You don’t need to spend $10k on a Bootcamp to become a backend developer.
Whether you need to learn: Node, Express, SQL, NoSQL, REST, JSON, APIs, or the latest fancy technologies, you can do it for free, leveraging the power of the internet.
After the success of The Complete 2021 Front-end development roadmap, I’ve personally gathered, watched, tested, and reviewed thousands of resources, to come up with this:
Those are only some of the concepts you’ll need to master, to kickstart your career and start building production-ready APIs.
Let me say one thing: fundamentals, are fundamentals.
Learning and understanding:
- How a computer works.
- How variables are stored.
- The differences between compiled code and scripts.
- What compile and runtime errors are.
- The principles of programming.
Is the key to properly understanding the underlying mechanics of complex Backend Frameworks, and how to optimize your code towards the desired outcome.
Published by Harvard itself, this Free Computer Science Fundamentals Course is the best way to set the foundations of your development career starting from the basics.
It’s key to learn how front-end development works and how to better serve its needs. To do so, you can start by learning some CSS and HTML.
There are an awful lot of amazing free resources about HTML and CSS out there, I’ve personally reviewed some:
We mainly learn by solving problems, to solve problems we need to practice, to practice we need to create projects.
Creating a Portfolio while walking your journey to becoming a backend developer, is a great way to both: practice and exercise what you learn.
Start by watching this tutorial on how to build your personal portfolio using just HTML and CSS.
You will have time to come back and add some proper backend, with its interactions, a database, and probably some data handling and exchange through APIs endpoints.
At this point though, you should be skilled enough to start making money contributing to Open Source projects. This not only will be a great training field, but also a way to make some good side income.
Git is an opensource version control system, that allows you to:
- Keep track of your changes.
- Back up your code.
- Avoid disastrous consequences.
- Collaborate seamlessly.
If hosted on a web service such as GitHub, it allows you to synchronize your code with collaborators, keeping your codebase(repositories) on the web, free to be moved between devices.
Unfortunately, the world is full of bad people ready to steal and use your data, and that of your customers. Knowing how to properly store and secure data and communications, is key for a backend developer.
Understand the fundamentals of web security and how to handle private information the right way:
- Basic Hashing.
Those are only some of the concepts you’ll work with while developing your backends and securing your API endpoints.
NPM, is the Node Package Manager, responsible for handling, installing, and importing your Node.js based libraries.
Resources to learn Node.js:
Even if you could potentially create full APIs just by using Node.js, this isn’t convenient.
Express comes to our help:
A minimal and flexible Node.js framework that will help you creating APIs effortlessly thanks to a myriad of HTTP methods and middleware. Express.js powers thousands of backends around the world, suitable for the most diverse REST APIs.
What’s the difference between SQL and NoSQL databases?
Should I use Postgres or MongoDB?
Databases are a huge part of backend development, as those are the places where your data will be usually stored.
Learning how to create, manage, edit and connect SQL and NoSQL databases, is key for a backend developer.
As always: it depends.
Both systems have their pros and cons, which make them great in different scenarios.
My suggestion? Pick both a NoSQL and a SQL database to learn.
I’ve personally tried an awful lot of DB systems, ending up using:
- Postgre as a SQL DB.
- MongoDB as a NoSQL DB.
PostgreSQL has a strong reputation for reliability, feature robustness, and performance.
With over 12 years of active development, MongoDB is one of the most popular NoSQL Databases to date.
Hosted by AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure, MongoDB stores the data of thousands of tools and platforms out there.
Amazon famously delivers new code every 11.6 seconds. Just a few years ago, this was unthinkable.
This is thanks to Continuous delivery and Integration technologies: ways to ensure fast execution times, maximizing data gathering, and data-driven decisions.
DevOps stands for development and operations, and it’s a key skill to learn as a backend developer in 2021.
There’s no better way to retain notions than doing and solving problems.
Sometimes, finding backend projects to practice sounds hard though.
Just remember: backends are mainly comprised of APIs and Data Exchange, any project including those two domains, will do the job.
You might also want to start writing articles to share your knowledge, build an online presence, and earn from your tech writing skills. Here’s a list of the best blogging platforms for developers.
At this point, you should be able to set up a proper REST API and get paid for it.
The best thing about programming is that: is free to get started and pays a lot.
There are hundreds of ways to monetize your backend development skills. From open source to APIs monetization, from tech writing to YouTube channels.
If you want to go deeper into monetization for developers, this is not a free resource but definitely worth the price:
Great error handling, bug sorting, and code assistance, something a backend developer should know to create better APIs in 2021
Learn TypeScript in this free Udemy Course.
Backend frameworks introduce things such as SSG, SSR, or utilities to speed up your development.
- SSG -> Static Site Generation.
- SSR -> Server-Side Rendering.
- CSR -> Client-Side Rendering. Learn more about backend rendering methods on YouTube.
Backend frameworks are usually based on front-end counterparts, such as React and Vue, strictly connecting your backend to your front-end.
There are many popular JS backend frameworks, such as:
React-based and Open-source, Next.js brings hybrid Static and Server-Side rendering to your backend development toolbox.
Originally developed by Vercel.com, you might want to explore their free hosting services as well.
Specialize in Static Websites such as Blogs and homepages.
Amazingly fast, gives you 2500+ plugins to kickstart your backend.
Modular, performant, and easy-to-use Nuxt.js implements Server Side and static rendering to your workflow.
Of course, I’m kidding but, simply put: GraphQL shifts the data handling coming from APIs, from the client -> to the server.
This means not more REST, but active data processing and filtering, directly in the backend.
Used by Nasa, Facebook, Airbnb, and GitHub, GraphQL is getting more and more traction in 2021.
It is not primarily intended to be written by hand, rather it is designed to be an effective compilation target for source languages like C, C++, Rust, etc.
If you want to take a step further, I suggest you exploring the potentialities of Blockchain and Web3.0 development.
Blockchain Devs are paid: $140k/year on average.
To learn how to code, though, a roadmap is not enough: you need to practice, and you can practice by building projects.
“The best way to learn is by solving problems” - Elon Musk
Solve problems, and you’ll get paid for it!