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What Is Full Stack Developer: Roles, Responsibilities, Skills And Scope


November 5, 2020


February 29th, 2024

As a Full Stack Developer, you will work with application and technical architects to translate a business need into a robust and integrated technology solution. You will be working in a fast-paced environment solving unique and challenging software problems and developing innovative solutions.

Source: accenture.com

This is a Job Description of a Full Stack developer from Accenture, one of the leading IT firms in the world.

Full stack development, Full stack developers, Hiring full stack web developers – you see a lot of these terms nowadays. These terms have changed the perceptions of web development and introduced a role that is highly sought-after in today’s product-driven environment. Full stack developers are high in demand because of their ability to build end-to-end web applications.

In this guide, we will discuss the tech stack, roles & responsibilities, skills, salary, interview questions, and future career scope of full stack developers.

Let’s start from the most basic one and discuss everything you need to know about Full Stack developers.

Full Stack Developer: An Overview

A full-stack developer is a developer who works on both – frontend and backend parts of the application. They are skilled to deal with all kinds of work such as databases, servers, system engineering, architecting, and client communication that are required to make complete products.

Full-stack developers have functional knowledge of all the layers of software development. They simply take an idea and turn it into a finished product independently. They know multiple languages, especially web languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), software development approaches, modern concepts, and various tools that are needed to build a full-fledged web/mobile app.

If you hire a full stack developer, it will be very advantageous for your company as they reduce the cost of your project, easily switch between front-end and back-end development, help team members, and work individually. They are considered a great asset to the company.

Good Read: A Complete Guide To Full Stack Development

A Brief History Of Full Stack Developer: How Full Stack Term Came Into Existence?

The full stack term is not new.

Yes, it existed since the evolution of software development, especially web development. In the early 80s and 90s, many programmers single-handedly coded entire applications without requiring different skilled professionals, technologies, and programming languages. This was about the time when hardware and memory devices were limited and not so advanced.

With the introduction of client-server programming and the advent of innovative technologies in the 1990s-2000, software development started becoming more layered with the server part, database, presentation, and business logic.

The full stack term was coined after the 2000s(the exact year is not known) when web development required different expertise within layered structures of the development. In addition to this, different client-side and server-side frameworks entered the development market, requiring separate professionals to work on frontend and backend.

At present, full stack developers are dominating the web development market and enjoying top positions. Full stack development skills are one of the most demanded skills for the upcoming years.


Full Stack Developer: What the Future Holds For Full Stack Developer?

Becoming a full stack developer is almost like T-Shaped developers who not only possess deep knowledge of any particular area but also familiar with a broad range of generalized concepts. This will help them become all-rounders and difficult to replace. They are collaborative, knowledgeable, and focused, significantly contributing to building happier, productive teams.

The future of Full stack developers seems promising as they have knowledge of every layer of the development including presentation, business logic, and database layer. But, at the same time, this role demands staying updated with a range of technologies and frameworks and proficiency in more than one language/framework.

According to the 2020 Emerging Jobs Report (US) From LinkedIn, “full stack engineer” occupies 4th position on their list with 35% growth every year since 2015. Full stack engineers are a valuable asset to any company and one of the emerging jobs for upcoming years, the report says.

38% of hiring managers said that full stack developer is the most important role they need to fill in 2020, according to HackerRank 2020 Developer Skills Report.

Hire Full Stack Developer: Why Full-Stack Developers Are In Demand?

Why Do Organizations Prefer to Hire Full Stack Developer?

Hiring a full stack developer is beneficial for businesses and there are several reasons behind that. First, building a web/mobile app requires more than one language as we have stepped into an era where technology changes every other day. Full stack developers not only possess knowledge of important aspects of software development but have expertise in a handful of technologies.

They are an all-rounder and can replace a team which is cost-effective for startups and small enterprises. Also, large enterprises are preferring full-stack roles due to their versatility, ability, and rich experience. They offer help to everyone in the team and hugely reduce development time and cost.

One of the key reasons why full stack developers are in demand is flexibility. Flexibility to work with a range of tools and frameworks for backend and frontend. This saves time and cost especially for startups and mid-sized businesses.

In the case of large and established organizations with thousands of users, experts, and specialists in one technology/tool are preferred over full stack developers. Although, many tech giants are hiring full stack developers due to their all-rounder and ‘jack of all trades’ approach. They are more valuable to any company that wants faster time-to-market and cost-efficient solutions.

This versatility is a unique characteristic of full stack developers which makes them valuable than others. Today’s development practice involves diverse tools and skills like database management, API development, coding in an integrated environment, and an agile approach to development. The increasing demand for full stack developers makes it one of the hottest professions among developers and students. Higher salaries, flexibility, future growth, and continuous learning are some of the perks that come with this job.

Full stack developers can develop applications single-handedly, reducing the number of different roles required to hire for development. This saves a lot of time and cost especially for startups and small-scale enterprises.

Good Read: Full Stack Development – The Latest Techno Mantra Today

Full Stack Developer Skills: How To Become A Full Stack Developer?

To become a full stack developer, the first and foremost thing you require is mastering at least one frontend framework and backend technology. This is a prerequisite to becoming a full stack developer.

Technical Skills Of A Full Stack Developer:
  • Frontend:

Frontend covers the presentation part – a part that is responsible for user engagement and user interaction. Full stack developers require to know basic frontend languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and important aspects of frontend development like validation, responsiveness, and user experience. They must know at least one front-end framework (Angular, React, Vuejs, Backbonejs, jQuery). They should be well acquainted with front-end development and continuously look for new things and updates.

  • Backend:

As a full stack developer, you must know the nitty-gritty of website development including APIs, databases, and server configuration. They must possess expertise in at least one backend language (PHP, Java, C#, Ruby, Python) and respective backend frameworks (Django, Spring, .Net, Express.js, Rails).

  • Database:

Database management is also an essential part of full stack. They must be able to work with basic database functionalities like storing, creation, management, manipulation, and deletion of data. Knowledge of database software like Oracle, MySQL, NoSQL, PostgreSQL is one of the core skills of a full stack developer.

Apart from this, if you want to become a full stack developer, then you must learn/gain knowledge of:

  • Become familiar with complete web development process starting from user experience, server configurations, business logic, database integrations, to deployment and optimization
  • Explore core web development technologies like JavaScript, CSS, HTML and thoroughly learn it
  • Learn modern development approaches and concepts like continuous integration, continuous delivery, DevOps, and agile
  • Acquire knowledge of design aspects, testing, and programming concepts like object-oriented design, microservices, cloud, automation, and REST APIs

Start with mastering one backend and frontend framework and gradually you can move ahead with other frameworks/technologies. It takes years and months to become an experienced full stack developer.

Full Stack developers are like a ‘one-man army’ for organizations that work in a fast-paced environment and continuously enhance their products/apps to satisfy their customers’ needs.

Soft Skills Of A Full Stack Developer:
  • Understanding of database structure, algorithms, and processes
  • Familiar with database management and design
  • Good communication and management skills
  • Ability to adapt to new technology, concept, approaches, and environment faster
  • Problem-solving and analytical skills
  • Must have a learning attitude and improvement mindset
  • Knowledge of non-functional aspects of the app/product such as security, automation, testing, performance, optimization
  • Leadership and resource management skills

The above-mentioned skills and responsibilities can be varied based on the organization’s needs. Full stack developers enjoy quite a good position in the market but they have to look for adding appropriate skills into their skillset very often.

Most Popular Tech Stacks Full Stack Developers Can Choose From:

There are many tech stacks are used in web and mobile app development. A stack is a combination of frameworks, languages, platforms, and tools used in building applications.

Popular tech stacks for Full Stack development are:

LAMP Stack:

LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP language. It is a classic tech stack and a large number of web applications are built with this stack. It is a widely-known open-source stack consists of an operating system (Linux), server (Apache), database (MySQL), and programming language (PHP). Instead of using Linux as OS, developers also use WAMP (Windows as OS) or MAMP (MAC OS) to build dynamic, stable web applications.

MEAN Stack:

MEAN is an acronym for MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, and Node.js. At present, being a complete JavaScript-based stack, it rules the full stack development world. Each framework from this stack is very popular and has support from a vibrant, large community. This JavaScript-based tech stack has made revolutionary changes in web development as it uses JavaScript for server-side scripting through Node.js. It is the most commonly used stack for building scalable, powerful, and visually-appealing apps.

Good Read: Full Stack vs MEAN Stack: Differences From Different Perspectives

MERN Stack:

It is the same as MEAN – the only difference is Angular is replaced by React. React is a JavaScript library for building interactive user interfaces and single-page applications. It is maintained by Facebook and the community. It is one of the popular front-end libraries.

Ruby On Rails:

It is one of the classic, popular tech stacks for building end-to-end applications. RoR developers have the expertise to work on the frontend, backend as well as database part. Ruby is an open-source programming language and Rails is a server-side web application framework.

Python Full Stack:

Python full stack web developers are also in demand as Python is one of the widely-used and modern programming languages to build faster and scalable web apps. It is suitable for machine learning and data science applications due to its simple syntax and powerful features. Django is a popular python-based framework and full stack python consists of Python, Django, Apache, and MySQL.

Java Stack:

Java stack includes the Java suite of technologies to develop web apps. Java Stack involves working with core Java, servlets, REST APIs, JSP, Hibernate, Spring, and common web technologies such as CSS, JS, HTML, and so on. It is a very popular stack as Java has been around for more than two decades. It is one of the best and powerful programming languages for a wide range of apps and use cases.

We have already talked about the required skills to become a full stack developer. Now, let’s discuss the roles and responsibilities of a full stack developer:

What Are The Roles And Responsibilities Of Full Stack Developer?

Many have chosen full stack as their career path and many developers are already on their way to becoming one. It is one of the high-demand job titles due to its benefits of faster development, cost-efficiency, and sound technical abilities.

While every organization has its own set of requirements for a full stack developer, here are some key responsibilities developers need to fulfill:

  • Build dynamic, visually-attractive, end-to-end, and innovative software product/apps including front-end and back-end
  • Able to design the user experience, user interaction, responsive design, and complete architecture
  • Able to work with databases, servers, APIs, version control systems, and third-party apps
  • Provide insights on continuous improvement and add/remove functionality as per needs
  • Design strategy for continuous enhancement, performance optimization, stability, and scalability
  • Stay updated with new tools, frameworks, approaches, and architectures in the development world
  • Transform business needs into a finished product from conception to implementation
  • Ensure cross-platform compatibility and fixing issues during test and production phases
  • Handle a team of developers and communicate well with them for product roadmap/performance enhancement
  • Lead a team of developers, designers, and network managers and ensure digital outcomes are in line with business objectives

The role of full stack engineers is broad and often compared with DevOps engineers and Product engineers. Let’s find the difference between these job roles:

  • Full Stack Developers vs Product Engineers:

The difference between full-stack developers and product engineers is of technical capability. Full stack developers are focused and skilled to execute both parts – frontend and backend (more emphasis on technologies) while software product engineers are focused on designing, developing, and managing new products or systems from idea inception to implementation to continuous improvement.

  • Full Stack Developers vs DevOps Engineers:

The one idea that is similar among these two roles is flexibility. Both – DevOps engineers and full stack developers require flexibility and skills to adapt to the changing market. Both are paid higher and higher in demand due to their skillsets. Full stack developers are well-versed in front-end and back-end development and on the other side, DevOps engineers are the persons who facilitate CI/CD pipeline and help companies establish DevOps strategy for development and deployments.

Full Stack Developer Salary: How Much Does A Full Stack Developer Make?

The salary of a full stack developer is generally based on experience and technical expertise. Full stack developers are more suitable for startups and SMEs where they can replace big teams and develop faster.

In India, the salary of a Full stack developer ranges from 7 LPA- 15 LPA depending upon requirement and experience. Source: upgrad.com

According to Salary.com, the average Full stack developer salary in the United States is $95,151. It ranges from $81,074 and $107, 363.

In the UK, the average base pay of a full stack developer is £41,001 per year which is equivalent to $53,265.

Source: glassdoor.co.in

Full Stack Developer Salary Based On Tech Stack

According to Talent.com, the average Full Stack Developer salary in the USA is $110,807 per year. Most experienced professionals can earn up to $145,000 per year.

The national average salary for Full Stack Java Developer is ₹5,10,741 per year in India. Lead Java developers can earn up to ₹11L per year and more according to Glassdoor.

The average MEAN stack developer salary in the USA is $121, 875 per year or $62.50 per hour.

The average LAMP Stack Developer salary in the USA is $87, 750 per year.

The average Python Full Stack Developer salary in the United States is $97,214 but the salary range typically falls between $82,837 and $109,693.

The national average salary for a Full-Stack Developer (Ruby On Rails) is $97,904 per year in the United States.

Full Stack Developer Interview Questions:

Full stack developer interview questions are generally based on the tech stack developer prefers working with. Though, here are some common full stack developer interview questions that can help you prepare for this role.

Several General Questions:

  • What programming languages are you working with?
  • How do you keep yourself updated with new technologies and tools?
  • What was the most difficult coding challenge you have experienced?
  • Do you have any technical certifications?
  • What is your favorite coding language? Why?
  • What motivated you to become a full stack developer?
  • What is the most important character trait for a full stack developer in your opinion?

Common Technical Questions:

  • What is continuous integration?
  • What is pair programming?
  • How to reduce the load time of web applications?
  • What is the difference between REST and GraphQL?
  • Describe the difference between thread and process.
  • What is CORS?
  • What is dependency injection?
  • What is RESTful API?
  • Explain Node.js and its use.
  • What is MEAN Stack?
  • What does acid stand for in the database?
  • What do you enjoy most? Management or execution?
  • Explain Inversion of Control.
  • How do you select the tools and technologies for your project?
  • Define DevOps.
  • Could you please define Docker and its use cases?

If you have specified your preferred stack, you may have questions based on the tech stack.

What Are The Myths Of A Full Stack Developer?
  • They Are Experts In Everything:

They are highly skilled in one or two areas but they are not experts in everything. They must have a working knowledge of one frontend and one backend language and basic knowledge of every component required to build modern applications. They are more like generalists rather than specialists. They have a general idea and understanding of all relevant technologies but they do not possess deep and in detail knowledge of each.

They lack in-depth skills and deep expertise in each component and that’s the reason companies need professionals who are experts in one language/framework/component.

  • They Can Be Substitute For Team Of Developers:

Up to some extent and especially for startups and small businesses, this is true. But this limits the options of choosing a tech stack. If you are planning to hire a single full stack developer, you need to depend on the skills of developers rather than choosing from a variety of tech stacks to meet the needs.

  • They Are One Man Army:

This is also true up to some extent. But when it comes to larger applications and the use of diverse technologies in production which is the case in today’s environment, a full stack developer will not be a suitable option. With full stack developers, your focus will be limited along with tech stack and that can become a concern for scalability.

  • Hiring Full Stack Developer Comes With Challenges:

If they leave your organization, you will have to face an urgent crisis to hire other professionals to meet the needs. Organizations that are relying on a single full stack developer are often limiting themselves to one person or a limited number of technologies.

FAQs About Full Stack Developers:

  • What is a full stack developer?

A full stack developer is a developer or engineer who is capable to build end-to-end applications including frontend and backend development.

  • What is the role of a full stack developer?

The role of a full stack developer is to build complete web applications including frontend, backend, and database management. They possess knowledge of every part of the development and work across a number of tools and frameworks.

  • What is needed for a full stack developer?

The crucial skills required to become a full stack developer are HTML & CSS, JavaScript, at least one frontend and backend framework, basic design skills, API development, database management, and complete architecture of the web.

  • What languages are required for a full stack developer?

Languages you must learn to become full stack developers – HTML & CSS, JavaScript, along with one backend language ((PHP, Java, C#, Ruby, Python) and front-end framework of your choice.

  • How long does it take to become a full stack developer?

It depends on your learning ability, from where you are starting, and the languages you choose to work with.

  • Is full stack development hard?

Being responsible for both parts of the application may require learning more than the average web developers do.

  • Is a full stack developer a good career?

Yes, it is one of the high-paying and in-demand skills for upcoming years.

  • Do full stack developers get paid more?

Entry-level full stack developers and experienced full stack developers both are generally paid more but this depends on region, skills, and requirement.

  • What Is full stack coding?

Full stack coding refers to the development of both – frontend and backend parts of the application.

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