Many people misuse or misinterpret the term full stack. Full stack developer has been the subject of controversial debates over the past few years. This is because the World Wide Web has become more and more complex, and so does the role of a full stack developer.
Many people claim themselves to be a full stack developer, but only a handful of those people have the ability and the skills to be called a real full stack developer. While the rest of them fall into the ‘jack of all trades but master of none.’ This is when a series of questions comes in. A full stack developer, who is it? What are the requirements or qualifications to be one? Why is it a subject of debates and the list could go on. It is not so easy to understand all these at one go but to make things simple and easy to comprehend, let’s break down these topics into several fragments.
What is a full stack?
Full stack is a whole package of computer systems and applications, consisting of both front-end and back-end technologies.
What is the front end?
What is a back-end?
The back end is ‘behind the curtain’ scenes. The users do not interact with the back-end parts of the websites directly. These include manipulating data, logic, user authentication, and storing data. Back end developers use these languages such as PHP, RUBY, and Python.
Even a skilled back end developer may not have a thorough understanding of all these languages. He may be very familiar and comfortable with one of these languages, but not as good with the other. This is the reason why companies look for people who have mastered a particular coding language. You may have seen ads such as, ‘looking for RUBY developers,’ instead of back-end developers.
What is a full stack developer?
This is where things get a little complicated, as there is no straightforward definition. You may have already figured out by now, that a full stack is a combination of both front-end and back-end. You may be wondering why a full stack developer is needed. It is not uncommon to have front-end and back-end developers teaming up to work on a particular problem. And to make it more confusing, companies hire back-end developers with a master skill in one language.
It is even more confusing when it comes to the job listing; you will find companies looking for full stack developers and sometimes full-stack engineers. Also, there are some programs and courses which boast about offering full stack training. But the courses they offer are not comprehensive as to qualify for a full stack developer program. So, then who is a full stack developer, and who is a full stack engineer? Let us not be confused, there are similarities between these two, but there is a gap. Let us find the difference.
Difference between a full stack developer and full stack engineer.
A full stack developer must be flexible, meaning he or she must have a sound knowledge of both front and back-ends. A full stack developer must be equipped with HTML, CSS, and at least one back-end language.
On the other hand, a full stack engineer can also be called a full stack developer, but with a higher level of skills and experience. In addition to being able to dive into both front and back-ends, a full stack engineer must be able to manage projects like system administration and maintaining computer networks.
What is the role of a full stack developer?
A full stack developer is the one who can comfortably work on both ends. It does not necessarily mean that they are responsible for writing all the codes by themselves. As discussed above, a full stack developer must be flexible to fit in anywhere, front-end or back-end. He or she must understand what is going on at both the front and back-ends. In fact, full stack developers spend most of their time working in either one of the ends.
As a full stack developer, you will be working in all stages of the web development process, development of software, deals with networks, configure servers, and databases. Help your teams solve issues, participate in the development of products, make improvements, and contribute ideas for the success of the company. He or she plays a vital role in the development of products. In short, a full stack developer is in charge of the whole development process.
How to become a full stack developer.
It takes talent, skills, experience, dedication, and of course a lot of hard work in the quest to become a full stack developer. But it can also be fun, and absolutely rewarding. To become a successful full-stack developer, you have to be comfortable with the following technologies.
Front-end technology includes all the designs and animation that are displayed on the screen when you pull up a web page. They are used in constructing websites as well as user-interface for other applications on the web.
Hyper Text Makeup Language or HTML is considered the backbone of a web. HTTP is the first lesson in any online course or otherwise. Each and every website is built with the help of this tool. HTML helps the developers to build the structure and contents of a website.
Cascading Style Sheets alters or controls the appearance of HTML or web applications. The page layout, colour, background images, and fonts are controlled with the CSS.
After you have familiarized yourself with the front-end technologies, it is now time for you to become a master of at least one back-end language. As mentioned earlier, it is not necessary for you to have a thorough understanding of all the back-end languages. What is important is that you should be able to understand the basics, or in other words, you must be able to get the idea of what is going on around you. Learning at least one back-end language is a must though.
Choosing the best one can be challenging as there a multitude of options. A lot of people will give you different answers if you ask them which back-end language has more scope or the best. The answer to this question is simple; find your niche and your interest. But remember to learn all about it, learn how to utilize the language to the maximum. Here is a list of popular back-end languages.
- RUBY – It is taught as the first back-end language in many courses or programs. Rails and Sinatra are popular frameworks.
- Node.js – It is a right choice if you have a basic Java knowledge. Learning this language will be easy for you.
Other popular in demand back-end languages are PHP and Python.
Now that you are equipped with the front end and back-end languages, it is time to test all you have learned by moving on to more complex stuff.
Learning databases and storage.
It is vital that you understand these databases and storage related topics; NoSQL databases, connecting a back-end language with the database, in-memory data stores, and web storage.
Algorithms and data structure.
This involves improving algorithm and data structure skills by understanding queues and stacks, the importance of caching, learning to use objects and arrays, hash tables, and learning Big O analysis.
Git helps the developers keep track of alterations done in a codebase. An excellent full stack developer must understand it, and all things related to it. Git allows the developers to change people’s codes, detect missing codes, and update fixes.
HTTP and REST.
Learn the importance of REST in HTTP protocols, and functions of HTTP.
Complex web application.
This includes structuring code, separating files, hosting large files, and client-side vs. server-side.
Where do you start?
Understand the technologies, become familiar with as many as you can. Needless to say, this will automatically happen as your knowledge broadens. But it is not wise to make an attempt to bite off more than you can chew. Unless you are an exceptionally fast learner, do not try to learn too much. Becoming a true master of one is more than enough, keeping in mind that understanding the rest is fundamentally important.
Be smart in making your decision when choosing that one technology you wish to devote your time and effort. Do not make the mistake of making a quick, hasty decision. Take your time to understand yourself, know what you are comfortable with. Make a list of popular technologies among the clients, and pick the one you feel the most connected with. This will help you in the long run, and help you stay ahead of your competitors.
Kick start your career with a full stack development course. Even if you have a decent amount of developer’s skills and knowledge, taking a class is never a waste of time. In a world of technology that is improving and changing fast, it is hard to keep up. Taking an online course or virtual course will take you to a new level, and help you update your knowledge. Do not allow yourself to be deceived by programs and courses that promise to install everything into your brain in a couple of days. Also, avoid expensive courses; ask someone who is already into the program.
When you are ready to seek out an adventure in the world of information technology, make sure you boost your level of confidence by testing your skills through test web pages. Take up additional projects, work with people who have a lot of experience, and gather as many information as you can.
Scope or future of a full stack developer.
Technology is fast changing, and the demands of a full stack developer are increasing. It is a well-known fact that the web is becoming more complex year after year. In the past few years, millions of people have joined the online business community, thus resulting in an increase in web traffic. This has proved to be a piece of good news for tech-wizards such as full stack developers.
A lot of developers stick with either a front-end or a back end. This is because they are either satisfied with it, or they lack commitment. There are quite a lot of developers who decide to divert their attention to one end in the middle of their quest to becoming a full stack developer. As a result, an excellent full stack developer is hard to find, and they are of great value. This is exciting news to those people wanting to become a full stack developer.
With the increasing number of companies investing in online marketing, the need for a full stack developer is also rising high. These companies need someone who can manage both ends. So, it can be said that the future of a full stack developer is bright unless the web applications cease to exist.
Remember that you cannot achieve everything in a short amount of time. It is going to be a long bumpy ride. It takes countless hours of learning, a strong determination, and of course, patience. Remember, “Rome was not built in a day.” Nothing good comes by easily, be prepared to embrace the difficulties and hardships coming your way. But you should also remember that the reward of becoming a full stack developer is worth it.