8 Back-End Languages (Plus Tips for Learning Them)

Updated March 10, 2023

Person sitting at computer and reviewing code on multiple monitors.

Web development generally comprises front-end and back-end development. Front-end languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript serve the client side and what's on a screen, while back-end development supports the server side or the functionality of the website or app. Learning about back-end languages may help you become a more complete development professional.

In this article, we explain what back-end languages are, list eight back-end languages for web and software developers and share tips for learning them effectively.

What are back-end languages?

Back-end languages are what programmers use to create the internal systems that work in the background of a web application. The back end of a program or application refers to the part of the software that users, or clients, don't see. Back-end programming has features that simplify the process of connecting the server, which gives and receives information and data, with the client, who uses the program on an internet-enabled device.

If you work as a back-end developer or full-stack developer, you may use these architectural programming languages and their corresponding frameworks for projects such as:

  • Websites

  • Interactive online tools

  • Mobile apps

  • Desktop apps

  • Online games

  • Web servers

  • Software prototypes

  • Data collection

  • Networking

  • Database connections

  • Security features

Read more: Front End vs. Back End: Definitions and Differences

8 back-end languages

Consider these eight back-end languages as you start or advance your career as a software developer or web developer:

1. C#

C# is a language that can operate on various types of computers. Programmers use this language with frameworks like .NET to design the internal structure of webpages and connect client interactions with server interactions for a fully functioning program. The versatility and stability of C# and its related frameworks make it a reliable choice for web and software development.

C# is similar to C and C++, which are both useful back-end programming languages, so you may learn C# more easily if you're familiar with the basics of these languages. C# is also beginner-friendly because its error-proof commands alert you about issues before you test your program, simplifying your troubleshooting.

2. Go

Go, also known as Golang, is an open-source development language that's relatively versatile and easy to use. Many developers use this language because of its simplicity and readability, which also makes it an excellent option for growing your development skills.

Developers use Go for a variety of projects, including server-side back-end development. In addition to helping you improve your capabilities as a back-end developer, Go may help you apply your coding knowledge to projects such as game development and data science. Learning this language might also help aspiring developers expand their opportunities when seeking work.

Related: 11 of the Most In-Demand Coding Languages

3. Java

Java is a language for developers who want to create large, dependable web applications that require high-security measures to keep data safe. It's a versatile language you can use with many digital platforms, including mobile devices and computers, to create web, mobile and desktop applications and tools. Java runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which standardizes the machine on which programmers run code, rather than allowing it to run on each programmer's individual machine.

Many programmers use Java for web and software development because of its operating system-agnostic capability. There are multiple online resources to help new programmers learn how to use Java for successful back-end projects. If you like the consistency of the JVM and the flexibility of platforms for which you can use Java, you may consider learning this language.

4. JavaScript

For many back-end and full-stack developers, it's vital to understand JavaScript, a scripting language that works for back- and front-end development. Programmers commonly use JavaScript for web development because of its easy set-up process and the community of JavaScript experts available. Some ways this language is useful for back-end development include its simple scripting syntax and client-side validation features, which allow JavaScript programs to connect with browsers to validate information.

Employers may expect candidates for back-end and full-stack developer roles to know JavaScript in addition to other languages. Learning JavaScript may be useful if you want to apply your knowledge to all aspects of web development and understand front-end and back-end features equally.

Related: 50 Types of Programming Languages and What They Do

5. PHP

PHP is the acronym for hypertext preprocessor. This is a scripting language, which means the code you write in this language goes through an interpreter for a computer to read rather than a compiler, where it would translate into machine-readable code. Developers use PHP for server-side functionality, and it makes deploying, or submitting and confirming, your code easier with deployment tools and capabilities. PHP is useful in various areas of development because you can embed PHP code into HTML, which is a front-end tool for designing web applications and pages.

Another benefit of PHP is that it helps beginners see results with their back-end coding because it often bypasses minor errors that don't affect the final outcome of a program. This can be beneficial when starting with the language, but it also increases the importance of careful editing and testing of code to ensure accurate results.

6. Python

Python is an object-oriented language that focuses on manipulating objects that contain data. This is a straightforward language with a simple syntax that makes it easy to read and debug. With Python, web developers can use the open-source framework Django to create scalable, or easily upgraded or side-graded, software for the web.

Python is a common language for beginner coders because it's accessible and easy to understand, with many published resources available for learners online. Besides Django, you can also choose from a variety of back-end frameworks when coding with Python, which allows you to have more flexibility in your software design while using Python's syntax and built-in tools.

7. Ruby

Ruby is a programming language you can use with Ruby on Rails (RoR), a framework made specifically for Ruby that allows you to create and perform tasks using less code. Frameworks are often great tools for software architects who build the foundation of an application or program using the framework's code libraries, built-in tools and special functions that simplify the coding process.

Ruby is often a good choice for beginners to learn and practice back-end development. Creating tasks and functions easily in RoR also speeds up the process of creating a piece of software, which makes Ruby useful for quickly making prototypes of projects and testing their basic functionality.

8. SQL

SQL, which stands for structured query language, is a programming language that uses queries, or data requests, to receive information from databases. You can use SQL to get valuable server-side information from databases and use that information to perform tasks that allow the client side of an application or program to run properly. This programming language is especially useful for updating internal databases in a company or retrieving data for clients.

Back-end developers often use SQL to perform organizational tasks that help a piece of software run, rather than create the foundation for its features. Many developers use this language to interact with data, such as pulling up a user's account information when requested, so it may be a good choice to learn if you want to understand how data retrieval and changes can affect the back-end functionality of a piece of software.


Tips for learning back-end languages

If you're interested in a career as a back-end developer, review these tips for learning back-end languages:

  • Set your goals. Understanding what your goals are as a developer may help you choose the ideal back-end language for you to learn. By assessing the type of work you hope to do and common languages in that type of back-end development, you can find languages that may be beneficial in your career.

  • Use online tutorials. When learning how to create your own code, free online tutorials may offer you the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals. By following an online program, you can benefit from the experience of its designer while learning how to code in a sequential process.

  • Find developer communities. Online communities and professional associations can supplement your learning as you grow as a developer. Communities and associations may connect you with others in the field who can offer guidance or advice when you encounter a problem.

  • Practice on your own. Development is a field in which you can easily create your own challenges to complete when learning to code. Independently working on developing projects allows you to learn new skills and create practical code.

  • Build a portfolio. When seeking a back-end developer position, a potential employer may request examples of your work. Creating a portfolio with both professional and personal creations allows you to share your most impressive and relevant work with a potential employer to make a positive impression.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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