Web development is a lucrative and fast-growing field right now. People considering entering this line of work are likely trying to decide between becoming a Front End, Back End, or Full Stack Developer. We’ve previously explained the career outcomes for the front end and back end…. but what is a Full Stack Web Developer? And better yet, how can you become one? We’ll explore all of this and more today.
Here’s what we’ll discuss:
- What is a full stack developer?
- What skills do I need to become a Full Stack Developer?
- Are Full Stack Developers in demand?
- How can I become a developer?
What is a Full Stack Developer?
A Full Stack Developer is a web developer who works in both front end and back end development. This means they can complete all of the tasks involved in web development and can oversee projects from start to finish.
For the uninitiated, front end development is a style of computer programming that focuses on what the user can see. This side of a website is called the “client side” or “front end.” Front End Developers bring visual elements to life on a website and make them functional.
Meanwhile, Back End Developers work on the “back end” or “server side” of a website. This is the side of a website that users can’t see or interact with directly. You’d find databases stored here. This style of development also ensures a website continues to run smoothly. Back End Developers will eliminate bugs as they arise.
Being a Full Stack Web Developer makes you more competitive in the job market because you have both front and back end skills.
But, it’s important to note that just because a Full Stack Developer has the skills to work on all aspects of a website, it doesn’t mean they’ll be required to code an entire website or application themselves. While freelance developers sometimes code entire websites, a salaried web developer is often part of a team with other developers and web designers working together to design, code, and launch a website or application.
What’s the difference between Full Stack Developers and Full Stack Engineers?
Chances are if you’re been lurking Indeed or daydreaming about how you’ll become a Full Stack Developer, you’ve run into these two job titles. There are some slight differences between them to be aware of.
Full Stack Engineers have the same skill set as Full Stack Developers, but they also have project management experience, especially in the area of systems administration. This means they can do things like manage, configure, and maintain computer systems and networks.
Earning project management skills can make you even more competitive in the job market, but it’s not required if your goal is to strictly become a developer.
What skills do I need to become a Full Stack Developer?
To become a successful Web Developer, you’ll need both soft and technical skills. You’ll also need to be familiar with different coding languages and stay up-to-date on new languages and technologies. If you’ve got your heart set on this career path, brush up on the following skills:
- HTML: HTML is the bread and butter of front end development. It’s essentially a markup language that helps add structure to website content.
- CSS: In web development, CSS is used to style web elements like fonts and colors.
- Back end programming languages (Ruby, PHP, Python): Full stack development requires knowledge of back end languages like Ruby, PHP, and Python to name a few. PHP is a scripting language that’s seen as foundational to back end development.
- Web architecture: To demonstrate competent knowledge of web architecture, a Full Stack Web Developer should know how to best structure code and data. They should also know where computational tasks need to be performed and how to separate files.
- Git: For those working on teams, Git is an essential part of the workflow as it tracks codebase changes.
- HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) and REST (Representational State Transfer): HTTP creates a line of communication between servers and users. REST defines a set of constraints and standards to be used for creating web services.
- Databases and web storage: Full Stack Web Developers should know how to connect a database with their programming language and how to manage data storage using a database.
- Communication skills: Being a strong communicator will help you work well with others on your development team and better understand a client’s vision.
- Problem-solving: To become a Full Stack Developer, you’ll need to hone your problem-solving capabilities. Developers are responsible for fixing bugs and dealing with site crashes efficiently and effectively.
- Patience: Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was any website. A good developer knows how to keep their cool throughout the (long) development process.
- Attention to detail: Web development is a complex activity, and you’ll need to pay attention to small details to avoid bugs and errors.
- Creativity: Front end development requires a certain level of creativity. While you aren’t creating the designs, you’ll be the one bringing them to life so you’ll want to understand what looks aesthetically pleasing for the user.
Are Full Stack Developer jobs in demand?
They sure are! Currently, there are more than 14,000 open Full Stack Developer positions posted on Indeed in the United States.
You may be tempted to think these jobs are going extinct due to the popularization of platforms like WordPress or Squarespace, but this is simply a misconception. While these platforms certainly make it easier for individuals to easily create static websites (an online portfolio, for example), they require web developers to code complex, interactive websites. Additionally, many developers use WordPress to host the websites they build. Suffice it to say, Full Stack Developer jobs will likely be around for a long time.
What salary do Full Stack Developers earn?
Full Stack Developers earn an average of $102,744 in the United States, according to ZipRecruiter. When discussing salary though, it’s always important to clarify that this number is dependent upon a developer’s experience level and location. To get an idea of how much you might earn as a developer in your geographic area, we recommend Dice’s salary calculator.
How can I become a developer?
There are a few different routes you can take to become a developer. Many developers go through a traditional bachelor’s degree program in computer science. Others are self-taught. And now, many developers get certifications in coding bootcamps or upskilling programs.
These options can all lead to great career outcomes, but it’s important to consider which educational method will be most beneficial to you. We encourage you to weigh all of the options with your unique circumstances in mind.
Kenzie Academy offers a Software Engineering program built for career-changers and those who want to prepare for the future of work. Our program can get you certified to become a Full Stack Developer in just 9 months. You’ll learn critical front end and back end skills as well as a bevy of soft skills empowering you to graduate fully prepared for all aspects of working in tech.
Cohorts begin in January, April, July, and October so you have plenty of chances to kickstart your new career. Here’s a sneak peek into the development skills and programming languages you’ll learn in the program:
- Breaking apart interesting problems and designing engaging solutions.
- Designing, creating, and modifying static web pages that conform to HTML5 specifications.
- Analyzing the client-side performance of a web page to better understand the consumer experience.
- Pairing those skills with back-end technologies like databases and Node.js, as well as developer tools like Bash, Git, and automated tests.
- Understanding how to effectively work and collaborate on a software project, and how to interview confidently.
- Creating web applications with Express that interact with SQL and MongoDB databases.
- Becoming adept at interacting with behind-the-scenes technologies, like databases and servers, and at solving more complex sets of problems.
- Identifying and fixing performance bottlenecks in a web application. Proposing a viable fix to a specific bottleneck in a provided sample application.
- Learning to make applications faster, more secure, more stable, and more capable.
- Develop an engineering mindset toward problem-solving and receive support in your job search.
Do some more reading on the subject of web development by checking out these blogs:
- Everything You Need to Know About A Career in Web Development
- Web Designer vs. Web Developer: What’s the Difference?
- 15 Skills You Need to Become a Front-End Developer in 2020
- Front End vs Back End: What’s the Difference?