Top 5 courses for back end developers

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March 26, 2021
5 minute read

Back end developers focus on the server side programming of websites and apps. While front end developers are the creators of what viewers see, back-end developers are the creators of how things work.

When you’re ready, you can expand your skills through a few different online courses. Whether you're looking to start a career as a back end developer, increase your developer salary or maximize your freelance rates or simply expand your back end development knowledge, these are the best courses for you.

Become a back end web developer

This LinkedIn Learning path has 11 courses and more than 20 hours of content. In the end, you’ll receive a certificate of completion.


  • Beginner’s courses. You’ll learn the foundational skills of becoming a back end developer, including essential programming languages and database building skills.
  • Free trial. You can access this course and everything else in LinkedIn Learning for 30 days. There’s a price after that — $30 a month or an annual price that works out to $20 a month — which is cheaper than some other continuing education programs.


  • Some programming knowledge preferred. While it’s not required, you should have a working knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript before getting started.
  • Old courses. Some courses date back to as early as 2017. Since programming changes constantly, you might end up learning outdated information. But if you have access to the entire LinkedIn Learning library, you’ll be able to find other relevant courses to catch up.

The Web Developer Bootcamp 2021

Colt Steele’s Udemy course has everything you need for your back end development journey, and then some. You’ll start from scratch on everything from language learning to building fully functional pages, apps, and sites.


  • Great for beginners. If you don’t have any back end experience, this one teaches you some of the most foundational requirements for becoming a web developer.
  • Stellar track record. To date, more than 650,000 students have completed the course. It has a 4.7/5 user rating, which means the hundreds of thousands of students have found a lot of value in this course.
  • Hundreds of resources. Aside from 63 hours of on-demand video, you’ll have access to nearly 200 articles and downloadable resources. Once you’ve bought the course, you’ll have lifetime access to it. This means every time there’s an update, you get to learn it without an extra fee.


  • Can get pricey. Even though Udemy runs deals on courses all the time, that doesn’t mean you’ll always score the right price. Without any specials or deals, you could pay upwards of $170 for this course.
  • Might be more than you need. Since this is a comprehensive guide to web development, you may get more than what you need out of this course. While it’s great for beginners and those looking to expand their skills beyond basic language knowledge, you may not want to invest in so much at the moment.

Learn Java

Codeacademy offers this course without any prerequisite requirements. Basic Java knowledge is paramount to not only learning other parts of back end development, but to securing a job as a back end developer.


  • Take the course for free. There’s 25 hours of course material you can learn without ever buying it.
  • In good company. More than 2.3 million people have taken this course, including employees at IBM, Google, NASA, and Facebook.


  • Certification will cost you. You can buy the Pro version to have access to project creation, quizzes to test your knowledge, and a course certificate. A Pro membership is $20 a month, but that means even if you only buy it for this course, you could realistically finish it in a month. A low cost compared to other, more expensive options.

Google's Python class

Another must-learn knowledge is Python. This one comes from Google. It’s a good idea to have a little experience working in Python or another programming language, but it’s not required.


  • It’s free. You get access to lecture videos, written materials, and coding exercises without paying a dime. It’s a great investment for beginners who don’t necessarily have employers willing to invest in your continuing education.
  • It’s Google. From a company that basically runs the internet, you’ll get first-hand access to building products for the masses. Aside from not paying anything, you’ll learn from the best in the business.
  • Access to more free courses. This course is part of Google Classroom, which creates educational experiences for millions of teachers and students all over the world. It’s a class-focused program; best for those early on in their back end development journey and looking to build a portfolio.


  • Lacks solid user experience. While it’s easy enough to find your way around, the user interface isn’t engaging or enticing. You might have a hard time managing your account or integrating all your tools.

Learn to code for free

General Assembly offers free coding resources in HTML, CSS3, and JavaScript. You’ll learn the basics without paying for it.


  • Best for beginners. GA offers a slew of courses for data marketing, front end development, and python programming, but this option — Dash — is best for future back end developers. If you’ve never had any knowledge of programming languages or features, this is where you should start.
  • From code to creation. You’ll start with learning new languages and eventually test your new skills by creating landing pages and other projects.


Limited extra access. While you might learn to code for free, a lot of GA’s courses and workshops come with a price. Many of their other courses aren’t on-demand, either, which means you’ll need to commit a certain amount of time each week to complete coursework.