Roadmap to full-stack: How to become a full-stack developer

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Full-stack developers are quickly becoming the most in-demand developers in today’s market. Specialized for agile development and devops, full-stack developers provide a unique jack of all trades perspective to every step in a project’s lifecycle.

However, full-stack developers need in-depth skills in multiple technologies, making it difficult to get started.

Today, we’ll introduce you to full-stack development and outline the next steps for your full-stack web developer journey.

Build the foundation of your full-stack career.Master HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for building your own functional websites.

Full-stack developers are people who know how to work on a product from both client and server-side. This means they’re familiar with front-end technologies, like JS or front-end frameworks (React, Angular. Vue, etc), web development technologies, and back-end technologies like MySQL, MongoDB, and Node.js.

Full-stack developers have skills in three areas:

  • Browser technologies (JavaScript, front-end frameworks)
  • Server-side technologies (ASP, Node.js)
  • Database technologies (SQL vs. NoSQL, MongoDB)

Full-stack developers are like a jack of all trades; they’re likely not as experienced with any particular technology as a dedicated front/back-end developer, but they have invaluable versatility and oversight of the whole process.

Advantages of being a full stack developer

The advantages of being a full-stack developer are:

  • Faster Prototypes: You can develop a product from conception to completion with just your own skillset. Reduces time lost from miscommunication or passing responsibilities.
  • Valuable: Your uniquely broad skillset allows the company to hire fewer programmers for a given project. This means you’re hard to replace and therefore will be well compensated.
  • Diverse Work You can shift from working on front-end development teams to back-end teams depending on where help is needed. What you focus on can vary each day and lets you work on a variety of problems.
  • Easier upskilling: More experience with previous technologies makes it easier for you to pick up newer ones. Your broad understanding of different branches of development allows you to quickly see the advantages of new technologies and how they can fit into your projects.
  • Unique input: Your collection of skills give you a unique and valuable insight when evaluating the next steps. Employers value this insight and will allow you to have more input in decision-making than the standard developer.

Disadvantages of being a full-stack developer

Full-stack developers are at the cutting edge of both front- and back-end technologies, meaning you’re required to do a lot of learning up front and continue learning new technologies as they develop.

More so than other developer positions, your ability to adapt to rapidly changing technologies is essential to being a valuable full-stack developer.

Unfortunately, most companies do devote resources or time to the extensive continued education effort required by full-stack developers. Instead, you will be expected to find your own learning materials and continue your education in your free time.

This cycle of rigorous continued learning can be too much for some developers.

Most common tech stacks

Full-stack developers usually specialize in a particular tech stack, a collection of technologies that work well together. Each technology in a stack is chosen to meet a specific need, like React to build user interfaces or Apache to create a web server.

Each stack has at least four components:

  • Database
  • Web framework
  • Front-end Framework
  • Server-side environment

There are many different types of tech stack that you can work with based on what tools you know. Most full-stack developers choose to focus on learning the tools in one stack-based on which is used by their target company.

The 3 most used stacks are:

LAMP Stack

  • Linux
  • Apache
  • MySQL
  • PHP

MEAN Stack

  • MongoDB
  • Express
  • Angular.js
  • Node.js

MERN Stack

  • MongoDB
  • Express
  • React
  • Node.js

All stacks use JavaScript in some facet, meaning it’s a must-have for any aspiring full-stack developer.