Complete guide about who is a Full Stack Developer and how to become one, including roles and responsibilities, skills, education required, salaries, etc:
Full Stack Developer is a term that is not unheard of these days with a lot of good Product-based organizations expecting their engineers to be proficient Full Stack Developers who can own the project lifecycle or the product from scratch to finish.
Simply stated, a Full Stack Developer Engineer is someone who can work on all aspects of a product/project from start to finish concerning technology needs.
Full Stack developer is a person who would be a jack of all trades and can assist/help in all aspects of software engineering. Be it understanding business needs, writing API or backend services or working on Front end clients, and even performing some amount of testing.
What You Will Learn:
Who Is A Full Stack Developer
To understand who can be a potential Full Stack developer, it’s important to understand the different components and types of engineering and programming skills that are expected to be possessed by such developers.
Let’s first try to understand what are Front-end and Back-end technologies.
As you can see in the figure above,
Backend is used to create programming interfaces that power the front ends to display user-requested content or information.
Backend development also includes database development including data queries and organization.
A couple of widely used backend programming languages are Java, Python, Kotlin, etc and for databases, different available DBMS are Oracle, MySQL, MongoDB, etc.
For example: Consider an eCommerce application where a user searches for any item – microwave, for instance. Here, the request would go to a backend system, which would query a certain database and return all products matching the search text.
Now a full stack developer is someone who has a working understanding of the entire system and can contribute to the development of the application from all perspectives – like Backend, Frontend, Security, Deployment, etc.
Let’s try to understand different elements of an eCommerce-based web application like Walmart or Amazon and what are the technologies that could achieve different tasks.
|Search and Recommendation Engines||These are mostly backend services - typically REST or SOAP services written in backend programming languages like Java, C#, Python etc.
The Front end would call these services to display appropriate content to the application users.
|Databases||These are completely opaque to the application users and are typically responsible for storage and organisation of different data needs like
- Customer data
- Inventory data
The technologies used are - SQL Databases like MySQL, Oracle, NoSQL Databases like MongoDB, DynamoDB
|Infrastructure & Deployment||Infrastructure & Deployment component consists of how and where the application is physically hosted and what deployment tools are being used.
Infrastructure - can be cloud (Like AWS Cloud, Azure, Google Cloud) or Completely on premise.
Deployment - Various deployment tools and technologies like Docker containers are widely used.
Full Stack Developer should have a know-how of almost all the technologies as described above and how these synergize various components of a complete application.
Roles And Responsibilities
Enlisted below are the roles and responsibilities:
- Helps with design and development of software and participates in design review and architecture meetings.
- Automated testing and debugging of the software code.
- Following Object Oriented Programming concepts, to write clean and efficient code.
- Design & code UI Screens/interfaces.
- Design and Develop APIs using technologies like REST and SOAP.
- Keeping track of non-functional requirements like security, performance, usability.
- Keeping up with new tools and technologies and ready to switch to a different tool or language as and when desired.
Since a full stack development role, expect the person to have a broad knowledge and understanding of its quintessential, that you have the correct temperament and attitude to handle challenges and such situations in your day-to-day life.
Some of the qualities that you should try to inculcate within yourself are:
- Effective time management: To multitask across front-end and back-end development, it’s important to allocate and manage the time accordingly.
- Detail-oriented: Any or all development would require you to be part of multiple meetings and design discussions with multiple stakeholders. You need to put great attention to detail to seek a clear understanding of what’s expected.
- Clear and effective communication: Communication is like a backbone and you need to be strong in both verbal and written communication to communicate your thoughts clearly and concisely.
- Inquisitive mind: You should think outside the box and suggest and implement solutions for the problem at hand. Additionally, since you are expected to work across an array of technologies, it’s important to have an open mindset to embrace whatever comes your way.
Full Stack Developer Skills
Since Full stack development encompasses a wide technology landscape of being aware of both front-end and back-end development tools and methodologies, the person needs to be proficient with some common languages and frameworks along with the right mindset to approach the different responsibilities they are required to fulfill.
#2) Back-end Programming Languages – Java and Python are the most commonly used and are in high demand. A full stack developer must be proficient in one or more of the below languages:
#3) IDE’s – Familiarity with Visual Studio IDE’s, open source like Eclipse.
#4) Version Control Systems – This is exceptionally important. You should know to use Versioning Systems like Git and Github.
#5) Basic Testing Practices – Full Stack developers should be well versed with basic testing practices, unit testing, and automated integration testing, etc.
#6) Development processes – Familiarity with development processes and Software Development Life cycles, different methodologies like Agile, Waterfall, Scrum/Sprint, etc.
#7) Defect and Task tracking tools – Tracking tools like Visual Studio – Team foundation server, Microsoft Project, JIRA, and Confluence from Atlassian are some of the most widely used and preferred tools for project management.
#8) Graphic Design – Graphic designing tools like Figma, Adobe Illustrator for designing prototypes for Front end screens and interfaces.
#9) Databases – Databases form the backbone of any application and handle the way data is stored and organized for an application. A Full Stack Developer should be comfortable using commonly used database technologies as below:
- Relational – MySQL, Microsoft SQL
- NoSQL – MongoDB
#10) Web servers – Basic knowledge and understanding of web servers like Apache and Nginx.
Education & Background
Like any other Software Engineering role, the Education required for a Full Stack development role is no different. But generally speaking, people from Computer or IT engineering backgrounds are preferred for these roles.
It’s more work experience that matters. A fresher out of the college would hardly have hands-on experience on all or most of the tech know-how required for a Full Stack engineer.
But, it’s more of an acquired skill set during initial career years and proactive learning across the technology stack to gain understanding and insights as well as getting ready to make a move for a full-stack career.
Common Development Stacks
With the increased demand for Full Stack developers, there are also bundled tools and technologies that are named Technology stacks for Full Stack development. These are related technologies complementing each other for building full-stack web-based applications.
Let’s look at some of the most commonly used ones:
Tool stack for web development, which helps in rapid application development and is cost-effective and flexible at the same time.
The components are as below:
M – MongoDB – Its a NoSQL DB
A – Angular JS – Front end framework for designing user interfaces – Mostly used for Single Page applications commonly termed as SPAs
N – NodeJs -It is a cross-platform server for hosting web applications.
It is similar to the MEAN stack with replacing Angular or front-end framework with React, which is more powerful and highly capable of being used simultaneously on servers as well as browsers.
It’s a slightly older but still highly popular technology stack that is tested and highly performant. It’s capable of running across all major operating systems and being open source. It’s highly cost-efficient and scalable.
The individual components are as below:
L – Linux OS
A – Apache – Webserver
M – MySQL – Relational Database for all database needs.
P – PHP Programming language – for front-end and back-end scripting.
Let’s now understand what kind of salaries full stack developers get across the globe.
According to a 2021 survey conducted by Career Foundry, the average salaries around the world are depicted as below:
With the rise in demand for Full Stack developers across the world, these numbers are further set to rise substantially.
As we have discussed throughout the article, a full stack developer should have broad knowledge around the front end, back end as well as DevOps and testing domain and tools.
The interview questions range from basics of algorithms, data structures, language constructs, software development methodologies, as well as design understanding.
Since these engineers also need to have a sound understanding of design principles and non-functional requirements like security and performance of the application they are working on, along with qualities like open-mindedness, keeping abreast of all the new tools and technologies, the hiring managers would also generally evaluate you round those areas as well.
Some questions, that are asked in full stack developer interviews are:
- Give an example of a project you have worked on and what tools and technologies you have used?
- What do you understand by Continuous Integration and deployment? What are the tools that can help to achieve it?
- Explain any design patterns that you have used, and what problem did it solve.
- How do you keep your application continuously tested? What kind of test automation techniques have you worked with?
- What are some differences between REST and SOAP-based web services?
- How can you ensure the performance of a web application?
- What are MEAN and MERN stacks? Do you have any experience working with these?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q #1) What is Full Stack development?
Answer: It refers to a combination of both front-end and back-end development as well as associated things like Automated testing, as well as basic DevOps and deployment understanding.
Full Stack developer is expected to have a broad understanding to build products and actively participate in both front-end and back-end development.
Q #2) Is Full stack developer a good career?
Answer: Full Stack developers are highly skilled individuals having a great understanding of the overall software development and are in great demand across most of the top 50 products and service-based organizations.
These individuals can build and deploy a complete application from scratch due to the skill set they possess.
In terms of career, it’s a splendid choice, especially for developers with an experience range of 3-8 years, and they can progress their career ladder fast with roles ranging from Software Engineer to Senior Software Engineer and right up to Principal Software Engineer.
Q #3) What is a full stack developer’s salary?
Answer: According to salary.com, the salary of a Full Stack Developer in the US ranges from $82k to $110k depending on various factors such as education, certifications, and the work experience the candidate is bringing in.
Q #4) Is Full Stack developer in demand?
Answer: These roles are the most popular amongst the top 50 Software and IT companies as well as the startups since the skills that these developers bring in allow them to deliver products quickly as well as ensure the optimum quality of the products.
Further Reading => Full Stack Developer Interview Questions
Q #5) Why is full stack so popular?
Answer: It is a term used to refer to the skill set required by people to help in both the front-end as well as back-end software development along with the required processes like Automated testing as well as application deployment.
The presence of such individuals in a team helps to achieve a high velocity and gets the product built faster. Additionally, building prototypes, introducing new processes as well as learning new tools and techniques also are some of the qualities that the full-stack roles bring in.
Q #6) What is the meaning of a Java full stack developer?
Answer: A Java full-stack developer is someone who has extensive knowledge of building entire applications based on the Java stack. Such persons would possess deep knowledge around Core Java, Spring boot, API development concepts, REST APIs and building front ends using Java servlets and frameworks, like Vaadin flow framework.
With the rapid evolution and expansion of technology and tools, organizations are scouting more than ever towards hiring for talent which can get the job done.
Full Stack role perfectly fits in this evolving landscape where developers are expected to work on both front end and back end work as well as should possess the required QA and DevOps skills.
This leads to cost savings, quicker releases, and lesser dependency on a single or group of individuals and helps to get the job done with lesser friction.
The open opportunities as well as salaries for these roles are also on the rise and are going to be a trend for a good amount of time as these roles are indispensable for any team, especially the ones following agile processes.