How To Become A Full Stack Web Developer: A Complete Guide

Updated 1 August 2023

Full stack web developers use their knowledge of front- and back-end processes to build websites and applications. They are usually proficient in using a variety of programming languages and development environments to execute and manage web-based user experiences. Learning how to become a full stack web developer can help determine if this is the right career path for you. In this article, we explain what a full stack web developer is, provide a list of steps you can follow if you are interested in becoming one and list some important skills for the role.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

What Is A Full Stack Web Developer?

A full stack web developer typically possesses the skills and knowledge to develop the user interface and user experience (UI/UX) aspects of a website or application and the supporting server-side logic and database architecture. The exact responsibilities of this role can vary depending on the size and scope of your web development projects. The following are some duties of full stack web developers:

  • Designing and developing the front-end framework of websites and applications

  • Developing and implementing the back-end server-side logic for websites and applications

  • Building and managing databases for websites and applications

  • Integrating third-party application programming interface (API) modules and services into websites

  • Evaluating the scalability and security of web-based solutions

  • Coordinating with other contributors such as UI/UX designers, coders and business leaders, to complete projects on time and within budget

Related: Full Stack Developer Vs Data Scientist: What Are The Differences?

How To Become A Full Stack Web Developer?

Follow these steps as a guide on how to become a full stack web developer:

1. Learn full stack web development

If you have some experience building the front- or back-end frameworks of web applications, learn skills that complement those competencies for a full stack web development role. Learn how to work with a front- and back-end framework and familiarise yourself with database management and a few widely-used programming languages. Join internet communities to learn more about helpful online resources and important advancements in full stack development. You can also pursue online certification courses to help your progress in this field.

Related: 40 Full Stack Developer Interview Questions (With Answers)

2. Network actively

If you have web developer friends or colleagues, ask them about their routine duties and responsibilities on the job. When you understand the primary challenges that full stack developers face, you can better prepare to devise strategies for addressing them while building your skill set. Networking can also provide information regarding the latest industry trends and help you find career advancement opportunities.

Related: 9 Effective Business Networking Tips For Young Professionals

3. Seek mentorship

For a more personalised learning experience, seek mentorship from professionals with significant full stack development experience. Identify potential mentors by engaging with online community members, participating in coding boot camps or through local gatherings. Reach out to these mentors with a clear and concise message expressing your interest in learning more about the job and its scope. As the mentorship progresses, establish clear goals and expectations based on a timeline. Additionally, accept your mentor's feedback, actively engage with them and continue learning and building your skills independently.

Related: What Is A Mentor And How To Find The Right One for You

4. Use forums as a professional support system

Many social media platforms have dedicated groups or forums where developers can engage in discussions and activities to aid their professional development. Online community members who actively participate in forums can provide you with up-to-date knowledge of relevant industry trends and noteworthy technological developments. You can also use forums as sources of informed feedback and advice.

5. Apply for full stack web developer positions

To apply for full stack developer positions, review job descriptions and customise your resume and cover letter to highlight your relevant skills and experiences. As it is also beneficial to demonstrate that you have a strong online presence, provide a link to a portfolio showcasing your work and skills. Additionally, try networking through industry events and seeking advice from current employees at companies in which you have an interest.

Related: How To Write A Job Application Letter: Sample Included

What Skills Do Full Stack Web Developers Require?

Full stack web developers require a combination of soft skills and specific technical skills to excel in their roles. To prepare for a full stack web development role, establish the following competencies:

Soft skills

Relevant soft skills for web development roles usually relate to some inherent qualities that complement the role's duties. Even though these skills typically relate to the character traits of individuals, you can still develop soft skills, such as communication and problem-solving, with adequate practice. Some essential soft skills for a full stack web developer include:

  • Problem-solving abilities: Web developers require problem-solving abilities to address challenges and navigate complex work projects.

  • Creativity: Developers use their creativity to design and implement visually appealing websites while ensuring they function optimally.

  • Patience: Web development involves time-consuming and often labour-intensive coding and testing processes that require patience.

  • Attention to detail: Attention to detail helps developers consistently deliver high-quality work.

  • Communication skills: Developers with good communication skills can foster a collaborative and productive work environment.

Related: Full Stack Developer Vs Software Engineer Comparison

Technical skills

Technical skills are competencies that individuals typically develop through training or educational and professional experience. For a full stack web developer, many of these skills pertain to their knowledge of software solutions, languages and databases. While front- and back-end web developers require similar soft skills, the technical competencies supporting each role differ significantly. A full stack web developer possesses specific skills for working on both framework types. Here is a list of the technical skills you can develop to excel in a full stack development role:

  • HTML/CSS: Hypertext markup language (HTML) helps a developer create website or application content. Cascading style sheets (CSS) help developers create an aesthetically pleasing and functional website design and layout.

  • JavaScript: Developers use JavaScript to incorporate automation, animation and interactivity. JavaScript is a widely-used language and developing a working knowledge of it can help you significantly improve your employability.

  • Python: Python is a programming language that provides pre-built libraries and frameworks for software and web development. This makes it an excellent tool for back-end developers.

  • PHP: Hypertext preprocessor (PHP) is a programming language that helps developers address crucial front- and back-end development workflows. Web developers typically use it to create page content, gather form data or send and receive cookies.

  • SQL: Structured query language (SQL) enables programmers to manage records and access and manage databases. Websites use databases to store information in an organised and systematic manner. SQL enables developers to establish mechanisms for processing queries and returning values to website or database users.

  • Git: Git is an open-source project that ensures all codebase changes track across multiple instances in an application or website. This is highly useful if you work with a team and require different contributors to modify various parts of the code in real time.

  • Databases and storage: Websites and applications require databases to manage data storage and access it. Understanding data storage and how to connect a database with programming languages is important in a full stack developer role.

  • HTTP and REST: Hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) fosters communication between web clients and servers, whereas representational state transfer (REST) provides standards and constraints for creating web services. REST APIs allow seamless communication between an application's front and back ends.

  • Web and cloud architecture: Cloud-based code organisation and file management knowledge can be necessary for a full stack developer role. As more enterprises shift to cloud-based technological solutions for streamlining business processes, a web developer can greatly benefit from developing a comprehensive understanding of web and cloud architecture.

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