What Is a Full Stack Developer?

In the world of software programming, it helps to have someone on the team who is something of a jack of all trades. They can help with various stages of development and have the versatility and time management to assist all levels of the development team. When it comes to web development, that role belongs to the Full Stack Developer. This is not a Back End or Front End developer, but someone who handles both — a “Full Stack,” as it were.

What Is a Full Stack Developer?

What Does a Full Stack Developer Do?

A Full Stack Developer is someone who works with the Back End — or server side — of the application as well as the Front End, or client side. Full Stack Developers have to have some skills in a wide variety of coding niches, from databases to graphic design and UI/UX management in order to do their job well. They are something of a swing, ready to assist wherever needed in the process.

Some of the responsibilities of a Full Stack Developer include:

  • Helping with the design and development of software
  • Testing and debugging software to keep it optimized
  • Writing clean code for the front and back end of the software
  • Designing user interactions on the web application itself
  • Creating servers and databases for the back end of the software
  • Ensuring cross-platform compatibility and optimization
  • Testing and maintaining the responsive design of applications
  • Working with graphic designers to design new features
  • Developing APIs and RESTful services
  • Keeping up with technological advances to optimize their software
  • Communicating effectiveness of emerging technologies to decision makers
  • Considering security, maintenance, scalability, and more when developing

When Is a Full Stack Developer Needed?

It depends on the size and scalability of the software. For instance, a small independent game group made up of only a few people creating a small simulator could have one Back End Developer and one Front End Developer and that might be all they need for the development. If they’re even smaller, they might have one Full Stack Developer who handles the entire application. On the other hand, a large web application with strong potential for scaling will require many hands on deck — Back End, Front End, and Full Stack Developers.

Front End vs. Back End vs. Full Stack Web Developers — What’s the Difference?

If there were a diagram of the duties that Back End Web Developers handle and the duties that front end developers handle, the duties of a Full Stack Web Developer would be the part where the two diagrams combined. Indeed, in many cases, there is quite a bit of overlap between Front End and Back End Developers. It’s important to know the duties of Front End Developers and Back End Developers so you can know the duties that a Full Stack Developer may need to swing in and assist with.

Front End Developers: - Deal with the interface and user-facing systems - Develop the navigation, interface, and visuals - Focus on user experience - Utilize HTML, CSS3, and JavaScript - Are the most aesthetically-forward web development position

Back End Developers: - Deal with the server and database of the application - Create the back frame that allows the front end development to exist - Utilize Python, Ruby, and PHP - Store user information into database

Full Stack Developers: - Cross-discipline web development skills involving front and back end - Deal with the overlap between the front end and back end - Utilize all the coding languages of the first two plus MySQL, machine learning, and more - Take responsibility for the entire experience to make sure it goes smoothly

Education and Background to Become a Full Stack Developer

Full Stack Developers are highly intelligent people who have trained through their education or through years in related fields on the job force. These jobs are in high demand, but employers don’t want to trust their web development to just anyone. There are certain standards of education and work experience that Full Stack Developers have to meet to be hired. These vary from employer to employer, but here are some good bets.

  • Education : You’ll need an associate’s degree in computer science, computer programming, software programming, statistics, or a related field. You may not need more than an associate’s degree to qualify to apply for most jobs, but the higher your degree, the better chance you have of getting hired. Some Full Stack Developers even opt for master’s degrees in order to really stand out. An intensive bootcamp in Web Development is another way to learn all the skills required to succeed as a Full Stack Developer.

  • Work Experience : This is not a job that calls for years and years of on-the-job experience before you apply, but you can’t expect to learn it all in training, either. You need to be able to prove that you have the experience and know-how to take on the job. This can be done through thorough education or through past experience in a related development job. Some employers will require that you have at least three years of experience with certain coding languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and that you keep up with the latest advances.

Skills and Tools Used By Full Stack Web Developers

If you’re interested in going into this job for your career, it’s important to learn the tricks of the trade. Hone your technical strengths and fine tune your resume to show off your proficiency with these tools and skills:

  • Front end programming languages like HTML, Javascript, and CSS (if you're a beginner, you can start with these free tutorials to learn JavaScript core notions and design your first website)
  • Back end programming languages like Python, Ruby, and PHP
  • Version control systems like Git and GitHub
  • APIs like REST and SOAP as well as protocol like HTTP
  • Database storage solutions like JSON, SQL, and NoSQL
  • Graphic design and visual communications skills
  • Apache or nginx servers

Personality Traits of a Great Full Stack Developer

You also have to have the right temperament and personality in order to be a great Full Stack Developer. Fortunately, these are personality traits that can be honed in anyone if you have the determination and passion to pursue this as your dream career. Here are some of the personality traits that make a Full Stack Developer:

  • A Time Management Master : Full Stack Developers are the great multitaskers of web developers. They constantly flit between the back end and front end to make sure the job gets done, and often have several tasks on their plate at once. It takes strong time management skills and the ability to prioritize to ensure that everything is finished on deadline.

  • A Curious Mind : Web development is interesting, to the right mind. By typing a sequence of letters into the computer screen, you can create a beautiful, complex web application that users will engage with in a variety of ways. Great Full Stack Developers are curious, always wanting to learn more about the industry and about user interactions with the web application.

  • Attention to Detail : A great Full Stack Developer is meticulous. They double or triple check to make sure their work is correct before they send it on. Full Stack Developers are obsessed with detail, and it shows in their cleanly written code and their polished work.

  • Creative Thinking : Full Stack Developers should be willing to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions in order to help their web application stand out from the competition. This isn’t a job for someone who just wants to repeat what’s already been done before.

  • A Clear Communicator : Full Stack Developers are often the go-between of Back-end and Front-end developers. To keep everything cohesive, they need to be skilled communicators both in writing and verbal communication.

How Much Do Full Stack Developers Make?

These are valuable web developers in an industry that is constantly growing and increasing in demand. Needless to say, the salary for a Full Stack Developer is quite comfortable and can even be lucrative. Payscale reports the average salary for a Full Stack Developer to be $75,057 in United States, with an average of $4,300 each year in bonuses. Beyond that, it has an exceptionally high job satisfaction, so many Full Stack Developers stay on to eventually reach six figures. There are also freelance Full Stack Developers who have a little bit of freedom with their pay in that way.

How To Get Into Full Stack Web Development

There’s never been a better time to become a Full Stack Developer, but you may find yourself on the edge, wondering how to get into the industry. Whether you need a chance to hone your skills and prove your qualifications as a Full Stack Developer or whether you just want to make connections in your field, Le Wagon is the right place to turn!

We offer a 9-week Web Development course, which is also available in 24 weeks part-time for those who need to be more flexible. Over the course of these coding bootcamps, you’ll have the opportunity to work on projects, projects that can go in your portfolio as an example of your expertise. You’ll also be able to learn from experts in the field and network with your peers, other emerging software development professionals.

Get Started Today With Le Wagon!

Download our syllabus below to discover our Web Development bootcamp and learn more about our alumni and community! And for answers to frequently asked questions, head here.

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