Dor Atias is a Server Side Team Leader at BlazeMeter. He has 6 years of experience in backend developing, and also has vast knowledge in DevOps, Python, cloud environments and frontend development.

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Dec 19 2016

5 Reasons Why Backend Developers are Like Goalkeepers

While I have been a programmer since I was 15 years old, soccer was always one of the largest loves of my life. Nowadays, I code every weekday, and play soccer every Sunday. Until recently, I thought these two passions of my life had nothing in common.


But during one of my latest games, I observed our goalkeeper, who is a good friend of mine. I suddenly realised that being a backend developer is very similar to being a goalkeeper. No, I don’t mean his or her black and white shirt, but rather the moves, the place on the field and the relationship with the team.


Here are 5 reasons why being a backend developer is like being a goalkeeper:


1. Full Field View


In soccer, the goalkeeper is the only player who sees and follows exactly what each player is doing, where they are standing and how they are controlling the ball.


Similarly, the backend developer is the only developer who knows exactly where everyone “stands”, because frontend developers and QA engineers use the logic the backend wrote for their work. Product managers also know what everyone is doing, but they are more like team coaches, because they stand outside the field and tell everyone what to do.


This results in goalkeepers and backend developers constantly remarking on how defense plays and how frontend develops. Maybe we need to chill a bit about that (wink wink)!


goalkeeper, backend development


2. Multi-skilled


Goalkeepers catch the ball with their hands or kick them away, but they also need to know how to manipulate the ball and all soccer techniques. Sometimes they even go upfield to play during the 90th minute.


Backend developers also need to know a little of everything - frontend development, DevOps, QA, and of course, creating APIs. Therefore, if time is short, backend can also help in other fields.


goalkeeper, backend development


3. Invisible Work


Goalkeepers can play for 90 minutes without any mistakes, but their play is sometimes taken for granted since the crowd gets excited by passes, kicks between the field players. And scoring goals. On the other hand, if a goalkeeper makes a mistake, the whole blame is placed on him or her.


Backend can also work phenomenally and make a rocket go up to space when clicking on a button in the GUI. But they are less appreciated for their work since success is measured by what the screen looks like. No one gets excited by APIs. However, if something doesn’t work, the attention is directed at them.


goalkeeper, backend development


4. Un-substitutional


Goalkeepers aren’t substituted unless they are injured, while field players are switched around. Same goes for backend developers - we just can’t be substituted. (Joking!)


goalkeeper, backend development


5. Team Players


At the end of the day, goalkeepers and backend developers are part of an awesome team that works together. If they work well, they are successful. If they don’t, they will all fail together.


goalkeeper, backend development


Now let’s get to practice!


What do you think - which players on the field are frontend and QA engineers similar to?

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