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How to Become a Full Stack Developer: Master Software Development and Web Design

You’ve likely heard the terms front end and backend if you’ve been looking into how to become a full stack web developer. Front end web developers deal with those parts of a website that a user sees when accessing a website, whereas backend developers take care of things behind the scenes, ensuring websites and servers are up and running. 

But what about the people who know both areas extraordinarily well? Full stack developers are highly-valued tech experts, taking care of both front end and backend development. They’re great people to have around if you’re developing a web presence for something like a small business. Studying full stack development is a great way to start a career in tech

But first, what exactly is a full stack developer, and what do they do? 

What Is a Full Stack Developer?

A full stack developer is a web developer who is well-acquainted with both front end and backend development. A full stack developer can create, modify, and host websites. 

Through knowledge of computer science, including how to use programming languages and how to navigate user experiences and user interfaces (UX/UI), a full stack web developer is capable of nearly every aspect of web development.  

Let’s dig a little deeper and examine some key facts about becoming a full stack developer.

What Does a Full Stack Developer Do?

A full stack developer works on every aspect of developing a website and web applications. Working on both the front end and backend, a full stack web developer is responsible for all of the components of a website’s development. 

A full stack developer has to learn JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, and must be able to program servers as well. 

Below are some of the key responsibilities of a full stack developer.

Programming Web Applications

This is where a full stack developer uses HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Programming skills can be used for several development elements including UX and UI development, as well as client and server software development.

Programming Servers

This is where programming languages like Node, Python, and PHP come in handy. Servers and the backend keep websites running. While the front end is what we all see, the backend holds all of the pieces together. 

Essential Full Stack Developer Skills

What do you need in your computer science toolkit to succeed as a full stack developer? Let’s take a look at some of the essential full stack developer skills.

Programming Language Proficiency 

Since full stack web developers deal with almost all aspects of a website, they need to know several programming languages. At a minimum, they will need to learn Python, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. 

It also helps to learn MEAN, MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js.

Business Logic

Having a full stack knowledge of websites requires particular business skills, specifically business logic. You will also need to understand digital marketing, advertising, and e-commerce. Rather than a more concrete skill like expertise with programming languages, business logic is an essential soft skill for software design.

Project Management 

Are you a good team leader? Are you someone who can help spur on a team to achieve specific goals? Having excellent project management skills is essential for a seamless full stack development job. 

Full Stack Developer Salaries and Job Outlook

According to PayScale, full stack developers earn a median salary of $78,330, with the range falling between $54,000 and $144,000. Keep in mind that this depends on the location of your job, the company you work for, and other considerations. Overall though, the average full stack developer salary can vary greatly. 

The job outlook for web developers is also relatively strong, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting an increase of 8 percent over the next ten years, much faster than other occupations. Anyone interested in becoming a full stack developer can look forward to a promising salary and encouraging job prospects. 

How Long Does It Take to Become a Full Stack Developer?

It will take about three months as long as you apply yourself and dedicate yourself to learning the necessary skills. 

How to Become a Full Stack Developer: A Step-by-Step Guide

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To become a full stack developer, follow these critical steps.

How do you become a full stack developer? While it might seem at first like there isn’t a clear path, that isn’t quite right. There is a specific process you can follow to become a full stack developer. 

Step 1: Learn Programming Languages

Both front end and backend developers use programming languages every day. And as expected, full stack developers use multiple programming languages in nearly every aspect of their jobs. 

While front end developers may use only a few languages like HTML and CSS, full stack developers use a staggering number of languages. Learn as many programming languages as you can.

Step 2: Learn Front End Development and Backend Development

To learn full stack development, you must first master both front end and backend development. You will need to learn backend elements such as programming servers and hosting, as well as front end elements such as the user interface and user experience. You can do this on your own or take computer science courses to help you along.

Step 3: Practice and Build Projects

Creating and experimenting with your knowledge of website development is crucial to landing a job. You can show potential employers your expertise with a robust portfolio, including your in-depth coding knowledge and UI design skills. 

Required Education to Become a Full Stack Developer

The level of education required to become a full stack developer depends on your ultimate career goals. Surprisingly though, not many full stack developers have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a similar field. Many full stack developers can get by with an associate degree as well as specific certificates. 

Best Programs and Courses to Become a Full Stack Developer

There are a few excellent courses to learn to become a full stack developer.

Udemy – The Web Developer Bootcamp 2021

This is a fantastic beginner’s course. With over 60 hours of videos and critical materials to learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, this is easily one of the best courses to explore. 

Instructor Colt Steele teaches this bootcamp and covers all of the necessary skills to master both the front end and backend.

Udacity – Full Stack Web Developer Nanodegree Program

This nanodegree, through Udacity, is a four-month bootcamp. During this course, students learn everything from data modeling for the web to server deployment and containerization.

If you aren’t quite ready for this nanodegree, Udacity also offers various other courses covering the material you will need to succeed. 

The prerequisite for the course is a basic knowledge of programming languages like Python, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. 

Full Stack Developer Certificates

Certificates in full stack development can go a long way to helping you land a job. They demonstrate that you are knowledgeable in specific aspects of software and web development. Below are some great certificates to explore. 

UC Irvine – Full Stack Web Development

This certificate for full stack development is brought to you by the UCI Division of Continuing Education. Students receive a certificate after completing 12 units (equivalent to 120 hours of study). Keep in mind you will need to achieve at least a “C” average in these courses to receive a certificate. 

The certificate program offers a few great classes, including:

  • Introduction to Web Programming with HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and React 
  • Server-Side Development 
  • JavaScript II 
  • jQuery II

University of Pennsylvania – Computer Science Essentials for Software Development

This computer science certification covers everything that you need for effective full stack development. Offered online via edX, it will take students four months to complete and costs $536 to attend. It is an entirely self-paced course, so you can take it stress-free.

The course includes several classes, including:

  • Algorithm Design and Analysis
  • Software Development Fundamentals
  • Data Structures and Software Design
  • Programming for the Web with JavaScript

Should You Become a Full Stack Developer in 2021?

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Is landing a full stack web developer job right for you?

If you are a talented web developer, whether it’s in front end or backend development, learning a bit more to become a full stack developer is a fantastic idea. You will undoubtedly have more freedom to create if you understand all aspects of web development. 

If you are dedicated enough, know your stuff, and put the time in, becoming a full stack developer can open up new opportunities for you in your future career.

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