What is a Full-Stack Developer?

If you’re looking to start a career in the field of software engineering, you may have heard of the title ‘full-stack developer’. As a novice, this term might be confusing for you as it’s often used interchangeably with ‘software engineer’.
To put it simply, a full-stack developer is the jack of all trades in the software engineering field. Read on if you want an answer to the question, what is a full-stack developer?

What Is a Full Stack Developer?

You need to know a couple of things to understand exactly what full-stack developers do. Think of software engineering as an umbrella term that encompasses many types of developers, including full-stack developers.

Front-End Developers

Front-end developers, also known as client-side developers, are responsible for everything the client sees and interacts with on the web page.
Front-end developers need to have a good understanding of programming and markup languages such as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. This is to ensure a smooth and appealing user experience.
Some front-end developers are also in charge of user interface design. This means designing how the web page or application looks. However, many software engineering companies recruit individual UI/UX designers for this role.

Back-End Developers

Back-end developers are server-end developers who are responsible for the coding and server management aspects of web development. They manage the communication between the web page and the database.
Back-end developers create the entire back-end of the website such as core application logic, databases, APIs, and data and application integration. This also entails maintaining the web page by regularly testing and debugging it.
In simpler terms, front-end developers focus on the visual element, while back-end developers are more focused on the code behind it all. If we were to put it in different expressions, back-end developers would be the bakers who managed all the ingredients, and front-end developers are the cake decorators.

Full-Stack Developers

Full-stack developers are the best of both. They’re responsible for both the design and implementation tasks of both front-end and back-end developers.
Full-stack developers do it all. All the tasks required by front-end or back-end developers can be done by full-stack developers at a more surface level. Some of these responsibilities are:
  • Designing Graphics
  • Monitoring user experience
  • Using programming languages
  • Coding
  • Maintaining, and debugging the web pages

Skills Needed to Become a Full-Stack Developer

Naturally, full-stack developers need to be knowledgeable in plenty of niches. The basic technical skills a full-stack developer needs to know include:
  • Front end programming languages (HTML, JavaScript, or CSS)
  • Third-party libraries such as jQuery and Angular
  • Back-end programming languages such as Python, PHP, and Ruby
  • Version Control Systems such as GitHub
  • APIs such as Rest and SOAP
  • Database storage units such as Oracle, SQL, and NoSQL
  • Servers such as Apache and NGINX
  • U/UX design basics
However, there are other soft skills needed to become a full-stack developer. You need to be able to write unit tests. You should also know the algorithms and data structure of web development, and most importantly, you need to be aware of the security requirements of a web page.

What Is a Stack?

The above list may seem intimidating, but the good news is you don’t need to learn all these programming languages and servers to become a full-stack developer. Instead, you only need to learn a ‘stack’.
A software stack is a collection of programs and languages which are usually used together in web development. Depending on the required function, stacks can be simple or complicated.
Examples of software stacks include:
  • LAMP: Linux operating system, Apache server, MySQL database, and PHP scripting language.
  • MERN: MongoDB, which is a noSQL database, Express web programming framework, React JavaScript library, and Node.js which is a server-side javascript run time.
  • MEAN: MongoDB, Express, Angular.js., and Node.js.
  • Django

How to Become a Full-Stack Developer?

It’s a long road to becoming a full-stack developer, but it’s worth it. Not only do you learn many skills making you a multifaceted and valuable part of software development.
Most full-stack developers start as either back-end or front-end developers. Once they’ve gained enough experience, they can start tasks as full-stack developers to further advance their careers.
There are many online courses available on programming languages, design, and all the skills needed to become a full-stack developer.
It’s all about continuous learning. Don’t be afraid to branch out and learn more skills. Usually, full-stack developers are proficient in one stack, but you need basic awareness of everything concerning web development.

Why Should You Become a Full-Stack Developer?

With the various skills and requirements of full-stack web development, comes plenty of perks:

Versatile job

In the ever-evolving field of web development, many companies search for the end-to-end solutions full-stack developers provide. The many skills you learn give you an edge and better productivity that makes you well sought after by recruiters.

High Scope of Responsibilities

As a full-stack developer, you’re responsible for everything regarding the web page, from graphic design to coding. This is definitely a fun job for perfectionists who value details.

The Salary

if you’re a full-stack developer then you’re in high demand, which means a better salary. The average salary of a full-stack web developer in the US is $101,033. There are plenty of things to consider other than the salary, but it sure helps.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are common misconceptions when it comes to full-stack developers. Here are some myths corrected:

Do full-stack developers write the code themselves?

Full-stack developers don’t need to do the coding; however, it helps to know the language to understand and maintain any problems that may arise.
This doesn’t change the fact that some freelance developers write both front-end and back-end code themselves, but that’s not mandatory for the job.

Do you need a degree to become a full-stack developer?

It’s possible to get into web development without any formal qualifications. Learning all the different aspects of web development may take a lot of effort, but it’s possible. In fact, a lot of web developers are self-taught.

How much time is needed to become a full-stack developer?

You can learn coding in 4-6 months if you’re a dedicated learner. If you’re willing to commit and learn full-time then it may take you as short as 3 months.


Understanding what is a full-stack developer is essential for anyone working in the web development field. Full-stack developers are highly regarded due to the large set of skills they possess.
A full-stack developer is multi-talented. They’re responsible for all aspects of web development. It’s evidently hard to become a master full-stack developer, but it’s a job that comes with many benefits making it all worth it.