Full Stack Developers/Engineers


Exploring this Job

One of the best ways to prepare for this career is to learn how to code. Programming languages that are frequently used by full stack developers include front-end languages such as CSS, HTML, and JavaScript and back-end languages such as Python, Ruby, PHP, Java, and Node.js. The following online learning platforms offer free or low-cost classes in coding: Code Cademy (https://www.codecademy.com), edX (https://www.edx.org), Coursera (https://www.coursera.org), and Khan Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org). Your high school computer science department also probably offers coding classes.

Participate in computer science, software development, and other IT-related summer exploration programs that are offered by colleges and universities, high schools, and park districts.

Get involved in programming, artificial intelligence, and related competitions for high school, students, college students, and professionals to test your skills against others and have some fun. Artificial intelligence is technology that can be programmed to perform functions and tasks in a “smart” manner that mimics and learns from human decision-making processes. Here are two competitions to check out:

  • World Artificial Intelligence Competition for Youth: https://www.waicy.org
  • Kaggle: https://www.kaggle.com.

Other ways to explore this career include talking to your computer science teacher or a full stack developer about educational and career opportunities in the field, job shadowing a developer, and reading books and watching videos (YouTube.com is a good source) about the field.

The Job

There is ongoing debate about what makes a full stack “developer” or “engineer” unique. Some employers use the same term for equally qualified and experienced workers, while others classify full stack developers as “jacks of all trades” who have general experience in a wide range of areas and handle the “nitty gritty” development work. They may define full stack engineers as experienced professionals with project management experience in areas such as systems administration. 

Every employer has its own definition of the job duties, required skills, and educational background of its full stack developers, but most developers design, develop, debug, test, and troubleshoot software programs and components, They may also create interactive dashboards and data visualizations; maintain code integrity and organization during the project; troubleshoot issues and solve problems as necessary; write reports and give presentations that provide information and updates to managers and executives regarding current and new product development; and write and maintain technical documentation. Many are also responsible for quality assurance and computer security. Some work with their company’s marketing, sales, and business development departments to attract new customers and to provide input regarding data analytics, search engine optimization, and search engine marketing, among other topics.