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How to Become a Full-Stack Developer In 2021

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Creating web or mobile applications and websites is no easy task. It requires a great level of skill and knowledge to do so.

Most people are proficient in one aspect of web development such as the front-end or the back-end or maybe they excel in linking databases or creating a kick-ass UI.

But certain developers work in all these aspects, meaning they are knowledgeable about each step of website development and they are known as full-stack developers.

Becoming a full-stack web application developer or a full-stack software engineer takes years of experience, a high level of knowledge and practice with various technologies.

In this article, we will cover the various topics related to becoming a full-stack engineer.

Here is a quick list of topics you will learn about:

  1. What does full-stack mean?
  2. What is a full-stack developer?
  3. What does a full-stack developer do?
  4. Full-stack developer skills required in 2021
  5. What technologies should a full-stack developer know?
  6. Full-stack developer salary

The list is quite extensive, so let’s begin!

1.      What Does Full-Stack Mean?

To understand this question, let’s look at the stages of developing a website or an app.

  1. Creating the front end and an interactive UI
  2. Developing the back end and creating servers
  3. Using the right databases for storing code
  4. Testing and launch

Full-stack means a stack of all these components.

A full-stack project is where you need to create a front end, a back end and perform all the steps necessary for the app to launch. Hence it is the entire process from the project planning stages to completion.

MERN stack development or MEAN stacks are common terms you will hear in comparison to full-stack. These stands for:

  1. M – Mongo BD
  2. E – Express
  3. R/A – React/ Angular
  4. N – Node JS

All of these frameworks are based on JavaScript. This is in itself a full-stack because you can create an entire web or mobile app with these.

The difference is that the full-stack includes HTML and CSS etc. while the MEAN stack and the MERN stack include only Java-based frameworks.

2.      What Is A Full-Stack Developer?

A full-stack developer is a software engineer or an application programmer who has the expertise to develop an entire app or website.

So s/he knows about the frameworks for creating the front-end, the languages used for the back-end, the databases to store the code and the skills to execute the entire project alone.

This seems like an incredible job on paper. But there are only a few full-stack developers who can actually do this work in the real world.

The benefits of becoming a full-stack programmer include:

  1. You can lead development teams and guide the different departments since you know each aspect of it.
  2. You will have the unique ability to link the concepts from each of the development stages and present an idea within a short amount of time.

The downside of full-stack engineers is that most promise more than they can deliver. You have to learn a large number of programming languages and practice working with different frameworks to master them.

And sometimes, that means you can still not master them to the extent that only the front end or a back end developer can.

3.      What Does a Full-Stack Developer Do?

The job description of a full-stack developer includes details of all the steps involved in developing an app or a website.

You will see that a job description for a full-stack developer mentions the responsibilities you should be able to perform.

These include creating project-specific user interfaces using the particular front end frameworks that are suitable for the app or the website. Or developing the client-side backend with all the features and the admins needed in the app.

There are other responsibilities of a full-stack application developer, such as:

  1. Optimizing the app or website for iOS and Android i.e. making them cross-platform
  2. Creating the front end suitable for devices of various screen sizes
  3. Knowing enough about graphic designing to work on creative animations and other designs.
  4. Leading teams.
  5. Drawing up project outlines or proposals.

Even though full-stack programmers are not extremely proficient in the minor details of front end frameworks or animation work, most job descriptions will include that as well because this is a high ranking position and employers prefer candidates who are expert full-stack software engineers.

4.      Full-Stack Developer Skills Required In 2021

With the world going global at a rapid pace there are many more businesses in need of high performing apps and websites in 2021.

For that, they need full-stack engineers. This has increased the competition for the programmers.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, here are the full-stack developer skills you need to learn to become one of the best in 2021:

  1. Ability to create an interactive user interface
  2. Proficiency in creating a front end using any of the popular frameworks.
  3. A good grip over HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  4. Experience in using the different back end frameworks available.
  5. Ability to handle PHP, Python or Java as the backend
  6. An in-depth understanding of web architecture
  7. Know about HTTP and REST and how communication works between systems
  8. Learn about the details of NoSQL and other storage databases
  9. Ability to interact with the online communities for help
  10. Creativity, professionalism and other soft skills

Since full-stack programmers are hired to take care of the project from start to finish, your employers or clients are looking for skills that show them that you can do the work on your own.

As we mentioned above, there are a few different methods of using React JS with Laravel.

You can write the code from scratch and program the React JS front-end with the Laravel, or you can use the laravel/ui, which we will briefly cover below:

5.      What Technologies Should A Full-Stack Developer Know?

Being a full-stack engineer you will have to deal with many programming languages used in front end and back end development.

So before we even talk about the full-stack technologies list, you need to ensure that you are well versed in programming languages such as PHP, Python, JavaScript, C# and others.

All of the frameworks and technologies mentioned below are based on these programming languages. So you need to know how each one is coded, integrated, tested and used in development.

Now, here is a list of the technologies in full-stack that every full-stack application developer should know in 2021:

a.      Front end technologies

The most common front end frameworks are all JavaScript based. You can read our detailed post on the front end frameworks in 2021 to learn more about it. The names of common front end technologies include:

  • HTML: to set up your website structure and code for where the various elements will go. You can use this to edit text on the front-end.
  • CSS: you use this to set up the layout of your frontend HTML elements.
  • JavaScript: used mainly for setting up the UI. Frameworks include Angular JS, React JS and more.

b.      Back end technologies

There are several languages used to code the back end of an app or website. Some of these are:

  • PHP: this language is integrated with HTML and you can use its frameworks such as Laravel and Symfony. You need it to gather data, create files on the client-side, perform operations and return information to the front end.
  • Python: this has a few additional functionalities. You can create graphics easily and the coding is also simplified as compared to PHP. Most apps are built with python as the backend so this is a technology you must
  • Java: this comes with its unique features such as the freedom to reuse code for which you should know how to use it.

c.      Database Technologies

If you are developing the app from start to finish, then you also need to learn the technologies used for the storage of data from the user and the client-side.

Some of these include

  • MySQL: a dynamic database technology, this is used mostly for web apps.
  • MongoDB: this is a versatile tech You also need to learn how to use its database drivers and choose the correct programming language to match it as well.

6.      Full-Stack Developer Salary

The average full-stack software engineers’ salary is $78,951 / year in the USA according to PayScale and in the UK it is £35,142/ year.

The actual salary varies from country to country. It also depends on how skilled you are and who your clients are. An experienced full-stack programmer earns around $102,891/ year in the USA.

Full-stack application developers do a lot of freelance work as well and earn a handsome income through that.

As we mentioned above, there are a few different methods of using React JS with Laravel.

You can write the code from scratch and program the React JS front-end with the Laravel, or you can use the laravel/ui, which we will briefly cover below:

Final Words

The job market for full-stack software engineers has not been steady for a long time. And that is partially due to the controversies surrounding this job.

Some people believe that full-stack engineers are great because they can take care of your entire project.

While others think that if a person is knowledgeable about everything, then they are experts in none. So the naysayers look at full-stack programmers as nothing but mediocre.

You should form your own opinion on the matter. And give full-stack development a try on to see who is right in 2021.

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