What is a full-stack developer, and what do they do?
A full-stack developer works on both the interface (front-end) and the inner workings (back-end) of a web application or website. These professionals possess a detailed understanding of different technologies that form a web-based system. These developers can effectively plan, troubleshoot, and execute elaborate plans for building web-based applications with their vast knowledge of the subject.
Here are some essential terms to understand the full-stack developer job profile and role.
- Front-end developer: They work on the part of the application a user views. A visitor accesses information, interacts, and submits information through the front end. These developers generally use three specific languages to build the front-end. These are commonly termed client-side languages that help build client-side or the side visible to users in the software. These include:
HTML: mainly used for content organization of the website or application.
CSS: used to design and determine how the application visually looks.
- Back-end developer: These developers are mainly responsible for the sections of the web application that visitors or viewers do not see and hence are termed “back-end.” This consists of elaborate code that runs on the server to handle different functions like delivering content, storing data, communicating with various applications through APIs, etc. In simple terms, all the tasks that do not need to be displayed are done at the back-end. Back-end developers can specialize in PHP, python, java, or any such language to develop their code. They also possess database-related knowledge for better handling of data. SQL and MongoDB are most commonly known.
Coming back to full-stack developers, they are developers that perform a hybrid or a combination of both these roles. Thus, they contribute to every aspect of the web development process. From creating interactive methods to server-side functions, they are implemented by full-stack developers.
However, it is essential to note that full-stack developers are not experts in all web-based technologies. These developers are assets to any development team, so they are highly in demand. Due to their well-versed comprehensive knowledge, they help the development team in optimizing efficiency and performance while catching issues before their occurrence, improving the overall process.
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Why hire a full-stack developer?
As mentioned, a full-stack developer is the ace of any web development team. Here are a bunch of reasons why you must hire a full-stack web developer:
- Approach versatility: Fluent in both front-end and back-end, full-stack developers know the requirements of the business as well as the use of the application. The skills enable full-stack developers to provide a better solution than any other developer. This especially comes into use when there are issues with budgets. Their ability to streamline processes with quick delivery on both server and client sides of the website application adds to their versatility.
- Agile skill set: The dexterous skills of a full-stack developer helps vastly in expanding a business. The ability to build codes and manage appearance simultaneously helps with the interactive nature of the application. Their enthusiastic nature and foresight help meet customer expectations and demands quickly. They also possess a trait of independence and hence do not require a shoulder to lean on.
- Problem-solving abilities: Budgeting is generally a problem in most developing areas. However, this does not allow them to compromise on their quality. This is where full-stack developers come into the picture. Hiring one full-stack developer is equivalent to hiring multiple professionals with different skills. It helps in saving a lot of money as one full stack developer can even work as a part of a team and collaborate with other developers while segregating responsibilities for on-time deliveries.
- Extensive knowledge: Endowed with expansive knowledge in different domains can be helpful in the expansion of their businesses. Handing ownership of a project to a full-stack developer is an easy task due to their wide expertise.
- Problem-solving capabilities: Being well-versed in different development phases of a web application, they can handle and identify the root causes of most issues while deploying effective and easy solutions. This improves the usability and versatility of any project. Furthermore, they also help in optimizing and streamlining all processes.
What skills should a full-stack developer possess?
The vast skill set of a full-stack developer is not acquired overnight. It comes with experience and continuous learning. The full-stack developer scope is vast and not clearly defined. However, here’s a list of skills that a full-stack developer must possess:
- Programming Languages: Well-versed knowledge in a few different programming languages like Java, Python, PHP, etc., is a must. A full-stack developer must be able to code with ease and should have an idea about the structure, design, testing, and implementation of at least two or more languages.
- Third-party libraries and frameworks: Largely help save time and add structure to your code. A well-versed knowledge of the subject is necessary to improve and optimize the code while also simultaneously saving time.
- Back-end technology: They must possess technical skills like Python, Java, PHP, SQL, MongoDB, GIT, etc. Apart from soft skills like communication, organization, management, and practical problem-solving and analytical thinking are required.
- GitHub knowledge: GitHub offers fantastic ways of learning, growing, sharing, and developing skills that can help with all sorts of projects and applications. Knowledge of how to use and navigate GitHub shall effectively complete a project while enhancing its functioning.
- Web application architecture: Structuring the code and the data also forms an integral part of their job, and a full-stack developer is bound to own fluency in it. This determines the computation time and efficiency of the code. Knowledge of the application’s architecture helps a developer determine how to structure the rest.
- Debugging or version control: Making changes in documents and codes constitutes a large part of the job. Understanding version control helps you keep track of every modification to your code. All of these modifications are stored in a database, and hence the need to know how to handle a database comes into the picture. This skill of version control helps in minimizing disruptions while working in teams.
- Design ability and creative thinking: The developer designs the project based on its design. A basic understanding of UI design, UX design, and prototype design is a plus while building an application.
- HTTP and REST: The HTTP protocol helps communicate with servers and clients, while the REST protocol acts as an interface between systems. RESt is a back-end translator as HHTP understands the front-end. A full-stack developer is a hybrid of the two that requires knowledge of both subjects.
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The career graph of a full stack developer
Like every other job role, a full-stack developer also starts as a junior developer. Once an experience of about 3-4 years is gained, the transition to a senior full-stack developer is easy. Senior developers should be capable of building out and managing the company’s infrastructure.
After spending some time as a Senior developer, advancement to a directorial level is normal. It is important to understand that despite the advancement, a director still spends time coding and handling bigger problems and other managerial responsibilities. Soft skills play a large role in this position.
A CTO role is what comes next in performing well as a director. The chief technical officer is responsible for providing technical leadership and guidance for the business. This is an executive leadership position. Thus, one must possess both business as well as technical knowledge.
These powerful positions are big leaps in terms of careers and also are compensated well. They significantly help develop web applications while keeping up with today’s technological trends. This is why full-stack developers are in demand.
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Getting started on your journey to becoming a full-stack developer
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What traits must full-stack developers possess?
A full-stack developer must possess The ability to work with complex media queries and single-page applications, well-versed knowledge of frameworks and libraries, reasonable knowledge of open-source relational database management systems(RDBMS), and knowledge of IoT end the least, good communication and interpersonal skills.
When to hire full-stack developers?
A full-stack developer is hired when there is a requirement for a project manager for client handling. They help cover tight budgets and lead the development team with their expertise.
Why are full-stack developers always in demand?
They present themselves as valuable assets to any company. Their abundance and diverse knowledge act as driving forces to lead any project irrespective of the financial conditions, to success.