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What Is the Career Path for Back-end Engineers?

Last updated on: 
September 6, 2023
Abhinav Rawat
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About The Author!
Abhinav Rawat
Abhinav Rawat
Product Manager at Interview Kickstart. The skilled and experienced mastermind behind several successful product designs for upscaling the ed-tech platforms with an outcome-driven approach for skilled individuals.

Back-end engineers are responsible for building the structure of a software application. They communicate with the corresponding members of an organization to gain a comprehensive idea of the end-users requirements. 

As per Hired, back-end engineer jobs were in high demand in 2020. Moreover, the average salaries for such engineering roles increased to 7% in New York in the same year. 

Deciding to be a back-end engineer can be an exciting and rewarding career choice. However, before that, you’ll need to first learn all there is to know about the role and then start preparing for the back-end engineer interview. 

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation ebook to get interview-ready.

Having trained over 11,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have been landing lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $1.2 million!

At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are hiring managers and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies.

Want to nail your next tech interview? Sign up for our FREE Webinar.

In this article, you will get an insight into the career path of a back-end engineer and some tips on how to ace a back-end engineer interview. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Career Roadmap of a Back-end Engineer

Take a look at the back-end developer career path mentioned below:

Entry-Level Back-end Engineer

As an entry-level back-end engineer, you need to collaborate with your seniors and user groups to deliver effective solutions. The roles and responsibilities of an entry-level back-end engineer involve:

  • Writing reports mentioning the state of the software application
  • Performing development tests
  • Checking the internal system's performance
  • Studying the end user's needs and requirements of the software. Accordingly, communicate with the senior team to work on system design. 
  • Addressing minor software bugs.

Average Salary: $73,318 per year in New York.

Senior Back-end Engineer

As you begin climbing up the ladder and become a senior back-end engineer, you will need to dedicate your time to the following:

  • Optimizing server scripts.
  • Writing Application Programming Interfaces.
  • Maintaining the overall task of software development.
  • Checking the usability of a front-end web application.
  • Creating solutions for data storage.
  • Managing server security.

Average Salary: $160,836 per year in the United States.

Senior Full Stack Developer

The responsibility of a senior full-stack developer involves the combined duty of web development and web designer. In this role, you’ll be responsible for working on the following:

  • Build a user interface.
  • Create back-end web applications.
  • Develop servers and databases.
  • Design Application Programming Interfaces.
  • Collaborate with designers to create website designs.
  • Monitors the responsiveness of the website application.
  • Create front-end website architecture.

Average Salary: $182,104 per year in New York.

Lead Software Engineer

As a lead software engineer, you will offer technical guidance to the software teams of an organization. The responsibilities also involve:

  • Planning design.
  • Communicate with clients.
  • Participate in product meetings and groups.
  • Leading the respective product projects.

Average Salary: $139,911 per year in New York.

Considering this career path, you will get into the following positions:

Lead Software Development Engineer

As a lead software development engineer, your primary responsibility will include building software based on the company's needs. You will also monitor the software development team to meet a deadline.

Senior Software Architect

As a senior software architect, you will develop software programs. You will make decisions on designs and monitor the entire software development team. 

Average Salary: $166,809 in New York. 

IT Director

An IT director has to exercise the following responsibilities:

  • Monitoring the network delivery, processes disaster recovery system.
  • Collaborate with information engineers to find business solutions.
  • Research for new products and recognize new market opportunities.
  • Supervise the software teams and communicate with clients.
  • Creating a budget and presenting proposals on projects to the senior executives.
  • Monitoring the technical projects and ensuring that they meet their deadlines. 

Average Salary: $146,544 in New York.

This programmer career path further includes the following positions as you climb the ladder.

  1. Software Engineering Development Director
  2. Vice President of Engineering
  3. Chief Technology Officer
  4. Chief Information Officer
  5. Chief Operation Officer

How to Become a Back-end Engineer?

Now that we know what the career path of a back-end engineer looks like let’s find out how to get started on this journey. It will require relevant education, preparation, and practice. These are the requirements and steps to follow for each title:

Junior Back-end Engineer 

As discussed earlier, to become a back-end engineer, you need to start your junior-level engineering career. Hence, first, take a look at what it takes to be a junior back-end engineer:

Technical Skills

As an entry-level back-end engineer, you must create a viable code. You also need to have troubleshooting skills to debug complex problems. In addition to this, you need to write functional unit tests and understand the configurations of a software network. 

Also, strengthen your technical foothold by learning the following coding languages:

  • Python
  • Java
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Git
  • XML

Soft Skills

  • Seamless communication with your team members ensures a smooth business operation.
  • As a back-end engineer, you need to remain self-motivated. You must be keen to take risks and find new solutions. 
  • Ability to work as a team member.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Bachelors in computer science, software engineering, or computer security. You can advance your skills by registering in back-end engineering courses.
  • Working knowledge in cloud infrastructure, mainframes, etc.
  • In-depth knowledge of data-sets, ETL, and data warehousing.
  • Working experience in Oracle, NoSQL, Spring Boot, Jenkins, and more will be advantageous. 

Senior Back-end Engineer

Technical Skills

As you move to a senior position, enhance your coding skills by learning other programming languages, such as:

  • PHP
  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • RUBY
  • NET
  • MySQL
  • Angular 
  • JQuery
  • Bootstrap

You also need to have working experience on the server side with SASS and LESS. Additionally, you must have comprehensive knowledge about server compliance.

Soft Skills

  • Strong management skills for efficient prioritization of projects.
  • Problem-solving attitude and ability to meet project deadlines.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Working experience of more than 5 years, according to Glassdoor.
  • Advance your career by obtaining a master's degree in mathematics, computer science, or engineering. 
  • Well-versed in databases like Sybase, creating Java Enterprise and J2EE applications, continuous integration, and others. 

A Sneak Peek into the Interview Process of Back-end Engineers

Aspiring software developers dream of getting into the leading companies, especially FAANG companies. But it is not easy to crack these interviews, given the highly stringent hiring processes. 

Like most jobs, the process starts with you filling in the job application form and submitting it along with your updated resume. Here’s what you can expect next during a back-end engineer interview process at leading tech companies includes:

Phone Screen

Once your resume gets selected, a recruiter will contact you. During this first call, you’ll be asked about your interests, basic skill set, and expected compensation. Next, the recruiter will set up a screening interview with a hiring manager. 

If you make it through the managerial interview, you’ll have a technical phone screen. In this technical interview, you need to showcase your coding strength. The process of evaluating such skills may vary as per the company.

Onsite Interview

This round generally typically lasts for 3-4 hours. It includes coding, system coding, and behavioral questions. You may be asked to perform whiteboard coding exercises. The technical interview will include solving algorithm problems or resolving system design. 

After clearing the technical round, you will continue with the behavioral round. In this round, the vice president, or the directors of the respective company will interview you. Here, they evaluate your personality and understand whether you’re the right fit for the company.

How to Prepare for Your Back-end Engineer Interview

Landing your dream job at one of the FAANG companies is not easy. However, it is certainly not impossible with the right preparation and guidance.

Here are our expert tips to help you prepare for a back-end engineer interview.

Start With Your Resume

Liz Wamai, Vice President of the recruiting team of Facebook, emphasizes, "Resume is the top priority." 

A recruiter will glance through your resume only for 6 seconds. So, pay attention to formatting. Include all relevant skills that align with the job description. Avoid oversharing too much and keep it brief to grab the recruiter's attention.

Prepare for Interview Questions 

Based on the data collected from employees working at FAANG companies, priming yourself with mock interviews are extremely important. Take a look at few sample questions and practice accordingly to improve your chances to crack these interviews:

Technical Questions

  1. Which programming language do you know the best? Which one are you still learning?
  2. What do you understand about JavaScript? Tell me about its importance.
  3. Tell me about your favorite application and what you like the most about it?
  4. How does NoSQL manage difficulties in scalability?

Behavioral Questions

  1. Tell me about the time you received negative feedback.
  2. Tell me about how you deal with a roadblock in a project.
  3. Talk a bit about your favorite development project.
  4. How do you prioritize your projects?

Soft Skills Assessment

  1. How do you update yourself with the upcoming technologies?
  2. Where do you want to see yourself in the next 5 years?
  3. How will you contribute to a project?
  4. How will you react if your CTO asks you to change your code?

Crack Your Back-end Engineering Interview with Interview Kickstart

If it is your dream to work with a FAANG company, join Interview Kickstart’s Back-End Engineering Interview Course. Our comprehensive curriculum covers algorithms, data structure, system design, and core back-end engineering concepts to strengthen your interview preparation. 

In addition, you also get:

  • Soft skill training: We prepare you for your behavioral interview, suggest strategies, and enhance your negotiation skills.
  • Mock interviews: Our rigorous mock interviews and personalized feedback loops will take your interviewing skills up a notch.

Register for our free webinar to know more!


1. What is the salary of a back-end engineer in California?
Indeed suggests that the average salary of a back-end engineer is $145,646 in California.

2. What are the most popular back-end development programming languages?
The most popular back-end development programming languages include Java, PHP, Net Framework (C#, VB, F#), Ruby, Python, SQL, and JavaScript. To learn more about what makes them popular among FAANG and other tier-1 tech companies, click here

Posted on 

Abhinav Rawat

Product Manager @ Interview Kickstart | Ex-upGrad | BITS Pilani. Working with hiring managers from top companies like Meta, Apple, Google, Amazon etc to build structured interview process BootCamps across domains

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