If I'm interested in exploring a new area in my company, say I want to do back end development and I'm currently an SRE, but I don't have any real experience in backend development, do you have some suggestions on how I can explore this and possibly switch over to being a backend engineer?
Like, if I wanted to take on new tasks in backend, for instance - how would I go about identifying opportunities and/or tasks in that area if I don't have such tasks in my current team?
Great question! Do you have much interaction with backend engineers within the company now? The easiest way is to talk to a backend engineer and shadow them. Ask about their work, take a look at their code, and see if there's something non-urgent and manageable scope that you could take on.
If it's challenging for you to find the time or build a relationship with a backend engineer, an alternate path is to start with value.
Finally, enlist your manager for help. Your manager likely knows more people in the company than you and has broader visibility on what work needs to be done, so they can connect you with relevant people.