Full Stack Developers/Engineers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Take as many classes in computer science (programming, database management, web development, etc.) in high school as possible. Join school computer science clubs and participate in coding competitions. Mathematics classes will provide you with the theoretical framework behind programming. Developers must write reports and give oral presentations about their work, so it’s a good idea to take English and speech classes. Psychology and philosophy courses will teach you how to think critically and help you to develop your analytical abilities. Finally, taking a foreign language will improve your attractiveness to potential employers and allow you to provide services to customers who do not speak English fluently. Fluency in a foreign language will also give you the ability to work in a foreign country and explore the world while you’re earning a living.

Postsecondary Education

You will need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, computer engineering, or a related field to work as a full stack developer. Some developers have specialized degrees or certificates in information security, database management, artificial intelligence, or Web development.

As part of your training, you will be required to participate in at least one internship or co-op experience, which will help you to obtain hands-on experience, learn about key personal and professional skills, and develop your network. It’s important to work hard during your internship or co-op because these opportunities provide great experience that you can cite on your resume and because employers also use internship and co-op programs as a means to identify candidates for full-time employment.


Many colleges and universities offer certificates in software engineering, Web development, and other information technology-related fields. A growing number of schools are offering certificates in full stack development to meet industry demand. For example, the University of Minnesota offers a graduate certificate in full stack Web development via its Coding Boot Camp. Students who complete the camp will have learned how to build front-end Web sites from scratch; create full-stack, single-page Web applications; and understand the entire development cycle of IT projects in both independent and collaborative settings; among other skills. Visit https://ccaps.umn.edu/full-stack-web-development-certificate-coding-boot-camp for more information. Contact schools in your area to learn more about available programs.

Other Education or Training

Since full stack developers are “jacks of all trades,” it’s important that they continue to learn throughout their careers—especially since technology continues to evolve and new types of programming languages, databases, and development techniques continue to be created. Professional development opportunities are offered by IT associations and organizations, colleges and universities, and online learning platforms (OLPs). For example, the OLP Udacity offers a full stack Web developer nanodegree program, which takes approximately four months to complete if the student spends five to 10 hours a week on the coursework. Coursera and other OLPs also offer classes or nanodegrees in full stack development, programming, information security, Web development, and related fields.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The IEEE Computer Society offers the certified software development associate credential (for entry-level software professionals), the certified software development professional credential (for experienced software designers and engineers), and the professional software engineering master certification (for very experienced and skilled software professionals) to individuals who meet experience and education requirements and pass an examination. The DevOps Institute offers several certification credentials in the related field of DevOps. Google, Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Novell, and other tech companies provide certification in software development.

The Artificial Intelligence Board of America offers the artificial intelligence engineer credential to applicants who meet educational and work experience requirements and pass an examination. Visit https://www.artiba.org/certification/artificial-intelligence-certification for more information.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

It typically takes three to five years of experience as a front-end or back-end developer—or in another related position in programming, database design and management, or web development—to become a full stack developer.

Full stack developers need a variety of technical skills and expertise, including knowledge of front-end and back-end programming languages, information security protocols and practices, proprietary and open-source libraries for building user interfaces or components; database design and management; Web application architecture; algorithms and their formulation; networks and their nuances; servers and their functioning; data structures (types, properties, and uses); and GitHub, a popular code hosting platform for version control and collaboration. They need at least some knowledge of Web or visual design, user experience best practices, search engine optimization, and search engine marketing.

Important personal skills for developers include the ability to think analytically, creativity, curiosity, attention to detail, the ability to work as a member of a team, excellent problem-solving skills, strong communication and interpersonal skills, superior debugging and troubleshooting abilities, flexibility, time-management and organizational skills, and an interest in continuing to learn throughout their careers.