The Role of a Full Stack Developer

July 21, 2021

A full stack developer is object oriented when working on a job

Are you considering learning web development skills? Perhaps you’ve always heard about full-stack development and wondered how you could become a full-stack developer.

Full-stack developers are web developers who develop both the front end and back end of websites and applications. They are familiar with JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Python, and other coding languages.

They are very common in the tech industry, and as technology requirements increase, particularly in businesses – the need for skilled full-stack developers increases. According to a survey conducted by Stack Overflow in 2020, more than 54% of working technologists consider themselves full-stack developers, 37% call themselves front-end developers, and 55% consider themselves back-end developers.

Full-stack development is a profession that stands out in the tech industry for its multifaceted nature; it is a holistic engineering practice that evolves to all aspects of web development. However, with the rate at which tech advances, the rate at which companies hire remotely, and with tech companies worldwide continue to hire for more talents, there has not been a better time to start a career in web development.    

What Does Full Stack Mean?

Full-stack means the collection of technologies and systems required to execute a project. The majority of software consists of two major elements; the front-end, which users see and interact with online, and the back-end, where the codes and databases work in the background to collect data, i.e., behind the scenes of the website and app.

Full-stack means an advanced programmer possesses functional knowledge and experience in all the software creation components. Web developers can work behind the scenes, writing robust code that runs on some of the applications and programs you use each day.

However, a full-stack developer can oversee every part of a project, including databases and servers to systems and clients. They also work at the front-end of the software creation process, evaluating and tweaking the software’s user-friendliness.

A full-stack developer is expected to evaluate and understand how each component of a project works together while understanding how the front-end and back-end will communicate with each other. In recent years, web development has become more complex, and there are several job opportunities in the industry for developers with different skills.

This means that you are either a front-end developer, a back-end developer, or a full-stack developer in web development. Thus, as a developer, you will be classified depending on your skill-set.

  1. Front-end development – developers who deal with what the users can see and interact with
  2. Back-end development – developers deal with what users can’t see or interact with on a website and app.
  3. Full-stack development – developers can do both front-end and back-end development, which applies to both app and website.

However, to understand further the roles above, it’s essential to understand the skills and knowledge needed to begin a career in web development.

Education and experience are the best ways to learn to become a full stack developer

They perform everything in developing a website or application from start to finish, and they have the knowledge, experience, and proficiency with both ends of a website and applications.

What Is a Full-stack Developer?

A full-stack developer is not an average web developer with only front-end or back-end skills but they can have front and back-end technologies and an in-depth understanding of web architecture.

A full-stack engineer is an expert who deals with front & back end development, technical jobs, databases, and the ability to develop application programming interfaces. They are developers who work on the full stack of software. 

They are sometimes called “jack of all trades” developers. They perform everything in developing a website or application from start to finish, and they have the knowledge, experience, and proficiency with both ends of a website and applications.

They are essential in every part of website development projects. Full-stack developers help bridge the gap between the client-side and server-side of a site. This ensures that a website is both appealing and functional.

Typically, a full-stack engineer has a grasp of client-side technologies such as CSS, JavaScript, AJAX, and server-side technologies such as hypertext preprocessor (PHP) and Ruby.

However, being a full-stack engineer doesn’t automatically mean a full-stack engineer is responsible for writing all the code. Still, they can do so if they wish and have the skills required to jump into any part of the web and application development project as needed.  

Some of their core responsibilities include: testing for a bug in code, developing and designing user relations, creating solutions to project requirements, modifying code, using hardware and software, creating databases and servers, cross-platform optimization, and a lot more. 

The Front-end

Almost everybody is online these days. The internet facilitates interpersonal communication between users through platforms such as email and social media. Still, it’s now much more relied upon since everybody goes online and sources all kinds of information.

Most online applications have an area where users can interact. When you land on a website; you are greeted by the welcome page, menu, services page, blogs, articles pages, and other items that facilitate navigation and utility.

All of these web pages fall under the term “front end.” The front end includes a user interface which is the part of the application or website designed for users to see and interact with.

Front-end Developers

A front-end developer is also called a front-end web engineer. A front-end web developer is a professional who is responsible for creating and implementing the user interface as well as the application appearance and basic design. Consumers require this interface so they can access and interact with the website or application.

However, they ensure that their design works online using coding languages such as JavaScript, HTML, Java, and CSS.

During your job interview, show a portfolio of your work

Front-end Developer Roles and Responsibilities

Perhaps you may be wondering what a front-end web developer does?

They decide web page development and structure and develop features to improve the user’s experience. They also ensure that a website is smartphone-capable, builds reusable code for future use, and provides a well-optimized website for speed and scalability.

Lastly, web developers use different coding languages to design and develop web pages, such as CSS, JavaScript, and HTML.

You can learn such languages by taking courses on front-end web development, learning the command line and version control, improving your skills, and practicing at all times.

Above all, the future looks bright for a professional, inexperienced, or beginner who wants to become a front-end web developer.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), web developer employment which includes front and back end web developers in the United States, is projected to increase by 15% from 2016 to 2024.

Back-end Developers

A back-end developer, also known as a back-end web developer, creates and maintains the tech to operate a website properly. Back-end developers use a database, application programming interface, and other behind-the-scenes systems. 

A back-end web engineer is a skilled and professional software developer who understands, plans, designs, creates, and tests the back-side and business logic of an application. They build and manage the back-side applications and websites that users don’t see or interact with directly but do everything possible to make the front end of applications and websites appealing.

As front-end developers build the web pages and forms that users see and interact with, the back-end developer manages and controls the behind-the-scenes engines of applications and websites.

Back-end Developer Roles and Responsibilities

Back-end engineers collaborate with front-end and full web stack developers to build comprehensive digital solutions for business needs. They work hand in hand to ensure that applications or websites are scalable and appealing when hit by significant traffic or demanding programs.

However, some of the back-end web developer responsibilities include creating and maintaining web applications, evaluating the efficiency and speed of present applications, writing high-quality code, QA testing, troubleshooting, debugging, and more. To get started, it helps to learn Python, PHP, Ruby, SQL, REST, and SOAP.  

Back end developers focus on the server-side

Is It Hard To Become a Full Stack Developer?

Think about the timeline you are willing to set to pursue your dreams and build your educational programs accordingly.

The fact is no one could ever fault you for thinking that becoming a full-stack web developer is too hard. After all, a quick search for “full-stack development” renders an impossibly long list of acronyms like PHP, SQL, JS, HTML, and more.

Full-stack developers are incredibly versatile developers in the technology industry that demand extensive coding experience and knowledge. Becoming a full-stack web developer is not as complicated or time-consuming as you might think.

However, to become a full-stack web developer, you need to understand the two main components of web development: front end and back end.

So, what will it take to become a full-stack developer?

Below is what aspiring developers need to learn before turning professional:

Identify the skills you need to learn

Every beginner’s path will be different depending on their experience and skills in coding languages. As a beginner in web development, you will need to acquire specific skills, resources, training, courses, and project development experience before becoming a web developer.

The following are the basic skills you need to master if you want to become a full-stack web engineer: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SQL, Java, and DOM Manipulations.

Your education is important when you want to create a career as a full stack developer

Determine your ideal timeline

How soon are you ready to start learning courses on full-stack development? Set a concrete timeline that can help you choose your educational journey.

You may consider taking a part-time course and still maintain your full-time job, or you can go for full-time education or course that will get you a job as fast as possible. This is all based on your timeline.

However, think about the timeline you are willing to set to pursue your dreams and build your educational programs accordingly.

Learn in a format that suits you 

In the generation of open-source everything, it is so simple to learn how to become a full-stack engineer. However, it is also easy to fall victim to analysis paralysis.

It all depends on your timeline and the resources available to help you on your journey.

There are many free or cheap courses you can take to learn the skills you need

What Essential Programming Languages Does a Full Stack Developer Need To Know?

With different programming languages around you, it is easy to get confused about the exact coding languages to choose from when figuring out where to start.

There are many coding languages like Java, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, PHP, etc. Each of them has its functions and advantages.

However, it would help if you become a polyglot programmer to handle client-side and back-side projects. The following are the list of essential coding languages you can learn to become a full-stack developer:

Full-stack developer languages you should learn

HTML & CSS

HTML is the essential language for web development. These days, software programmers and developers use HTML 5, which is the latest version, which comes with many features that you can use to design and create a structure for web pages.

CSS is another significant programming language that web developers use in designing the look of a web page. CSS saves much time because you can use one of its files for multiple web pages.

JavaScript 

JavaScript is a popular language that is becoming more and more common. It can be used to create animation, update content and is excellent for front-end development. Popular tech websites like YouTube and Facebook use JavaScript.

JavaScript code can be used to interact with its users. It is used to calculate, manipulate, and validate data. However, as a beginner, you can use JS to learn about data structure and algorithms. 

Python

Many programming languages are dedicated to server-side programming, where Python happens to be extremely popular. Python is a flexible language that you can use in different technology fields like machine learning, data science, and back-end development.

Also, it is effortless to handle by a beginner or inexperienced web developer. Python can be used to develop applications, and its syntax makes it more interesting to interpret code.

Focus on a language that's easy to learn first

Do Full Stack Developers Get Paid Well?

As working remotely keeps advancing, most full-stack developers’ responsibilities don’t require them to be in the office at all times. However, location is still a significant factor in deciding how much they can earn.

Global data collected by Glassdoor give us a look at the average salary of what full-stack developers can earn across the globe:

  1. USA: $102,346
  2. United Kingdom: £67,653
  3. Germany: €73,392
  4. Australia: A$105,672
  5. Canada: C$86,703
  6. India: Rs 623319

However, globally Full-stack developers can expect to earn around $60,000 per annum depending on their geographical location. Not bad compared to other remote jobs available.

What Are Other Skills You Need To Learn?

As discussed earlier, it is possible to teach yourself to become a full-stack developer with resources like training, free e-books, and online development courses. However, you should avoid courses that promise to teach you everything in 24 hours or less.

Education is essential since some companies require a degree in computer science or other related courses before starting a web development career. However, there are other skills you need to master as a beginner, such as front-end technologies and good knowledge of back-end languages such as libraries, tools, and frameworks.

Also, you need to have database knowledge and teamwork skills and be attentive to detail.

Final Word

In web development, often, it is not about knowing everything but applying your skills correctly to execute the client’s request effectively. There is no shortcut to succeed in the technology industry since the road to success is paved with dedication, commitment, skills, and growth.

However, it’s essential to have a broad knowledge of all aspects of web and application development, or else it may be hard to delegate some of your projects. You can do pretty well in the web development field if you enjoy being creative, possess problem-solving skills, and like getting things done.

If you tick all these boxes, then a career in full-stack web development may be just the thing for you.

Free courses are available, just search high and low especially for ones that will help you get a job

About the author: Joe Silk -

Joseph is a Start-up Consultant, Copywriter & Business Owner with 9 years of PQE. He is extremely client-centric, able to work on a wide range of topics and deliver high-quality standards on projects of all sizes for clients all over the world. View on Linkedin

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