Full stack developers are among the most highly regarded professionals in web development, but what exactly is a full stack developer? They are web developers who are equipped to work with the front and back ends of a digital entity, which means they are usually skilled in aspects of computer programming, user experience (UX) design, project management, and, in many cases, client communication. Because of this specialized hybridization, there is a greater demand for full stack developers in a variety of professional capacities.
The term “full stack” refers to the entire front and back-end architecture of a website or application. Full stack professionals, as one might expect, can address both sides of the proverbial equation.
Full stack developers combine front end and back-end web development skills, tackling a wide range of tasks in the creation and upkeep of a digital entity (e.g., app, web page). The position requires adaptability, innovative thinking, and a combination of technical programming knowledge and high-level client communication.However, before they can apply their diverse skill set, aspiring full stack developers must first understand the difference between front end and back-end development, becoming proficient in both fields to properly balance their array of responsibilities:
Front end development
Meanwhile, back-end developers look after the digital foundation of the website or application. Consider them a concert stage crew working behind the scenes. Back-end developers manage critical underlying components that influence the front-end presentation and usability of the site, such as database maintenance and debugging. They also collaborate with front-end developers to conduct usability testing and to strengthen foundational code as needed.
Back End vs. Front End Development
Back-end developers work within the underlying digital framework of a website or application, maintaining databases, writing and debugging foundational code, and addressing factors that contribute to speed and efficiency. Front end developers, on the other hand, are in charge of a digital entity’s client-facing properties, such as its user interface (UI), browser compatibility, and overall aesthetic presentation.
The full stack developer role is dependent on a wide range of skills, many of which require at least some proficiency in various key programming languages. That being said, aspiring full stack developers should learn the following skills and languages:
Python is a valuable programming language for those interested in full stack development because it is one of the leading programming languages for modern back-end web development. The language is popular not only for its versatility, but also for its ease of use. Indeed, according to Stack Overflow’s 2020 Developer Survey, Python was the most desired programming language by a wide margin, owing to its support for a wide range of programming styles and its efficiency in data visualization.
HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is a popular coding language in web development. As a markup language, it refers to how web pages are linked together and is primarily used to inform a web browser of how to display the elements of a web page via tags. For example, the tag represents the displayed header of a digital document, which may contain other tags related to information such as a title or relevant link.
SQL (Structured Query Language) is a database language that is widely used in back-end development. The language is primarily used to manage and update records, as well as to access and modify databases. Because almost every website uses back-end data storage, SQL provides a solid foundation in database-oriented literacy required in full stack development — particularly for software designed to house sensitive data.
Rust is also a popular programming language for web development, ranking as the “most loved” language in Stack Overflow’s 2020 survey. Rust is commonly used to improve the speed, parallelism, and inherent memory safety of a web page, and it is also valued for its versatility. These include the creation of game engines, the development of operating systems, and the implementation of browser components.
Java consistently ranks highly in top programming language rankings and surveys. This general-purpose language is primarily used in back-end web development, but it can be applied to a wide range of software types. Full stack developers must learn languages like Java because they can be applied to a wide range of scenarios in application development, maintenance, and conceptualization.
Website architecture entails the planning and design of a website’s technical, functional, and visual components (before it is deployed). It is used by web designers and developers to design and develop websites. As a result, full stack development and web architecture go hand in hand — full stack developers must understand how back-end data is structured in order to efficiently build a strong cohesive product, as well as how to separate files and where to perform specific computational tasks.
Web development is almost synonymous with high-level problem solving, which implies that developers are typically expected to be skilled critical thinkers. A development project can frequently present a variety of challenges, ranging from software limitations to back-end bugs, and developers should be prepared to navigate these issues with a comprehensive, solution-oriented mindset, improvising and attempting unconventional approaches as needed. Such thinking not only helps a project come to fruition, but it can also drive the collective web development team’s growth, establishing a standard of tenacity and innovation for future projects.
Patience goes hand in hand with critical thinking in web development. When troubleshooting and testing experimental ideas, developers should remain calm and proactive (both with themselves and with team cohorts). A solution to a complex problem is not always obvious, and a little patience can go a long way toward sustaining these efforts and achieving a breakthrough. This skill is especially important for new developers, who often require more time to establish themselves in the industry.
Communication is another important soft skill that full stack developers must have in order to do their job well. Developers may need to coordinate with clients, coders, domain managers, and other internal departments on any given day as they navigate their own responsibilities — and because some of these individuals may not be as tech-savvy, clarity and transparency are essential. Web development is frequently a collaborative effort, and cultivating this mindset can position new full stack developers and their cohorts for long-term success.
A full stack engineer brings to the business all there is needed, end-to-end project development and testing in one place and in minimum of time.
Despite the fact that full stack development is a high-level, multifaceted field, aspiring developers can master the necessary knowledge without prior experience. Furthermore, for those interested in learning full stack skills, there are several time-tested educational pathways that commonly boil down to bootcamp courses, applicable college degrees, and self-taught learning options.
Coding bootcamps are one of the most effective ways to learn front and back end development skills. These courses provide the opportunity to learn web development through hands-on experience, utilizing flexible, intensive curricula to prepare students for a career in full stack development. No two bootcamps are alike, which reflects both their personalization and level of detail in a particular concentration.
Traditional college degrees, like bootcamp courses, provide the opportunity to learn industry-specific skills — but through relevant degree paths. Aspiring full stack developers may pursue degrees in fields such as computer science or graphic design, giving them the opportunity to learn about web development as well as the broader industries that support it.
Self-taught options may be a viable option for those who want to learn with less structure and more autonomy. These options could include free online courses, educational apps, and other self-guided methods for learning web development, the majority of which allow learners to hone their skills at their own pace and on their own schedule.
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A full-stack developer can do almost anything. If you enjoy being creative and problem solvers, as well as trying to figure out how different things work together, this is a path you might want to take.
Although many job descriptions state that a Computer Science Degree is required to be hired as a full-stack developer, we disagree. All you need, in our opinion, are skills and projects, which you can obtain by building projects.
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