Full-stack developers are the jack-of-all-trades of the web development world. They have a keen eye for graphic design, which allows them to create stunning sites. They’re also masters of coding and understand how things work under the hood. With such a diverse set of skills, it’s no surprise that the demand for full-stack developers is on the rise.
According to 38% of hiring managers, filling a full-stack developer position is the number one priority. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of full-stack developers will increase from 135,000 to 853,000 by 2024.
The average salary of a full-stack developer in the U.S. is estimated at 91,123 USD. Committed professionals have the potential to earn even more. As developers gain experience, companies offer higher salaries, perks, bonuses, and stock options.
If you’re interested in creating stand-out websites from the ground up, a career in full-stack development should be a great fit. To be successful, you’ll need to learn specialized skills in a wide range of areas. You’ll also need to regularly update your skills to stay on-trend. In 2019 it was reported that 60% of full-stack developers had to learn a new framework and 45% needed to learn a new language.
This article will go over the skills you’ll need to learn to land your first developer job. We’ll also discuss the different education paths you can take by comparing traditional programs with more focused web developer bootcamps.
A Brief History of Full-Stack Development
Between the late 1970s and the early 1980s, it was common for a single individual to write and execute a complete program. This all changed with the advent of client-server computing in the late 1980s, and internet computing gaining popularity in early 2000. Specialists were then required for every different layer of development. From the user-facing front-end to the data layer and the server functionality. Developing even a simple website became expensive due to the hiring of multiple specialists.
Programmers were forced to switch to more simplified and streamlined technology to deploy their sites. The LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack became popular along with frameworks like Ruby on Rails which allowed complex tasks to be completed much faster.
It wasn’t long before entire sites were being built by single individuals and the term full-stack developer was born.
What Does a Full-Stack Developer Do?
A full-stack developer is a professional that can work on both the front-end as well as the back-end of an application.
- Back-End: It’s the logical layer that’s not visible to the user. It consists of all layers required to interact with the front-end. The backend is primarily made up of a database layer, a security layer, a user request handling layer, and an API layer. Any mature programming language such as Python, Java, or PHP, can be used to develop the back-end.
If you’re interested in what a typical day might look like when working as a full-stack developer, check out our other post on a day in the life of a web developer.
Technical Skills Needed to Become a Full-Stack Developer
Full-stack development is a versatile and dynamic role that requires many different skills. Here’s a list of technical areas that aspiring developers need to master:
- Frameworks: Programming frameworks include a collection of modules or packages to help write web applications. Node.js, Express.JS, Hibernate, Python, Django, Spring, MYBatis, and ThinkPHP are some popular frameworks used by full-stack developers. By not having to worry about complex low-level details such as sockets or protocols, you can save time and be more effective.
- Databases: Most dynamic sites involve collecting, storing, updating, and retrieving information in one form or another. A shopping cart, for example, needs to store items, save a user’s postal address, and collect payment details. In order to do this, you’ll need a database. MySQL, Redis, MongoDB, and Oracle are common database systems used by full-stack developers. To communicate with databases you’ll also need to learn SQL (Structured Query Language).
- Design Skills: To create a great user experience, every full-stack developer needs to have an eye for design. This involves prototyping, UI design, UX design, and some graphic design skills. The front-end must be easy-to-use and look the part if you want to stand out from the competition.
- Version Control: Full-stack developers should have a good knowledge of version control systems to keep track of different versions of their code. This is especially important when working on large projects in development teams. Git is the most widely used version control tool for software development.
- APIs: An API (Application Programming Interface) allows various different apps to work together. To become a successful full-stack developer you need to understand REST and SOAP services.
- Server Configuration: All websites run from a server, and these servers need to be configured and optimized. You’ll need to understand Apache or nginx, and have a good background in Linux.
How to Become a Full-Stack Developer
The traditional way to become a full-stack developer is to earn a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. This will take 4 years to complete and cost around $30,000 per year in tuition fees.
Since a college degree isn’t actually required to land a full-stack developer job, many aspiring developers are looking at alternative education paths. If you don’t have the time to invest in a degree you might want to consider a web developer bootcamp.
Bootcamps are laser-focused learning programs designed to teach you career-ready skills, fast. You don’t need any prior tech experience to get started and many programs include expert mentorship to support you every step of the way. You’ll also receive job opportunities and guidance throughout the hiring process.
Enroll in our web development bootcamp today to launch your tech career. You’ll gain experience working alongside established developers and other aspiring programmers. As part of the training, you’ll build a professional portfolio to wow prospective employers and help you achieve the success you deserve.
Are Full-Stack Development Bootcamps Worth It?
A recent survey conducted by HackerRanks revealed that 1 in 6 young professionals have attended a bootcamp to acquire new skills. This suggests the next generation of developers is relying on bootcamps more than books or on-the-job training.
Many companies are following Google, Apple, and IBM’s approach to eliminate bachelor degrees as a job requirement. A staggering 70% of hiring managers now believe that bootcamp graduates are better prepared for roles than their degree graduate counterparts. They realize that skills matter more than a degree. Most hiring managers believe that bootcamp graduates are better at mastering the latest languages, possess substantial practical experience, and have the right kind of job aptitude.
The success of bootcamps is undeniable. In the last 10 years, the number of individuals attending bootcamps has risen by 11 times indicating a new trend in learning. In North America alone 20,000 bootcamp graduates attended 110 programs.
Your Next Steps
Web development is a booming field and top tech firms recognize talented developers who know multiple languages as invaluable assets. Companies understand that by hiring full-stack developers, they can reduce their costs. Instead of hiring multiple specialized professionals, they only need to fill one role.
This makes talented full-stack developers highly sought-after in the tech space. They enjoy above-average salaries, excellent job prospects, and job security. However, it’s a demanding job that requires continuous learning of various technical skills. Every year, full-stack developers need to refresh their knowledge of programming languages and frameworks.
If you’d like to get started in this highly rewarding field, consider joining a free webinar so you can pick up some of the basics and get a glimpse of coding life.. Whether you’re learning dev skills from scratch or want a refresher on all the latest tools and techniques, we’ve got your back. Alternatively, to continue learning about careers in tech check out our web development blog written for other programming newbies just like you.