Developers can now specialize in different aspects of web development ranging from design to server-side coding. Full-stack development involves both back-end and front-end programming. These developers need to know multiple languages and have a comprehensive understanding of the web development process.

We're going to help you narrow down the skills you need to learn to get hired as an entry level full-stack developer. But in order to understand full-stack web development and start your career with a great entry-level job, we need to look at front-end development and back-end development separately first.

What Is Front-End Development?

Front-end development involves handling the visible parts of a website or mobile applicat. This includes formatting content on a page, constructing the layout, adding images, and adjusting fonts and colors. It’s the responsibility of front-end developers to build a platform that visitors can easily interact with.

What Is Back-End Development?

On the other hand, back-end developers deal with databases. They maintain the data received from users and make sure it’s stored securely by the server. They’re also responsible for managing the servers where the website is hosted.

Full-Stack Developers Combine Both Skills

A full-stack developer understands both front-end and back-end programming. And as you’d probably expect, the demand for full-stack developers is high. For that reason, many people are looking into full-stack development as their new career.

So, whether you’re a recent graduate or someone who’s looking for a career change, this article is going to dive into what it means to become a full-stack developer.

Skills Required to Become A Full-Stack Developer

It’s important to note that full-stack developers work in many different roles. These roles could include, but are not limited to, managing algorithms or working on complex projects. Because of their large range of tasks, they need to have wide and deep knowledge of the layers of software development.

Studies have shown that full-stack developers are able to get up to date with new technology and tools much faster than someone who specializes in front-end or back-end development. This is because full-stack developers already have so much knowledge in all aspects of web development.

Below is a list of some of the necessary skills required to be considered a full-stack developer.

Front-End Development Skills

Front-end development involves the visible parts of a website where user interactions happen, and it’s usually where new programmers start their path to full-stack development. Programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are used to create user-friendly websites or apps.

HTML is the principal language you need to know to build a website. Almost all websites are HTML-based. With HTML, you can build the structure and content of your web pages. At present, HTML5 is the version being used although the basics of HTML are largely the same.

Along with HTML, you have to learn CSS to get hired as a full-stack developer. Using CSS, you can control how a web page looks. It provides you with the options to set fonts, colors, images, and more. The reason you need to know both HTML and CSS is that you can control the HTML elements using CSS. Presently, CSS3 is the version in use.

JavaScript is what adds life to your website. It helps you make the site more interactive. It’s a scripting language that instructs programs on what to do. And as a bonus, functions that used to be performed by back-end developers can now be done using JavaScript.

Many sites are developed using only HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. But, other tools may be used according to the requirements to enhance the appearance of the site. Learning HTML and CSS completely would take around one month if you’re a beginner. These languages are easier to understand than JavaScript. To get the hang of JavaScript, you’ll need to dedicate a few months to learning and practicing it.

Back-End Development Skills

Back-end development is focused on the behind-the-scenes work of making a website. These are sections that users don’t interact with. To be proficient in back-end development, you should understand the following languages.

Python is one of the most popular programming languages today, and it’s relatively easy to learn. It’s object-oriented which means that developers can use blocks of code to build sites. Python is used in software development and scripting. Generally, Python scripting is carried out on the server-side but can also work on the client-side. Server-side denotes the databases and servers which make a website work, whereas the client-side is the user side. Like JavaScript, Python also has frameworks. It’s an essential language to learn if you’re committed to earning that full-stack developer title.

Ruby is a programming language and Rails is the framework for Ruby that helps you code intuitively and efficiently. Ruby on Rails is used to develop web applications. It provides code for many basic functions that developers incorporate in their websites. This reduces the need for coding repeated functions and ultimately makes troubleshooting easier. Ruby on Rails is extremely user-friendly and someone without any prior coding experience can learn it.

Like JavaScript, PHP is a scripting language. It can be used to automate many processes. This includes responses to user actions, interactive animations, etc. Usually, web developers use it on the server-side. This means that it can be used to get the site’s content from its database and display it for the users. PHP is not the most important language you need to know but it will help you with server-side management - a responsibility that every full-stack developer will need to take on at one point or another.

Apart from these programming languages, you can opt to learn JAVA, C#, and Perl for added value. Whichever language you choose to learn, you need to understand the fundamental aspects related to it. For example, Python is an object-oriented language and you’ll need to know how to best use objects for efficient code.

To be a full-stack developer, you also need to know about databases for back-end development. MySQL, Oracle, and MongoDB are some of the popular databases. Additionally, although it’s not a mandatory skill, it would be good to understand web design. It’ll help you have a clear idea of what the website is expected to look like.

How to Get Hired As A Full-Stack Developer

As you can see, being a full-stack developer requires a lot of knowledge related to client-side programming as well as server-side programming. Fortunately, there are different ways you can go about becoming a full-stack developer.

For starters, you can choose to get skilled at either front-end or back-end development. There are a ton of options as to how you can learn the required programming languages. To kickstart your career as quickly as possible, you can enroll in courses like Thinkful’s Software Engineering course. These courses are fast-tracked and will teach you everything and more that you need to know to start your career.

Once you begin to pursue your education, you should start building your portfolio. Work on various projects that’ll allow you to showcase your skills. By creating a solid portfolio, you’ll have a better chance of getting hired. It’s also a good idea to build a website for yourself. Building a website to showcase your skills and host your portfolio will show potential employers exactly what you can do.

Salary Of A Full-Stack Developer

As of July 2020, reports that the average annual salary for a full-stack developer is approximately $109,373. But, if you choose to specialize in the front end or back end, you can still expect a great salary. Front-end developers can earn up to $108,319 and back-end developers can even make up to $127,623.

While you may eventually opt to specialize in either front-end or back-end programming, excelling in an entry level full-stack development position will give you great experience, and make your resume that much more appealing when you reach for higher level roles.

Land Your First Full-Stack Development Job

You have to start somewhere, and fortunately when it comes to web development, you’ll have plenty of great job opportunities along the way. When you start by learning front-end or a back-end programming, you’ll gain valuable knowledge and experience. Once you’ve done that, you can aim to become a full-stack developer, which will open up your career options even more and put you on track for leading an engineering team.

There are a lot of languages and web development concepts that you need to know to become a full-stack developer.  This profession is ideal for those who love to learn and are motivated to grow in their career. Your dedication will pay off in the form of high salaries and great benefits.

If you’d like to learn about Thinkful’s Software Engineering course to kickstart your career, our team is ready to answer any of your questions to lead you towards a fulfilling career in tech.

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