Full Stack Developer Career Path: Definition, Skills, and Outlook

Are you a detail-oriented yet holistic-minded person? Do you desire a tech job with a wide range of responsibilities?

If so, you may want to explore careers such as full stack developer. Because of the role’s wide-ranging expertise, it calls for diverse skills and extensive training. A full stack developer is a valuable addition to any tech company or information technology (IT) department.

Discover what you need to embark on the full stack developer career path.

What Is a Full Stack Developer?

In exploring tech careers, you have likely heard the coding terms “front end” and “back end.” The term “front end” refers to user-facing website content: the text users read, the buttons they click, and the videos they watch. The term “back end” refers to the architecture of the website: its database and its host server.

So what is a full stack developer? Full stack developers manage the front and back ends of websites. They are in charge of not only what the client sees and interacts with but also the behind-the-scenes operations of the server. They also manage the technology that tracks clients’ interactions (cookies, cache, local and session storage) as well as the way a website processes and uses data related to these interactions.

What Does a Full Stack Developer Do?

Full stack developers are sometimes confused with full stack engineers. While a full stack engineer creates system architecture, a full stack developer designs websites, applications, and application programming interfaces (APIs). In practice, the roles of full stack engineers and developers may overlap. Particularly in smaller companies, an employee may fulfill both roles.

Among their many responsibilities, full stack developers:

  • Design and test software and applications
  • Lead teams of other developers
  • Write and test both front- and back-end code
  • Solve problems within applications
  • Monitor web architecture

Full stack developers often work in IT companies. Still others find jobs in various industries as tech specialists.

Full Stack Developer Skills

Full stack developer skills include technical and people skills. Full stack developers must master digital technologies such as:

  • Programming languages like Java, Python, C++, and sometimes Ruby or Perl for back-end operations
  • SQL, data serialization, object-relational models, and other tools for communicating with databases
  • HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for creating website content, and JavaScript (as well as JavaScript libraries like React.js and Node.js) for automation and dynamic web content
  • Git for source code management, as well as familiarity with a Git hosting service, such as GitHub or GitLab
  • User interface/user experience (UI/UX) skills for making appealing and usable websites
  • HTTP, as well as HTTP-based APIs including REST and GraphQL, for communication between services and applications

Full stack developers also head teams and consult with clients. They should work on their ability to communicate effectively and solve problems creatively. They should be meticulous. They must possess the flexibility, focus, and self-sufficiency to take on multiple tasks at once, plus the organizational skills to manage projects efficiently.

Full Stack Developer Career Paths and Outlook

According to Payscale, the median annual salary of an experienced full stack developer is about $80,000 as of 2022. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the job market for web developers and designers overall will grow by 13% from 2020 to 2030, outstripping general job market growth.

Full stack developers can find jobs in a wide range of environments. The IT industry as well as the publishing, consulting, and advertising industries employ many full stack developers. According to Indeed, top hirers of full stack developers include Microsoft, Northrop Grumman, IBM, Cisco, Verizon, and Capital One.

How to Become a Full Stack Developer

Full stack developers typically have earned a bachelor’s degree. Some companies look for candidates with a degree in computer science or programming. However, if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, don’t give up hope. Many tech and non-tech workers become full stack developers by training outside of college settings and by building their resumes and professional networks.

Launch Your Full Stack Developer Career

Revature is on a mission to make technology careers attainable for people of all backgrounds — no expensive bootcamp needed. When you become a Revature associate, you get paid to train for an exciting new career for 10 to 14 weeks. After that, we help you find your first tech job: You’re placed with one of our partner organizations.

With Revature, you can obtain all the soft and hard skills you need to become a tech professional. Discover how you can change your career path in a training program that pays you to learn.

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