There exist a gazillion buzzwords in the software industry, and believe me, we are still counting. Today we will be discussing one of those. In fact, a quite famous one, A “Full Stack” developer. You might have heard your peers telling you that they are Full Stack developers at some XYZ firm but the only question that strikes your head again and again is, ‘’mmm, but what exactly do you do?’’.
Before we dive into explaining what is a Full Stack developer, it is better to discuss the Full Stack of a software application. There are three main components of any software application we use these days. Let’s go through these ones by one.
The front end development services of any software application is what you, as a consumer see and interact with on your screen. For example, if you visit www.facebook.com, what shows up on the screen, lies in the frontend component of an application. Consequently, front-end development manages everything that users virtually see, and front-end developers are responsible for the overall look and feel of the software application.
They develop and maintain user interfaces in a way that data is presented nicely, and user interactions are smooth. All the important decisions about User Interface and User Experience (two very important sub-branches of frontend development) are made during the frontend development.
Backend development is also known as server-side development deals with everything that consumers of a software application don’t see or interact with directly. Let’s take the Facebook example once again, ever wondered how the images and statuses you share on Facebook get available to your friends? Or how do you get the notification when someone likes your photo?
All these business logic are catered by the backend of a software application. While the frontend code lives in browser or mobile, backend code runs on the server and receives requests from the frontend and contains the logic to manipulate and transform data and send an appropriate response back to the user.
The main responsibilities of a backend developer include, thoroughly understanding the business requirements of a software application and designing effective solutions, creating, and managing Application Programming Interface (API’s) for the front-end applications to consume, maintaining the security of the system to make data transactions secure and reliable, and everything in between.
Backend developers are skilled in one or more backend programming languages and backend development frameworks, they have vast experience with different databases and are also highly skilled in data structures and algorithms. The technologies and concepts in backend development are Node.js, .NET, Python, Nest.js MongoDB, MySQL, API, SOAP, etc.
The database is not a stand-alone component of an application stack but is mostly included in the backend development. Data is the heart of any application which we use today.
If we remove the data component from Facebook, we will be left with useless software infrastructure. This is why almost any application we use today is data-driven. And where does the data lives? Databases!
Structuring, designing, and maintaining data in a way that is efficient and scalable is one of the core responsibilities of database engineers. They have a great understanding of Relational database management systems, NoSql and SQL databases. They must understand the scope and domain of the software applications and design the database accordingly to adequately meet the business requirements.
Now that we have discussed three main components of an application stack, you can now infer what is a Full Stack developer. Yes, you guessed it right! An informal definition of a Full Stack software developer can be “jack of all trades”.
A full-stack developer translates user requirements into efficient software solutions, works with the frontend team in developing user interface and user experience of an application, participate in developing backend business logic of an application, design, and structure storage solutions for software applications.
He is involved in all the development phases of software application development, time management is what they are good at. They are great multi-taskers as they must flit between backend to frontend tasks. They master the art of prioritizing to make sure that the software solutions are delivered on time.
Full-Stack developers hold a T-Shaped personality i.e., they have an adequate understanding of technology overall and they spend enough time to keep themselves updated with the new trends and techniques in the industry, but they are highly proficient and adept in at least one domain.
Information Technology is one of the highly paced industries in the world. State-of-the-art technologies come out every year to cater to the needs of the fast-growing IT market. As a full-stack software developer, one needs to keep oneself up to date with the new trends and technologies to make sure that they come up with effective solutions. Great full-stack developers are curious and inquisitive, always ready to invest their time in broadening their knowledge and expanding their skillset.
Great full-stack developers are obsessed with the details which help them in understanding the user requirements and coming up with effective software solutions. They’re always willing to run an extra mile in making sure that they developed solutions that serve the user’s needs to the fullest.
As full-stack developers must work in cross domains (front-end and backend). To keep everything cohesive, their communication skills play an important role. They make sure that ideas and solutions are communicated in a well-defined manner to keep their team, including the stakeholders, on the same page.
A full-stack developer is not someone who just builds applications but one who can think outside of the box and pitch innovative and elegant software solutions which best fit business needs. With all the experience with various development tools and technologies, it’s a matter of using this knowledge base, to build something innovative and unique.
After that start learning at least one backend programming language like C#, Java, Python, etc. Explore new backend frameworks and understand how they work at the core. Learn about databases, how they work and how can you structure and design a database for a software solution.
Learning the basics is not where you should stop. You must push yourself to dive into the advanced concepts like
Learn about what DevOps is, how applications are deployed and maintained? and other advanced concepts which will give you a strong grip on your understanding of the overall tech.
Learning about technology is one thing. Once you have acquired sufficient knowledge, now it’s time to get yourself into the intense practical training. Join a Bootcamp where you will apply all the things you have learned and make something from scratch. This is the time to test if you understand your tools fully and can solve problems using these tools.
Learning all the great technologies in the world and not implementing them is just like a factory equipped with the most amazing machinery but produces nothing. Start personal projects as soon as you can, observe the domains which appeal to you the most.
What problems do you see around you? Can you solve it by making some effective solutions using your knowledge?
After all, this is what technology is all about, solving real-world problems. You don’t have to come up with a million-dollar idea to get started. Just start something that is meaningful to you and see where it takes you.
Technology is advancing at an insane pace. New frameworks, libraries, concepts come out every year. In fact, full-stack development is not limited to the things we have discussed in this article, anymore. There is no direct path to becoming a full stack developer and the 10,000-hour rule surely doesn’t apply here.
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A “Full Stack” is a mindset, it’s about being curious about technology, always looking for ways to expand your skillset, and having the Can-Do attitude towards the problems.
Being a strong advocate of a constant learning mentality will take you the closest to THE FULL STACK.