Web developers handle the creation and maintenance of websites and web apps. Web developers can be front-end developers, back-end developers, or full-stack developers depending on the scope of their role in web development.
Front-end developers deal with the client side of web development, including all the visual elements and the overall user experience. Back-end developers deal with the server side of web development, which includes maintaining the technology to keep the server, application, and database running.
The combination of these two focus areas is full-stack development. We’ll share some tips for getting hired as a full-stack developer, and help you plan out a long-term career in programming.
What Is a Full-Stack Developer?
Full-stack developers are professionals who have the knowledge and expertise of both front end and back end processes of web development. It’s like they have all the keys to the house and know exactly where everything is kept. But the role of a full-stack developer is much more complex than that of front-end and back-end developers.
Getting Hired As a Full-Stack Developer
Full-stack developers are in high demand in the field of web development. Smaller businesses look to employ full-stack developers to take care of the whole process of website development, but even bigger companies like Facebook and Google are increasingly hiring engineers with full-stack capabilities.
The first step toward a career as a full-stack developer is to learn the necessary front-end and back-end programming languages. You’ll need to be familiar enough with code across the entire web application stack so that you can dive in anywhere if needed. This can be done by following the traditional route of getting a college degree in computer science or a related discipline, or other paths like self-learning or bootcamps. For example, Thinkful’s web development bootcamp trains you in:
- Web development fundamentals
- Creating asynchronous web applications
- Serve-side programming with NodeJS
- Advanced front-end: React
- Advanced topics like data structures and algorithms
Become a Successful Full-Stack Developer
If you’re early in your development career, you should familiarize yourself with all the popular web development technologies but also aim for mastery in one of them. Make your decision based on the tools and languages that are currently in demand among your target clients, as well as those you find interesting. Having a specialization will give you an edge in the job market and allow you to create exceptional work within your niche.
But if you’re angling for a coveted full-stack development position, then you’ll eventually have to branch out of your specialization and learn multiple languages. After earning your degree or certification and mastering your skillset, find ways to get practical exposure to both front-end and back-end programming. Hands-on client experience will help you apply your theoretical knowledge and skills to real-world scenarios.
Start working on projects that require full-stack development knowledge to help you fully understand web application architecture and hone your coding abilities. Employers will appreciate your efforts to take up additional projects and assignments, particularly those in areas that fall outside your expertise.
Jobs Titles for Full-Stack Developers
There are many job titles that fall under the category of full-stack development. Don’t forget to include these common job titles while you’re searching for full-stack developer roles:
- Junior full-stack developer
- Full-stack developer
- Full-stack engineer
- Software development engineer
- Full-stack software engineer
- API engineer
Full-Stack Developer Skills on Your Resume
Since the job profile of a full-stack developer involves expertise in overall web development, you need to develop skills across the full spectrum of relevant expertise areas. Listing a precise set of technical skills will help you stand out to an employer. Below is a list of common systems and languages you should including on your resume if you have skills in these areas:
- Google Compute Engine
- Android and iOS App Development
- Knowledge of back-end languages like PHP, Python, Ruby on Rails
- Git and GitHub
- Web Development Stacks (LAMP, MEAN)
- Database Technology (MySQL, Oracle, MongoDB)
- Web Markup (HTML5 & CSS3)
- Content Management Systems (WordPress)
- Basic UI / UX Design
- Version Control Systems / Git
- HTTP & REST API / SOAP
Full-stack developers often become the leaders of the engineering team. So apart from technical skills, you should also mention your soft skills. Some of these could include:
- Analytical thinking
- Good time management skills
- Project management abilities
- Organizational abilities
- Communication skills
- Collaboration and teamwork abilities
- Attention to detail
Creating an Outstanding Full-Stack Portfolio
While your resume gives employers an idea about your education, certifications, and skills, an excellent portfolio provides concrete evidence of your abilities and will help you to stand out from the competition. A portfolio is a collection of your best work, and if you want to land a full-stack development job, you’ll have to display a wide range of coding abilities. It should highlight your strengths and skills through projects you’ve accomplished. A portfolio helps your future employers gauge your skills, strengths, and talents.
Here are some points to be considered while building your portfolio:
- Demonstrate your knowledge: Your portfolio should showcase your coding strategies and ability to learn quickly. You can demonstrate experience by showing how you’ve helped your co-workers with new skills. Use this to pitch yourself as the best candidate for the full-stack developer role.
- Give a professional impression: Make sure that your portfolio looks professional. Your site should be laid out with a logical and intuitive set up, with no spelling or grammatical errors. This will help in projecting a professional image of your work.
- Ensure that your overall design and UI are impressive: Your design and user interface (UI) should be visually sharp, innovative, original, and impressive. If your portfolio sites don’t look up to date, you might miss out on job opportunities.
- Get a reputable hostname and domain name: Make sure that out of the tons of hosts available, you pick one with an outstanding reputation, and then invest in a custom domain name. Install an SSL certification on your site to demonstrate your care for visitor security.
Preparing for a Full-Stack Developer Interview
During an interview, the recruiter will want to assess your knowledge and skills along with your interpersonal skills. Below are a few steps to help you prepare for an interview for a full-stack developer position:
- Ask the recruiter beforehand about the interview format.
- Revise your basics, especially theoretical knowledge.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure what’s being requested of you.
- Engage your interviewer with a friendly and confident demeanor.
- Look at each problem from various angles, and adopt a multifaceted approach to solutions.
Technical Interview Questions
Some of the more popularly asked technical questions are:
- What’s the most crucial programming language for full-stack developers?
- What coding projects are you currently working on?
- What is pair-programming?
- What is CORS?
- What’s the use of Bridge Pattern?
- What are the factors that lead to a successful continuous integration?
- What’s the difference between REST and GraphQL?
- What are some of the best ways to optimize a website and enhance scalability and efficiency?
- Sometimes integrating third-party services in your API requests takes a while to respond. How can this issue be avoided? Can you name some technologies that can solve this problem?
Besides the above, you may also be asked about your favorite programming language and your recent learning experiences. Make sure you’ve prepared so you can answer the questions confidently, and emphasize your passion for full-stack development.
Behavioral Interview Questions for Full-Stack Developers
During the behavioral portion of the interview, the recruiter will assess your soft skills. This part of the interview will let the recruiter know how you think, how you react to challenges and conflicts, what your conflict resolution process is, and your personality as a team player.
Behavioral questions usually sound like:
- Tell me about a time when you handled a challenge.
- Tell me about a time when you failed in achieving a goal and how dealt with it.
- Describe a situation when you had a conflict with a team member and how you resolved it.
- Tell me about how you work under pressure. Give an example of when you successfully managed to work under pressure.
- Tell me about a time when you’ve handled a massive project. How do you deal when things don’t go as planned?
Full-stack developers have to engage with every member of the engineering team, so the behavior questions are a crucial aspect of your interview. Follow the STAR approach to answering behavioral questions. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Describe each of these elements for your example scenario, being sure to mention any positive outcomes achieved.
Finding Your Ideal Full-Stack Developer Job
Since there are a wide variety of job titles that fall under full-stack development, you should research the field thoroughly before applying for different positions. It’s worth trying to narrow down what you’re looking for in a company, your role, and your career. Then jot down a list of your skills and strengths and match them with what the right job profile demands.
Join a network of professionals from the same or related fields, and take the time to grow your contacts through networking and professional development events. You can keep learning about new developments in the field by reading web development books and popular blogs, like Thinkful’s Software Engineering Blog.
The life of a full-stack developer is full of challenges and rewards. You’ll have to keep learning new skills as technologies evolve. In return, you’ll enjoy high salaries and lots of opportunities to move up the ranks. Keep perfecting your craft, prepare for your interviews, and before long your programming expertise will earn you a job that you love.
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