How to become a full stack developer

With technology on a constant rise, more and more people are looking at becoming full stack developers. The opportunities in this field are ever-increasing, as all workforces are looking to technology to make themselves more competitive. So today, we’ll answer that question – how do you become a full stack developer?

How to become a full stack developer

Becoming a full stack developer takes time and effort. It will require study and many hours of troubleshooting, debugging and more. However, there are huge benefits available to people with these skills. Below we’ve written up the five steps to become a full stack developer: 

  1. Make a decision
    Reskilling is a serious task. To ensure success, you need to be certain that this is something you really want to do. Write down your reasons for becoming a full stack developer. Think about what will change. How will your study impact your home life? What is the end goal? These are some of the things you need to consider before embarking on any career change journey. Once you have made your decision, then it’s time to consider the next step.
  2. Try a coding challenge
    Some course providers, like Code Institute, offer a free coding challenge to allow prospective students a chance to sample the LMS and to see if they enjoy basic software development. This helps students experience some of the methods that are used in teaching the language.
  3. Decide what to study as a full stack developer
    A full stack diploma will provide you with the necessary skills to enter this field, but there is room to specialise within this. Do some research as to what primary languages you want to learn on your journey to becoming a full stack developer. For example, would you prefer your primary language to be Python, C, Java, etc.? Do your homework on this. Some languages like Python are more in-demand than others.
  4. Choose how you are going to study
    There are options available as to how you want to learn full stack development. For example, you can learn through a four-year programme in many universities – however, for many, this takes too long. Another option is to learn online. However, if you choose to learn online, ensure that your provider has a tried and tested learning management system (LMS). One of the major benefits of learning online is that you can have extra flexibility if you choose the right programme. For example, many Code Institute students can carry on working while doing our 52-week programme. Similarly, students on our course are not required to be at lectures at a given time. They can study the full stack programme at their own pace, whereas traditional universities tend to favor strict timelines.
  5. Start learning full stack development
    If you know that this is something that you want to pursue, then start learning. Give it all that you can and strive for success.

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

The time required to become a full stack developer can be anything between a year to four years, depending on the learning method you choose. There are a few routes that a learner can take.

  1. Use a recognised online bootcamp
    Code Institute students can become qualified full stack developers within 52 weeks through its university credit-rated online Full Stack Software Development with Specializations programme. 
  2. Study for a computer science degree
    Choosing to go back to university is another option. However, a standard computer science programme takes between three and four years to complete. In addition, because of how fast technology changes,  what a student learns in their first year  can often be out of date by the time the programme finishes. 
  3. Teach yourself
    There are many free resources available that will teach a person to code. However, the lack of structure and support on these courses often results in non-completion, and it can take many years to gain the skills of a full stack developer as a result. 

The skills of a full stack developer

For full stack development, you will need to be equipped with both front-end programming and back-end programming skills. What a full stack developer does depends on the role – below, we’ve pulled together the common skills employers are looking for in a full stack developer.  

Front end programming

The front end of a website or an application is what the customer sees and interacts with. Front end development is focused on creating a platform that’s easy to use and visually pleasing. With the rise of smartphones and tablets, this field has become more complex, requiring a larger variety of skills to create a positive user experience across these devices. Despite the ever-changing environment of front end development, these three languages will always be valued in the industry: 

  • HTML – HTML is used as the bones of web pages. It displays things like buttons, links, headings, paragraphs, and lists. 
  • CSS –  CSS is all about style, creating the visually pleasing aspect of a site. Everything from colors to page layouts is done in CSS.
  • JavaScript – JavaScript is the usability aspect of a webpage, making pages more dynamic and interactive. JavaScript powers a variety of features on a website, from showing menus to playing videos. 

Of course, skills beyond these three languages will always be valued in a full stack developer. Having these skills allows a developer to provide structure and layout to a website. In turn, these technologies allow a user to have a seamless journey while visiting and clicking on your site.

Back end programming

The back end is everything that goes on behind the scenes. It powers the functionality and logic that a website runs on. Back end programs collect data from external servers and filter this information back into the front end to process a user’s request. So while the front end may look amazing, it has to back that up by delivering what a user is there for. 

Back end skills a full stack developer will need include a thorough understanding of JavaScript, as well as an understanding of languages like: 

However, Python is one of the most commonly used languages because of its simplicity and power. 

To find out more about what a full stack developer can do, follow this link.

Try our 5 Day Coding Challenge

As mentioned above, if you are in the decision-making phase of your journey, it is important to sample a learning management system and see if you can tackle some of the basics of code. Code Institute offers a free 5 Day Coding Challenge. After just one hour a day over five days, you can learn the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. At the end of this free programme, you will have built your first ever web page. Register below to take part in the next challenge. 

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