So you want to become a full-stack developer (software engineer) and all the internet has given you before in terms of tips or “actually practical” advice is to be a determined, disciplined self-starter with attention to detail?
You’ve come to the right place then because today we will be talking about the real deal.
Who is a full stack developer?
First things first – who is a full stack developer and what’s so special about this person? Why are they among the top 3 role types in IT? And why are they in high demand among the lion’s share of companies, and startups (both tech-oriented and not)?
The answer to all of these questions is painstakingly simple. A full-stack developer is the ‘Jack of all trades’. And a good one at that.
The typical process of software development consists of 3 core elements:
– Understanding the business logic and implementing it
– Backend development or making sure that the “engine” of a product is running smoothly and securely
– Frontend development or the process of giving a product an appealing face value
Everything you interact within a website or an app is its frontend. Every line of the code that ensures that the system is operational is the backend. Business logic is about making the app do, what it is supposed to do.
A full-stack developer works on all three functions.
You need to know at least one programming language to be a programmer. A full-stack developer needs to be fluent in many.
HTML/CSS: These languages are the backbone of the modern internet. HTML handles content inputs and website structure, and CSS makes the web visually appealing. If you’ve ever loaded a website and all it had shown for a while was a list of menu links, you’ve seen what HTML does. Everything else that was loaded on tops, such as the visuals and the UI was CSS. And probably a pinch of JS. Speaking of which…
Python/Java/PHP/SQL: If you want to make the backend as powerful as the frontend is, you’ll need to master at least one of these languages as they ensure that the logic of your solution, validation, and interactions with the database run as smoothly as possible.
As you’ve probably figured out by now, a single technology is barely capable of sustaining a complex project. That’s why most developers have an entire stack they focus on.
MERN: This stack is composed of MongoDB, a very potent NoSQL database; Express, a super quick web framework; React, a hand JS library that handles UI; and Node.JS for the server-side.
LAMP: The LAMP stack stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. This is one of the more traditional full stacks.
MEAN: MEAN consists of MongoDB, Express, Angular, and Node.JS. This stack is one of the “cooler kids on the block” and not just because of its name.
Now that you know what you’ll be doing as a full stack developer and the fundamentals of technologies you’ll need to learn have been covered, it’s time for you to sink your teeth into the material.
One of the best ways to learn to code from scratch is to pick up a course. There are many courses available with online or classroom formats, one of which is Great Learning’s career accelerator program in Advanced Software Engineering. The best part about these courses is that they support theoretical material with practical elements, meaning you’ll learn through coding instead of plain old reading.
Then, when you are sure that you stand firmly on the ground, it’s time to pick up bits and bites of actual working experience.
If you manage to land the job of a junior full-stack developer straight off the bat – awesome! Hold on to it, at least for the time being.
Sadly, most serious companies and ‘dream come true’ workplaces expect a bit more than the certificate of completing a coding course. They demand skills and hands-on experience.
Where can you get it?
For starters, you can work on a project of your own that’s both a training exercise and a potential unicorn startup if the idea behind it is in the right place.
Alternatively, you can test your skills on platforms like UpWork. You probably won’t find the highest paying jobs there, but you’ll get relevant job experience and earn the cash to pay the bills. The deal is a definite win-win.
Congratulations, you are now an experienced full stack developer!