What is a full stack developer, and why are we hearing so much about it these days? When you boil it all down, a full stack developer is someone who can navigate both the front-end — any part of an application that the end-user will see — and back-end — the parts of the application that contain the logic processing, error handling, database calls and server interface of web development. The reason why full stack developer is on everyone’s radar is that it’s a role in high demand. According to CIO, it is one of the 13 most in-demand tech jobs for 2019, and the 2018 Stack Overflow survey ranks full stack developer as the second most popular developer role after back-end developer.
Background to the role
In the late 1990s and early 2000s when web development was hitting its stride, development was highly compartmentalized. Front-end developers received the design requirements necessary to interface with the back-end functions and worked with these specs without understanding much of how the back-end worked. Simultaneously, the back-end developers worked through the same requirements, never actually interfacing with the front-end until nearing completion of the development cycle. While this generally worked, it often resulted in delays, integrations issues, and more. The problem was that essentially these two groups spoke completely different languages, and never fully understood what was happening on the other side.
Eventually, this line began to blur as developers from both sides started taking on each other’s tasks. This cross-pollination of languages and technologies contributed to a greater understanding of how everything fits together which led to a smoother development cycle with fewer issues throughout the process. Voila, the full stack developer role was borne, a move that delights everyone from the developer to management.
While full stack developers are not necessarily a master of everything required to develop an application, they can work both sides of the equation as they understand how it all works together.
Becoming a full stack developer
Here are some of the key languages and technologies skills you need to call yourself a full stack developer.
- HTML and CSS
HTML is the most basic component of a web page. Most websites that you access use HTML to some degree. CSS, or cascading style sheets, allows you to take the basic HTML format and style it into something more attractive than what you can do with HTML alone.
- A backend language such as Node.JS, Ruby, Python, Java, or PHP
- A database technology such as SQL, MySQL, or MongoDB
All but the most basic web applications will require some data storage and retrieval. You should know the difference between relational (SQL) and non-relational (MongoDB) databases, and which would work best for your situation.
- Basic application structure
You must know proper code structure, proper database structure, how to host files and how to execute operations in the correct order and location (front-end or back-end). It would be best if you also have a familiarity with optimization.
- How to work with Git
Git is an open-source version control system for tracking changes in computer files and coordinating work on those files among multiple people. GitHub is one of the most popular choices on the market.
Skillsoft’s Full Stack Developer Bootcamp
Here’s a sample shot from one of the live sessions.
The Full Stack Developer Bootcamp is available as a part of our IT courseware and Bootcamp collections. Subscribers with access to the content in these collections can access recorded replays of the live class after February. For further details about the FSD Bootcamp, please go here.
Craig Szczepkowski is the Senior Manager of Live Bootcamps at Skillsoft.