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For individuals interested in pursuing a career in stack development, the prospects are especially promising, from mobile engineering to interactive games creation to corporate banking. So, what are the specific skill sets programmers need to stand out as a competitive candidate in the job market? What training do prospective professionals need? Are there jobs available for those who are about to enter the field? Where do you go to find out how to become a full stack developer?
If you’re ready to become a full stack developer in 2023, it’s helpful to get a comprehensive look at this promising career path.
What Is a Full Stack Developer?
Before we get into what a developer does, we’ll first explore full stack development more broadly.
The term ‘full stack’ applies to the entire development process and incorporates both the front end and back end, and professionals responsible for coding these in tandem are all referred to as full stack developers.
Step 1: Develop your coding skills
- Ruby is an open-source programming language that is easy to read and write, allowing for enhanced productivity.
- PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is an open-source, all-purpose language well suited for web development. It can also be embedded into HTML.
- Python is a general-purpose programming language that uses an object-oriented approach to help programmers write code for both small- and large-scale projects. Its high-level design philosophy emphasizes code readability.
Many programmers stay competitive by becoming fluent in more than one language, which can help to increase their qualifications for landing a job requiring a broader skill set.
Step 2: Get an education in programming
In fact, many potential full stack developers earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer programming, then gain additional hands-on experience on the job after they graduate. A traditional university path is a good learning option for aspiring programmers who do not yet have a degree.
However, if you already have a degree in another subject, or you’d like to gain programming skills quickly, it’s possible to qualify for full stack development roles with a solid portfolio, good references, and relevant open source work. Many employers hire candidates who have attended a full stack developer course as an alternative to earning a traditional degree.
Whether you choose to earn a degree, enroll in a full stack developer course, or dive in and build real-life experience, the path to becoming a full stack developer can take time. It’s not just about learning front end and back end technologies — it also takes eagerness to learn, and patience.
Step 3: Build A portfolio
While a resume is a key component to landing any job, every full stack developer should also have a portfolio that displays their work –– preferably the work they are most proud of. This is your time to show off to recruiters what you’ve done and what you can do. Because what a full stack developer creates can be such a visual product, having a portfolio can effectively convey your skills.
Possessing a diverse skill set may be one of the most important things for an organization looking for someone who can hit the ground running as a full stack developer. Your portfolio provides a dynamic, visual experience while displaying your range of knowledge in front and back end development.
It also shows the employer that diversifying your skill set is important to you, and that you are willing to go the extra mile to expand your programming abilities. Making an excellent first impression can make the difference between being hired and being looked over. Building a solid, full stack developer portfolio of diverse projects gives you the chance to make an excellent first impression.
Step 4: Get a certification
As the tech industry expands, employers become more reliant on programmers, especially those with full stack development capabilities. Candidates with coding skills are increasingly in high demand by companies in nearly every industry. As the need for developers grows, so does the number of courses teaching competitive curricula to prepare learners for careers in web development. If you haven’t decided to get a certification, sign up for a course that teaches HTML or a similar foundational programming language to understand what’s ahead.
Step 5: Prepare for the job search process
A full stack developer resume alone won’t necessarily guarantee a job, but a strong one will absolutely help during the pre-interview process. So, how can you prepare for a position as a full stack developer?
Aside from providing prospective employers with your resume and portfolio, it’s important that you prepare for the interview. Study up on the skills programmers need to succeed as full stack developers, highlight the courses or former experience you’ve collected from past jobs, and figure out where you’d like your career to lead in the long-term. Job boards can also be a helpful resource, as many include blogs with sample questions an interviewer may ask. Doing your research and locking down your answers in advance can help you stay focused and confident during the interview. That said, you may be asked questions that aren’t on a list, so stay focused on yourself and your experience, authenticity goes a long way with managers.
Step 6: Become a full stack developer
Whether your specialty will be computer programming, data or electronics engineering, or general web development, your full stack developer job description may vary from other similar roles, so be sure to read up on what the job entails and that it aligns with what type of specialization you’re interested in.
If you’re already working in the field, you may be more familiar with the day-to-day tasks you’ll be responsible for as a full stack developer. If you’re a new, junior full stack developer, you can expect some onboarding processes, meetings with senior developers, and eventually, your first assignment. While you may be eager to move up quickly, it’s simply a matter of time before you move from junior to senior developer.
Why Pursue a Full Stack Developer Career?
Pursuing a full stack developer career is a smart move, especially as the demand and salary don’t seem to be decreasing any time soon. According to reports, the projected growth for popular full stack-related roles is in the double digits percentage-wise:
- Data engineer: +20.8%
- Data scientist: +14.5%
- Software developer: +17.3%
What full-stack developers do?
Full-stack developers can specialize in different coding languages or combinations of front- and back-end experience. For example, they might design and create software, websites, programs or applications for companies. This could mean writing and editing code, testing, performing quality assurance (QA) and creating and implementing UI/UX design. Full-stack developers might gather requirements from business partners or clients, write application programming interfaces (API), create security measures and write technical documentation.
Essential full stack developer skills
There are a few skills required for becoming a full-stack developer. You might have these already or develop them as you learn to become one:
Technical skills: These are the basic computer skills in both development and design, such as programming languages. Because a full-stack developer can work from beginning to end on projects, these are crucial for this career.
Writing and communication skills: Creating code for back-end and front-end programs means developing both technical writing skills and even business writing skills. Effectively communicating your abilities while showcasing your portfolio can help you progress in your career.
Analytical skills: Whether you’re developing websites or performing maintenance, you may analyze code, scripts and style sheets as necessary. This can help you identify design or coding needs, learn new programs and predict how certain code might behave when a person interacts with it.
Creativity: Design and development require creativity to create code and designs as described by business users. When writing code for a new application, for example, you’re imagining something that doesn’t exist yet and how it might translate to an end user.
How to become a full-stack developer in 5 steps
There are a few different paths to becoming a full-stack developer. Here are some steps that you might follow to start a career:
1. Learn the basics
Familiarize yourself with several programming and design languages, gain front and back-end knowledge and understand development and design. Here are a few basic things to learn:
Databases and storage: Web databases are where developers store all the information and code needed for a device to operate. Many programming languages have accompanying databases that can help optimize their code.
Design coding: HTML and CSS are two important front-end coding techniques to learn. HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, dictates how you post content to a website, and CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, dictates how it appears to an end user. You may learn the differences between using these applications for both web and mobile.
Web applications and servers: Web applications like Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) are how different servers communicate with each other. This allows the user to experience and interact with websites as coded.
Version control software: There are several version control software applications available to ensure newly released updates and software don’t erase previous versions of code. In case there are defects after an application goes live, developers can release an older version to restore proper functions.
You may learn and practice much of this on your own, but it may be a good idea to take formal classes. Though bachelor’s degrees in computer science aren’t necessary to becoming a full-stack developer, they can help boost your resume.
2. Find a focus
Refine your skills after learning the basics. Try writing code for basic websites, designing them and accessing them from different devices and networks. Remember that you create stacks by building on previous steps, so master the early coding and continue to move through design and deployment. This can build your knowledge, and you can practice other related skills, like QA and content publishing.
4. Build a network
Joining social communities or professional organizations is a great way to stay aware of new software and programming news. The technology world is constantly changing, so it’s good to familiarize yourself with new software, prototypes, trends and common issues in the field. Networking can help you troubleshoot quickly, and you may find people who can help you better understand areas where you may struggle.
5. Build a portfolio
Once you’ve learned the basics, expanded your knowledge and tested some of your own creations, keeping a portfolio of your best work is a great way to show your skills to potential clients. Consider including technical documentation, back-end coding, front-end design and user experience to highlight that you can work on full stacks.
Typical work environment for full-stack developers
Full-stack developers can hold full-time or part-time positions in an office setting. Often, full-stack developers work as consultants or freelancers and assist several companies. This can provide you with more flexibility to work for clients you choose within your preferred hours.