What Is a Full Stack Developer?
In software parlance, "front end" refers to the user-facing parts of a website, such as fonts, images and navigation menus, while "back end" consists of behind-the-scenes elements that power the site, such as servers, apps and databases. Full stack developers wield expertise in both front end development and back end development to build complex websites and applications.
Alternate job titles for full stack developers include full stack engineer, full stack web developer, and full stack software developer.
Benefits of Becoming a Full Stack Developer
- Project Ownership: You can feasibly take a project from inception to completion through your own skill set. In certain cases it's beneficial to delegate tasks, but it’s possible to create an application from start to finish without assistance. This 360 degree understanding is a huge advantage for full stack devs.
- Incredible Versatility: Because you have skills in both front end and back end development, you become even more employable. You can pursue a career in full stack or decide to specialize in one or more targeted aspects of software engineering.
- Exciting Career: Full stack coding isn't for everyone, but for those computer science geeks who enjoy diving deep into new disciplines, it can be stimulating to learn and master the ever-changing platforms that go into creating a new software system or application.
Benefits for the Organization: Employing full stack developers is advantageous to the businesses because of these professionals' wide-ranging software expertise. These generalists have a more global view than someone who specializes. In a team environment, full stack engineers have the ability to jump in and help in many capacities which can propel productivity, spur better collaboration, and boost ROI.
Which Skills Do I Need to Become a Full Stack Developer?
To delve deeper into the most sought-after skills for full stack developers, we'll break them into three separate domains: front end, back end, and soft skills.
Front End Skills: Front end development controls the parts of a website that are visible and interactive for users. A lot of elements go into making the front end integrate seamlessly with the back end so the site looks and works properly. Marketable front end skill sets for full stack developers include:
- Basic web page encoding in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
- Style control using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
- User experience (UX) & user interface (UI) design
- Mobile development in languages like Java & Objective-C
- Essential skills in graphic design concepts and platforms
Back End Skills: Back end development is vital and complex because it deals with the actual architecture of the database and design, i.e., the tools and structures that enable the whole thing to work. Some of the more desirable back end-focused skills you need to become as a full stack developer include:
- Popular server-side programming languages like Ruby, PHP, Python, and .Net
- Database skills in leading platforms like SQL, MySQL, Oracle, and XML
- Version Control Systems such as SVN, Git, Apache & AWS CodeSummit
Soft Skills: Full stack developers will benefit from having a certain set of soft skills, a.k.a. communication skills. Desirable soft skills for this role include critical thinking, creative problem solving, team leadership, presentation, and effective verbal & written communication.
How to Become a Full Stack Developer
There are numerous paths to becoming a full stack developer. The most effective training options are online courses in full stack development, college degree programs, and accelerated bootcamps.
Full Stack Developer Online Courses
These targeted, self-paced classes provide the required skills to become a full stack developer. Geared towards beginners, these programs include a certificate of completion you can present to employers. Online full stack developer courses typically take between 4 and 20 months to complete, with a cost ranging from $3,000 to $8,000.
Degree Programs for Full Stack Developers
Accredited colleges and universities offer a variety of degrees that align with full stack developers’ education requirements. Programs in computer science, web development, and software engineering cover the requisite skills to become a full stack developer, along with a well-rounded education that can pay dividends for years to come. Degree programs for full stack developers typically take 2 to 4 years to complete, with a wide range of tuition fees spanning from $12,000 to $60,000.
Full Stack Developer Bootcamps
In the software realm, a bootcamp is an accelerated training program that imparts a laser-focused group of skills needed in a specific job role, such as full stack developer. Bootcamps sometimes combine self-paced learning with instructor-led portions to help students grasp complex concepts more quickly than self-paced alone. Because of their quick pace and varied assumptions of baseline knowledge, bootcamps tend to be a better option for those who already work in a related field. Full stack developer bootcamps typically last between 3 to 5 months, with an average cost of $13,000.
Course Highlights & Certifications
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Full Stack Developer Outlook
The idea of working as a full stack developer has some exciting implications. First of all, the salary expectations and job outlook are quite healthy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for web developers is nearly $74,000 with a projected job growth rate of 13% by 2028, much higher than the 5% national average. The BLS puts software developers at an average salary over $105, 000 with an even higher growth rate of 21%. We look at the labor stats of web and software developers when thinking about a career as a full stack developer, because full stack merges these two disciplines. Also there’s no listing for full stack developers in the BLS. If anything, the job outlook for this role is brighter, as an accomplished full stack dev will qualify for these roles and others.