Suppose, you decided to pursue a career in web development. And while entering the industry as a junior doesn’t pose any major hurdles since the positions available are plenty and the pay is justifiably good, you fairly quickly notice that many of those positions claim they need a full stack developer as opposed to just a developer. This article attempts to answer such questions as ‘are full stack developers even real,’ ‘what are they, these full stack developers,’ and ‘are there any tips on how to become one of those ninjas’?
Depending on the industry, a set of programming skills, or even an individual client’s perceptions of the role, a full stack developer is usually a web development specialist, who can take a client’s idea from paper to a fully functional application. As opposed to just front-end or back-end developer, you’ll be expected to know the intricacies of both front-end and back-end. That essentially means that a full stack developer understands the full life cycle of an application, front-end languages and frameworks, as well as understands how to store data in a database on the back-end with the available back-end languages and frameworks.
We’ve covered some of the basics of these above-mentioned terminologies in our previous blog post on How to Hire a Freelance Developer
It’s practically impossible to know everything, and a full stack developer is not expected to be a superman or ninja, rather — they must possess enough knowledge to build a fully functional website or minimum viable product (MVP) quickly.
While being a full stack developer has a certain set of advantages, it does have shortcomings as well. Usually, because of the vast amount of knowledge a full stack dev possesses, they have a pretty broad and active mindset, and instead of being a professional in one sphere or area, they tend to help others and manage teams, reduce the time and technical costs of communication; or, conversely, work on smaller projects, where the team of developers would be inappropriately costly or counterproductive. It’s practically impossible for a full stack dev to be an expert in one skill, they tend to know “a little here and there,” but enough to make an app or product work.
Now, you’ll probably argue that what I’ve just described above is not about development per se, but about engineering. There are, indeed, subtle differences, between a software engineer and a developer, which we’ve extensively described in one of our articles on Software Engineering, so if you’re interested to know the difference, then head on and read the piece. Overall, full stack engineers do have additional knowledge of project management and things like systems administration, which involves configuring, managing, and, finally, maintaining computer systems and networks. Moreover, generally, you can’t just become a full stack engineer after finishing school, you’ll need some experience in the field, usually up to five years, in order to be a professional in both engineering and development.
However, depending on the project, a client might need a mobile stack, web stack, or native app stack, meaning that a full stack developer will be expected to know that particular stack fully, where the stack refers to a collection of sub-modules required to complete that project.
As for the programming languages, you don’t necessarily have to know all languages there are, but you certainly need to master the language grammar and understand how to structure, design, and implement a particular project based on one or more languages of your choice.
Since a full stack dev can take an idea from paper, it’s essential for them to understand the basics of user experience and user interface design. No matter how many programming languages you can master, it would be useless you create an app that is not user-friendly. Make sure you master the underlying concepts of the UX/UI, and most importantly grasp the principles and acquire the necessary skills of basic prototype design.
Summarizing it all up, you’ll need to know the basics of UX design, UI design, Interaction design, front-end development, back-end development, including back-end databases.
Becoming a full stack dev can’t certainly be accomplished overnight, it takes time, and most probably money (if you’re not a self-learner; honestly, mentoring is an option and can help you save time, which is the most invaluable resource of all). Start preparing for your full stack career now by exercising global and critical thinking, reading a lot of literature (not just blog posts on medium or dev.to), wielding the power of creativity, being perpetually curious about the world around you, attending tech conferences, and mastering the art of public speaking, learning from your fellow developers, actively participating in forum discussions, and journaling your successes and failures.
Summary: top full stack developer tips
- Learn at w3schools, freecodecamp, and here’s an additional cheat sheet resource at wpkube
- Learn CSS at freecodecamp, learn Flexbox at css-tricks and box model at Mozilla Developer Network, learn JQuery at JQuery learning center
- Learn JS on CodeAcademy and with the book series You Don’t Know JS
_ Learn web design, UX, UI _
- Plenty of articles on UX/UI can be found on a Medium publication UX Collective
- The most comprehensive resource on UX/UI that I’ve found on the web is Nielson Norman Group, plenty of free articles, videos available, you can even purchase a course if you have a dime to spare.
_ Learn back-end programming languages like Java, Python, JS, PHP, Ruby, Perl, C#, C++ and databases _
- Learn WAMPP or LAMPP stack which runs on both Windows and Linux is based on the PHP language with Apache, MySQL, and PERL.
- Learn NET ASP.NET
- Learn Django
_ Learn HTTP requests, Get & Post, AJAX _
_ Learn Git _
These are a few resources to help you prepare for the interview to land that dream job of yours:
Best Resources to Prepare for a Technical Interview
NodeJS Interview Questions
Angular Interview Questions
Take Charge of Any Interview in Three Easy Steps
Python Interview Questions
Interview Questions for JAVA Developers