Want to become a fullstack developer? Check what to learn
He can do a lot and he has a lot of knowledge in different areas. This is a programmer who knows not only the front-end, but also knows what is written in the back-end. It sounds like a good plan for the future, but what do you really need to learn to become a fullstack developer?
It seems that this is an increasingly chosen path of development of the programmer. The developer report from our IT community survey 2021 indicates that 32% of developers describe themselves as a fullstack developer. But what does such a specialist really do?
Fullstack developer is really a specialist who can make a web application from scratch-from the first commit to the launch of the service. That is, it deals not only with the visual page of the web application, but also with its logic, interaction with the database, user authentication or launching the whole. For many software houses, having a fullstack on their team is an ideal situation. It can effectively optimise costs for a simple reason: you do not need to hire additional specialists from different technologies. What technologies should a fullstack developer master? We’ve prepared a short list.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that fullstack should know most of the technologies used to create web applications. However, it is difficult to require detailed knowledge of each of them. The main thing is to be able to work on the front-end and back-end and be aware of the processes taking place there. There are a few things to focus on.
To begin with, you need to know what every web developer starts with: HTML and CSS. Fullstack Developer must have a good understanding of HTML semantics, boxed CSS model. You will also need to know one of the CSS preprocessors – e.g. sass or less. At the beginning of your career, creating responsive apps can be a challenge, but after a few months of practice, it becomes second nature.
The more difficult tasks that can be encountered in this area include optimizing the critical rendering path or incorporating performance considerations into your design.
In addition, creating modern web applications often means using Reacta or angulara or Vue.js. React is the most popular and 25% of jobs for fullstack developers includes in the requirements of this technology. This basically means creating large applications, which already requires dependency management tools. Here you can use the solution created by Facebook-yarn. It is intended to be a fast, secure and convenient dependency manager. Another option is NPM, which is famous, among other things, for downloading a huge amount of datawhich has spawned some pretty good memes.
It’s not over yet, because a Webpack can be useful for splitting code sensiblywhich can also be used to build what will eventually end up on the server. Alternatives are e.g. grunt or gulp. As well as dozens of other tools to build.
We now turn to what happens “behind the scenes” of websites and web applications. From the fullstack developer’s point of view, most of the technologies used on the back-end are very similar. All the most popular are well developed and perform exactly the same tasks, so the choice here is a matter of preference. To begin with, you will need a pair: a programming language and a framework for creating web applications. Here the list of the most popular choices looks like this:
- PHP-Symphony (Spring-inspired) or Laravel
- Java – Spring
- Ruby-Ruby on Rails
This, of course, is not an exhaustive list. You can also try to do without frameworks, but we do not recommend this solution. They greatly accelerate development and facilitate the long – term maintenance of the application-as long as it develops according to the art.
When it comes to web applications and modern websites, the topic of data storage comes up. This means that Fullstack must be familiar with databases. It is worth focusing on the capabilities and advantages of relational data (SQL), and later get to know NoSQL databases. You also need to learn how to combine a database with a specific language used in the back-end-each language has frameworks for handling the data layer, most often in the form of ORM (Object-Relational Mapping). At a later stage look at methods of storing data in memory (here e.g. Redis).
The most important thing here seems to be a good knowledge of the basics of SQL and the operation of the selected Orm. Poor database design and poor ORM usage are the main causes of poor performance.
Web application architecture
And finally, you need to learn how to put individual technologies into one, complex web application.
The fullstack developer must be aware of all the layers that the request that comes from the application to the server goes through. This is somewhat related to the name of the position, because the technology stack is largely translated into the life cycle of the request-response.
In each of the components created by the fullstack developer, it is important to ensure the correct architecture. Frequent jumping between different layers makes the easy-to-understand architecture, in which everything has its own clear place, a percentage.
Such architecture is difficult to create without understanding and consciously using design and architectural patterns. The absolute basis is MVC and component architecture. Additionally, both back-end and front-end frameworks use specific approaches and patterns to solve well-known problems.
It is worth learning more about back-end and front-end communication, i.e. HTTP and good design practices API (REST, GraphQL)
Minimum knowledge of administration
In fact, knowledge of application administration can be reduced to a minimum when you deploy on Heroku, a platform that simplifies application deployment as much as possible. In our opinion, however, it is worth asking yourself more trouble and learn other solutions. Today the standard is Docker, which allows you to deliver applications in containers. In the container you can “load” the application with all its dependencies, which reduces the need to administer servers or complex deployments.
You should also make sure that the application logs useful for analyzing messages, it gave us information when there was an error in it, and was also easy to monitor. Some developers forget about it, and this is very important from the point of view of system reliability.
Acquiring individual skills is not at all easy and requires a lot of work. In addition to learning different technologies, a good Fullstack must first understand both front-end and back-end processes. Then it will be easier to find the right solutions and expand your knowledge according to your needs.
The key for a fullstack programmer is to connect all layers of the system together. Usually, such a position does not require a very thorough knowledge of all the meanders of the technologies used, but rather the rapid delivery of working functions, which in addition will be easy to maintain as part of the system. Therefore, being a good fullstack developer is not as easy as many people may think.