What is a Full Stack Developer & How to be One

Full stack developer, full stack designer, full stack engineer; the word “full stack” has become a popular topic these days.

In 2010, a Facebook engineer Carlos Bueno defined the term “full stack” as a generalist with a deep knowledge of performance implications. And, it became a popular thing after that.

Full Stack Developer

According to the 2018 HackerRank Developer Skills Report, 24.1% of developers agreed that the Full-stack Developer role suits them the best.

So, what is this full-stack development thing? and, if it is so popular, how can you become one?

Let’s take a look…

What is a Full Stack Developer?

Simply put, a full stack developer is a multi-skilled person who has the ability to work on the frontend (client-side), backend (server-side), database, and debugging of a software project. And, this whole process is full-stack development.

From prototype and visual design to front coding, a full stack developer has the skills to do these all.

Skills Required

Full stack developers need to have skills of both the frontend and backend developers. Some of the soft skills and personality traits that need to be present are:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Creative vision
  • Self-discipline
  • Patience, etc.

And, the main technical skills required to be a good full stack developer are:

1. HTML & CSS

HTML & CSS are the fundamental building blocks of development. HTML lets you add content and CSS controls how the content will look on the website or application.

2. JavaScript

JavaScript is another crucial element of full stack development because it is one of the most popular object-oriented scripting languages. It can be used to write front-end, client-side, and back-end code for servers.

3. Backend Languages

It becomes necessary to have a sound knowledge of one of the backend languages like:

  • SQL
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • C#
  • Python
  • C++
  • PHP
  • Ruby/Rails, etc.

The more languages/stacks you know, the better.

4. Database

A great understanding of relational databases and memory storage is very important for the full stack development.

5. HTTP/HTTPS and REST

HTTP/HTTPS is the protocol that allows the server to communicate, whereas the REST API allows the backend to understand the frontend. And, both come under the necessary skills to have.

6. Architecture

Architecture is basically the conceptual structure of the website or application to be coded. It describes the interaction among frontend, backend, database, etc.

Along with all the mentioned skills, a full stack developer must also have a good knowledge of Git, Github, SourceTree, etc.

Salary of a Full Stack Developer

In the United States, an entry-level full stack developer earns $60,000 per year on average, and experienced ones earn approximately $150,000 per year; according to a report.

In India, an entry-level full stack developer earns ₹300,000 ($4,000) per year on average, and experienced ones earn up to ₹14,94,000 ($20,000) per year, according to GlassDoor.

Pros and Cons

Like any other thing, if there are advantages of being a full stack developer then there are also some disadvantages.

Let’s take a look at those:

Pros

  • It is easier to change specialization in any language/framework
  • It is easier to become the team leader, or an architect, or to occupy a managerial position
  • You can create diverse and cool things at the intersection of everything
  • You have a better understanding of the possible blockage in the project
  • You can read, use and debug almost any source codes
  • You have a detailed knowledge of the frontend as well as backend
  • You get to know all the different aspects of web development
  • Versatility and adaptability

Cons

  • A full stack developer may perform worst than a specialist in a specific language
  • It becomes difficult for you to dig deeper into something
  • Despite having good time management skills, most probably you will get overloaded with tasks
  • Catching up with all the latest languages, frameworks, libraries, etc. becomes difficult
  • Of course, you can’t remember everything, and looking a documentation/manuals frequently, slows down your work

Controversies

Many developers say that there isn’t anything like full stack development.

Alexander Katrompas, in a Medium post, says, “there is no such thing as a full stack developer — all developers are full stack. ‘Full stack’ is a meaningless and redundant designation.”

The word “full-stack developer” doesn’t just lead to various online arguments but also spurs misalignment in how to assess, attract, and hire full-stack candidates.

Final Words

In the United States, the job full-stack developer scored 3rd position with a 206% increase in Indeed’s best jobs of 2019 survey.

Interesting, right?

If you ask, this is the best time to start learning modern stacks and be a full stack developer.

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