Unleash full-stack potential with 5 key skills—front-end (UI, coding, frameworks), back-end (languages, frameworks, DBMS), Git & GitHub, web architecture, and soft skills. App Academy's immersive bootcamps empower your journey.
5 Must- Have Full-Stack Developer Skills
Calling all aspiring coding moguls and enthusiasts. If you’re considering entering the world of full-stack development, this blog post will help equip you with the insights into the full-stack developer skills you need to cultivate to be successful in this field.
We’ll discuss what a full stack developer needs to know and cover the tech stack for full-stack developers. By the end of this post, you’ll have a clear idea of what you need to know to venture down this exciting career path.
What is a Full-Stack Developer?
First, the basics. What actually is a full-stack web developer and how does the role compare to other kinds of developers?
There are many kinds of developers in the coding field; upwards of 10+ different titles to choose from. When it comes to web development, the three most common types include front-end, back-end, and full-stack.
Keep Reading: Best Programming Languages for Front-End Web Development
A back-end developer, however, works on the server-side and is responsible for making the various actions and functions of the website or application work. This includes managing databases and servers, integrating business logic, and connecting the back-end to the front-end. They use languages like Python, Ruby, Java, and .NET along with databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, or MongoDB.
Keep Reading: Best Programming Languages for Back-End Web Development
A full-stack developer is a jack-of-all-trades, encompassing the skill sets for both front- and back-end development. They understand the “full stack” of web development languages, databases, frameworks, and other components.
Why Should You Become a Full-Stack Developer?
In today’s digital world, being a specialist in one field often isn’t enough to gain the competitive edge. Employers in the modern tech industry value those with highly diverse skill sets and a versatile profile — that’s where full-stack development comes into play.
With full-stack developer skills, you’ll be able to handle what the user sees and modify the behind-the-scenes commands to affect how those features work. You’ll essentially have a comprehensive understanding of the entire system, how it works, and how to manage it long-term. Having this skill set makes you more valuable to employers because you can cover the role of two people with one position, potentially saving the company money.
This makes the career path lucrative and in high demand. In fact, a mid-level full-stack developer can make $117,746 annually in some states. And you may not even need a formal education to get started with most companies! Plus, many companies nowadays are hiring fully or partially remote employees for these technical roles, so you may be able to work comfortably from home. This all comes together to make becoming a full-stack developer a very rewarding career path.
The Must-Have Full-Stack Developer Skills
So, you want to be a full-stack developer — what’s next? Let’s break down the essential full-stack web developer skills. First, by the two categories of front- and back-end, and then by additional skill sets that can make you an even more appealing candidate in the field.
1. Front-End Development Skills
Designing and maintaining the front-end of a website or application requires the ability to create a seamless and intuitive UI, proficiency in three popular coding languages, and an understanding of frameworks to remain efficient. Let’s explore these front-end skills you should learn to become a master full-stack developer.
UI stands for user interface, and it is the design of the web page itself. This includes design elements like how things are laid out on the page, how they flow together, and how they draw the visitor's eye.
Accomplishing great UI requires an understanding of not just design, but also user experience (UX) principles and how users interact with web pages and apps. For example, if something is designed and feels “off” to a user because it is not what they are used to, it can derail their experience, make them lose trust, or convince them to click away (often without even realizing why they left).
That said, there is a lot of creativity afforded to the UI aspect of front-end development, which makes this many developers’ favorite thing to work on.
- HTML: Hyper Text Markup Language is the skeleton of web pages and provides the structure for how things are laid out on a page. It’s the standard coding language used to create websites and web applications.
- CSS: Cascading Style Sheets are like the skin on top of the structure, dictating the appearance and formatting of the HTML elements. This stylesheet language is used to describe the look of a document written in HTML and has power over the visual aspects. This could include things like layouts, designs, and variations in displays for different screen sizes or devices. With CSS and a dash of creativity, developers can create visually engaging designs that stand out.
In addition to languages, you’ll need an understanding of front-end frameworks. A framework is a pre-designed structure that developers can build upon. It provides a foundation of code that can be added to, eliminating the need to start completely from scratch while providing structured and standardized ways to create web apps.
They may include predefined classes and functions that can process inputs and interact with software. Popular frameworks you should know include React.js, Angular, Bootstrap, and Vue.js.
2. Back-End Development Skills
Moving onto the back-end skills, the magic that happens behind the scenes of a website requires additional technical experience. In addition to the skills discussed above, you must also know the server-side programming languages, understand backend frameworks, and be familiar with the management of database systems.
Server-Level Coding Languages
A key full stack web developer skill you need to know is the back-end languages. They’re different from the front-end ones in their functionality and complexity. These languages will communicate with databases, manage user connections, and power the server that hosts a website. There are many out there, but these are the three most popular back-end coding languages you need to know:
- Python: Known for its simplicity, Python is often used in web development, data analysis, and AI. It’s also often the first server-level language most aspiring developers learn. Because it’s simple and readable, it often means that less code is required and can lead to faster development advancements.
- Ruby: This language is popular for easy readability and elegance in function. It’s a fast, maintainable, and scalable way to handle common tasks so developers can focus on the more complex builds. This interpreted language is open-source and has a vibrant community constantly contributing to its development and maintenance.
- Java: Almost any desktop app, mobile app, game, website, or server can be built using Java. It is easy to use and write, so maintenance is simpler. It’s a high-level, class-based, object-oriented programming language that is designed to be platform-independent. It follows a “write once, run anywhere” principle that makes it fast and easy to code with. Known for its robust performance, Java is often used to build enterprise-scale applications.
Different from front-end, back-end frameworks aid developers in building software with ease and efficiency. The key difference between front-end and back-end frameworks is that front-end focuses on the UI and UX while back-end focuses on server-side logic and data management. The most popular frameworks for back-end use are Node.js, Ruby on Rails, and Django.
Database Management Systems
A database management system (DBMS) is software that interacts with users, apps, and databases to capture and analyze information. They allow users to create, read, organize, update, delete, and manage accessibility and communication between the database and the end user’s website, application, or program. They also ensure data safety and integrity.
Popular database management systems that full-stack developers should know include Oracle, MySQL, MongoDB, SQLite, and Microsoft Access.
3. Git & GitHub
Understanding how to use Git and GitHub are additional key skills you should learn. Git is a version control system that allows developers to track and manage changes to their code while GitHub is a hosting platform for Git repositories. Combined, these full-stack developer skills help users track changes, collaborate with teams, and manage their code efficiently.
4. Web Architecture
You’ll also need to understand web architecture, which includes understanding how to structure code, separate files, and how to structure data within databases. You will also need to understand how client-server communication works, which is the process by which the client (user’s device) sends requests to a server, which responds back with the requested data or an error message.
5. Soft Skills
In addition to the tech stack for full-stack developers discussed thus far, there are a variety of soft skills that are important to anyone in this role. One of the most important ones is strong communication and collaboration skills. This is because full-stack developers almost always work in teams as well as communicate with the client and need to be able to articulate their ideas and information clearly (and often plainly for end-users).
Problem-solving skills are also crucial as there’s no code that runs perfectly without bugs. Having the problem-solving mindset going into a coding career will ensure you can troubleshoot problems and correct them as they arise. And of course, critical thinking is a full-stack developer requirement so you can think of creative and innovative solutions to problems whenever they arise.
Adaptability is also important in this role. You’ll need to adjust how you work, your priorities, and more as project requirements change. Plus, you will need to continue your education as new technology arises so you can adapt to the changing world.
The Importance of Continuous Skill Development
The tech industry is known for its fast-paced evolution and full-stack development is no different. New technologies and frameworks enter the scene and a quality full-stack developer needs to stay on top of the new information. Keeping your full-stack web developer skills sharp will give you an edge in the industry and make you a valuable prospect.
Become a Full-Stack Developer at App Academy
Now that we’ve answered the common question, “what do I need to become a full stack developer?” let’s move onto the next step – starting your journey to becoming one! At App Academy, we equip you with the skills you need to jumpstart a new career in the field or take your current career to the next level.
Our immersive bootcamps cover a comprehensive curriculum that will teach you the essential full-stack developer skills, all within a robust learning environment supported by experienced instructors. With the skills gained from one of our programs, you can gain the confidence and expertise needed to propel your developer career in the direction you want to take it.
Schedule a call with an App Academy admissions counselor to learn more about our programs. And, if you’re ready to dig in deeper, start exploring our programs to see which one might be a good fit for you!
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