Full stack development is steadily becoming one of the most sought-after jobs in the tech market. After all, why would an employer hire both a front-end (client-side) and a back-end (server-side) developer when they can hire one team member capable of addressing both aspects of the web and software development process and bridging any disconnections between the two?
Before you decide to apply for a full stack developer job, you need to know what exactly the job entails. Below, you'll find a complete full stack developer job description to help you decide if it's the right career path for you. We also give you the best Full-stack Developer course recommendations and a full stack developer vs software engineer comparison, to boot.
Full Stack Developer Job Description: An Overview
A full stack developer is a somewhat new, hybrid role that refers to computer programmers whose skill set combines web design and web development. They can do so by mastering both front-end and back-end coding, categories that were mostly kept separate in the past.
Therefore, to give you a full job description, we first need to explain these two categories.
Front-end development has to do with the visible, final presentation of websites or applications and how they're laid out across web browsers and mobile devices. A front-end developer's focal goal and job are to provide clients with a platform that's both accessible and easy to interact with.
In contrast, the back end of a website is what makes the front end work. It refers to the hidden databases and infrastructure upon which front-end developers build. Therefore, a back-end developer is concerned with creating the algorithms and logic that allow websites or applications to function correctly.
A back-end developer needs to be well-versed in common back-end programming languages such as PHP, Ruby, and Python to build web applications, as well as the language used in database management, SQL.
Nowadays, the line between the front end and back end is progressively blurring. Many companies are leaning towards targeting developers who can work on all parts of a web application. That way, they can employ the best design tools and technologies for the best results, regardless of which side these tools belong to.
As the name suggests, a full stack developer job position provides a more holistic approach and bridges the gap between the two categories. Full stack developers master the full stack of technology required for developing software; that's to say, both the front and back ends of a website or application.
What Does a Full Stack Developer Do?
The typical duties and responsibilities, job descriptions of a full stack developer include:
- Participating in all software development stages and seeing projects through from conception till deployment and beyond.
- Developing and maintaining client-side website architecture using appealing visual design.
- Developing back-end web applications.
- Ensuring cross-platform optimization for mobile devices.
- Designing and developing effective APIs.
- Creating databases and servers.
- Collaborating with graphic designers to implement web design features.
- Maintaining quality and guaranteeing the responsiveness of applications.
- Testing software and troubleshooting bugs and other coding issues.
- Maintain applications' code integrity and organization.
- Remaining up-to-date regarding all new developments in programming languages, web applications, and industry trends.
Full Stack Developer Job Requirements
The specific requirements for a full stack developer job will vary depending on many factors, including the seniority of the position. That said, for a full stack web developer to have a competitive edge in today's cut-throat job market, they should meet specific requirements:
- Bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering, or another related technical field.
- Employers looking for a full stack developer for a more senior position may prefer a Master's Degree in Computer Science instead.
- Proven working experience as a full stack developer is always a plus. A company may sometimes hire a full stack engineer with years of proven hands-on experience in place of an academic degree in computer science.
- Experience in UI/UX design.
- Familiarity with server-side programming languages, including Python, Java, Ruby, PHP, and .Net.
- Experience in database technology, including Oracle, MySQL, and MongoDB.
- Experience working with web server technologies such as Apache, Node.js, ISS, and Nginx.
- Strong knowledge of system design, data structures, and algorithms.
Full Stack Developer Additional Skills
Those technical full stack developer skills mentioned above aren't enough to set you apart from tens or even hundreds of other applicants and prove you're capable of fulfilling your responsibilities. A well-rounded full-stack engineer must also possess and demonstrate a wide array of soft skills in the workplace.
This includes being a team player with a knack for working both unsupervised and in tandem with a large team, demonstrating a desire to learn and grow continuously, and great attention to detail.
As written above as a requirement, you should also have excellent written and verbal communication skills, problem-solving and time management skills, and strong project management and organizational skills.
Typical Career Progression for Full Stack Developers
Before entering the job market, full stack developers typically obtain a degree in programming, computer science, information systems, or related technical subjects. They should also expect to present a portfolio of their previous work on applications and websites they've designed on either front or back ends.
A full stack developer would generally begin their career as a front or back-end developer. After mastering their respective skills, they can extend their skill set to include the intersection between them.
A full-stack developer at the junior level would typically have between 2 and 5 years of practical experience. This entails gaining familiarity with all computer software development layers and having an initial understanding of how all features on the client and server sides work from top to bottom.
To progress to the senior level, the full stack developer needs more than 5 to 7 years of proven experience. However, this is never the end-all, as you'll always need to expand your software and web development skills. It's recommended to continue your professional development by attending courses and seminars.
Why Become a Full-Stack Developer?
Anyone thinking about pursuing a full-stack development career must be an expert in both front-end and back-end coding. Given a choice to specialize in only one side of software design, the decision to master both may seem strange.
It does, however, have a convenient reason. While choosing to learn the full spectrum may be overwhelming, it'll undoubtedly make you a more valuable member of any team or company you join.
Thankfully, if you're considering switching from a front-end or back-end development to a full stack job, your time and years of technical work experience aren't at all lost. There are plenty of transferable skills that'll help you make the jump to full stack, as you'll mainly need to expand upon what you already know to take on additional responsibilities.