Industry Insights

Top Back-End Development Trends for 2023

Written By Ryan Loftus | September 23, 2022

Back-end developers have endless options for developing, deploying, and managing server-side applications. In this article, we highlight the most significant back-end development trends that are shaping the industry now and through 2023.

From the growing adoption of Elixir to the rise of headless CMS options, it’s clear developers want scalable and secure tools, languages, and frameworks. Having flexibility in their tech stacks is also a growing priority. But before we highlight these trends, let’s cover the basics about back-end development along with information about employer demand.

What is Back-End Development?

Back-end development involves building and maintaining the mechanisms that process data, and perform actions on websites and applications, along with other server-side functions. While every user can see the work that front-end developers create, back-end developers build the databases, logic, and APIs that users can’t see.

The tasks back-end developers perform vary depending on their industry, company, and expertise. Common back-end responsibilities include:

  • Building and maintaining server-side environments
  • Writing, testing, and maintaining code
  • Testing for efficiency and speed
  • Debugging code to optimize performance

Trends in Employer Demand for Back-End Skills

While back-end developers are in high demand, employer demand for specific languages, frameworks, and tools shifts with market trends and technological innovation. The following data shows which technologies are trending among hiring teams and employers. We based these findings on the changes in the number of technical skill assessments completed for job applications in 2021 on HackerRank.

  • Despite being decades old, C# and C saw the largest shift in demand, at 150.61% and 116.83%, respectively. 
  • Unsurprisingly, the need for cloud skills is also high, with Google Cloud Platform leading at 109.71%. 
  • At 126.12%, Django was the fastest growing back-end framework.
  • Languages popular with both employers and developers rounded out the list. These included Python (44.43%), R (35.11%), and Go (16.84%).

It’s worth noting that employer demand for skills might not align with the languages and technologies developers learn independently. In the next section, we’ll cover what technologies are trending in the developer community during 2022 and into 2023.

Trending Back-End Tools and Technologies

​​Back-end developers are constantly finding new ways to improve their codebases while raising the standard for quality or security. Here are a few of the trending tools and technologies back-end developers are using to create innovative online experiences for users.

Backend as a Service

Backend as a Service (BaaS) is a cloud-based model where technical teams outsource back-end services of a website or application to an external service provider. These services can include hosting, cloud storage, database management, push notifications, and authentication. In this model, developers manage these back-end services using APIs and SDKs. Using BaaS, in-house developers are able to focus on writing code to maintain the front-end while building out features and services faster. A few BaaS providers include Microsoft Azure, AWS Amplify, Firebase, and Heroku.

Django

Django is a Python-based framework used for fast and efficient application development. With this framework, developers can build complex, feature-rich web apps that can handle a larger number of users. And they can do it without building a backend, APIs, javascript, and sitemaps. Like many frameworks, it’s rich with common web development modules, with options for user authentication. Django also prides itself on helping developers avoid many common security mistakes. This framework is used by some of the most popular sites in the world, including Instagram, Mozilla Firefox, and Pinterest.

Elixir

Elixir is a programming language for building and maintaining applications using simple syntax. Created in 2011, Elixir is one of the most loved languages by developers according to Stack Overflow’s 2021 Developer Survey. Its popularity can be attributed to being fault-tolerant and easy to use, with concurrency in mind to scale your application. Popular companies in a wide range of industries use Elixir, including PepsiCo, Discord, and Mozilla.

Go

Go, often referred to as Golang, is an object-oriented programming language invented by Google in 2009. Go is now a general purpose language used in a wide range of applications. Despite the language being over a decade old, interest in Go continues to grow. From 2018 to 2020, Go was the number one language developers wanted to learn. Companies such as Uber, Twitch, Dropbox — and yes, Google — use Go in their tech stacks.

GraphQL

GraphQL is an open source data query and manipulation language developed by Meta (then Facebook) in 2012. Neither a front-end or back-end language, GraphQL can be thought of as a language between the two environments that facilitates the exchange of information. Despite being over a decade old, global interest in GraphQL has been trending for the last three years. While GraphQL is widely used by front-end developers, GraphQL is also a powerful language back-end developers can use to stitch together functionality and deliver more intuitive APIs.

Headless CMS

A Headless Content Management System (CMS) provides developers with the foundational back-end structure for content. A headless CMS separates the content repository (the body) from the presentation layer (the head). This design gives developers the flexibility to manage content in one place and deliver it to any front-end environment or tool. And because the back-end and front-end of the website or application are separated, it’s easier to defend against and mitigate targeted attacks. A headless CMS also makes it easier for developers to update their tech stack. Top headless CMS providers include Strapi, Sanity, Netlify CMS, and even WordPress.

Node.js

Node.js a JavaScript runtime environment for building fast and scalable server-side and networking applications. Built on the JavaScript V8 Engine of Google Chrome, it is highly scalable, capable of efficiently handling high volumes of simultaneous connections. Node.js is used by popular companies such as Netflix, Paypal, NASA, and Walmart.

Nest.js

Nest.js is an open source Node.js framework for building server-side applications. This framework uses TypeScript and supports several databases, including MongoDB and Redis. Surpassing one million downloads in 2021, Nest.js has increased in popularity over the years due to how easy it is to test, scale, and maintain. Popular sites using Nest.js include Autodesk, Roche, Shipt, and SitePen.

Phoenix

Phoenix is an Elixir-based web framework for building low-latency, fault-tolerant, distributed systems. Developers use Phoenix to build “rich, interactive web applications quickly, with less code and fewer moving parts.” Using its built-in LiveView component, developers can view the product of their code in real-time, making the development process easier to review and troubleshoot. With over 120,000 downloads weekly, Phoenix has been increasing in popularity in recent years 

Serverless Computing

A serverless applications model allows back-end developers to run applications on cloud-based servers. Since the application is cloud-native, developers don’t have to worry server availability, infrastructure management, or idle capacity. Serverless computing providers include AWS Lambda, Microsoft Azure Functions, and Google Cloud Functions.

Static Site Generators

Static site generators simplify content delivery by creating static HTML websites based on raw data received from a template. For back-end developers, a key benefit is that the website doesn’t need a database or server-side processes to run, resulting in a faster web experience. Aside from speed, websites built with static site generators are highly customizable. Developers use a a number of static site generators, including Hugo, Pelican, Eleventy, and Gatsby.

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