What Topics Are Essential for a Back End Engineer?

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What topics are essential for a back-end engineer?

Forget about getting any hands-on, practical experience by yourself in a short amount of time. Large, distributed systems are hard (expensive - either in money, time, resources, or any mix of the previous three) to set up. As a 3rd year CS student, you're unlikely to be involved in designing the back-end infrastructure to allow for replication, redundancy, etc. in order to meet uptime requirements - but you will be expected to code in a way that complies with companies design(s). I'd suggest looking into developing some understanding of what SQL is (with MySQL as a specific example.) You can easily set up a MySql server on a personal computer - or an inexpensive hosting instance. You develop some understanding of MySql queries and data operations with the command line interface. Depending on how comfortable you are with the CLI, you can also use the CLI to develop an understanding of the database's structure - or possibly use one of the many MySQL GUI interfaces available. Developing some experience of dealing with large data sets (i.e.. big data) is going to be much more difficult. I may be wrong, but I think that as a simplification for a 3rd year CS major, "big data" is anything more than can fit into RAM on your personal desktop/laptop. Given the capacities of modern personal computers these days, it's VERY hard to create sample data that's representative of use cases that won't fit into memory one way or another. You might try using US Census data - I believe that there are some large data sets available for download, although you'd have to go to individual census data to get some of the biggest data sets - and those data sets will be from censuses 75+ years ago (due to legal constraints on releasing that data.) Downloading multiple decades of data would allow you to do analysis of (possible) life-changes between different US Census decades - and deal with the inconsistent ways data can be self-reported. The point of this is the exercise of creating tables, indexing the data, normalizing data, performing joins, etc. and some projects based on Census data might be better done using some of the other tools you mention - except for the "learning about SQL/MySQL" part.

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If you would like to get a feel for how much work it is to create large, dynamic, large-relational database systems (including MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and others), I recommend taking a look at “Introduction to SQL” from the “Introduction to Computing” textbook series. You could also find some very accessible online material such as the introductory SQL tutorial by Jim Brown on Pluralsight. You could also look into the many books that can be downloaded and/or watched online (such as “Introduction to Big Data” by Eric Brewer (PDF) or “Introduction to SQL”. Furthermore, you could also look into the resources on the Internet — for example, Microsoft is sponsoring a free course on SQL called “Data Warehouse for Data Scientists” I'll cover some practical uses of large-data computing, in relation to your coursework. A large-volume database (such as MySQL) will allow.