Career as a Full Stack Engineer

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What a Career as a Full Stack Engineer May Look Like

A full stack developer or engineer handles both the back end and the front end of an application. The front end of a website or application is the components that are visible when using the application. By comparison, the back end focuses on the server-side of the web application. It includes code and functionality components. A person working in full stack engineering does both of these components.

For those who wish to work in a career as a full stack engineer, it helps to know a bit about how this works and what to expect. Here is some insight.


What is a Full Stack Engineer?

A full stack engineer is a programmer or developer that works to develop and manage both the front end and the back end of applications. This includes both the client side and the server side. In short, a full stack engineer has skills to do all of the coding and programing for a web application. They have skills to build these applications from the foundation up, including programming the functionality to optimize the user’s experience.

A full stack developer typically focuses on developing applications from a full stack point-of-view. By contrast, a full stack engineer has a skillset that allows them to oversee the system as a whole. They may be able to have a more strategic view of the entire application’s management. Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, but their actual jobs differ.

What is the difference between a full stack engineer and a software engineer?

A software engineer is a person that oversees the functionality and management of software programs. These professionals apply their engineering skills to software systems. A full stack developer has coding skills and other development skills as they focus on developing solutions. For example, they may build the software that the software engineer oversees.

What Does a Full Stack Engineer Do?

A full stack engineer typically works to design and develop software programs such as applications. They may also maintain software. Many times, they work with stakeholders as well as customers and project managers to oversee the functionality of an application often taking input from others for adjustments or updates. Full stack engineers may do some design and development work, but their main responsibilities typically focus on managing team tasks and milestones, overseeing the development lifecycle, and identifying opportunities to improve applications.

An engineer may create blueprints for full stack programmers to use. They may also work with the developer to create these solutions. They may work to meet client needs, when working to produce products for customers. Other times, they work to maintain and test the system on an ongoing basis to ensure it is operating the way the user or stakeholders desire.

How Do You Become a Full Stack Engineer?

There are several paths to becoming a full stack engineer. It is possible to attend a college program and earn a bachelor’s in software engineering, which typically includes options for full stack education. Some may move on to a master’s in the field. Another option is to finish a full stack engineer bootcamp. These camps provide individuals with the core skills and resources they need, and are typically shorter than what occurs in a traditional bachelor’s degree program.

Students may wish to attend a bootcamp type of program or a graduate certificate program if they already have a bachelors to learn the ins and outs of full stack engineering. It is not always necessary to have a high-level graduate degree program. Bootcamps are sometimes beneficial because they provide the student with more hands-on experience in the programs and tools they typically use to do this type of work. Bootcamps offer practical and real-world skills that full take developers and engineers may be able to apply to the work they do.

Many individuals develop a professional portfolio during their education. This allows them to showcase their skills in developing websites, games, apps, or other tools. Portfolios like this may help some students to showcase their skills in the field that they may then use to work towards a job.

  • Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access

What Skills Do You Need to Become a Full Stack Engineer?

To work as a full stack engineer, individuals need to have skills in both the front end and back end of software and application development. Their skills typically need to include a focus on both the visual elements that make up a website or software program as well as the working components that help ensure it is functional.

Some of the core skills individuals may need to have as a full stack engineer include:

  • Computer language skills: This typically includes HTML, CSS, and JavaScript as the basics or fundamental computer languages needed. Back end developers use a wider range of languages that may also include Stack Overflow, Python, PHP, C#, PHP, and Ruby, among others.
  • Software skills: This may include the ability to use tools like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, or other applications focused on visual aspects.
  • Database management: Many students need great database management skills as well as tools for managing them. This often means having key skills in areas of MySQL, MongoDB, and other database languages.

In addition to these core skills (and other tech skills students need) those working as a full stack engineer may also need to have great problem solving skills, project management skills, teamwork and communication skills, as well as the ability to pay close attention to detail.

The skills of a full stack engineer may also include solid understanding of structure code and data. It typically includes an understanding of numerous computer languages as well as a variety of supplemental technical skills. Individuals working in this field may also need to update and expand their knowledge over time as new technologies become available.

Also note that some positions require very specific skills based on the work that needs to be done. Some employers may have requirements for a heavier focus on one programming language over another.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to Payscale, the average full stack engineer salary is $93,598 per year, with a range from $62,000 to $131,000. That base salary may be further compensated with bonuses, which on average range from $873 to $12,000. Profit sharing is sometimes offered by companies as well. On average, this ranges from $1,000 to $63,000, creating a total pay range from $63,000 to $134,000.

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