What Is: Back-End Web Development



Matt Jording is a software developer and an Instructor at General Assembly (with a great mustache).

Name: Matt Jording (@mjording)
Occupation: Software Developer

1. In 140 characters or less, what is back-end web development?

It’s the structure that allows information to be shared across accounts or people. It’s the glue that binds the internet together.

2. If a website were a plant, back-end web development would be ______?

If a website were a plant, back-end web development would be the root system. It’s the component that provides the energy (food and water, in this instance) that powers the plant and enables it to grow.

3. What are some creative roles or ways you’ve seen developers use their back-end web development skills?

There are so many. I’ve seen back-end web developers do business consulting, because they understand how businesses are technically structured. I’ve seen back-end developers reposition their skills and become data scientists.

I’ve also seen back-end web developers apply their skills to everyday tasks. So for example, I wanted to find the best knish in town, and the Menupages site isn’t categorized to allow you to search by food. What if the best knish is actually at a pizza joint? I’d never find that. So I flipped it — I pulled the entire database from Menupages, and reformatted it so I could search by food item instead.

4. What are some of your favorite books, links, resources, for someone interested in getting started in back-end web development?

  • The Pragmatic Bookshelf — Their authors release the books as they’re writing them. (Similar to the process of developing software). Whenever they update a section, they release the update, so you always feel like your content is fresh.
  • Safari Books Online — It’s a monthly subscription service that gives you unlimited access to a massive amount of books. From tech to business to design. It’s overwhelming, in a good way.
  • Rail Casts by Ryan Bates — Really great resource for anyone getting started with rails.
  • Tech meetups (Ruby Roundtable, NYC.rb)— It’s a great way to network and get to know people in the industry.

5. Any advice for an aspiring web developer?

  • Don’t be afraid to fail. That can stop you from trying a lot of things, and that’s what it’s all about – trial and error. The best way to become a developer is to continuously be doing something.
  • Try different approaches to learning. Try books, videos, classes. Everyone’s style is different. As a student, finding the right mix for you is important.

Get started at GA. Learn from top practitioners in our full-time Web Development Immersive program or part-time Back-End Web Development course.

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