According to a 2017 survey by LinkedIn, the profile of a full-stack developer ranks fourth in the list of top 10 emerging jobs in India. Another report by Belong released in October’18 revealed that there has been a 20% growth in the demand for full-stack developers. An Indeed research based on similar lines included full-stack developer on the third position in the list of best jobs in 2019. While this report is based on U.S. data, a similar trend is being witnessed in India as well.

So, what makes the profile of a full-stack developer so sought after?

With an increasing number of startups and micro-businesses taking over the market, full-stack developers are considered as valuable assets for any company. By investing in one experienced full-stack developer, you can ensure that someone will take care of all your coding-related needs—and you don’t have to rely on 2-3 software developers to do the same job.

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Who Is A Full-Stack Developer?

In the most layman terms, a full-stack developer is comfortable working with both back-end and front-end technologies. Their primary role includes a combination of everything from front-end/back-end development, DevOps, as well as, design.

You’re essentially expected to be aware of all the necessary technologies required to execute a project taken up by your company.

Evidently, this renders the description of the job of a Full-Stack Developer vague and subjective to the needs of the organization you apply for. In some organizations, you would be asked to develop more on front-end and just overlook back-end development. In some, you would be asked to lead a project technologically and monitor the progress of each of the departments. You could also be involved in handling clients, assigning and managing work and other non-technical tasks as a part of the job.

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The Advantage

The primary advantage of a full-stack developer is that they can design the entire prototype for a product quickly and efficiently. Not just that, they have a broader understanding of the entire set of technologies involved in the product. This ensures that the output has minimal glitches. For instance, a UI designer would not be able to gauge probable knicks that may arise at back-end due to their design. Especially for startups, someone with wide-lens on technicalities always serves as a boon in reducing cost, time and effort on a project.

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The Disadvantage

Full-Stack developers are often called “Jacks of all trades, Masters of none.” They are generalists who have knowledge about various technologies used in software development. However, they are not considered as experts in any one of them.

Keeping in mind the diverse profile of a Full-Stack developer, here are the key skills you would need to become one.

Skills Required

Front End Technology

The starter-pack for any front-end developer definitely includes HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Hence, they are the primary front-end technology that you should get a good grasp on these before starting out on the rest.  HTML is the tool you would need to add content on your website while CSS would help you design and style the content you put out. So you should be well-versed with Semantic HTML, CSS Box Model, Preprocessors and Media Queries.

Additionally, you could also get accustomed to Bootstrap. It is a framework that can further assist you in the layout and design of your website. Once you have a strong command over these technologies, you can shift your focus on JavaScript. According to Stack Overflow 2018 Developer Survey, JavaScript is the most popular language, not just in Full-Stack and Front-End, but also in Back-End. To top that, it has remained in that position for the six consecutive years.  This is simply because it is the only language that runs natively in the browser. In addition to that, it can be doubled up as a server-side language as well.

Once, you’ve brushed up on these basic front-end technologies, you can further hone your skills by getting to know certain front-end frameworks or third-party libraries like NodeJS, REACT, AngularJS, LESS, SASS, JQuery, etc. While no one expects you to know all of them, having a strong command on at least one is recommended.

Back-End Programming Languages

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A back-end language is meant to handle application logic, user authentication, and database operations. After getting a hang of the Front-end technologies, this is the next thing that you must start on. Now the question that might pop-up in your head is which language should you learn. The same Stack Overflow Survey, listed down the most popular programming languages. While JavaScript topped the lists, back-end languages like Java, Python, PHP, and Ruby too were among the top 15 on the list.

Java’s is the second-most popular language that is used for back-end development. With the popularity of 45.3%, according to the survey, Java’s USP is – “write once, run anywhere. As a result, Java is a preferred choice by 90%  of Fortune 500 companies, according to one of the most renowned IDC industry analyst, Al Hilwa.

Next on the list is Python. Python’s 38% popularity can be credited to the fact that it is the most user-friendly language. The syntax is intuitive, simple and almost English-like making it a popular choice for beginners. Python is used in the Django framework for back-end development which has been used by companies like Spotify, Mozilla and even Instagram.

Similarly, PHP and Ruby are also great choices with 30.7% and 10.1% popularity respectively. PHP has been a vital back-end choice for tech-giants like Facebook, Wikipedia, Yahoo and even WordPress. It a preferred go-to language for freelance web-developers. On the other hand, Ruby has associations with businesses like Twitter, Bloomberg, Shopify and even Airbnb. It is preferred because of its friendly user-community and simple syntax.

According to us, as long as you understand all the subtleties of one particular language very well, it doesn’t matter much which language you choose to go with.

Database and Web Storage

Any project that you would be working on as a full-stack developer would need data storage. And so, you would need to know how to store and interact with that database. Database systems are primarily required for application functionality, analytics, and organisation. Depending on the purpose you wish your database to solve, they can be categorised into three categories. First is the traditional SQL or relational databases. Second, comes the non-traditional NoSQL databases. And lastly, there are the Non-Native database management systems that allow users outside the community to insert and retrieve data.

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Each category has its own popular choices:

  • Relational databases: MySQL or Oracle Database
  • NoSQL databases: MongoDB or Apache HBase
  • Non-Native database management systems: Toad or Sequel Pro

The list for each can be endless so we leave it on to you to choose the most suitable one for your project.

Going in for a dev interview? Here’s a quick read to help you prepare for it. Click to learn more.

Know-how of Architecture Design

Now, this is where you start looking at the big picture. You try to look at the overall web-application design. First of all, you should t know how to structure your code and organise your data.

Additionally, you should also have clarity about development nuances like hosting large files, structuring data and other computational tasks. For this, you should know about platforms like Heroku and AWS and understand popular application design standards. Overall, you should have basic knowledge about prototype design, UI and UX design.

Git

Github screen

Lastly, you don’t want your project to get lost in collaboration. You will require a version monitoring software that records changes that are being made to your codebase. And for this, you have Git.

Considering that you would need to overlook the development of your project, understanding Git would help. As it would enable you to fix and update the code without causing any functionality breakdowns.

In The End

Apart from the above-mentioned technical skills, certain non-technical skills can also come handy for a full-stack developer. For instance, you need impeccable communication skills and efficient time-management. They can help you a lot in managing not just your team but also in dealing with your client. Similarly, creative thinking,  curiosity to try and know about the latest technologies are other skills that will aid you. You would need them to design and create applications that will make your team and organisation stand out.

Macbook pro screen with Code

That being said, you need a strong learning curve to become a full-stack developer. While, you’ll never stop learning, start with the basics, build up your core-skills and keep on improving as you navigate your professional career.

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