How to Become a Full Stack Developer in 2022

The ongoing development of technology has resulted in the emergence of new roles that can fuel career paths in a variety of industries. For individuals interested in pursuing a career in stack development, the prospects are especially promising, from mobile engineering to interactive games creation to corporate banking. So, what are the specific skill sets programmers need to stand out as a competitive candidate in the job market? What training do prospective professionals need? Are there jobs available for those who are about to enter the field? Where do you go to find out how to become a full stack developer?

If you’re ready to become a full stack developer in 2022, it’s helpful to get a comprehensive look at this promising career path. Read on to prepare to take your first step toward becoming a professional web developer!

What Is a Full Stack Developer?

If you’re new to the field, you may be asking yourself, “What is a full stack developer?” Before we get into what a developer does, we’ll first explore full stack development more broadly.

A web application consists of two sides: a front end and a back end. The front end is the code that runs in the user’s web browser, resulting in what the user sees on their screen. The back end is code that runs on the web server, pulling in external information from databases and other sources to communicate with and help a website function. Front end developers use HTML (HyperText Markup Language) to structure the web pages, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to style them, and JavaScript as the programming language that adds features to make everything ‘pop’ in HTML. On the other hand, back end developers use a variety of programming languages to serve data to the web browser.

The term ‘full stack’ applies to the entire development process and incorporates both the front end and back end, and professionals responsible for coding these in tandem are all referred to as full stack developers.

All of this information might be a lot to take in, especially if you haven’t yet learned the programming languages and tools required for full stack development. Luckily, there are many helpful resources available to help you break down the steps and get you on your way to entering the field. University of Denver Coding Boot Camp, for example, teaches key skills for front and back end development within 12–24 weeks.

Step 1: Develop your coding skills

If you’ve already enrolled in a coding boot camp, you’re well on your way to laying down the groundwork to learning the requisite skills for full stack development. That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that developing your programming skills is an ongoing process. Fundamental skills like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are a great place to start. From there, most full stack developers specialize in specific back end programming languages like Ruby, PHP, or Python.

  • Ruby is an open-source programming language that is easy to read and write, allowing for enhanced productivity.
  • PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is an open-source, all-purpose language well suited for web development. It can also be embedded into HTML.
  • Python is a general-purpose programming language that uses an object-oriented approach to help programmers write code for both small- and large-scale projects. Its high-level design philosophy emphasizes code readability.

Many programmers stay competitive by becoming fluent in more than one language, which can help to increase their qualifications for landing a job requiring a broader skill set.

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Step 2: Get an education in programming

Typical requirements for full stack development call for fluency in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Additionally, having strong knowledge of the languages mentioned in step one, and working with server technologies, API development, and data structures are also recommended. If you aren’t yet familiar with these terms, don’t worry — you’ll become more comfortable navigating the programming world as you get started on your development education.

In fact, many potential full stack developers earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer programming, then gain additional hands-on experience on the job after they graduate. A traditional university path is a good learning option for aspiring programmers who do not yet have a degree.

However, if you already have a degree in another subject, or you’d like to gain programming skills quickly, it’s possible to qualify for full stack development roles with a solid portfolio, good references, and relevant open source work. Many employers hire candidates who have attended a full stack developer course as an alternative to earning a traditional degree.

Whether you choose to earn a degree, enroll in a full stack developer course, or dive in and build real-life experience, the path to becoming a full stack developer can take time. It’s not just about learning front end and back end technologies — it also takes drive, eagerness to learn, and patience.

Step 3: Build a portfolio

While a resume is a key component to landing any job, every full stack developer should also have a portfolio that displays their work –– preferably the work they are most proud of. This is your time to show off to recruiters what you’ve done and what you can do. Because what a full stack developer creates can be such a visual product, having a portfolio can effectively convey your skills.

Possessing a diverse skill set may be one of the most important things for an organization looking for someone who can hit the ground running as a full stack developer. Your portfolio provides a dynamic, visual experience while displaying your range of knowledge in front and back end development.

It also shows the employer that diversifying your skill set is important to you, and that you are willing to go the extra mile to expand your programming abilities. Making an excellent first impression can make the difference between being hired and being looked over. Building a solid, full stack developer portfolio of diverse projects gives you the chance to make an excellent first impression.

Step 4: Get a certification

As the tech industry expands, employers become more reliant on programmers –– especially those with full stack development capabilities. Candidates with coding skills are increasingly in high demand by companies in nearly every industry. As the need for developers grows, so does the number of courses teaching competitive curricula to prepare learners for careers in web development. If you haven’t decided to get a certification, sign up for a course that teaches HTML or a similar foundational programming language to understand what’s ahead.

Step 5: Prepare for the job search process

A full stack developer resume alone won’t necessarily guarantee a job, but a strong one will absolutely help during the pre-interview process. So, how can you prepare for a position as a full stack developer?

Aside from providing prospective employers with your resume and portfolio, it’s important that you prepare for the interview. Study up on the skills programmers need to succeed as full stack developers, highlight the courses or former experience you’ve collected from past jobs, and figure out where you’d like your career to lead in the long-term. Job boards can also be a helpful resource, as many include blogs with sample questions an interviewer may ask. Doing your research and locking down your answers in advance can help you stay focused and confident during the interview. That said, you may be asked questions that aren’t on a list, so stay focused on yourself and your experience — authenticity goes a long way with managers.

Step 6: Become a full stack developer

Whether your specialty will be computer programming, data or electronics engineering, or general web development, your full stack developer job description may vary from other similar roles, so be sure to read up on what the job entails and that it aligns with what type of specialization you’re interested in.

If you’re already working in the field, you may be more familiar with the day-to-day tasks you’ll be responsible for as a full stack developer. If you’re a new, junior full stack developer, you can expect some onboarding processes, meetings with senior developers, and eventually, your first assignment. While you may be eager to move up quickly, it’s simply a matter of time before you move from junior to senior developer.

Why Pursue a Full Stack Developer Career?

Pursuing a full stack developer career is a smart move, especially as the demand and salary don’t seem to be decreasing any time soon. According to reports by a Burning Glass Technologies analysis, the projected growth for popular full stack-related roles is in the double digits percentage-wise:

  • Data engineer: +20.8%
  • Data scientist: +14.5%
  • Software developer: +17.3%

An image projecting the job growth for three full stack developer jobs.

The same Burning Glass Technologies labor insight analysis reports that the median full stack developer salary is $76,247; $111,435 for a data engineer; $87,143 for an electronics engineer; and $91,938 for a web developer. Regardless of the full stack developer job description or title, becoming a full stack developer can be a lucrative move in building your future career.

How to Become a Full Stack Developer FAQs

Those interested in becoming a full stack developer often have questions –– questions that may warrant quick, clear answers. Below, we’ve covered the most common concerns so you can determine your path to becoming a full stack developer.

Full stack technology refers to the end-to-end functionality of a computer system application. Full stack developers are the people who manage the web development domains of the front and the back ends. The front end generally includes all user-facing interactive and visual site aspects, while the back end refers to the underlying coding and infrastructure that helps the site operate.

The short answer is, it’s up to you. Depending on the route you take, the time involved in becoming a full stack developer varies. Those going the bachelor’s degree route will need to dedicate a few years to their education, however, boot camps like University of Denver Coding Boot Camp can have you up and coding within 12–24 weeks.

Software engineering is an umbrella term that includes full stack web development. Software engineers, like full stack developers, can opt for a certification program or a bachelor’s degree in computer-related sciences. For software engineers, some jobs even require higher education degrees. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between the two, including salaries:

Software engineers

Full stack developers

  • Experience
  • Certification
  • Optional: bachelor’s degree
  • Annual U.S. median salary average of overall specializations $100,000 [Burning Glass]

Though the average annual salaries for both full stack developers and software engineers are over $100,000, software engineers’ requirements are usually more rigorous and may take more time.

According to Burning Glass, a general computer programmer’s median annual salary is about $76,267. However, because full stack developer specializations can differ based on industry, experience, and location, salaries can vary slightly. Therefore, this is just an average of the most common specializations.

Become a Full Stack Developer Today

The landscape of technology has expanded. As technology grows, so does the need for full stack developers to manage the multifaceted skills required to handle both the front and back ends of computer development systems. A full stack developer has the qualifications, experience, and flexibility to take almost any position in application development, making them a must-have for any company.

With the growing demand for full stack developers, jobs for those who earn certifications through coding boot camps can take advantage of the ample jobs and job opportunities available, as well as the high annual salaries in a relatively short amount of time.

Ready to start your journey toward becoming a full stack developer? Enroll in University of Denver Coding Boot Camp and learn the skills you need to gain a competitive edge in this growing industry.

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