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Many .NET Saturday readers told me they are trying to figure out how to become Senior .NET Backend Developers.

This is something I totally understand since I was in the same position a few years ago.

However, I’ve heard firsthand from many junior developers how they can’t make sense of the vast amount of info on the web regarding the skills you need to master to get to that next level.

So today I’ll go over 5 key areas you need to focus on to become a Senior .NET Backend Developer.

Let’s get started.

1. ASP.NET Core - Beyond The Essentials

As a junior developer, you should already know how to build ASP.NET Core applications, especially Web APIs that follow RESTful principles. If you are not there yet, here’s a free course that’ll get you up to speed.

However, to become a Senior .NET Backend Developer, you need to master several other important aspects of the platform like:

  • Middleware: How to write custom middleware and what role it plays in the request pipeline.
  • Versioning: How to version your APIs to avoid breaking changes.
  • Security: How to secure your APIs using JSON Web Tokens (JWT) and OpenID Connect as well as how to use role, claims and policy-based authorization.
  • Error Handling: How to centralize exception handling so that you can log and respond to errors consistently.
  • Structured Logging: How to use structured logging consistently to make it easier to search and analyze logs.
  • Health Checks: How to implement health checks to monitor the health of your application and its dependencies.
  • Caching: How to use in-memory and distributed caching to improve the performance of your application.
  • Documentation: How to use Swagger and OpenAPI to document your APIs.
  • Background Services: How to use hosted services to execute long-running tasks in your application.
  • SignalR: How to use SignalR to enable server-side code to push content to clients instantly.

How to learn those?

I cover several of those in my blog and on my YouTube channel.

2. Design Principles and Design Patterns

Design principles are the foundation of good software design. They help you write code that is easy to understand, maintain and extend. Some of the most important design principles you should know are:

  • SOLID: The five principles of object-oriented programming that help you write maintainable and scalable code.
  • DRY: The Don’t Repeat Yourself principle that helps you avoid duplication in your code.
  • KISS: The Keep It Simple, Stupid principle that helps you write code that is easy to understand and maintain.
  • YAGNI: The You Ain’t Gonna Need It principle that helps you avoid writing code that you don’t need yet.

Design patterns are proven solutions to common problems in software design. They help you write code that is flexible, maintainable and scalable. Some of the most important design patterns you should know are:

  • Singleton: A pattern that ensures a class has only one instance and provides a global point of access to it.
  • Repository: A pattern that separates the logic that retrieves the data from the business logic and presents the data to the application.
  • Retries and Circuit Breaker: Patterns that help you build resilient applications that can handle transient failures.
  • Mediator: A pattern that reduces the dependencies between objects by allowing them to communicate through a mediator object.
  • Publisher/Subscriber: A pattern that allows you to build loosely coupled systems by allowing objects to subscribe to events and receive notifications when those events occur.
  • Saga: A pattern that helps you manage long-running transactions that span multiple services.
  • Competing Consumers: A pattern that helps you build scalable and resilient systems by allowing multiple consumers to process messages from the same queue.
  • Event Sourcing: A pattern that helps you build systems that can store all changes to the application state as a sequence of events.

How to learn those?

Get my free .NET Backend Developer Roadmap which includes pointers to learn all of these design principles and patterns (and a bunch of other stuff).

3. Cloud Computing and Azure

Cloud platforms have become the backbone of modern software infrastructure.

Azure is one of the leading cloud platforms and most organizations that use .NET are also using multiple Azure services.

You don’t need to master all Azure services (there are over 200 of them) but as a Senior .NET Backend Developer you should at least be familiar with the following:

  • Blob Storage: Stores and manages files and other unstructured data.
  • Azure SQL Database: Manages SQL databases in the cloud without having to manage the infrastructure.
  • Key Vault: Safeguards cryptographic keys and other secrets used by cloud apps and services.
  • Container Registry: Stores and manages container images for all types of container deployments.
  • Container Apps: Manages and orchestrates containerized apps without having to manage a Kubernetes infrastructure.
  • Managed Identity: Provides an identity for your application to use when connecting to Azure services.
  • Application Insights: Monitors the performance and usage of your live web application.

How to learn those?

Here’s a YouTube playlist from the .NET team that should help you get started with several of these Azure services.

I also cover some of them on my YouTube channel.

4. DevOps Practices and CI/CD Pipelines

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) practices are key to modern agile development workflows.

Understanding how to automate builds, tests, and deployments is critical for speeding up the development cycle and ensuring high-quality releases.

As a Senior .NET Backend Developer, you should be familiar with at least one of the following:

  • Azure DevOps: A set of modern development services that enable you to plan smarter, collaborate better, and ship faster. The key Azure DevOps service you need to learn is Azure Pipelines.

  • GitHub Actions: A set of features in GitHub that allow you to automate, customize, and execute your software development workflows right in your repository.

How to learn those?

I have a quick tutorial on how to get started with Azure Pipelines here.

Regarding GitHub Actions, check out this YouTube video.

5. Microservices and Containerization

Microservices are business-aligned, loosely coupled services owned by small, focused teams that are built and deployed independently.

Many people love microservices due to how they help you build cloud-ready systems at scale, but just as many people hate them due to the challenges they bring.

But regardless of anyone’s opinion, if you can master building and deploying microservices properly, you are already a Senior .NET Backend Developer.

That’s because learning microservices automatically leads you to learn:

  • Docker containers: A standard unit of software that packages up code and all its dependencies so the application runs quickly and reliably from one computing environment to another.
  • Kubernetes: An open-source container-orchestration system for automating application deployment, scaling, and management.
  • API Gateways: A server that acts as an API front-end, receives API requests, enforces throttling and security policies, passes requests to the back-end service, and then passes the response back to the requester.
  • Service Discovery: A pattern that allows services to find and communicate with each other without hardcoding the network addresses of each other.
  • Resilience Patterns: Patterns that help you build resilient microservices that can handle transient failures.
  • Observability: The ability to understand what’s happening inside your applications and infrastructure so you can make informed decisions.
  • CI/CD: Essential to deploy microservices to production quickly, safely, and in a repeatable way.

And many other concepts that are important for building and deploying distributed systems.

How to learn those?

I have a free course to get started with .NET microservices over here.

Looking for a Shortcut?

The free resources listed above should be good enough to prepare you for a Senior .NET Backend Developer role.

However, if you are short on time and prefer to learn all these topics in a structured way, please check out my Building Microservices With .NET and Building .NET REST APIs in-depth courses.

Senior .NET Backend Developers are in high demand and are very well compensated.

I hope the resources I’ve shared here will help you get there.

Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. ​Building Microservices With .NET:​ The only .NET backend development training program that you need to become a Senior C# Backend Developer.

  2. ASP.NET Core Full Stack Bundle: A carefully crafted package to kickstart your career as an ASP.NET Core Full Stack Developer, step by step.

  3. Promote yourself to 15,000+ subscribers by sponsoring this newsletter.