What is a "full stack" developer?
Have you ever heard the term “full-stack developer”? Existing dilemmas and definitions bring us to ask ourselves whether it is even possible to be one in the environment of Web 2.0.
Many argue that reaching the status of full-stack developer is impossible. On the other hand, it might just depend on your point of view. The term is not a new one. In fact, it has been used for several years now. So, what does it actually mean? Well, a full-stack developer is someone who has profound knowledge of every layer of computer software development, from front-end to back-end.. However, definitions vary from merely being specialized in all layers, to being familiar enough to carry out a full project unaided. In this case being specialized in, or familiar with, the following layers:
Servers, web hosting and networking
Interaction with APIs and the external world
Knowledge of multiple CMS
Design and user interfaces
Quality assurance and referencing
Business and customer relations.
Being a Full-Stack developer seems like a lot of work!
Indeed, following the definition of being specialized in all the above mentioned layers, it would be rather hard to find “true” full-stack developers anywhere. Nonetheless, small businesses, start-ups and even big companies prefer hiring stack-developers. You must have noticed the demand for employees who are good at multitasking, and who know a little bit of everything, in all professional domains. We could therefore conclude that, in reality, the definition more closely resembles that of familiarity with all the relevant layers.
Why is this important?
Well, when you search for a web developer, or freelancer to create or redo your website, you usually search for one person. Therefore, it is obvious that this person should know a bit of everything, and be able to anticipate anything that can happen during the production phase of a new software product. Either way, full-stack developers are not experts at everything and there might be no need for more specialized skills during production, as long as they produce a good-quality product at the end of the day.
Is it really possible to be a full-stack developer?
In all honesty, it takes years of experience to develop the knowledge base necessary for understanding all the relevant layers perfectly. Different roles, different languages, different industries, etc. All your acquired skills will certainly benefit you along the way, and will give you a point of view that will allow you to think out of the box. When you get here, then yes, it is possible!
If you want to be a proper full-stack developer, then stay teachable and curious. There is no need to remind you that the web is constantly evolving. So, if you want to be on top, you need to keep a close eye on technological developments, the rest really depends on you!