Hire Backend Developers: Tips and Details 2020 update

Anastasia by Anastasia on October 20, 2020

Hire Backend Developers: Tips and Details 2020 update

Backend is a structural part of a software system where all operations and data processing take place. The way your application works entirely depends on its backend architecture, so having the right people building it is very important, to say the least. In this post, we are sharing our insights on how to hire backend developers, including market state, hourly rates, and job duties.

What backend developers actually do?

Before you even think of interviewing a backend developer, make sure you know the topic of your future conversation enough to ask questions about it. In other words, let’s go through the software backend meaning once again. So, backend is a functional side of software that connects databases, servers, APIs, and other components to the client-facing interface also called frontend. Programming languages for backend development organize all the behind-the-scenes activities that users see as a response to their tapping or clicking. Backend and frontend together is the end product people get to use when the project finally hits the market. 


By understanding the fact backend development makes the webspace go round, you might have already concluded that backend engineers play the key role for projects’ and whole IT companies’ future. These people are responsible for software architecture and logic, data processing, actual coding, implementation of libraries ― custom or ready-made, and many more. Namely, the typical job duties of a backend developer look as follows:

  • Design and implement clean and quality code that is easy to read and reuse if needed;
  • Use modern frameworks and data storage solutions integrating them in the code base of the project;
  • Abide by industry standards and software development best practices;
  • Participate in project planning, tech stack and architecture discussions;
  • Assist with test cases creation and execution;
  • Work closely with design and marketing teams to develop an efficient end product.

This list has pretty much everything you should expect from the software engineers working on your project. As for the requirements to look for in potential candidates, here’s the shortlist we use ourselves during the hiring process:

  • In-depth knowledge of object-oriented (functional, data-oriented, etc. ― depending on the project technical requirements) backend programming language, like Java, Python, C++ or other;
  • Hands-on experience writing clean, concise code that fully corresponds to the standards of a chosen language or framework;
  • Understanding of data structure, design patterns, code integration scripts, APIs, software development methodologies (Agile, Waterfall), etc.

These requirements are just the main ones, and depending on project, business domain, and even company’s corporate culture they can be expanded correspondingly.

Backend labor market: state and demand

According to Stackoverflow’s recent survey, 55% of all programmers identify themselves as full-stack developers (meaning they cover both front- and backend sides of software they’re working on) or a state they combine a full-stack/backend expertise reflected on their resumes. 20% of all respondents work exclusively on mobile applications, and the rest is distributed between DevOps, system administrators, designers, and other narrow-specification experts. Such uneven distribution of roles on the IT labor market is a demonstration of a recurring trend to save money on the development process at all costs. Company owners who do not possess in-depth understanding on what makes a software product high-quality and what it takes to develop one, tend to view full-stack developers as a more financially beneficial human resource. However, the fact that the same people create user interfaces and the functional side of an application oftentimes negatively affects product quality leading to errors and inaccuracies. In case you’d ever think of choosing full-stack devs over backend ones, we strongly recommend to go for a classic team with divided roles in it.

Most popular backend technologies

As for 2020, the most in-demand technologies ― languages, frameworks, and tools ― for backend development include:

In terms of choosing a particular technology to build a project on, there is no bad or good backend language. As always, it all depends on what are you trying to achieve with your application, what load you want it to handle, how multitasking you want it to be, and what technologies you want to merge together in a single product. Such decisions require day-long negotiations between the software team and C-level executives (with final word usually remaining with chief technical officer or project tech lead). If you aren’t sure about the technical stack of your future project, consider referring to some reputable IT company for a technical consultation.

Backend development rates & salaries

Searching for rates for backend development services, you will most likely discover a wide range from lowest to highest development income. As always, the price you will be offered to pay depends on the collaboration model you prefer, tech stack, location, project complexity and duration, and employee’s qualification. In terms of numbers, PayScale reports that an average annual salary of a US-based backend developer equals $75,000. This doesn’t really match other job-search resources like Glassdoor and Indeed that mentioned  $101,000 and $127,000 per year correspondingly. Moving away from the United States, you can find way cheaper deals. Hourly rates for software development services at average correspond to the following numbers:

Backend team: where can I get one?

Which way to go when launching a software project? This question is a headache for many IT investors and startup owners. Depending on your long-term goals with your project and, of course, your budget for it, most likely you will be choosing between these three options:

Full-time hire

The most straightforward way would be to hire a full-time team to your office or get an onshore dedicated team working for you five days a week. This is also the most expensive and legally complex approach, as you need to handle such HR management aspects as recruiting, equipment and office space for newcomers, insurance, salaries, etc. Full-time teams are only suitable and worth arrangement for long-term projects with rich funding from the very start.

“High cost and many other complications like legal arrangement and the need to buy hardware and rent a place to put it in inspire businesses to look for alternative ways of getting a full-time backend team.”

Freelance contractors

What can be easier than drop a few lines about your future application on Freelancer.com or Upwork and patiently wait for an enthusiastic freelancer to complete the task? Shockingly low prices, tons of developers to choose from, and the shortest terms of project completion ― these are the factors that attract project owners to freelance job marketplaces. However, people who flipped that coin once will tell you, fully relying on freelance contractors can be risky. The thing is, such a collaboration model is only suitable for people with decent project management skills and technical expertise. If you can create a clear technical description for a small task (that’s a part of a bigger project) and ― most important ― can also adequately check the results the freelancer will hand you, then high chances you’ll get a positive experience. In any other case, a freelance marketplace isn’t the best option.

Outsourcing provider

In 2020, you won’t surprise anyone by outsourcing your IT operations. Even the industry leaders like Uber, Slack, and Google do that, which pretty much proves that it’s a legit way to get an expert team without spending a fortune. All you need to do is to choose a backend development company and reach out to them through its website or search platforms like Clutch. The vast majority of such companies provide full-cycle development services, from niche market research to UI/UX design and quality assurance. This option is great for those who want to get not only a few developers but a full-time distant technical partner that would be self-organized and motivated to deliver the best possible results. Also, an assigned project manager will make the collaboration process easy and straightforward acting as a middleman between you and your backend developers. Notice that signing a contract with an IT outsourcing company, you become free from recruiting, equipment purchasing, office renting, system administration, and many other managerial daily tasks.


Summing up

Backend development is pivotal to the success of any software project, so no wonder business owners take this step ever so seriously. We hope this post gave you an image of what to expect from a backend team and what to look for in potential candidates. In case of any questions, our team would be happy to consult you on backend or any other aspect of software development.

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Written by
Anastasia A, Writer at QArea

Anastasia is a skilled content writer with 4+ years of experience in digital marketing and IT outsourcing. Having started her career in mass media, Anastasia’s sincere interest in technology, software development, and digital transformation led her to join our marketing team. After hours, she enjoys reading various types of fiction or just spending time with her three adopted pets.