What is a Full-Stack Software Developer: Job Role Explained
Whether you’re in high school and figuring out what you want to do when you enter the workforce, or you want to make a career change, if working in the field of web development is something that you’re interested in, becoming a full-stack software developer might be an option worth considering.
What is a full-stack software developer? What skills are required for this role? How do you obtain a job in this field? To find the answers to these questions and more, keep on reading.
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Full-Stack Software Developer Explained
A full-stack software developer is a professional programmer who works within the field of software development and has the knowledge and skills that are necessary for both the front- and back-end of applications. Full-stack developers use their skills to develop a seamless experience for users.
In addition, full-stack developers are highly knowledgeable and skilled in databases, as well as server configurations and user interfaces.
It should be noted that while full-stack developers are knowledgeable in both front- and back-end application, these professionals don’t have to know everything. Rather, they should have a basic understanding of what happens on the front end as well as on the back end.
What Does a Full-Stack Web Developer Do?
As mentioned, a full-stack web developer designs and creates websites and applications used for a variety of platforms. Since they are well-versed in both the front-end and back-end, they can be considered Jack’s and Jill’s of all trades in the world of software development.
As per LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs Report in 2020, industries with the most full-stack software developer jobs included:
- Computer software
- Information technology (IT) and services
- Financial services
- Higher education
The following are examples that a full-stack web developers job description might include:
- Develop and maintain web services and interfaces
- Add to the development processes that are needed on both the front- and the back-end
- Develop new product features or APIs
- Conduct tests, perform assessments, troubleshoot software issues, and correct bugs
- Work with other departments in the field of software development on various projects
Full-stack software development is a wide and diverse world. It is constantly evolving and new technologies are constantly being introduced that push the limits of the creations that full-stack developers are capable of.
As such, it is important for full-stack web developers to remain on top of the most recent technological advancements and techniques in the field, which helps to keep things interesting and adds to the excitement of working in this field.
What Skills Do Full-Stack Web Developers Require?
Professionals that work in full-stack web development can be creative, have graphic design skills, are tech-savvy, have a vast amount of internet skills, and pay attention to detail. In order to obtain a career in full-stack web development, you will want to acquire the following skills:
- Back-end development. Back-end development involves using back-end programming skills, such as PHP, CakePHP, Python, and Ruby on Rails, as well as having an understanding of how both algorithms and business logic function.
- Web design. Web design entails the use of various types of software, such as Photoshop, in order to create and design the graphics and themes on a website or application. Being knowledgeable in web design as a full-stack software developer is helpful, as it will help you understand how to develop the navigational elements and backgrounds, as well as the audio and visual elements, on a website or application.
- Database management. Full-stack software developers should also be skilled in database management. As a full-stack developer, you should have the ability to design, understand, and make use of and apply database queries, as well as web storage.
When working as a full-stack software developer, familiarizing yourself with some of the following programming languages and tools is highly recommended:
- Apache HTTP Server
- Angular JS
- Microsoft SQL Server
- Ruby on Rails
The Advantages of Working as a Full-Stack Software Developer
Working as a full-stack software developer, you will combine both creativity with analysis, and you’ll have ample opportunities to learn about and implement new and innovative principles in your line of business.
Working as a full-stack web developer can be a lucrative endeavor. According to Glassdoor, as of October 2022, the average annual salary for professionals with this job title was $81,188. It’s important to note that this does not include additional payments, such as commissions and bonuses, which many full-stack software developers are offered yearly.
On average, the additional pay for those in this role amounts to an estimated $5,915 annually; however, higher figures are certainly possible.
Full-stack software developers have a positive career outlook. As per the LinkedIn Emerging Jobs Report in 2020, rapid advances in technology increased the demand for full-stack software developers and made these professionals invaluable for various companies.
The field has experienced a growth rate of approximately 35 percent since 2015, and it is projected to continue increasing for the foreseeable future.
How to Become a Full-Stack Software Developer
If you are interested in becoming a full-stack software developer, you will need to have the knowledge and skills such a position requires prior to looking for work. The following are some simple tips that you can use to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to become a full-stack developer.
Earn a Degree
While it isn’t required, earning a degree can certainly help you attain a job as a full-stack software developer. An estimated 72 percent of full-stack developers have a bachelor’s degree. Typical areas of study among full-stack developers who earn college degrees include computer science, computer engineering, or other related fields.
Attending college can allow you to acquire and hone both the technical and workplace skills that are needed in order to function as an effective full-stack developer.
Look for Entry-Level Jobs
There are several different levels of jobs in full-stack software development. Search job boards for entry-level positions in order to gain an understanding of the types of skills that employers are looking for in full-stack developer applicants.
Hone Your Coding Skills
Develop a Portfolio
While having a well-designed, clear, and concise resume is important when you are applying for a job as a full-stack software developer, showcasing your specific skills on a single piece of paper. Develop a portfolio that showcases your best work and present your portfolio to prospective employers.
Compile projects that you have completed throughout your training or via previous positions that you have held. Include screenshots of your work and indicate and describe which technologies you used and your role in the development of each project.
Prospective employers will be impressed with your effort, and they will be able to easily see what you are capable of and what you can offer their company.
Practice Potential Interview Questions
Interviews for roles in tech-related fields typically include a technical portion. During this part of the interview, your prospective employer or a higher manager might ask you to complete a live coding exercise, a design challenge, or assessments that you can take home to complete.
Hone Your Soft Skills
In addition to technical skills, full-stack software developers should also have soft skills, including:
- Problem solving. Figuring out how to navigate challenges that arise is imperative, and your problem-solving skills will allow you to quickly, efficiently, and successfully navigate whatever problems may arise.
- Creativity. Being creative can be helpful for front-, back-, and full-stack software developers. From designing the look and function of a website to managing the records and data, there are ample opportunities when the need for creativity may arise.
- Attention to detail. Working in the field of software development requires paying close attention to the code that you are creating. Attention to detail is vital as it will allow you to create visually pleasing and functional websites and applications. It can even help to save you a great deal of time and frustration.
- Patience. A lot of time goes into coding, and being patient and maintaining a calm, positive demeanor is important, as it can impact your success in this field.
- Communication. Being able to openly communicate – and communicate well – with both your co-workers and your superiors – will allow for a more productive, efficient, positive, and successful work environment. If you have the ability to communicate technical issues or concerns as soon as they arise, you will be able to find effective solutions as quickly as possible.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.