty cool civic data resources. It could be cool to show them in realtime.

This would likely require pinging the services they provide, processing or aggregating in some way, and then serving them over a channel. Definitely covers a lot of typical backend tasks.

andrewchou profile image
Andrew Chou Author

Thanks for the response, Ben! If I weren't busy with finishing up school, I would definitely try out the Pusher contest.

I really like the second idea since it's incredibly pertinent to my interests and background! I know a lot of cities have data portals like New York's, so there could be a lot of possibilities for ideas :)

turfaa profile image
Turfa Auliarachman

I have recommended to some of my friends that are very new to backend programming to try to build a URL shorter.

It might look simple, but is a good way to start. At least you have to think about project scope (what features you want to include at first?), extendability (how easy to develop a new feature in the future?), best database to use looking our use case (SQL vs NoSQL?), maintain URL uniqueness, and separation between shorted URL and URL in your website (bit.ly/abqusj vs bit.ly/user).

andrewchou profile image
Andrew Chou Author

I like this idea too! I've definitely glanced at some examples but never looked any further into it. Do you have any suggested repo examples by any chance?

jimsrush profile image
jim rush

Building a simple anagram finder endpoint that takes a string and returns an anagram of the word could be quite cool?

You'll get to play with a few data structures and algorithms (depending on how complex you want to make the finder, whether it just returns words of the same length or subsets).

You could also make a database layer to store the words, or simply parse words.txt into memory/some sort of hashed datastructure when the program loads.

You could then make a simple react component or similar to pass a word to the endpoint.

presto412 profile image
Priyansh Jain

Build your interpretation of the blockchain data structure using a database with some authentication. You'll learn a lot from that. Atleast I did!

georgeoffley profile image
George Offley

Pick a free API and make a website that utilizes the requests to put information on the screen. Example would be a project I worked on to try and get my skills up in PHP was that I picked a Congress API and created a page where you enter your address and I calculated longitude and latitude and used that to search for the representatives assigned to that district.

These days I would use a framework for it. Like for Python Flask or Django.

qm3ster profile image
Mihail Malo

Instead of making something useless with cat pictures or the pokedex or weather or stocks (which for me are demotivational) I suggest you take some local script you use, ideally one you wrote yourself, and making an http API for it.
Then add authentication tokens so that you can host it in public without getting spammed.
Finally, once it's working, add some persistence using an industry standard storage or DB product.
I'm particularly suggesting this approach because your entire roster of languages is stuff you are likely to have made a local utility in.

haroldseara profile image

I’m a beginner here I wanna be a full stack developer now I’m studying js my next step is angular and node js my target in the next 6 months developer a web application for tracking phone to a logistic company I wanna be part of your practice and test may I???

andrewchou profile image
Andrew Chou Author

Are you talking about mafintosh's project? I'm a huge fan of his work and been following the dat scene more closely in recent months. Would be cool to do something similar, especially since there are efforts to port some of the dat modules to other languages