Full Stack Product Engineer

Five steps to become a full stack developer

This is 2019 and a Full-stack developer is one of the most sought-after resources in the technology domain. Today, full-stack developers make for the best technical hire for a company. I mean who wouldn’t want to have someone who knows everything about app development! The one specialist who is equally good in back-end and front-end of development.

Are you a full stack developer?

If you are a programmer who is skilled in both the frontend and the backend of application development then you might consider yourself a full-stack developer. A full stack developer is proficient in all ends of development including,

The front end - This layer is the front-end of the application. It involves everything that is directly accessible by the end user. To create this layer, the full stack developer must be fluent in using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, and various JavaScript libraries like React JS, Foundation, Backbone, AngularJS, and Ember.js

The back end –This involves development work that doesn't produce a user interface. The layer involves the core logic that makes everything work. Full-stack developers here must be fluent in programming languages such as Python, Ruby, Java, PHP, and.Net.

The database – This deals with how data is created, read, updated, and deleted. It requires the developer to be knowledgeable in using databases such as MySQL, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and Oracle.

Sounds like a lot of work! But you are not expected to be an expert in all of the above. You need enough knowledge in all the above technologies so that you are able to understand all the processes running with the development of the application.

Here are 5 simple steps to becoming a full-stack developer:

Step 1: Learn the necessary programming languages

A full stack developer needs to be thorough with the following technologies:

HTML/CSS

HTML is a mark-up language which provides the structure to a web page. It defines how a web page would look like so it can be considered the skeleton of any web application. CSS, on the other hand, is a style sheet language which provides the style and visual enhancements to the documents written in HTML.

JavaScript

JavaScript is the most advanced language. It provides a dynamic interface to users and can be used in both front-end and back-end processes.

Backend technologies

In order to become a full-stack developer, you must learn at least one language used for coding backend processes. Today's sophisticated web applications cannot run without both the front-end and back-end services. Back-end technologies usually consist of programming languages such as PHP, Ruby, Python, Java, Node.js, and different frameworks. Learning one of the languages might suffice but attaining proficiency in it is mandatory.

 

Step 2: Proficiency in Database and cache

Any development project requires a database for data storage. To become a full-stack developer, you need to know how to interact with at least one or two databases. Popular databases today include MySQL, MongoDB, Redis, Oracle, and SQLServer. We recommend achieving proficiency in

  • MongoDB (the document type database) used widely in internet products. 
  • MySQL or commercial Oracle used as the back-end database for larger development projects
  • Redis (the memory database) used for caching to improve system performance.

 

Step 3: Basic design understanding

Understand here that you are not just developing an app but also are responsible for the interface that defines how the user experiences the application. Thus design skill becomes a must-have for a full-stack developer. One must be familiar with the principle and skill of basic prototype design, UI design, and UX design.

 

Step 4: Jack of ALL trades, master of ONE

As the scope expands, most will eat more than they can digest. What I am trying to say is don’t try and learn too much of too many things. You only need to master one and understand the rest. The best course of action is to choose a stack that is popular among clients. 

Choose a programming language based on how comfortable you are in both at the front and back end of the development. The LAMP stack was the traditional choice which comprised of (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/ Perl/ Python) but now the MEAN stack (MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS, NodeJS) is the more popular choice.
   

Step 5: Get rolling by enrolling in a course

Even the best need continuous learning to become a better no.1. In this case, you must learn to stay relevant. Technologies keep changing for the better and a full-stack developer needs to stay abreast of these changes. Although taking online courses is a popular choice today, but it is highly ineffective due to the application-driven nature of full-stack development. Any course that promises to teach everything in a matter of hours fails to deliver spectacularly. The objective should be to learn theory and get practical exposure within a compressed timeframe. For this, choose courses that offer:

  • On-hands mentoring by knowledgeable experts.
  • Bootcamp setting with projects as part of the curriculum (see StackRoute, which incorporates real-world application development into the curriculum).

 

Step 5: Practice to refine the knowledge

Create test web pages and apply the concepts learned in the course to test your knowledge. Become proficient in the use of JavaScript as it can be found in 99 percent of all web applications.

After undertaking a Bootcamp, you should be able to piece together the different parts of the application and create a whole out of the parts. Make sure you understand how each part works, its role in the bigger scheme of things and how one part connects to the other.

Final thoughts

The journey to becoming a full-stack development is certainly difficult but not a herculean task. While Gladwell's law quotes 10000 hours to become world-class, it will take a lot less time to master the necessary skills with the right guidance and time-management. Good courses on full-stack development are still few but premier courses like NIIT's StackRoute are the gold standard when it comes to on-hands project-based learning.

Posted on 12 June, 2019
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