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How to Become a Full-Stack Developer (Step-by-Step Guide)

The demand for competent full-stack developers is fueled by the world’s growing dependence on apps. That dependence doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. Tech gigs can be intimidating. But those willing to gut out the learning curve are often rewarded handsomely for their perseverance.

Becoming a full-stack developer may be challenging, but the path is fairly straightforward. This following blueprint to becoming a full stack was designed to take you through the necessary steps and give you a better idea of what the career path’s earliest stages look like. 

What is a Full-Stack Developer?

Web development is divided into two distinct classifications. There’s backend web development which, as the name suggests, covers the behind-the-scenes elements including databases, servers, APIs and more. 

Front end development is the other component of web development and it covers the user-facing elements like graphical elements, design, and the user interface. 

A full-stack developer then describes a developer capable of tackling both the frontend and the backend tasks. full-stack developers typically have a better understanding of design projects as a whole and can be much more versatile. 

What Does a Full-Stack Developer Do?

Their working knowledge of both front and back end development grants full-stack developers a remarkable level of occupational flexibility. They can build web applications and websites without any help at all, as well as move freely throughout large scale projects offering help in all areas. 

Seasoned full-stack developers don’t just save companies money, but their ability to communicate with and support everyone on a large team is invaluable. full-stack developers can write code, work on databases, manage the network, serve customers, or even join the sales force. Such is the value of understanding all facets of a project. 

How to Become a Full-Stack Developer

The only thing standing between you and a brand new career is a plan and a little bit of elbow grease. We can’t help you with the effort part, but scrolling down some will reveal an actionable strategy. Expect to learn more about learning resources, program languages, portfolios, as well as a list of 10 essential full-stack developer skills. 

1. Choose How You Want to Learn full-stack development

The path to becoming a full-stack developer can vary substantially from one professional to the next. A lot of eager young professionals desire to learn full-stack development which has led to an explosion of businesses stepping up to teach them. Which means each student can choose to learn in their desired way. 

Self Learning about Full-Stack Development

You could save yourself some money by teaching yourself. The internet is a veritable treasure chest of learning material just waiting to be absorbed by self-starters like yourself. Books, YouTube tutorials, podcasts, and at-home practice projects are a great way to inch you closer to that professional goal line and compliment more traditional learning methods nicely. 

Full-Stack Developer Internship

Full stack internships offer up-and-coming developers a chance to learn on the job and get paid for it. A lot of full-stack developer internships are made available to students actively pursuing a computer sciences degree, but there are always exceptions. 

Full-Stack Developer Certificate

Remote and in-person certification programs are a favorite across all proficiency levels. Whether you’re looking to start from scratch or brush up on a selection of skills, certificate programs offer flexibility and structure for those that crave both. Certificate programs are relatively contained too, with most boasting completion times of as little as a few months. 

Full-Stack Developer Bootcamp

Enrolling in a full-stack development bootcamp is an effective way to sharpen existing skills or learn new ones. Their three to six month timelines make for an efficient learning experience too. Bootcamps cater to those looking to learn fast, and can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. They’re also a lot less expensive than degree programs.

Full-Stack Developer Courses

Self-guided courses are affordable too. Some even come with instructor support and access to a community of eager full stack students to engage with. Course quality can be inconsistent, so you’ll want to do a lot of research before enrolling. Having said that, individual full-stack development courses offer time conscious students a much more palatable serving size. 

Full-Stack Developer Degree

If you have the time and resources, a bachelor’s degree in web development, computer science, or programming might make sense. Formal education certainly looks great on a resume. And though it is possible to learn all of the required skills independently, there’s something to be said for a proven, college-style methodology. 

Step 2: Learn the Necessary Programming Languages

The more programming languages that you know, the more useful you are to a potential employer. Web development is far from immune to the ever-changing nature of the tech industry. Which is why so much of a web developer’s success is dictated by their willingness to learn new and emerging programming languages. To start though, there remains a collection of front and back end programming languages that every self respecting full-stack developer would do well to learn. 

Front End Programming Languages

Front end development dictates what the end user sees, hears, and does. You’ll need a full grasp of the programming languages that ensure the functionality of an app’s visual aspects if you’re ever going to earn the title of full-stack developer. 

A full-stack developer is expected to understand the following front-end languages and frameworks: 

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Javascript
  • React JS
  • Jquery

Back End Programming Languages

The user experience doesn’t mean much if the behind the scenes machinations aren’t in working order. A knowledge of the primary back end programming technologies and frameworks is critical to ensuring that the websites remain functional. 

A full-stack developer is expected to understand the following back-end technologies and frameworks:

  • Python
  • Java
  • PHP
  • SQL
  • Ruby

Step 3: Create a Full-Stack Developer Portfolio

Your portfolio is your first impression. It deserves constant care. Revisit it regularly to ensure that it always highlights you at your very best. The goal of a successful portfolio is to authenticate your skills, but the stories behind your showcased projects are useful too. 

Step 4: Build Your Full-Stack Developer Resume

Your resume fills in the gaps left over from your portfolio. Here is where you’ll get to elaborate on your professional history, education, and skillset. There isn’t much room for personality in most resumes, but a well-edited and well-organized submission can say a lot. An error heavy resume can undermine even the most impressive portfolio. 

Step 5: Prepare for Your Full-Stack Developer Interview

Nailing a job interview is as much about preparation as it is about personality. Research the company, prepare answers to the most common full-stack developer interview questions, and be ready with stories and anecdotes that present you in a favorable light. Most importantly, tell the truth. Lies and exaggerations never work in the long term and they’ll likely come back to haunt you.  

The Main Tech Stacks to Learn

Websites and web applications require a collection of components to function properly. Specifically, they require an operating system, a database software, a programming language, and a server. That collection of components is called software stack, and a successful full-stack developer would do well to master the use of at least one of the three listed below. 

LAMP Stack

The LAMP software stack is one of the most popular and most trusted stacks in circulation. All of the components listed below are available for free too, making it easy for a novice to learn and experiment with it at their leisure.

  • Linux
  • Apache 
  • MySQL 
  • PHP

MERN Stack

The MERN software stack is lauded for its customizability. The popular JavaScript-based stack is comprised of the following components: 

  • MongoDB 
  • Express
  • React
  • Node.js

MEAN Stack

The MEAN software stack’s popularity is surging as of late. It’s considered the ideal JavaScript software stack because it streamlines the development of websites and web applications quite well. This stack is built using the following: 

  • MongoDB
  • Express
  • Angular.js

10 Essential Full-Stack Developer Skills to Learn

Employers expect full stack professionals to be skilled in a few key areas. As such, most people’s “how to become a full-stack developer” checklists start off looking alarmingly similar. The learning never truly stops for the successful full-stack developer, but your education should start by mastering the following 10 essential:

  1. Front End Development
  2. Back End Development
  3. Git and Github
  4. HTTP and Rest
  5. Web Architecture
  6. Database Storage
  7. Basic Web Design
  8. Version Control Systems (VCS)
  9. Application Programming Interfaces (API)
  10. Node Package Manager (NPM)

Top Full-Stack Developer Frameworks to Learn

Software frameworks provide developers with a platform on which to build. Though their one-size-fits-all composition can be limiting, using one can save a lot of time. There exist a variety of front-end, back-end, and mobile frameworks to choose from. Of the ever-growing list of frameworks, full-stack developers are usually expected to have a working knowledge of the ones listed below.

  • Django
  • Angular
  • Vue JS
  • Node JS
  • Ruby on Rails

Learn Full-Stack Web Development at Coding Dojo

You don’t need an extensive coding background to kickstart your web development career. The courses on offer at Coding Dojo were constructed and curated to draw a straight line from beginner to master. 

You don’t even need a credit card to get started. The Intro to Web Development workshop focuses on the fundamentals and is free from start to finish. 

Developers who are further along can bolster their expertise (and their resume) with our selection of bootcamps and training courses. 

Full-Stack Developer FAQ

What is Full-Stack Development?

A full-stack developer is a professional that’s equipped to tackle both front and back end development. Their deep knowledge base supplies employers with much needed versatility, which is why the job market for full-stack developers is so competitive.  

How Long Does It Take To Become a Full-Stack Developer?

Mastering full-stack development can be a lifelong pursuit, but standing on two feet can take as little as two years. How long your training takes depends largely on the training methods you choose and your commitment level. 

What is the Average Full-Stack Web Developer Salary? 

full-stack development is an attractive job featuring a lot of demand, plenty of career growth, and boundless opportunity. In the US, the average annual salary of a full-stack developer is north of $110,000.