Full Stack Developer Meaning & Definition

In technology development, full stack refers to an entire computer system or application from the front end to the back end and the code that connects the two. The back end of a computer system encompasses “behind-the-scenes” technologies such as the database and operating system. The front end is the user interface (UI). This end-to-end system requires many ancillary technologies such as the network, hardware, load balancers, and firewalls.

Full stack web developers

Full stack is most commonly used when referring to web developers. A full stack web developer works with both the front and back end of a website or application. They are proficient in both front-end and back-end languages and frameworks, as well as server, network, and hosting environments.

Full-stack developers need to be proficient in languages used for front-end development such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and third-party libraries and extensions for Web development such as JQuery, SASS, and REACT. Mastery of these front-end programming languages will need to be combined with knowledge of UI design as well as customer experience design for creating optimal front-facing websites and applications.

Full-stack developers also need to know how to code in back-end languages like JAVA, PHP, Ruby, Perl, Python, and C in order to ensure their front-end web sites and applications are able to integrate with back-end business applications and infrastructure. Knowledge of databases and languages to interact with databases like MySQL, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server is also essential.

The term full stack web developer has generated some controversy, as some believe “full stack” is the very definition of a software developer. They say calling someone a “full stack” developer is equivalent to calling a doctor a “full medical” doctor.

How to become a full stack developer

It s important to note that full-stack developers are not expected to be masters in all programming languages. Rather, those in a full-stack development role should have a solid proficiency in one or more of these languages while also understanding how front-end and back-end technology integrate and work together efficiently.

Hands-on experience is the best way to become a competent full-stack developer, but for those new to full-stack development or programming and technology in general, coding bootcamps and online programming courses from websites like General Assembly, Coursera, Thinkful, and Lynda can be helpful for getting started and learning some of the essential skills needed to advance a career in full-stack development.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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