What Is a Full Stack Developer & What Do They Do? - UofT SCS Boot Camps (2023)

What Is a Full Stack Developer & What Do They Do? - UofT SCS Boot Camps (1)

You’ve probably heard the term full stack developer tossed around by in-the-know coworkers or on tech forums, especially if you’ve started considering a career in coding. But what is a full stack developer, and what do they do?

Put simply, full stack developers are the Swiss army knives of the development world. As masters of multiple programming languages, these savvy professionals are capable of transitioning seamlessly from one development environment to the next. A boundless sense of curiosity drives full stack developers — it’s not enough to know that something works, they need to understand the how and why behind each functionality.

Does this sound like you? If so, keep reading. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of precisely what full stack developers are, what they do, and where they fit within the development sector.

What is a Full Stack Engineer?

Full stack technology refers to the entire depth of a computer system application, and full stack developers straddle two separate web development domains: the front end and the back end.

The front end includes everything that a client, or site viewer, can see and interact with. By contrast, the back end refers to all the servers, databases, and other internal architecture that drives the application; usually, the end-user never interacts with this realm directly.

The easiest way to put the full stack into perspective is to imagine a restaurant. The front end encompasses the well-decorated, comfortable seating areas where visitors enjoy their food. The kitchen and pantry make up the “back end” and are typically hidden away from the customer’s view. Chefs (developers) gather permanently stored materials from the pantry (the database) and perform operations on it in the kitchen (the server), and then serve up fully-prepared meals (information) to the user.

Front end developers work to optimize the visible parts of an application for web browsers and mobile devices. Front end platforms are usually built with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript; however, they can also be made via pre-packaged code libraries or content management systems like WordPress. Back end developers, in contrast, refine the software code that communicates with servers, databases, or other proprietary software that conveys information to front end interfaces.

Those knowledgeable in both front end and back end are called full stack developers, meaning they are well versed in both disciplines.

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The term “full stack developer” originated during the early days of the web, when websites were small and uncomplicated enough to allow a single person to tackle every aspect of site-building. But in the decades since those initial days, the web has grown ever more complex. The rise of machine learning, predictive computing, and responsive design has made it challenging — but not impossible! — for a single developer to handle every aspect of building and designing a site or application.

Today, modern businesses often rely on entire teams of developers to operate network equipment, work with virtual machines, and manage enormous databases. It takes time to develop a comprehensive, nuts-and-bolts understanding of all these emerging technologies. The developers who do so are, for that reason, versatile enough to shift fluidly between front and back end development and take on any task that their team might need them to tackle.

According to a 2020 Stack Overflow survey of 65,000 developers worldwide, roughly 54.9 percent, identify as full stack.

(For contrast, 55.2 percent of those surveyed identified themselves as back end developers, 37.1 percent self-identified as front end developers, and just 19.2 percent claimed to be mobile developers.)

What Is a Full Stack Developer & What Do They Do? - UofT SCS Boot Camps (2)

The modern full stack developer is an experienced generalist who can build a minimal viable product — i.e., an application with enough functionality to please early customers and spark feedback for continued development — on their own. Companies rely on full stack professionals to spot errors between the front and back end and tackle tasks that straddle both disciplines. This versatility has become increasingly vital as newer apps begin to incorporate AI and other sophisticated technologies into their programming.

These days, it’s mission-critical to have at least one person on a given development team who has a passing understanding of all the components that run an enterprise-level application. And companies understand this need. According to statistics provided by the Government of Canada’s Job Bank, new job openings for software developers are expected to top 27,500 between 2019 – 2028; however, current analyses project that only 24,000 new job seekers will be available to fill them. This shortfall will undoubtedly drive demand, spark battles for talent, and give new professionals a greater advantage in their job search.

What Is a Full Stack Developer & What Do They Do? - UofT SCS Boot Camps (3)

But all of this begs the question — what responsibilities does a full stack professional face?

Let’s address.

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What Does a Full Stack Developer Do?

Full stack developers take on a broad set of responsibilities. They must be fluent in creating websites with a robust internal architecture and delivering an interactive and intuitive interface to clients. A full stack developer must be well-versed in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and know their way around back end technologies and database structures.

These professionals usually work with a product through its initial creation until its final launch, using industry-standard practices to ensure that technical concerns are adequately addressed at every development stack level.

Full stack developers start by brainstorming platforms alongside a graphic design team, often reviewing prototypes before turning them into coded products. Then, these multi-talented programmers craft functional databases and servers to support client-facing content, always evaluating how responsive an app is for end-users and troubleshooting problems as necessary.

The best full stack developers also keep abreast of current industry trends and emerging technologies and understand how to deploy upcoming technologies to suit their employers’ needs.

Everyday responsibilities of the profession include:

  • Working with CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, along with CSS preprocessors, to craft client-facing platforms
  • Managing databases and servers
  • Coding for functionality across multiple languages and platforms
  • Communicating with specialized developers and the graphic design team to deliver the best possible product
  • Keeping up with emerging technology that may serve the business’ needs
  • Prototyping minimal viable products for communication with company stakeholders

Are Full Stack Developers in Demand?

In short, yes!

“Full stack engineer” currently ranks #8 on Linkedin’s list of emerging jobs for the Canadian job market. It should be of little surprise why full stack developers are so in demand; these professionals are valued for their breadth of experience across technology platforms. Full stack developers occupy the best position to interact with back end, front end, and design teams.

More than that, full stack developers can thrive in industries far and wide beyond tech. The same report further found that the top sectors for full stack developers included computer software, information technology and services, internet, financial services, and marketing and advertising.

Virtually all modern companies rely on business logic and client-facing platforms to advertise their services, convert new clients, and automate day-to-day operations.

What Does a Full Stack Developer Need to Know?

While the demands of a full stack developer’s role will depend on their specific industry and job, all will need to have the same core set of front and back end development skills.

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Front End Development

Front end, or client-side, development is the practice of producing an interface that end users can view. A front end developer’s primary goal is to develop a visually pleasing and easy-to-use platform.

Front end development has become more complicated as users interact with sites through different devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Today, developers need to ensure a site renders correctly across different browsers, operating systems, and device types.

The requirements for front end development are always evolving as new technologies are introduced; however, there are a few front end skills that all full stack developers should master.

This universal front end skill set includes:

Back End Development

Back end development refers to the work that goes on behind the scenes of a site or application — the underlying architecture of the product. The term encompasses the database, server, and other intermediary proprietary software.

Developers must know how to organize the logic of a system so that the overarching program or website can run properly. All frameworks and libraries must be integrated into the application and organized in a way that allows other developers to maintain that codebase over time.

To accomplish this goal, back end developers must have a robust set of foundational skills. This should include:

How to Learn the Skills

Thankfully, there are many different ways to pick up the expertise necessary to become a knowledgeable full stack developer. While some companies may favor those who attain a certain level of education, most are primarily concerned with whether or not you have the chops to succeed in a given role.

Most full stack developers have attained at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming, or web development. If you have yet to achieve your degree, a college education can give you broad theoretical and practical knowledge and excellent industry contacts.

According to one recent Stack Overflow study, 49.3 percent of professional developers have a bachelor’s degree. The same study further found that 24.4 percent of developers viewed formal education as “very important,” 26.4 percent as “fairly important,” and 23.7 percent as “somewhat important.”

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That said, developers who don’t have formal degrees but have impressive portfolios, solid references, and open source work can also be highly competitive candidates.

Though difficult, it’s possible to achieve all the necessary skills through self-directed training. If you’re disciplined and passionate enough, you can use low-cost online classes, books, and tutorials as a springboard to leap into a full stack development career.

If you prefer a more formalized learning experience but don’t have the time or resources to pursue a conventional four-year degree, you may want to consider a coding boot camp.

Coding boot camps are intensive courses that equip you with the practical industry knowledge and skill set you’ll need to land that first entry-level job. Most boot camps last between three to six months; during that time, you’ll develop portfolio-worthy projects and build relationships with industry professionals.

But don’t commit to an educational route without thinking through your needs and situation.

Before enrolling in your first course, ask yourself these key questions:

  • How much time do I have to dedicate to learning?
  • Do I need a part- or full-time schedule?
  • Do I learn better in a virtual or in-person environment?
  • What’s a doable price range for my education?
  • How soon do I want to apply for full stack development jobs?

Any of the above learning routes can provide you with the experience you need to thrive professionally — but which works best for you? Only you can decide.

How Will You Make Your Mark In Full Stack Development?

Now more than ever before, full stack developers have risen to prominence in the development world as companies increasingly rely on their versatile mix of expertise and generalization. Aspiring programmers now face a tremendous opportunity to build rewarding careers in a growing industry.

So, what are you waiting for? Consider your educational opportunities and start pursuing a career in full stack development today.

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FAQs

What is full stack development bootcamp? ›

The Full Stack Development Bootcamp is a 100% live program developed to learn job ready software skills from industry experts. Complete the course to master these skills and get a guaranteed job opportunity.

What actually full stack developer do? ›

A full stack web developer is a person who can develop both client and server software. In addition to mastering HTML and CSS, he/she also knows how to: Program a browser (like using JavaScript, jQuery, Angular, or Vue) Program a server (like using PHP, ASP, Python, or Node)

How much does a full stack developer make in Toronto? ›

The average salary for Full Stack Developer is $80,879 per year in the Toronto, ON Area. The average additional cash compensation for a Full Stack Developer in the Toronto, ON Area is $5,479, with a range from $1,575 - $19,060.

What does a full stack developer do on a daily basis? ›

Full-stack developers create and manage the client-facing and server sides of websites and applications. Understanding the "full stack" requires a broad skill set and high-level knowledge of how front-end and back-end development work together, communicate, and connect.

How fast can you learn Fullstack? ›

So, how long does it take to become a full stack developer? Three months is generally the minimum amount of time required, and this timeline tends to be best suited to highly-motivated learners.

What skills are included in full stack developer? ›

A full stack developer requires skills such as Front-end Languages and Frameworks (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), Backend Technologies and Frameworks (NodeJS, ExpressJS, Django, Flask, C++), Database Management Systems (MySQL, SQL SERVER and PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and Oracle Database), Version Control, and Web Hosting Platforms ...

Are full stack developers well paid? ›

Great Pay

As you can see, full-stack developers earn an attractive salary. They get higher pay because they reduce operating costs for the company. They can perform the work of 2 or 3 average programmers alone, which saves a lot of money for the company.

What is full stack developer salary? ›

Full Stack Developer salary in India ranges between ₹ 2.4 Lakhs to ₹ 17.0 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 6.4 Lakhs. Salary estimates are based on 12.6k salaries received from Full Stack Developers.

How hard is it to become a full stack developer? ›

The path to becoming a full stack developer will take time. It's not only about learning various front-end and backend technologies. It's also about understanding those two areas in more detail and making communication between those two areas easy and smooth. So you need to have plenty of patience to get there.

What is the average salary for a full stack developer in Canada? ›

How much does a Full Stack Developer make? The national average salary for a Full Stack Developer is $76,044 in Canada. Filter by location to see Full Stack Developer salaries in your area. Salary estimates are based on 1,595 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by Full Stack Developer employees.

How much is the salary of full stack developer in Canada? ›

The average full stack developer salary in Canada is $85,000 per year or $43.59 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $70,849 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $122,225 per year.

Which full stack developer has highest salary? ›

Top companies for Full Stack Developers in India
  • ENCORE INC. 3.7 ₹18,22,778per year. 10 reviews13 salaries reported.
  • GROWEL SOFTECH. 3.9 ₹12,39,685per year. 9 reviews22 salaries reported.
  • Catalyst Solutions. 4.4 ₹11,85,892per year. 21 reviews13 salaries reported.
  • 3.6 ₹10,56,081per year. 48 reviews5 salaries reported.
6 days ago

Can I be a full stack developer without coding? ›

So, if you want to build an app or become a software developer, you have to learn several coding languages. However, no-code developers bypass these language requirements with tools that help them build apps and products without them having to write a single line of code.

Does full stack developer require coding? ›

Full Stack Developers need to know the nitty-gritty of web architecture. Since their primary responsibility is to develop complex software applications from scratch, they must know how to structure the code, categorize the files, structure the data in databases, and perform the necessary computational tasks.

Is full stack developer good for beginners? ›

The short answer is 'Yes'. It is worth enrolling in a full-stack developer course if you want to learn how to code and build web applications. A full-stack developer course comes with placement opportunities and will teach you to use different programming languages such as HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and Python.

Can I learn full stack in 3 months? ›

How long does it take to become a full stack developer? The answer is, as little as 90 days if you can learn full-time, and longer if you're doing tutorials or coding bootcamps part-time.

Can I self study full stack developer? ›

Building a Full-Stack Developer portfolio

You could find a template online, but building a portfolio yourself gives you a chance to show off your web development skills — and it'll also give you something to discuss during your interview. Below, we'll show you how to make a technical portfolio from scratch.

Can I become a full stack developer in 2 years? ›

You might need anywhere from three months to six years to become a full-stack developer.

Which language is used in full stack developer? ›

Currently, the most popular languages for full stack developers are Node. js, Python, C#. ASP.NET, and PHP. It's believed that the most common languages for full stack developers in future will be HTML/CSS, and some of the newer ones like AngularJS, Node.

Can anyone become a full stack developer? ›

To become a full stack developer, you'll need to familiarize yourself with two basic web development concepts: the front end and the back end. The front end, also known as client-side or customer-facing side, refers to all the elements of a computer application that users interact with directly.

Which IT field has highest salary? ›

Top 10 Highest Paid Jobs in IT Sector in 2023
  • Data Scientist.
  • DevOps Engineer.
  • Big Data Engineer.
  • Machine Learning Engineer.
  • AI/ML Architect.
  • IoT Solutions Architect.
  • Cloud Architect.
  • Blockchain Developer.

How many hours a week does a full stack developer work? ›

Of course, there's a small percentage of people who work much more than that. It all depends on the type of work they do and the type of company they work for. So, we've established that most developers work somewhere around 40 hours per week, which corresponds to the labor laws in different countries.

Are full stack developers happy? ›

Absolutely, if you have a passion for software programming and want to learn full stack development coding skills, then a career in full stack development might be the perfect fit for you. Full stack developers enjoy high job satisfaction, lucrative salaries, and numerous opportunities to grow in the industry.

Who earns more backend or full stack developer? ›

Full-stack developers command the higher salary package than front end or back end developers. Employers are willing to pay more for a full stack developer because it makes more business sense to hire an individual with front and back end skills, rather than getting two people to do the same job.

Is full stack developer still in demand? ›

Due to their ability to build complete web applications, full stack developers are in high demand. They are well-versed in front-end technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and back-end technologies like PHP, Ruby on Rails, and Node. js.

How do I become a full stack developer with no experience? ›

You must learn both front-end and back-end coding abilities in order to become a full-stack developer. To make learning easier, establish a development specification ahead of time that allows you to blend front-end and back-end programming.

Do full stack developers get paid more than software engineers? ›

Software Engineer: Per Glassdoor's salary estimations, a software engineer averages $92,046.00 a year. Full-Stack Developer: Per Glassdoor's salary estimations, a full-stack developer averages $105,813.00 a year.

Why are full stack developers paid so much? ›

Full stack developers are prized because they've mastered the tools and platforms that allow both the front- and back-ends of websites to operate. According to Emsi Burning Glass, the web developer skills cited most often in employers' job postings include: Web development (obviously) JavaScript.

Which IT field has highest salary in Canada? ›

20 highest-paying IT jobs in Canada
  1. Software developer. National average salary: $71,126 per year. ...
  2. IT project manager. National average salary: $102,328 per year. ...
  3. IT business analyst. ...
  4. Database analyst. ...
  5. Computerized information systems manager. ...
  6. Security analyst. ...
  7. Business systems analyst. ...
  8. Network engineer.

Are full stack developers in demand in Canada? ›

Randstad recently listed developers among the top 15 most in demand jobs in Canada, noting that although “developers of all stripes are desperately needed, full stack developers who know both front end and back-end programming are the most in demand.”

How much does a full stack developer make in Ontario? ›

How much does a Full Stack Web Developer make in Ontario? As of Nov 12, 2022, the average annual pay for a Full Stack Web Developer in Ontario is $82,695 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $39.76 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,590/week or $6,891/month.

Which full stack is in most demand? ›

There are many full stack developer languages dedicated to server-side programming. However, Python is the most popular one.
...
MEAN
  • MongoDB.
  • Express. js.
  • AngularJS.
  • NodeJS.
9 Feb 2021

Which IT field is best for future? ›

Top 5 Tech Careers Of The Future
  • Machine learning engineer. This specific branch of artificial intelligence is ideal for those who have a passion for computer science and desire a career in a fast-moving and exciting industry. ...
  • UX designer. ...
  • Robotics engineer. ...
  • Data scientist. ...
  • Cloud engineer.

Which Fullstack is most popular? ›

JavaScript is commonly used by full-stack developers to program software. This language's popularity stems from its high adaptability to hybrid apps. According to a survey, Node. js and Angular are the top two most commonly used frameworks, libraries, and programming languages.

Does Fullstack use Python? ›

What Is a Full Stack Python Developer? A full stack Python developer uses the Python programming language for the development of the entire technology stack of a web application. Python is a computer programming language that has become one of the more popular for application development.

What qualifications do you need to be a full stack developer? ›

Required skills and qualifications
  • At least one year of experience in building large-scale software applications.
  • Experience in building web applications.
  • Experience in designing and integrating RESTful APIs.
  • Knowledge of Ruby, Java/JRuby, React, and JavaScript.
  • Excellent debugging and optimization skills.

Is Python enough for full stack developer? ›

Want to be a full-stack Python developer? No doubt, there are various advantages of using the Python programming language for web development. Python is most popularly used for back-end development. While Python can also be used for front-end development, programming languages such as HTML are a more common choice.

Is a full stack Bootcamp worth it? ›

Short Answer is Yes – coding bootcamp alumni earn ~51% higher salaries compared to their previous jobs! On average, graduates earn $80,943 at their 2nd job after bootcamp, and $99,229 at their 3rd job.

How long is a full stack coding bootcamp? ›

Full-time programs average 12 weeks in length whereas part-time schedules last about 24 weeks. The majority of students attend coding bootcamps full time and finish within three months.

Is Fullstack Academy a good bootcamp? ›

Is Fullstack Academy legit? Yes. Fullstack Academy offers legitimate coding bootcamps designed to open doors for a career in engineering, cybersecurity, or data analysis. Graduates find work with leading companies, like Google, Bloomberg, and Spotify.

Which bootcamp is best for full stack developer? ›

Instead, many full stack developers get their training through coding bootcamps .
...
Berkeley Coding Bootcamp
  • mySQL.
  • Git.
  • MongoDB.
  • jQuery.
  • JavaScript.
  • React. js.
  • Node. js.
  • CSS.
6 May 2022

Can you fail a coding bootcamp? ›

Coding bootcamps are called ”boot camps” for a reason. They're short, intense, and stretch students to their studying limits. With this, it is important to learn how to avoid coding bootcamp failure. Bootcamp failure is not uncommon because many applicants don't know what to expect.

Can I get a job after a coding bootcamp? ›

Will a coding bootcamp get you a job? Most bootcamp grads find employment within six months after graduating, but the job market holds no guarantees. Success in a job search can depend on many factors, such as location, past experience, interview skills, and specialization.

Is coding bootcamp better than a degree? ›

Coding bootcamp actually gives you more relevant and useful tools for a job than a computer science degree. While the degree sets you up with a solid foundation, a bootcamp teaches you specific skills that you can use immediately in a job.

Is 3 months enough for full stack developer? ›

How long does it take to become a full stack developer? The answer is, as little as 90 days if you can learn full-time, and longer if you're doing tutorials or coding bootcamps part-time.

How hard is bootcamp coding? ›

Even though the program is quicker, you should expect to put as much hard work into a coding bootcamp as you would a traditional degree. Truthfully, you might consider it to be harder than a traditional university since the course load is more fast-paced and condensed. Learning to code doesn't need to be intimidating.

Do bootcamps guarantee you a job? ›

Tech bootcamps can help you learn the skills you need to begin a new career, and some even offer job guarantees to help compensate for high tuition prices.

Is bootcamp coding worth it? ›

Coding bootcamps are worth it for students who need to learn a specific skill quickly. Employers generally regard these programs positively, but want more accountability. Bootcamps are not regionally or nationally accredited. A coding bootcamp does not replicate the depth or scope of a computer science degree.

Are coding bootcamps good for beginners? ›

Bottom line: Even if you're a beginner, you can succeed and thrive in an intensive bootcamp like the one offered by Hack Reactor if you are willing to do what it takes.

Can a beginner learn full-stack web development? ›

Beginners who want to learn the free Full Stack Development course can start with the fundamentals first. Once you have mastered the basics you can move on to the advanced topics.

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