How to Become a Successful Full Stack Developer

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How to Become a Successful Full Stack Developer

The development of a software application can be broken down into 2 parts. The two areas of expertise are known as front-end and back-end development. Usually, developers have expertise in either one of these. When working on a program, the front-end developers are different from the back-end developers.

The developer dealing with the client-side of the software to make it user-friendly and visually appealing is a front-end developer. On the other hand, a developer dealing with the backside i.e. the server is doing back-end developing. This encompasses developing the programming language etc.

When it comes to full-stack developers, they are the crème in the profession. They are people who do development at both the back-end and front-end. A stack in software development is just like a normal stack. It consists of multiple components that come together and comprise the software application. They are placed on top of each other and are necessary to run the application smoothly. These can be coding frameworks, database tools, patches, operating systems, servers and much more.

Sounds like a handful, does it? But, it is not. Being a full stack developer and producing end-to-end solutions is an excellent skill set to have. It is very marketable and you get paid handsomely. Companies prefer to hire full-stack developers as there is no confusion and all the work is done by one person. Following are the responsibilities of a full-stack developer

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2024, there will be almost 843,000 full stack developer jobs available. The holistic solutions offered by full-stack developers are a big attraction for recruiters in the IT industry. The average money a full-stack developer makes is around $91,123. That is a lot.

With the industry growing rapidly and the high competition, you need to be the best to be recruited. Everyone is going to be studying the same things in college. To be the best, you need to follow these 7 steps to outshine others.

7 Steps to Become a Successful Full Stack Developer

1. Be Clear “WHY”

You won’t wake up one day and decide to be a full stack developer. This does not happen overnight. You need to be clear in your mind WHY you want to choose this profession. Ask yourself, “Is this what I want to do?” If you have an interest in the subject, only then you can learn and strive to be the best. Otherwise, you will be just like the others, average!

Once you are clear that this is what YOU want to do, decide your goal. There are a few reasons why you would choose to work as a full-stack developer. You can be a

  • Freelance developer
  • Consultant
  • An employee in an organization
  • Private developer.

Define and be clear about your interests. It is not important to know 100% what you want at this point, but you must have something in mind. This will make it much easier to choose the right tools and technology to achieve this.

2. Know Your Tools/Skills

This will be different for people. Every person will learn at his/her pace and will master only those skills that he/she requires. Having said that, there are a few tools/skills required for any sort of level of software development. For example, a beginner will require extensive training and education about the tools whereas a professional might just need to polish his skills. The basic tools everyone needs to be aware of are:

  • Text Editor: It is a tool with the help of which developers edit, store and enter text characters. These have their OS and software development packages which the editor uses to edit source codes of different programming languages.
  • Operating System: No form of programming is possible without knowledge of an Operating System.
  • Terminal: An excellent tool to increase development efficiency, a terminal allows you to carry out text commands in the console. It acts as an interface and does not allow you to get to the source code. It only lets you execute commands.
  • Browser: Browsers are used to help developers solve problems by allowing them to search on the internet. Mostly, Firefox and Chrome are used.

These are the mere basic tools that EVERY developer needs to know to operate and work a computer system. There are many front end and back end tools that are important to learn, understand and master. These are depicted in the figure below

Acquiring these skills does not imply that you will become a successful full stack developer. The learning process for developers never ends. But, these skills will give you a solid head start as compared to others.

3. What Is Your Learning Timeline

Everyone has their learning graph and pace. Some people pick things much quicker when compared to others. The first thing to do is sit down and determine a timeline for learning. Ask yourself “How soon do I want to get that dream job I have been waiting for?” This will allow you to have a rough idea of how much time you want to give yourself to study. Analyze your present skill set. If you are a beginner, it will take more time. If you are a professional, you might not have to study as much. The educational journey is personal and has to be sketched by you. Think of the following things:

  • If you have a job or are studying for a degree, can you take part in proper classes being conducted?
  • Can you invest in full-time education for being a full stack developer?
  • Are you a theory learner or prefer hands-on experience and training?

For people who already have study, job or family commitments, it can sometimes become strenuous. This does not mean it is impossible. So, if you are committed enough, there is no turning back.

4. Choose A Learning Program

There are many options and learning programs available online and in-person to help you learn to become a full stack developer. The variety of options can confuse you and you can end up being stuck. We will not stick to just one way but explore different options you have to choose from.

  • Boot Camps: This is an excellent option if you are a beginner. A boot camp is a high training course that is highly beneficial. Not only will you get the skills, but you will also end up making important connections in the industry, have a highly impressive portfolio and would be ready to take on the job hunt.
  • Formal Degree Programs: If you already had your mind made up in college, a formal degree program can be the best option for you. No one can deny the benefits. There is comprehensive learning, a broad course base and hands-on experience. Colleges have job placement centres and assist you in making the best portfolios out there.
  • Instructors: If you want personal and one-on-one training, opt for instructors or self-guided courses.
  • Tutorials and Books: Another interesting way to learn stack development from the comfort of your home is to read books and look at tutorials.

5. Develop A Portfolio

A portfolio is the first impression you are going to make on a recruiter or the interview. So, make sure it is amazing. Include all projects, even if you have one under development. Be very explicit and clear about the technologies you used, what was your role if it was a team project and even add in screenshots.

Most of the people get selected for jobs based on their portfolios. This is because in the stack development field, theoretical knowledge is surely required but practical knowledge is given preference.

6. Networking

Networking is essential irrespective of any field you are in. Knowing people in the industry will surely give you an advantage over the others. Reconnect with friends, make new acquaintances at boot camps and the learning institutions. Many companies don’t even outsource their jobs. What they do is ask current employees for referrals. This can be an excellent opportunity to make it to that interview through networking!

7. Ace the Interview

Coding interviews almost always have a technical portion in them. This allows the interviewer to gauge the skill level you possess. The best way is to practice on the platforms available online like LeetCode, HackerRank etc. There is a lot available online like design challenges, assessments and even programmatic thinking.

Apart from the technical skills, practice your verbal and non-verbal skills. On the day of the interview, dress well, look crisp and be confident.

Conclusion

The IT industry is growing exponentially and full-stack development is becoming one of the most lucrative careers in it. If you haven’t started your career path yet, start by choosing the right learning program. Make connections in the market to get a head start in a job search. Be determined, stay motivated and realize that making mistakes is the best way to learn. So, don’t lose hope and work hard to achieve your goals!

References

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