Career Insight

What is a Full-Stack Web Developer?

full stack developer

Web development is a lucrative and fast-growing field right now. People considering this field are likely deciding between becoming a frontend, backend, or full-stack developer. We’ve previously explained the career outcomes for the front and back-end development … but what about full-stack web development jobs? And better yet, how can you land one? We’ll explore all of this and more. Let’s kick off by defining the role of a full-stack developer.

What Does Being a Full-Stack Developer Entail?

Full-stack developers are web developers who work in both front and back-end development. This means they can complete all tasks involved in web or software development and will often operate as team leader of project management. But before we get into the role of a full-stack developer, it’s important to understand their counterparts: frontend developers and backend developers.

Infographic with examples of frontend and backend programming languages

  • Frontend developers focus on using programming languages to create what the user can see. This side of a website is called the “client-side” or “frontend.” Frontend developers make web pages visually appealing and functional. Whether it’s clickable buttons, scrolling hero images, or rolling videos, frontend developers use coding languages and frameworks to create areas for user interactions within the website. They’re also typically proficient in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • Backend developers work on the “backend” or “server-side” of a website. This is the side of a website that users can’t see or interact with directly. Additionally, this is where databases are stored. This type of development ensures a website continues to run efficiently. Backend developers will eliminate bugs as they come into play.

Frontend developers work in sync with backend developers. Each has their own responsibilities in the project development process. Together, they utilize specific coding languages exclusive to either front or backend development to create one website or application. Without either position, a finished product does not exist.

Now, full-stack developers operate using both frontend and backend skills. Though knowledgeable of both web development skills, full-stack developers aren’t required to write code for an entire website or application on their own. They work as a part of a team to design, code, and launch a website or application.

What’s the Difference Between Full-Stack Developers and Full-Stack Engineers?

Throughout your research into how to become a full-stack developer, you’ve likely come across both of these titles: developer and engineer. Even though they appear nearly identical, each has distinguishable characteristics that make them unique.

Full-stack engineers have the same skill set as full-stack developers; the difference between the two lies outside of their web or software development skills. A full-stack engineer is expected to use project management experience, primarily in the sector of systems administration. They typically manage, configure, and maintain computer systems and networks.

What Skills Do I Need to Become a Full-Stack Developer?

Pursuing a job in full-stack web development requires both soft and technical skills. To supplement those skills, you’ll also need to be familiar with different technologies and stay up-to-date on languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. If you’ve got your heart set on this career path, you’ll need the following:

  • Knowledge of commonly used coding languages
  • Understanding how to best structure code and data
  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Knowing how to connect a database using programming language
  • Having the ability to manage data storage using a database
  • Attention to detail
  • Creativity
  • Patience

Don’t worry if you’re not privy to some of this information. Our Full-Stack Web Development program can teach you all that you need to know.

Are Full-Stack Developer Jobs in Demand?

They sure are! You may think these positions aren’t in high demand as they once were due to the rise of platforms like WordPress or Squarespace, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. These days users can use these platforms to create digital spaces like online portfolios, but professional web developers are still needed to code complex, interactive websites for companies.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities in web development are projected to grow by 13% by 2030. Suffice it to say, full-stack developer jobs will likely be around for a long time.

What Salary Does a Full-Stack Developer Earn?

Web developers earn an average of $77,000 in the United States, according to the BLS. In regard to salary, it’s paramount that we clarify that this figure is dependent upon a developer’s experience level and location. To get an idea of how much you might earn as a web developer in your geographic area, we recommend Dice’s salary calculator.

How Can I Become a Developer?

There are different routes one can take to become a full-stack developer or full-stack engineer. Many aspiring techies hone their web or software development skills by enrolling in a college alternative and tech training school. Now, many developers can earn certificates from technical schools — like Kenzie Academy!

Kenzie Academy offers a Full-Stack Web Development (MERN) program built for career changers, those interested in learning a new skill, and current job holders who want to move up the company ladder.

With our program, you can gain a certificate in full-stack web development in as little as 9 months. You’ll learn critical front and back-end development skills along with a bevy of soft skills empowering you to graduate fully prepared for work in the tech industry.

Here’s a sneak peek into the development skills and programming languages you’ll learn in the program:

  • Break down problems and design engaging solutions
  • Design, create, and modify static web pages that conform to language specifications
  • Analyze the client-side performance of a webpage to better understand the consumer experience
  • Imagine, create, and deploy interactive and mobile-friendly applications for the web using the latest web technologies
  • Understand how to effectively work and collaborate on a software project
  • Learn how to interview confidently
  • Become adept at interacting with behind-the-scenes technologies, like databases and servers
  • Gain the ability to solve more complex sets of problems
  • Correctly identify and fix performance bottlenecks in a web application and propose viable solutions
  • Functionally improve the speed, security, stability, and capability of applications
  • Develop an engineering mindset toward problem solving and receive support in your job search


Ready to jumpstart your career as a UX Designer or Coder? Learn more about the program offerings at Kenzie, or check out our free beginner’s coding program Kenzie Free.

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