Back-end only jobs for a newbie?

Hi all. I’ve been having a doubt for a while. I’m currently taking the python course, and I was wondering if it’s possible to learn only back-end related technologies and find a job as a back-end only developer nowadays. I don’t like front-end that much but I have a decent grasp of HTML, CSS and JS so I can present data at least. I find the logic part more interesting than the design part.
Thank you in advance!

I’ve said it before - there is probably no field where it is easier to get a job without a degree, but it does still help. I’ve also been told that getting a backend job as your first job (especially without a degree) can be very difficult. If you screw up the styling on the frontend, or screw up the input value you send to the server, you can do a little damage. But on the backend, you can make a monumental mistake that can do millions of dollars worth of damage, or worse. At least if you have a degree, they have something to point to and claim due diligence.

But people do do it, so it can be done. In this business, having a good portfolio gets attention.

I just think it’s going to make it harder. I just think that you should maybe aim for something that is f/e or fullstack and then try to work that into a b/e job. Plus, focussing on learning fullstack. That would give you be best chances of getting that very, very, very difficult to get first job - you could apply for b/e, f/e, and fullstack jobs. And in this business, with a few years of real work experience, it gets much easier to get the next job.


Yes its very possible, but it isn’t easy. As said above, the back-end is “the last line of defense” and thus everything you do must have a security mindset. Furthermore there are usually a lot more requirements and things to consider when working on the back-end.

This doesn’t mean you can’t learn all of it, but you not only need to learn it, but get good enough at it to prove companies that you are worth investing into to work on their back-ends.

The front-end has a lot of logic in some cases. However logic by itself isn’t very useful, as there are always real world complications. Something simple as keeping code readable so your fellow human can come and understand what your doing later isn’t a logical problem, but is a software development problem. Other stuff like security, speed, performance, etc all come into play beyond just what the logic can do.

You can focus on the logic, if you like programming, then you can end up doing a lot of stuff. However you can’t only do just logic, unless you end up as a Computer Science Mathematician, you must be flexible enough to tackle other things beyond just the pure logic.

There are a lot of things to consider beyond just what something looks like, and how the underlying logic works. If you don’t like design, understand that web development, or software engineering in generally isn’t only made up of those properties. Its true you need something to show off however, as otherwise its difficult to market your skills if everything is just pure code, without any visuals.

You don’t need to be a professional designer to make decent looking UI’s, you can always grab some pre-made off the shelf libraries to help you build your UI without much work. That way you can still focus on the functionality, logic and other aspects of the software.

Just beware of boxing yourself in to opportunities early in the process of learning. You want to stay open and flexible to what your learning, so you can keep as many doors open as possible when job searching. Better than specializing early and cutting yourself out of future opportunities.

Good luck, keep learning, keep building :+1:

1 Like

@JeremyLT is a mathematician who works exclusively on GUI-less applications and I suspect that he’ll tell you that he still has to put a lot of energy into the practical concerns of software development.

I have phrases I use to describe individuals that write professional code without paying attention to the practical concerns of software development… but I can’t use language like that in polite company :laughing:

Soo… Let’s talk jargon a bit.

“Front end” and “back end” are terms that are used almost exclusively when discussing web development. Depending on the size and development style of a team, people who have a strong preference or expertise in areas of the codebase often get to focus most of their attention in those areas. This is especially true if your interests coincide with code that your teammates try to avoid. However, especially with the emergence of Node, the technical distinction between “front end” and “back end” is less relevant. Having an area of interest is one thing, but telling a potential employer “I don’t want to be asked to work on any client-side code” is going to make you look less attractive than someone who is comfortable doing whatever work needs to be done.

It sounds like what you’re interested is work that isn’t web development. There is a ton of programming that isn’t related to web applications and a great deal that doesn’t have a graphical interface at all. These, however, tend toward some of the problems that @kevinSmith was getting at: there is a significantly higher barrier to entry in many of these fields. For various reasons, they tend to require a background that corresponds to an engineering degree. You’re more likely to need to understand things along the lines of higher level math, physics, computer architecture, networking, relational databases, complexity analysis, and compiled languages. These are areas where the material is certainly available to self-teach, but it’s much harder to win the confidence of potential employers without either an accredited degree or proof that you’ve already done this work in the real world. It’s certainly not impossible, but it is a lot of work.

If you really enjoy python and hate UI work, there’s another area that you might be interested in that isn’t web development and less…old-school. You might consider work that is based heavily on scripting and writing non-production code. Lots of companies are trying to increase automation in their Quality Assurance and their DevOps processes. Smaller companies tend to have developers chipping in for testing and and DevOps, but mid-size and larger companies have dedicated experts working on improving these processes.

Computers are involved in just about every aspect of our lives. Some are the size of a fingernail and others take up warehouses. The answer to “Are there jobs that don’t require front end web development?” is absolutely “yes”, but the field is too big to just eliminate one piece of it to find an answer. You need to think about what you want to do in order to plan a path to that goal.


Thank you all for taking the time to help, all your answers helped me a lot.
I really got the point. In fact, my motivation for asking this question was that I already failed once trying to become a developer. That time I started as most do, learning HTML, CSS and basic DOM manipulation, but it didn’t keep me hooked. So this time I started with python, sql and basic nosql, problem solving and algorithms, getting involved in business logic, and really enjoyed it.
On the other hand, I recognize that the barrier of entry for frontend is a bit easier, as there are a lot of resources to learn it and a newbie can do less damage there. Plus the point that I have to be as flexible as possible.
Anyway, there are numerous libraries to make the design work easier such as bootstrap. Thanks to all

This topic was automatically closed 182 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.