Full-stack developers are quickly becoming the most in-demand developers in today’s market. Specialized for agile development and devops, full-stack developers provide a unique jack of all trades perspective to every step in a project’s lifecycle.
However, full-stack developers need in-depth skills in multiple technologies, making it difficult to get started.
Today, we’ll introduce you to full-stack development and outline the next steps for your full-stack web developer journey.
Here’s what we’ll cover today:
Full-stack developers are people who know how to work on a product from both client and server-side. This means they’re familiar with front-end technologies, like JS or front-end frameworks (React, Angular. Vue etc), web development technologies and back-end technologies like mySQL, MongoDB, and Node.js.
Full-stack developers have skills in three areas:
Server-side technologies (ASP, Node.js)
Database technologies (SQL vs. noSQL, MongoDB)
Full-stack developers are like a jack of all trades; they’re likely not as experienced with any particular technology as a dedicated front/back-end developer, but they have invaluable versatility and oversight of the whole process.
The advantages of being a full-stack developer are:
Faster Prototypes: You can develop a product from conception to completion with just your own skillset. Reduces time lost from miscommunication or passing responsibilities.
Valuable: Your uniquely broad skillset allows the company to hire fewer programmers for a given project. This means you’re hard to replace and therefore will be well compensated.
Diverse Work You can shift from working on front-end development teams to back-end teams depending on where help is needed. What you focus on can vary each day and lets you work on a variety of problems.
Easier upskilling: More experience with previous technologies makes it easier for you to pick up newer ones. Your broad understanding of different branches of development allows you to quickly see the advantages of new technologies and how they can fit into your projects.
Unique input: Your collection of skills give you a unique and valuable insight when evaluating the next steps. Employers value this insight and will allow you to have more input in decision-making than the standard developer.
Full-stack developers are at the cutting edge of both front- and back-end technologies, meaning you’re required to do a lot of learning up front and continue learning new technologies as they develop.
More so than other developer positions, your ability to adapt to rapidly changing technologies is essential to being a valuable full-stack developer.
Unfortunately, most companies do devote resources or time to the extensive continued education effort required by full-stack developers. Instead, you will be expected to find your own learning materials and continue your education in your free time.
This cycle of rigorous continued learning can be too much for some developers.
Demand for full-stack developers is rising quickly. What was a niche position only a few years ago is now projected to rise steeply into the coming decade, with a 35% increase since 2015 according to LinkedIn’s 2020 jobs report.
This growth will continue to accelerate at a near exponential pace, with a projected increase from 170,000 jobs in 2020 to 850,000 by 2024 according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.
Countries across the world are realizing the value full-stack developers can bring to their teams and are offering large salaries to get them.
In the United States, the average annual salary for a full-stack developer is $105,000 according to Glassdoor. This is well above other comparable jobs, with front-end and back-end developers only making $75,000 and $72,000 respectively.
Most of these jobs will be either at large tech companies, like Amazon, Facebook, and Google, or in emerging startups that want to leverage an agile development setup.
In short, full-stack developers are well rewarded for the extra studying they have to do to gain such a wide skillset.
Full-stack developers usually specialize in a particular tech stack, a collection of technologies that work well together. Each technology in a stack is chosen to meet a specific need, like React to build user interfaces or Apache to create a web server.
Each stack has at least four components:
There are many different types of tech stack that you can work with based on what tools you know. Most full-stack developers choose to focus on learning the tools in one stack-based on which is used by their target company.
The 3 most used stacks are:
Projects are easier to understand if all parts are written in the same language.
Tools like Node.js are lightweight and built for speed, unlike a lot of other commonly used back-end technologies. This can result in a faster web app.
HTML and CSS: All front-end tools will require HTML and CSS skills in some way. They along with JS will form the foundation for your skills.
Understand databases and query languages Full-stack developers of any kind need to know how data is stored and manipulated. Learn the differences between SQL or noSQL and popular database manipulation tools like mySQL or MongoDB.
Pick a stack: While you can learn multiple stacks, it’s best to start with one and check your way down each tool. This ensures you’re focusing on each equally and continue to conceptualize them as a single unit rather than individual technologies.
By the end, you’ll have the foundational skills you’ll need to start your full-stack web development journey.
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