6 Deadly Sins of a Backend Developer

It is essential to ensure the foundations of a house are secure, as any cracks or leaks in the structure may present themselves over time. Furthermore, if major renovations or additions are planned, it is likely that the foundations will need to be repaired, which could require a significant amount of time and money.

If you are following closely, you will realise that this discourse is not about constructing buildings, but instead about the analogies between application and house construction. The frontend of an app is the area of focus, whereas the backend is where all the labour is executed in a hidden manner. Therefore, it is essential to collaborate with first-rate backend specialists.

As a competent backend developer, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the current market. Framework manipulation alone is not enough to meet the requirements of today’s job roles. To ensure success, a potential backend developer should possess proficiency in:

  • Algorithms and data structures
  • Databases and data models
  • Several theoretical architectures (and the respective programming languages they are based on)
  • Cloud hosting (AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure) (AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure)
  • Server architecture
  • Dockers

Backend engineers must work efficiently to meet deadlines, whilst making ongoing adjustments such as refactoring, bug fixing and scaling. This field of work poses a great number of challenges, and making mistakes can have serious, long-term repercussions. Here, we consider the six most significant errors.

You must not amass excessive technological debt.

At the outset, both backend and frontend engineers are liable to the same mistake: accruing a large amount of technical debt. Agile teams may utilise technical debt to deliver faster solutions and create better products, however, data shows that the more that is accrued, the higher the chance it will be more difficult to integrate new solutions or expand the project in the future.

It is not advisable to build new functionality on top of existing, inefficient code as this can cause issues during refactoring. Often, seemingly minor issues such as ‘spaghetti code’, lengthy functions/methods, deep indentation levels, numerous if/else statements and inconsistent variable naming conventions can quickly become a major problem.

Implementing a robust process for monitoring technical debt can help to prevent the team from creating a precarious structure, even if some technical debt is inevitable given stringent coding standards and thorough planning.

You must not provide shoddy paperwork.

An excellent set of documents is akin to a detailed map or a foolproof recipe; they leave nothing to chance. In accordance with the Python zen, it is preferable to be explicit rather than implicit. Consequently, treating documentation as an afterthought is one of the worst practices for backend engineers.

Manually analysing the code line by line to identify the source of an issue can be time consuming and can impede progress if there is a lack of documentation or none at all.

By adhering to best practices for documentation, future developers will have a reliable reference to refer to when problem-solving or restyling, and frontend developers will find it easier to understand the connection between their side of the project and the backend.

It is essential to include comments in your code. Not only does well-commented code assist code reviewers and other developers, it is also beneficial for the developers themselves when reviewing code that has not been touched for a while.

Test Absences Are Prohibited

It is essential to have an effective development cycle that includes testing in order to identify and address any potential bugs in the backend. However, some developers may choose to omit testing due to limited time or overconfidence.

Therefore, this mistake is often made when programmers are under pressure due to time constraints or they rely heavily on their own judgement or the results of their own code reviews. Even experienced coders may not be able to anticipate how a program may respond in every situation.

Avoiding this problem can be done quickly by writing tests alongside the code, or by having another developer create a set of tests based on shared pseudo-code. Some teams even take it a step further and write the code only after they have produced the most rigorous tests possible. This way, they are effectively designing for specific scenarios.

Code can only be trusted to perform as expected and scale with the needs of a project if it has been thoroughly tested.

You must not use many methods to solve a problem.

Working with popular programming languages such as Python or node.js can be highly beneficial, particularly due to the availability of helpful resources. In many cases, it can be more efficient to import existing code rather than writing it from scratch.

Unfortunately, this can lead to a further range of problems. Excessive reliance on third-party software and libraries can be challenging due to the need to manage multiple Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) simultaneously.

Nevertheless, it is important to be aware that new versions of technologies may contain bugs and changes which could affect your work. Additionally, projects can become obsolete and the great library you discovered may suddenly become unavailable.

It is important to bear in mind that introducing new technology into a project may require additional effort and should be done with caution. Nevertheless, exploring alternative approaches can be beneficial, and taking the time to do the work yourself may prove to be advantageous in the long term.

Always have a backup plan

Databases are a common requirement for backend developers, and data is integral for the successful functioning of an app. To ensure an app’s longevity, the best backend developers ensure multiple copies of the data are accessible in various locations (cloud, physical media, remote servers etc.). This is to ensure that any potential hardware or software errors do not lead to the complete loss of the project.

It is essential to have regular and reliable backups in place. Data that is updated frequently could be severely impacted if several days worth of updates were to be lost. To avoid such a catastrophic event, it is advisable to make a one-time investment in a secure storage system.

Data modeling rule. Don’t scrimp on preparation.

It is important to ensure that data models are created correctly from the outset, as having to start again can be a costly process. If a model overhaul is required, it should be made clear that this is due to external factors and not due to a lack of foresight.

Even if scalability is not a current priority, experienced backend engineers will gain an understanding of the project objectives and develop a model that is suitable for the project, taking scalability into account.

A well-constructed data model design is a clear demonstration of forward planning, as it can help prevent databases from encountering issues that arise from attempting to do too much.

An effective backend developer will be both strategic and cooperative.

The success of a Backend Developer is not solely reliant on technical proficiency; a distinguishing factor of an expert is the acknowledgement of their role in the development process. An experienced and reliable Backend Developer is essential for the construction of a robust system, as opposed to one that is prone to failure.

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