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Career guide to Full Stack Development

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1st Dec, 2022
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Career guide to Full Stack Development


Have you ever been intrigued by how web applications work or how a website functions? 

A web application architecture has two main components, the front-end, and back-end. The front-end or the client-side is the user interface which involves the graphics and other options a user can see on the website or mobile app. The back-end is the receiver or server-side of the application comprising all the functions hidden from users. Front-end developers build the client-side, and the back-end developers manage the server-side. However, some professionals do both front-end and back-end jobs. They are called full-stack developers.

If website or web application development interests you, a career in full-stack development might be the ideal choice. This blog offers a step-by-step guide to building a full-stack developer career and lists the various skills required for full-stack development.

What does a full-stack developer do?

Before you jump into the nitty-gritty of building a full-stack developer career, acquaint yourself with responsibilities. You know the crux of a full stack developer’s job – managing both the front-end and back-end of a web application. Their primary responsibility is developing servers, creating website databases, and working on user interfaces. However, they also have to handle many complex tasks. Some of the responsibilities of a full stack developer include:

  • Working with the design team to build engaging web pages and UI.
  • Running multiple tests of the web applications to check for any bugs.
  • Debugging the website and ensuring its smooth optimization.
  • Designing codes for front-end and back-end web architecture.
  • Suggesting changes to modify the existing user programs.
  • Ensuring compatibility and optimization between different platforms.
  • Supervising automated testing of the application and offering feedback to teams.
  • Staying updated about technological developments and working on implementing the same.
  • Developing Application Programming Interface (APIs).

Full-stack developers have to manage the entire software development process from conception to deployment.

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Why should you pursue a career in full-stack development?

With more start-ups, companies, and even small businesses launching their mobile or web applications, the need for full-stack developers is at an all-time high in the US. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, web developer jobs in the US are likely to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030. This growth will be highest compared to all other occupations. Nearly 18,000 web developer job openings are expected to open up every year. Another interesting reason to pursue a full-stack developer career is the earning potential. According to Indeed, the average base salary of a full-stack developer in the United States is $100,795 annually. Full-stack developers with relevant experience and skills earn a lot more. 

Also, full-stack development is one of the most preferred roles in software development. According to a survey, 38% of hiring managers reported that full-stack development was the top role to fill in 2020. So, full-stack development is one of the most sought-after careers in the 21st century, with excellent growth opportunities.

How to build a career in full-stack development?

Let us see the essential steps to becoming a full-stack developer.

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Set Goals

The first step to starting your full-stack development career is to set goals. You can do this by analyzing some essential factors like your skills, previous experience, what you wish to learn, how soon you want to learn, whether you want to do internships, what skills you can acquire, and certificate or degree courses that you can pursue to enhance your skills. For instance, if you are a beginner in web development, learn both front-end and back-end development. However, you must focus on upskilling yourself if you are a front-end developer or have some experience in full-stack development.

Start Learning

Once you have set your goals, you must focus on learning. Many people who prefer intensive education opt for degree courses. If you are a fresher, you can pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer applications. If you are a web developer and want to learn more, you can pursue a master’s degree in science.

However, if your goal is to gain more practical skills and work on real-time projects, enrolling in boot camps, training, or certificate courses offered online by ed-tech platforms or universities is better.

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Acquire Relevant Skills

The next step is to acquire popular full-stack development skills. Here are some of the most relevant skills and programming languages to learn:

  • Front-end development skills like HTML, CSS, ReactJS, and AJAX.
  • Back-end development skills like Node.js, Ruby, Python, SQL, and Flask.
  • Java
  • Web architecture
  • Git and GitHub
  • Bootstrap

You also need to learn the following soft skills in addition to the technical skills mentioned above.

  • Problem-solving
  • Creativity
  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Leadership

Build a Portfolio

Creating a portfolio is essential to supply for full-stack development jobs. It allows you to showcase your skills and work experience. You can attach your portfolio while sending emails for job applications. Some of the best ways to build a portfolio are to do internships in full-stack development. You can also volunteer at many organizations to improve your skills and learn new programming languages. With experience, you can also work as a freelance full-stack developer and take on paid projects. Another best option is to create a profile on GitHub and work on open-source projects. It will help build your portfolio and enhance your CV. 

Apply for Jobs

Once your portfolio is ready, you can start applying for full-stack developer jobs. Some of the top companies in the US where you can apply for full-stack JavaScript developer jobs are eBay, Cisco, PwC, and Walmart. You can send cold emails to companies or search for opportunities on LinkedIn, AngelList, and other online job search portals. You can also apply for full-stack development jobs in start-ups for immense growth and learning.

Prepare for Interview

Preparing for interviews is one of the most critical steps in your career. Full-stack development interviews will most likely have a technical round to assess your skills. You can expect questions related to programming languages or coding. The interviewer might ask about your previous experience in coding, the tools that you know, or projects you have worked on. In fresher interviews, the majority of the questions are asked from the things mentioned in the CV and portfolio. Some interviewers might also give a practical challenge to solve. You can read several popular interview questions and answers on full-stack development.

Also, prepare well for behavioral questions like ‘tell us about yourself’, ‘why you are the best candidate for this job’, ‘explain your strengths and weaknesses’, and more. Make sure to brush up on all the basic theoretical concepts on full-stack development before going for the interview.

Popular Tools in Full Stack Development 

Full-stack developers use various software development and planning tools. Here are some of the most popular tools in full-stack development that will help you grow in your career.

  • Backbone
  • Python
  • MySQL
  • TypeScript
  • GitHub
  • Visual Studio Code 
  • Angular.JS
  • Slack
  • PHP
  • Sublime Text
  • CodePen
  • Electron
  • jQuery
  • WebStorm
  • Docker


A full-stack development career’s difficulty level largely depends on your interests and how willing you are to learn. People with a prior coding background find it easier to understand full-stack development and can acquire relevant skills in a few months. However, you might find it a tad bit difficult to learn the appropriate skills for full-stack development if you do not have a degree in computer science or computer application. 

Irrespective of your prior knowledge, you can learn full-stack development by gaining theoretical and practical knowledge. Certificate courses like upGrad’s Full Stack Development Certificate Program by IIIT Bangalore are best to kickstart your career. It teaches you the basics of web programming, software engineering, and advanced topics like web development, software testing, process management, and more.


Pavan Vadapalli

Blog Author
Director of Engineering @ upGrad. Motivated to leverage technology to solve problems. Seasoned leader for startups and fast moving orgs. Working on solving problems of scale and long term technology strategy.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What is the difference between a full stack developer and a java developer?

The difference between full-stack development and Java development has become thin today because many full-stack developers are familiar with the Java programming language. However, their roles can vary depending on specific requirements. A Java developer builds software applications that include web applications or mobile applications. But, full-stack development is restricted to designing the front-end and back-end sides of websites or web applications.

2What is the growth trajectory in a full-stack development career?

Initially, you will most likely start your career as a junior full-stack developer. In 3-5 years, you can expect to become a senior full-stack developer. Further, people move on to director or manager levels in the next five years. After decades of experience, you can become a chief technical officer or CTO.

3 Is it necessary for full-stack developers to learn Java?

No, it is not necessary for full-stack developers to learn Java. However, basic knowledge of Java is highly recommended because it is one of the most popular programming languages. Java makes it easier for full-stack developers to build the server-side of the web application.

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