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The Most Comprehensive Guide On How To Get A Remote Back End Developer Job in 2023

Updated: Jun 12

Back-end developers are at the heart of any tech company. They do a ton of heavy lifting that most users will never see or know. So, it’s natural that backend engineers are one of the highest-paid and in-demand engineers currently.

Here on Simple Job Listings, we’ve seen companies paying as much as $250K for back-end engineers with as little as 5 years' experience. However, landing such jobs, as you might imagine, isn’t exactly easy. Experience isn’t the only factor. You’re going to have to need more.

So, what is it that you need? How do you get a remote back-end developer job that pays really well?

This is a document that’s been prepared after talking to several companies who are hiring back-end engineers at the moment. We asked them for the skills that they were looking for. Think of it as a real-world guide to getting high-paying back-end developer jobs.

So, let's get started.

How to get a remote back-end developer job?

Proficiency in Backend Programming Languages

This is a basic requirement. While it’s pretty hard to know every backend language that exists, you have to truly know the most important ones.

Proficiency in multiple backend programming languages is essential for creating efficient, scalable, and maintainable server-side applications.

For example, Python's versatility and extensive libraries have made it a popular choice among tech giants and startups.

Java, with its platform independence and robustness, remains a staple in the enterprise world. Experienced developers are expected to have in-depth knowledge of the Java ecosystem, including frameworks like Spring Boot and Hibernate.

Node.js, which allows developers to use JavaScript for both front-end and back-end development, has been rapidly gaining traction, promoting code reusability and consistency.

A lot of smaller companies and startups that we spoke to told us that Node.js is at the heart of their tech stack. So, if you’re looking for a JS-based job, mastery of the Node.js runtime, its core modules, and popular frameworks like Express is highly valued.

Organizations continue to rely on PHP for web development due to its ease of deployment and compatibility with content management systems. PHP developers are expected to be proficient in modern PHP frameworks like Laravel and Symfony.

Another thing that we learned was that emerging languages like Rust, Go, and Kotlin are also gaining attention from organizations for their unique advantages in performance, safety, and conciseness.

Staying informed about the latest developments in these languages, including new features, performance optimizations, and security enhancements, is crucial. You may not know these languages in-depth, but keep an eye on them and learn what’s happening in the space.

Companies value developers who actively participate in the programming community, contribute to open-source projects, and demonstrate a continuous learning mindset

Understanding of Data Storage and Management Solutions

Data storage image

The takeaway here is that experienced back-end developers must have a comprehensive understanding of various data storage and management solutions, such as SQL and NoSQL databases.

Familiarity with database systems like PostgreSQL, MySQL, MongoDB, and Redis is crucial for efficient back-end development. Each database system offers distinct features and benefits, and understanding their differences helps developers make informed decisions when choosing the right solution for a specific project.

For SQL databases, developers need a solid grasp of relational database concepts, data modeling, and query optimization. This includes writing complex SQL queries, designing and normalizing database schemas, and understanding transactions and indexing strategies.

Proficiency in using Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) libraries, such as Hibernate for Java or Sequelize for Node.js, is also valuable for streamlining database operations.

In contrast, NoSQL databases offer more flexibility and scalability, making them suitable for handling large volumes of unstructured or semi-structured data.

Developers should be familiar with different NoSQL database types, such as document, column-family, key-value, and graph databases. Each type serves specific use cases, and understanding their nuances enables developers to select the best fit for their projects. We’re expecting a lot of traction here.

Additionally, knowledge of caching mechanisms like Redis or Memcached is essential for optimizing application performance and reducing database load. Experienced developers should be well-versed in caching strategies, cache eviction policies, and distributed caching to ensure high availability and fault tolerance in their applications.

Proficiency in Implementing and Consuming APIs

Image for using APIs

That APIs are crucial in today's interconnected world isn’t news. But you might be surprised by how important it has become to companies.

With that in mind, back-end developers must be proficient in implementing and consuming APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to ensure seamless communication between different software components, services, and applications.

APIs enable the exchange of data and functionality, making it easier to create scalable, modular, and maintainable systems.

REST (Representational State Transfer) is another biggie. REST is a widely-adopted architectural style for building networked applications. Experienced developers should have a thorough understanding of RESTful API design principles, such as the proper use of HTTP methods, status codes, and response formats like JSON or XML.

This knowledge is vital for creating well-structured, efficient, and maintainable APIs that can be easily consumed by other developers or applications.

Let me emphasize this again: If you want a back end developer job, knowing RESTful API design principles is indispensable. Companies have repeatedly said that this is absolutely crucial

So, if you're wondering how to get a back-end developer job, don't ignore RESTful APIs.

In addition to REST, GraphQL has emerged as a powerful alternative for API design, offering greater flexibility and efficiency in data retrieval. Back-end developers should be familiar with GraphQL's type system, query language, and resolvers to create efficient APIs that cater to the specific needs of the client, reducing over-fetching and under-fetching of data.

Furthermore, developers should be adept at using API documentation tools like Swagger or Postman to create clear, concise, and accurate documentation that facilitates easy integration and collaboration with other developers or teams. Good documentation is essential for the long-term maintainability and scalability of APIs.

Finally, understanding authentication and authorization mechanisms, such as OAuth, JWT (JSON Web Tokens), and API keys, is crucial for securing APIs and protecting sensitive data. Developers need to know how to implement these mechanisms to ensure that only authorized clients and users have access to the necessary resources and actions.

When consuming third-party APIs, back-end developers must be able to understand and work with different authentication methods, rate-limiting policies, and API response structures. Familiarity with various API clients, such as Postman, Insomnia, or CURL, helps developers efficiently test, debug, and integrate external APIs into their applications.

In addition to working with external APIs, developers should be skilled in using SDKs (Software Development Kits) provided by popular platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure. These SDKs streamline the integration of platform-specific services, such as storage, databases, or machine learning APIs, into custom applications.

As software becomes increasingly interconnected, the ability to create and integrate APIs that are efficient, secure, and well-documented will be crucial for building scalable and maintainable systems.

Expertise in Microservices Architecture and Containerization

As applications grow in complexity, adopting a microservices architecture has become increasingly popular among organizations looking to build scalable, maintainable, and resilient systems.

In a microservices architecture, an application is broken down into a collection of small, loosely-coupled services, each responsible for a specific functionality.

Back-end developers must understand the principles and best practices of microservices design to create efficient, fault-tolerant, and easy-to-maintain systems. Given that the cost of scaling up has gone down in recent years, startups are increasingly adopting microservices.

To get these remote back-end developer jobs, you should be familiar with patterns such as service discovery, API gateways, and circuit breakers, which help in managing communication, routing, and failure handling between services.

Additionally, understanding distributed data management techniques, such as event sourcing and CQRS (Command Query Responsibility Segregation), is essential for ensuring data consistency and performance in a microservices environment.

Containerization, often associated with Docker, plays a crucial role in implementing microservices. Containers package code, dependencies, and configurations into a single, lightweight, and portable unit, making it easier to deploy, scale, and manage services independently.

Experienced developers who are proficient in creating Dockerfiles, managing container images, and working with container registries, such as Docker Hub or Google Container Registry, stand to get amazing roles.

Orchestration tools like Kubernetes or Docker Swarm are vital for managing containerized applications at scale. Developers should have a solid understanding of concepts like container networking, scaling, and rolling updates to ensure seamless deployment and operation of microservices.

Familiarity with service meshes, such as Istio or Linkerd, is also beneficial for enhancing observability, security, and traffic management in microservices deployments. Knowing these is considered a bonus by many companies.

By mastering microservices architecture and containerization, you can immediately stand out from the crowd. This expertise is highly valued in today's job market, as organizations increasingly shift from monolithic architectures to a more modular and distributed approach.


Learn about the trade-offs and challenges that come with microservices, such as increased operational complexity and potential latency issues. Balancing the benefits and drawbacks, experienced developers can make informed decisions on when to adopt microservices and when a monolithic or hybrid approach might be more appropriate for a given project. Companies seem to love asking about this to experienced developers.

Furthermore, having expertise in continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines is essential for streamlining the development, testing, and deployment of microservices.

Familiarity with CI/CD tools like Jenkins, GitLab CI, or GitHub Actions allows developers to automate the build, test, and deployment processes, reducing manual intervention and ensuring a consistent and reliable release cycle.

In summary, back-end developers with expertise in microservices architecture and containerization are well-equipped to design, build, and manage complex, distributed systems that can scale and evolve with the needs of modern applications.

This skill set is highly sought-after by companies looking to stay competitive and agile in the ever-changing technology landscape.

Deep Understanding of Security Best Practices

Understanding security

While security has always been important to companies, there’s now a lot of public pressure to keep data safe. This was something that companies didn’t have to deal with just a few years ago. People are now very watchful of how their data is treated. Naturally, companies have started to place more emphasis on it, irrespective of what role they’re hiring for.

To that end, experienced back-end developers must have a deep understanding of security best practices to protect sensitive data, maintain user privacy, and prevent malicious attacks.

Developers should be well-versed in common web application vulnerabilities, such as those listed in the OWASP Top Ten, and know how to prevent or mitigate these risks in their code and infrastructure.

One key aspect of web application security is input validation and sanitization. Developers must ensure that user-supplied data is properly validated, sanitized, and encoded to prevent attacks such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and remote code execution.

Additionally, developers should be familiar with secure coding techniques like parameterized queries, output escaping, and the use of security-focused libraries to reduce vulnerabilities in their code.

Authentication and authorization mechanisms play a vital role in securing access to application resources. Developers should understand the intricacies of different authentication methods, such as session-based, token-based, or multi-factor authentication, and apply them according to the specific requirements of their applications.

Furthermore, implementing role-based access control and the principle of least privilege ensures that users have the appropriate level of access to resources and actions.

Data protection is another essential aspect of application security. Developers must be proficient in encryption algorithms, key management, and secure storage techniques to protect sensitive information both in transit and at rest. This includes using HTTPS, secure cookies, and encryption libraries to safeguard user data and communications.

Intrusion detection and prevention are also crucial for identifying and responding to security threats. Back-end developers should be skilled in implementing logging, monitoring, and alerting solutions that provide visibility into the application's security posture.

Familiarity with tools like ELK Stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana) or Splunk can help developers analyze logs, detect anomalies, and respond to potential security incidents promptly.

Additionally, understanding secure infrastructure design and deployment is essential for experienced developers. This encompasses network security concepts like firewalls, VPNs, and segmentation, as well as cloud-specific security best practices and configurations for platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure.

Another important aspect of application security is keeping dependencies and third-party libraries up-to-date. Regularly updating these components and patching known vulnerabilities reduces the attack surface of the application. Developers should have processes in place to monitor and manage dependencies, such as using tools like Dependabot or Snyk.

Finally, fostering a security-focused mindset and culture is crucial for building and maintaining secure applications. This involves staying informed about the latest security trends and threats, participating in security training, and adopting a proactive approach to security throughout the development lifecycle.

Back-end developers with a deep understanding of security best practices are invaluable assets to organizations, helping to protect their applications, users, and data from ever-evolving threats.

Proficiency in Performance Optimization Techniques

A lot of companies already have products out in the market. Any experienced dev will tell you that developers spend a lot of time optimizing the performance of existing products. If you can ace performance optimization, you’ll have companies lining up for you.

A key aspect of performance optimization is understanding how to profile and monitor applications effectively. You should be familiar with profiling tools and performance monitoring solutions, such as New Relic, Datadog, or Prometheus, to gather insights into the application's resource usage, response times, and potential bottlenecks.

Database performance plays a significant role in overall application performance. Developers should be adept at optimizing database queries, indexing strategies, and connection management to minimize query execution times and reduce the load on the database server.

Understanding how to use caching mechanisms like Redis or Memcached can also greatly improve application performance by reducing repetitive and expensive database operations.

Another essential factor in performance optimization is efficient resource management. Experienced developers should be knowledgeable about best practices for memory management, garbage collection, and thread handling in their chosen programming language and runtime environment.

This includes understanding how to identify and fix memory leaks, optimize garbage collection settings, and manage thread pools for optimal concurrency.

Developers should also be proficient in load balancing and horizontal scaling techniques, which help distribute incoming traffic evenly across multiple application instances or servers. This ensures high availability and fault tolerance while accommodating increased user load. Familiarity with load balancers like HAProxy or NGINX, as well as container orchestration tools like Kubernetes, is essential for implementing effective load balancing and scaling strategies.

Furthermore, understanding the performance implications of various architectural patterns and technologies can help developers make informed decisions during the design and development process.

This includes considering trade-offs between performance, maintainability, and scalability when choosing an architectural style, such as monolithic versus microservices, or selecting specific technologies, such as databases or messaging systems.

Staying up-to-date with the latest performance optimization techniques, tools, and best practices is also essential for experienced developers. This involves following industry publications, blogs, and forums, participating in relevant conferences or meetups, and engaging in continuous learning and experimentation to hone their skills and knowledge.

By prioritizing performance optimization and continually refining their techniques, experienced back-end developers can ensure that their applications deliver fast, reliable, and enjoyable experiences to users, making them valuable assets to any development team or organization.

Mastery of Distributed Systems and Scalability

Distributed systems image

Being able to handle distributed systems and having the ability to understand, support, and deal with scalability is one of the most sought-after skills. Pretty much every company that we spoke to mentioned this.

It, therefore, stands to reason, that understanding the fundamental principles of distributed systems, such as consistency, availability, partition tolerance (CAP theorem), and eventual consistency is just non-negotiable. You have to know this.

You should also be familiar with various distributed data storage and processing technologies, such as NoSQL databases (e.g., Cassandra, MongoDB), distributed file systems (e.g., Hadoop HDFS), and stream processing platforms (e.g., Apache Kafka, Apache Flink).

Each technology has its trade-offs and use cases, and skilled developers must be able to select the most appropriate solution based on the application's specific requirements.

Load balancing and auto-scaling are essential techniques for managing increased user traffic and resource utilization. Developers should understand how to configure and deploy load balancers, such as HAProxy or NGINX, as well as implement auto-scaling strategies using container orchestration tools like Kubernetes or cloud-native services like AWS Auto Scaling.

Handling failures gracefully and ensuring fault tolerance are crucial aspects of building reliable distributed systems. Developers must be proficient in implementing strategies such as retries, exponential backoff, and circuit breakers to handle communication failures and avoid cascading failures across the system.

Additionally, they should be familiar with replication and sharding techniques for improving data durability and availability.

Another key consideration for distributed systems is data consistency and synchronization. Developers should understand the implications of eventual consistency, strong consistency, and various consistency models, such as read-your-writes or causal consistency.

Implementing mechanisms like vector clocks, CRDTs (Conflict-Free Replicated Data Types), and distributed transactions can help manage data consistency across a distributed system.

Monitoring and observability are essential for maintaining and troubleshooting distributed systems. Developers should be adept at using monitoring tools such as Prometheus, Grafana, or Datadog to collect and analyze system metrics, logs, and traces.

This enables them to identify performance bottlenecks, detect anomalies, and diagnose issues within the distributed system.

Optimizing network communication and minimizing latency are also critical for distributed systems. Developers should be knowledgeable about network protocols, such as HTTP/2, gRPC, or WebSockets, and understand how to leverage their features for efficient communication between distributed components.

Understanding of Cloud Computing and Cloud-Native Technologies

In today's technology landscape, cloud computing plays a significant role in application development, deployment, and scaling. Back end devs who can ace cloud technologies will rake in a ton of money.

You should have a solid understanding of cloud computing platforms, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP), as well as cloud-native technologies and best practices.

Developers should be familiar with various cloud-based services for compute, storage, and networking, enabling them to architect and deploy applications in a scalable and cost-effective manner.

Knowledge of containerization technologies, like Docker, and container orchestration tools, such as Kubernetes, is essential for managing and scaling applications in a cloud-native environment.

Back-end developers should also understand the principles of Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and be proficient in using IaC tools, like Terraform or AWS CloudFormation, to automate the provisioning and management of infrastructure resources. This helps to streamline deployment processes, ensure infrastructure consistency, and reduce human error.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) are critical components of a modern cloud-native development workflow. Developers should be familiar with CI/CD tools and platforms, such as Jenkins, GitLab CI, or GitHub Actions, to automate the build, test, and deployment processes for their applications, ensuring rapid delivery of new features and bug fixes.

Monitoring and observability are crucial for maintaining and troubleshooting applications running in a cloud environment.

Developers should be adept at using cloud-native monitoring solutions, such as AWS CloudWatch, Azure Monitor, or Google Stackdriver, to collect and analyze application metrics, logs, and traces. This enables them to identify performance bottlenecks, detect anomalies, and diagnose issues within their applications and infrastructure.

Security is paramount when working with cloud-based applications and infrastructure. Developers must be knowledgeable about various cloud security best practices and tools, such as identity and access management (IAM), encryption, and network security, to protect their applications and data from potential threats.

Understanding the nuances of cloud cost optimization is also important for experienced back-end developers. They should be able to identify opportunities for cost savings, such as leveraging reserved instances, spot instances, or autoscaling, to ensure that their applications run cost-effectively without sacrificing performance or reliability.

Another key aspect of cloud computing is the ability to design and implement applications that can take advantage of cloud-native services and managed offerings, such as managed databases, messaging systems, or serverless functions (e.g., AWS Lambda, Azure Functions). Leveraging these services can help developers offload operational overhead and focus on building core application functionality.

In summary, back-end devs should possess a strong understanding of cloud computing and cloud-native technologies, enabling them to architect, deploy, and manage applications efficiently in a modern cloud environment.

Proficiency in System Design and Architecture

For experienced back-end developers, proficiency in system design and architecture is crucial. This skill set allows them to create maintainable, scalable, and efficient systems that meet the ever-evolving requirements of modern applications.

Developers should be familiar with various architectural patterns, such as microservices, monolithic, or event-driven architectures.

Each pattern has its advantages and trade-offs, and developers must be able to select the most appropriate architecture based on the specific needs and constraints of their applications.

A strong understanding of design principles, such as SOLID (Single Responsibility, Open/Closed, Liskov Substitution, Interface Segregation, and Dependency Inversion), is essential for creating modular, flexible, and maintainable code.

Developers should also be skilled in applying design patterns, such as the Factory, Singleton, or Observer patterns, to address common software design problems.

Efficient data modeling and database design are crucial components of system design and architecture. Developers must be proficient in designing relational and non-relational database schemas that can support the application's data access patterns and requirements while ensuring data consistency, integrity, and performance.

Caching strategies and techniques, such as in-memory caching, distributed caching, or content delivery networks (CDNs), are essential for optimizing application performance and reducing the load on backend systems.

Developers should be knowledgeable about when and how to implement caching in their applications, taking into account factors like cache invalidation, consistency, and storage constraints.

Developers should also be adept at designing and implementing robust and efficient APIs, which serve as the communication layer between different components of a system or between multiple applications.

This includes understanding best practices for API design, such as versioning, pagination, and error handling, as well as ensuring API security through authentication and authorization mechanisms.

Performance optimization is a critical aspect of system design and architecture. Experienced back-end developers should be able to identify and address performance bottlenecks in their applications, whether it's optimizing database queries, improving network communication, or implementing parallel and asynchronous processing techniques.

Resilience and fault tolerance are essential characteristics of any robust system. Developers must be skilled in designing applications that can gracefully handle failures, utilizing strategies like retries, circuit breakers, and redundancy to minimize the impact of system failures on end users.

Monitoring and observability play crucial roles in maintaining and troubleshooting complex systems. Developers should be adept at using monitoring and logging tools to collect and analyze system metrics, logs, and traces, enabling them to identify issues and optimize their applications proactively.

Finally, developers should be proficient in the principles of DevOps, which emphasizes collaboration, automation, and continuous improvement in the software development lifecycle. This includes understanding concepts like continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD), as well as utilizing tools and processes that streamline development, testing, and deployment.


While it’s true that there are a ton of opportunities for back-end developers at the moment, it’s important to make sure that your skills are aligned with what the companies are looking for.

If you’re a backend developer looking for a remote role, check Simple Job Listings. It’s a list of jobs that I personally curate. All jobs are remote and most pay very well.

And the best thing?

About 60% of the jobs that you’ll see on Simple Job Listings won’t be listed anywhere else!

Finally, I hope this document helps you land your dream job. Good Luck!

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