Skip to content
HackerRank Launches Two New Products: SkillUp and Engage Read now
Join us at the AI Skills & Tech Talent Summit in London! Register now
The 2024 Developer Skills Report is here! Read now
Stream HackerRank AI Day, featuring new innovations and industry thought leaders. Watch now
Hiring Technical Talent

[Checklist] How to Evaluate a Back-End Developer

Written By Dana Frederick | October 11, 2018

Illustration of a man holding up a big arrow pointing to a giant screen showing a checklist

This is part of our hiring checklist series, where we share insights to help you screen developers. You can find our other checklists here: 

Typically, when a hiring manager asks for a Back-End Developer, a few things come to mind: lots of development experience, comfort working with APIs, and a solid background in database work.

But the reality is...on some level, it’s up to interpretation. After all, they can cover a potpourri of responsibilities, from application data access, to database administration, to addressing security, and much more; ultimately, it’s dependent on the needs of the company. This makes it not just a complex role to fulfill, but also a challenging role to recruit for.Visualisation of front-end and back-end of an application

Though day-to-day responsibilities may vary, back-end developers are an important component of any technical team, constructing and maintaining the base that front-end developers to build on.

That said, it’s worth noting that the line between front-end and backend developers can sometimes be fluid. Make sure you understand what your technical team needs before you start your search.

If a back-end developer is what your team needs, here’s what to look for:


  • Well versed in a variety of software design patterns, security procedures, and frameworks
  • Delivers server-side code that’s scalable, reliable, well tested, and well documented
  • Knowledgeable in standards and best practices for their language(s) of expertise
  • Familiarity with cloud infrastructure and cloud providers
  • Experience using databases, and utilizing data structures at scale
  • Comfortable with web service technologies

Team Compatibility

  • A stack match for your team––comfortable with the technologies they use
  • Knowledgeable in the team’s development methodology of choice, or similar
  • Keeps detailed design docs for team reference and smooth collaboration
  • Motivated to uphold the team’s standard of quality
  • Proactively contributes to knowledge exchange within the team (e.g. wiki contributions, commentary in the design phase)
  • Team player: Leverages collaboration to solve problems, and willingly supports teammates when they’re stuck

Soft Skills

  • Shows flexibility in their problem-solving approach, with no attachment to particular solutions
  • Takes appropriate ownership as errors arise, focuses on solutions vs. blame
  • Gladly tackles problems of all shapes and sizes, no matter how minute
  • Robust technical communication skills: Can effectively communicate project needs with both front and back-end teammates
  • Strong non-technical communication skills: Can accurately interpret and execute on requests from non-technical teams (e.g. product)
  • High emotional intelligence: Self-aware and attuned to their peers’ needs

backend developer checklist

Attracting the developers you want

What’s your team’s strategy for attracting back-end developer candidates?

For high demand roles like this, syncing with your candidate’s needs early on can give you a competitive edge. Focus on showcasing desirable job qualities from the start: interesting challenges, smart teammates, and work-life balance will help you stand out as a potential employer.

Hiring for other technical roles? Learn the right skills to target for specialized roles in our full guide:

Abstract, futuristic image generated by AI

Does a College Degree Still Matter for Developers in 2024?