A Full Stack is what the software development industry calls both the Front End and the Back End. This usually entails a long list of acronyms such as CSS, MySQL, PHP, JS, and HTML. These are all coding languages that deal with various elements of application development from the front end, the client-side, to the back end, the server-side operations.
Full Stack Developers are usually proficient in handling matters relating to the website’s core functionality and matters relating to the website’s handling of databases and APIs, and these developers are a wonderful asset to any team that needs them, and the core skill set needed for the job competency is surprisingly much less time consuming to learn than you may expect.
This article aims to walk you through some of what you would need to learn and what is required of a certified full stack developer within the context of a team and an organization so you can also identify whether or not you think you could be a valuable asset in this role.
What does a Full Stack Developer usually do?
The Full Stack Developer is usually a jack of all trades that helps teams and organizations solve problems in their application in all various stages of development. While this might sound intimidating to begin with since it seems like one would require years upon years of experience, in actuality, a full stack developer is more or less related to just about every part of the process.
Moreover, as a generalist, you’re expected to parse problems and test the overall solution as compared to inventing some very specific functions for your team.
In web development, you always think in terms of what the client sees and how it works. The back end has to correspond to the front end, just like the roots of a plant form an interconnected network where plants can take food, or data, from the sunlight, or clients, and process and store them in the roots.
In your line of work as a Full Stack Developer, you will be working with the front-end development side, meaning visible parts of a website like the pages, the responsibility, and the interaction design. You will also be working on the back end which would include the company’s servers, software, databases, and in general the pathways for information for the application’s core processes to run.
Realistically, full stack developers working in large organizations may find themselves hopping between projects often given their wide skill set and top-down development viewpoint. Full Stack Developers sometimes also have certain niches that give them a core workload or a core function within a team.
For example, many full-stack developers tend to specialize in back-end systems to put themselves apart from the front-end turned full stack developers very commonly seen in the marketplace.
By far, the most common developers are full stack developers, followed by back-end and lastly front-end. This means that most of the industry’s requirements also slant toward the back-end operations, so knowing how to manipulate and set up databases using powerful modern systems like MySQL, Ruby and PHP are crucial for the modern-day full stack developer.
Where do I start?
Depending on what background you already have and where exactly you’d like to start your developer journey, here are some skills that you have to achieve at least a foundational understanding to open yourself up to most working environments.
As a true newbie, you will find that even courses might not be enough, and you should focus on finding specialized and practical experiences. Focus on internships and getting paid to learn these skills in the context of actual projects.
In general, you will have to be proficient in these skills
- Object-oriented Programing
- DOM Manipulation
- Perhaps even Node and cloud computing services like AWS/Azure
How should I approach my education?
This is perhaps the most important question that will determine what your path to becoming a Full Stack Developer will look like. This is also, of course, the most complex question, since it deals directly with what skills and competencies you already have and where you are in your educational journey.
If you already have a full-time job and are part of a growing career, you have to ask yourself how you can adapt full stack development skills into your career of choice rather than thinking about making the full pivot. You will already be at a disadvantage over others fresh out of school, given the time and opportunity they have to learn full-stack skills and keep up with emerging developments in the field.
If you’re able to and want to take a full-time education, consider whether or not a part-time course could be better long-term at allowing you to instead maintain your part-time commitments, before jumping head first into development.
Coding boot camps are very practical for total newcomers and for those looking to re-skill as it’s cheaper than a university degree and it takes only a quarter of a time. This is because many coding boot camps are high intensity, cover just enough theory, and are packed to the brim with coding experiments, projects, and industry advice.
Boot camp education is also much more suited to current industry requirements and job specifications, whereas formal education may prepare you holistically for a variety of computer-related professions that have absolutely nothing to do with Full Stack Development.
A perfect boot camp should be one with training options best suited to your personal commitment level, and preferably, tied to important industry players that can ensure you land a starting job getting to work right away on projects that matter to you.
A full stack developer is a lot of work, but it’s currently one of the job market's most sought-after skill sets. Being a good full stack developer is not easy, and it’s suitable for pretty much anyone who feels like they’re up to the challenge since the skill ceiling is essentially uncapped.