[What is] A Full Stack Developer + 9 Steps to Become One (2024)

full stack developer

A full-stack development expert is one who is well-versed in the technical aspects of development such as the front end, back end, database management, version control, operating systems, system design, and more.

Today, full-stack web development is a popular career path. Companies constantly seek developers with strong specializations in these various fields.

However, today’s idea of full-stack is flexible and, in some ways, company-specific too.

Cloud computing and deployment, for example, are two skills that a full stack developer must have in addition to the ones listed above. By controlling the entire application, a full-stack web developer helps avoid the need to hire individual role-specific people.

They are the ones that work directly with clients to understand the project’s goals during the planning stage of the project.

Front End or Back End?

So, the main question on your and others’ minds is how to master both at the same time, and is it challenging to be an expert at both?

In a nutshell, yes and no.

At first, having mastered both the Back End and the Front End at the same time is pointless because you will miss out on the opportunity to thoroughly understand either one and could end up sabotaging both stacks.

The correct method for becoming a full stack developer is to specialize in either front end or back end whilst also having a basic understanding of the other and then gradually improving the other part.

Implementing this method will allow you to collaborate on projects from the start. Companies have their own tech stacks, and you should be able to switch from your current stack to theirs.

Large tech firms, Amazon, and Facebook have large project teams, and you can also make your way into such product-based tech firms if you specialize in either Front End or Back End only.

However, in order to advance in those companies, you must be a full stack developer; otherwise, you will face difficulties.

Startup companies, on the other hand, prefer to hire full-stack developers due to their lean team structure and constant need for multitaskers. Hiring a full-stack developer is far more financially viable than hiring specialized developers.

This article will briefly describe you to popular tech stacks and how to master them, as well as how you achieve full stack developer status in the most enjoyable way possible!

Why should you pursue a career as a full-stack developer?

Let’s get this out of the way first. Here are the top three reasons why you should become a full stack developer:

1. Creating one-of-a-kind proprietary software products

While developing a product, each company/developer appears to follow its own tech stack since every product has its own requirements.

Using such diverse technologies complicates the project’s code base, resulting in a unique code for a specific product. This advantage will go to companies that use full-stack development.

2. A vast library of web technologies ensures great product development

Full stack developers have worked with a variety of front-end and back-end systems (languages and frameworks) such as HTML, CSS, JS, Python, Ruby, PHP, and others.

Because each technology has something unique to offer – generally in terms of syntaxes, compiling time (performance), compatibility, and code reusability – this unique work information gives developers the fluidity to customize the tools required for the project as per the project needs and create state-of-the-art products.

Web developers with front-end expertise, for example, can easily convert animations and graphics provided by software such as Adobe Photoshop immediately to front-end code.

As a result, the reliance on such third-party proprietary software is reduced. Because the developer lacks knowledge of basic styling tools, he or she will be forced to use the third-party software, putting the project’s budget at risk.

Back-end scenarios benefit from the same advantages.

3. Understanding the entire stack allows for rapid advancement in one’s job role

To be a project leader (the person at the top of a project team’s hierarchy), you must be able to integrate both front end and back end development, in addition to other tasks such as database management or cloud services.

Being a niche developer can frequently lead to roadblocks in your projects, and as a result, companies mostly avoid such developers.

What is the role of a full stack developer?

The following are the key characteristics of a full-stack developer. Mastering these skills as a group is what defines a developer as a ‘Full Stack’ developer.

Front end Development 

Front end development

This is the client-side portion of the website, which a user sees and communicates with. For this section, a developer must be innovative and creative with graphics and designs. UI/UX design is both a difficult and critical task.
HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript are the primary technologies required for front-end development (ES6). To make your site trendy, use libraries/frameworks such as jQuery, Angular, ReactJs, and others.

Back End Development

This is the application’s brain and honestly, building the back end of an application requires some brains. All of the weird stuff that your app should be able to do are scripted on the server-side of the app. Accessing by using a database, user authentication and validation, and so on are just a few of the many tasks that must be completed here.

Backend developers create and maintain the server-side technology required to power the components that allow the website’s user-facing side to function. This includes the app’s core logic, databases, data and application integration, APIs, and other backend processes.
If you want to learn and practice popular backend development technologies, take time to understand all of the concepts of the backend developer track curriculum.


database tasks

We need a database for storing and retrieving information, right? Databases are classified into two types: relational and non-relational (SQL vs NoSQL).

Databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and Cassandra should be familiar to developers. Furthermore, familiarity with caching options such as Redis, Memcached, and Varnish is a huge plus!

Version Control System (VCS)

Before a product or application is compiled and installed, it goes through several versions and modifications. A version control system, such as GitHub (popular), GitLab, or Apache Subversion, should be understood and used.

A full-stack developer should be familiar with the following topics, among others.

Developers should be familiar with the command line, various operating systems (particularly those based on Linux), and the deployment methods provided by various cloud services such as AWS, GCP, Microsoft Azure, and so on.

Knowing cloud computing or cloud-based services is also expected of full-stack developers these days, but this should be learned ideally after having a strong working development stack.

Main responsibilities of Full Stack Developers

  • Creating front-end website architecture
    • Developing visually attractive user interactions on web pages.
  • Creating back-end website applications
  • Actively managing functional servers and databases.
  • Creating and designing effective APIs.
  • Choosing the best technology stack for the product.
  • Ensuring application responsiveness.
  • Collaborating with graphic designers on web design features.
  • Seeing a project through from inception to completion.
  • Meeting both client and technical requirements.
  • Troubleshoot, debug, and upgrade software, as well as test and fix bugs or other coding issues.
  • Configure security and data protection options.
  • Keeping up with changes in web application frameworks, libraries, software, and scripting languages.
  • Ensuring mobile phone cross-platform optimization.
  • Thoroughly documenting the application and, eventually, deploying the product using relevant cloud services or other similar methods.

Let us now get into the specifics and look at a few of the major tech stacks with which a full stack developer works.

If you want to start your career as a full-stack developer, the following section will explain how you should go about gaining knowledge about full-stack skills.

Every business has its own tech stack. The stack chosen by a full stack web developer is determined by personal goals, expected app performance, organizational needs, and so on.

Some tech stacks have gained popularity over the years as a result of their incredible capabilities and user-friendly features.

Here are the most widely known tech stacks for full stack developers:

1. MERN stack

Graphical user interface

Do you want to learn full-stack web development? Then get to work on this one!

MongoDB is a NoSQL database that uses binary JSON to store data (called BSON).

Express is a Node.js backend web application framework for designing and developing web applications rapidly and effortlessly.

React is a JavaScript library for creating user interfaces

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment that runs on the server.

2. LAMP stack

You can start with this old style tech stack, but don’t get too wrapped up in it.

The Linux operating system is an open-source operating system that acts as a foundation for this stack model.

Apache is a web server that distributes web content over the internet. One of the most widely used HTTP clients on the internet.

MySQL is an open-source database that can be queried by scripting languages to build websites.

PHP is a server-side scripting language that is available as an open-source project.

3. MEAN stack

Do you want to create robust applications? Then give this one a shot.

MongoDB is a NoSQL database that uses binary JSON to store data.

Express is a Node.js back-end web application framework used for efficiently and simply designing and building web applications.

Angular.js is a framework for creating single-page client applications that use HTML and TypeScript. It provides core and optional functionality as a collection of TypeScript libraries that you can import into your apps.

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment that runs on the server.

If you’re just getting started, JavaScript-based tech stacks are more enjoyable and simple to learn than counterparts such as Java or Python.

Once you’re familiar with the proper aspects required for full stack development, you always can dive into Python-based frameworks (Django/Flask) or Java-based frameworks (Spring/Spring Boot).

As previously stated, requirements vary, but the core principle remains consistent.

Because of its low productivity and complex design, the LAMP stack is no longer preferred. MERN and MEAN stacks, on the other hand, are popular and trending. The distinction between the two is React and Angular.

Facebook developed and maintains React, a simple and flexible JavaScript library, whereas Angular is a TypeScript-based framework. Some basic information about the two –

  1. React allows for some freestyle coding, whereas Angular JS has predefined rules that must be followed.
  2. React requires you to install dependencies as you go, whereas Angular provides you with the entire package when you launch an Angular project.
  3. At the moment, React has a larger job market than Angular and other technologies.

The following are the top reasons why MERN is the most preferred stack for new generation full stack developers:

Website performance

Because React is only a library, it is extremely simple to incorporate it into your frontend code. As a result, it has excellent UI rendering performance.

Effective client-server contracts

This stack employs JavaScript for both client and server-side scripting, making the code much easier to write and implement.


The MERN stacks use only the JavaScript language (for the most part), which makes the code more consistent and simple.

This will also help a company with hiring because they will only need to look for JavaScript developers now. 

Community assistance

MERN’s technologies are all open-source. This has given rise to the many fantastic communities for React-related query support that exists today.

Developers can take advantage of these incredible platforms to expand their skills as well as their network.

Facebook, Netflix, Reddit, Dropbox, Airbnb, Mattermark, and Atlassian are just a few of the well-known websites that use React.

Tesla has also used React to build its website.

React, and especially MERN is the holy grail of startup website development.

As a result, in the upcoming startup world, there is a growing demand for MERN-specialised full-stack developers.

Recognizing what developers require, you might want to check out a Full Stack Development Program to provide you with professional developer experience from the start of your learning.

The program provides a wide range of practical and internship-level projects to supplement your learning experience.

Doing these projects will thoroughly prepare you to develop any future projects.

Not only that, but you’ll get to hone your CS fundamentals, programming skills, data structures and algorithms, system design, and everything else you’ll need to land a great job.

Roadmap for full stack developers

It is recommended that you begin your full-stack journey with the front end and work your way back end. This is because, in order for momentum to build in this complex learning process, the beginning should be exciting at the very least.

While developing a site’s front end, you can see all of the moving parts, which adds to the fun and inspiration. While the back end is typically complex and requires some analytical reasoning to comprehend, it is frequently a source of frustration for full-stack beginners.

How to Become a MERN Full Stack Developer in 9 Basic Steps

1. Fundamentals of web development

The most common mistake that most individuals make is to dive right into web development without first understanding what it entails.

2. HTML and CSS

HTML and CSS are the core elements for any web developer.

These are employed in the creation of static web pages. It is suggested that you learn advanced styling methods from here on out; start with Bootstrap (CSS part) and then move on to SCSS, Tailwind CSS, and so on.

There are loads of options; select the best fit for you.

3. Javascript basic concepts and DOM manipulation

The following step for developers is to learn JavaScript and DOM manipulation. JavaScript may be daunting to learn at this point. Instead, you can use third-party plugins, specifically APIs, to bring your web pages to life.

4. Consolidate your foundations

Before moving on to the next major move (learning JavaScript), you should preferably practice creating some simple dynamic websites with your current knowledge of HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, and APIs.

Find a Full Stack Developer Track promotes active learning on an independent project called XBoard, which is a newsfeed that gathers articles from popular media outlets.

This is to put your QTrip project learnings to the test and to build your portfolio by executing a task on your own.

5. Advanced Javascript

Before diving into advanced JavaScript, it is recommended that you become acquainted with jQuery. Because all of the technologies involved are JavaScript-based, JavaScript is critical for the MERN stack.

Most modern websites use ES6 (ECMAScript), so it’s a good idea to brush up on your skills in this area.

6. Select your frontend stack.

Choose your frontend tech stack – React, Angular, Vue, and so on. (Based on JavaScript)

As mentioned in the previous section of this blog, React is an excellent choice, and you should master it first.

Moreover, you will be working to develop a fully functional, full-stack shopping app – QKart.

You will gain in-depth knowledge of working with React and advance your JavaScript skills by creating an extensive frontend for QKart.

This project will teach you everything you need to know about React and how to use it.

7. Improve your front-end skills.

To be honest, having mastered a library like React (or a framework like Angular or Vue) is a monumental task. However, you do not need to know everything all at once.

Having a working understanding of that technology is a great place to start. And the best way to do so is to carry out practical projects.

8. Select your backend stack

You can now begin learning the Node.js and Express.js frameworks for back-end scripting. Back-end development necessitates some critical thinking because it is the process that must be optimized the majority of the time in a product.

The more effective the application, the better the back end.

Databases are another important concept that falls in line with the backend (DBMS). You can learn it based on the preferences of your database.

9. Improve your backend skills

However, back-end skills do not develop overnight. It takes a lot of practice and experience. Creating more projects is an excellent way to hone your skills and gain a firm understanding of backend technologies.

After completing this methodical learning structure, you will have 7 internship-grade projects on your portfolio that you can confidently show to anyone.

Not only that, but you are now job-ready!

The Full-Stack Developer track continues to teach you tried-and-true problem-solving approach, allowing you to easily tackle unknown Data Structures and Algorithms problems and even pass System Design interviews on the very first try.

Full Stack Developer FAQs

How quickly can you become a Full Stack Developer?

To become a good full stack developer is usually a fairly long process. 3 months is generally the bare minimum, and this time frame is best suited to highly motivated students who are already proficient in front-end or back-end development. The idea is that you can supplement any existing knowledge with some course or experience of any skills that you don't know. For example, if you are a good backend developer, you can take a course which teaches you front-end coding skills. To be proficient in all the stack usually takes some months of experience, we would say 12 months would start to give you a solid understanding.

Is it difficult to work as a full-stack developer?

The answer is that being a full-stack developer is not hugely difficult, but you require quite a wide range of skills. But you can build up to become a full-stack developer. You can begin with the front-end and work your way back to the back-end; work with databases; get your hands on a fully configured website, and create a user interface for a smartphone app! Each of these builds up on the experience of the other, so if you plan this over a sufficient period of time, let's say a few months for each, you should get good experience within a couple of years.

What programming languages are required for a full-stack developer?

Web developers with a full stack understand HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and one or even more back-end languages. Most full-stack developers specialize in a a few back-end programming language, such as Ruby, PHP, or Python. The more languages you know, the better of a full-stack developer you are.

About the Author
Shahzad Saeed
Shahzaad Saaed has been featured in a large number of authority websites including EasyDigitalDownloads, OptinMonster and WPBeginner where he is currently employed as a senior content writer. Shahzad is a WordPress expert, web designer and overall technology and design expert. He specializes in content marketing to help business grow their traffic through actionable and experience-backed articles, blogs and expert guides, all taken from his over 10 years of experience in the field.

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