Full stack developer roles are among the hottest careers in the tech space now. These talented folks can develop a whole product from scratch.
A full stack developer is a combination of Front-end developer and Backend developer. These two in themselves are full time jobs and most people make careers out of one of them. So, we will start with Front-end roadmap and then go to Back-end roadmap.
Industries where relevant
The demand for Full stack developers is the highest in early-stage startups, where they want to create a Minimum Viable Product at the earliest to showcase to the investors. It is also a nice skill to have in addition to frontend technologies or backend technologies alone, since an employer prefers people with both skills.
What to learn & where to learn
There are a lot of technologies to learn to be a Full-Stack developer. We will discuss about them in the coming sections.
List of technologies to master to become a Full-Stack developer
A full-stack developer is actually a combination of Frontend developer and Backend developer. We need to master both, and both have different Roadmaps. Let’s start with the basics.
We are also required to know about DevOps, which is a practice of harmonizing development and operations whereby the entire pipeline from development, testing, deployment, continuous integration and feedback is automated. The knowledge of either AWS or Azure based cloud ecosystem is required, and also CI/CD like Jenkins and containerizing & orchestrating applications using Docker and Kubernetes.
Learn the Basics
CSS is what makes a website or web-app beautiful, and is often considered the hardest part by a developer. Earlier, CSS was very confusing and had a steep learning curve, because of the use of floats to create a layout. Developers usually used to work with CSS frameworks like bootstrap to design a site. But things have changed a lot with the invention of CSS Grid and Flexbox.
Some of the best resources to learn the basics are –
- Style CSS
The basics of Linux can be learnt from their official site.
Next, learning version control is very important because we should always keep our code in some remote repository like Github. The industry works on Git, which is version control software. It is completely command-based and is used heavily everywhere. Learn the basic commands which will be useful even for an individual developer. Later on, when working with teams, more advanced knowledge of the git command is required.
Through the git commands, we store our code in repositories. The most popular ones are Github and Bit Bucket, so we need to learn how to store and link them.
The basics of git can be learnt from this awesome tutorial.
The npm script is nothing but the package.json file which comes with React projects or is created in a Node.js project using npm init.
Module Loader and Bundler
Module bundlers also do the same thing, building it at the time of application build rather than at the runtime. Popular examples are Webpack and Rollup.
Testing nowadays is very important in any type of project. There are two types of testing; one is known as Unit testing and other as end-to-end testing. For unit testing we write test cases and the most popular tool nowadays is Jest.
End-to-end testing is automated testing, which emulates the whole app. Suppose, an app has a login screen and then it shows posts. The testing tool will run the web-app to check whether all the functionalities are done correctly. The two most popular options today are Puppeteer and Cypress. The tutorials to refer for these topics are –
Libraries and Framework
In React state management can sometimes become complex, when we need to share data between components. We generally take help of external packages in it with the most popular being Redux. But we also have other state management libraries like XState and Recoil.
With performance becoming important nowadays, Server-Side Rendering speeds up the React projects even faster. In SSR projects, the React code is rendered on the server and the client browser directly receives the HTML, CSS, JS bundle. The only framework to do it is NextJS.
Lot of sites don’t need to be updated frequently and it is the place where the only Static Site Generator for ReactJS, which is GatsbyJS shines. With the help of GatsbyJS we can create extremely fast static sites and it gets into WordPress domain a lot with it. GatsbyJS also has a huge ecosystem of plugins, which enhances its functionalities.
Unit testing is a very important part of ReactJS projects, especially the ones which are very large. Unit testing ensures that we have lower bugs in Production build. The two popular libraries are – Enzyme and Jest.
It is a complete framework and unlike React requires very few external dependencies. Everything is built within Angular and we don’t have to go outside for more features. Since it was among the earliest frameworks, older projects are in Angular and it is still widely used in enterprises. A good tutorial to learn Angular is below.
It is used for Server-Side Rendering in Vue projects and is similar to the NextJS framework used in ReactJS for SSR.
It is the newest of all frameworks/libraries and has become quite popular, but still not used much in enterprises and startups. It is different from React, Vue and Angular and converts the app at build time rather than at run time as in the other three. Good tutorials to start with Svelte are below.
CSS Deep Dive
A lot has changed in CSS after it included CSS Grid and Flexbox; it has become much easier for developers to work with.
It is now mandatory for frontend developers to learn CSS Grid and Flexbox, because through it we can develop beautiful layouts with ease. More companies are moving away from CSS Frameworks and have started working with CSS Grid and Flexbox, which are now supported by all browsers. Good tutorials to learn Flexbox and CSS Grid are below.
CSS preprocessors are used to add special functionalities in CSS, which it lacks. An example is Sass, which adds special features like variables and nested rules in CSS and is widely used in the industry for larger projects.
The other popular one is PostCSS, in which we can use custom plugin and tools in CSS.
Frameworks were very popular from the early days of CSS, when it was very complicated because of floats.
This is the most popular and oldest CSS framework; easy to learn and also has a wide variety of elements, templates and interfaces.
It is another CSS framework, which is very popular and much easier to use than bootstrap.
This is a fairly new CSS framework and is quite popular nowadays. It follows a different approach than the other frameworks and contains easier classes.
Styled Components (React)
This is a CSS in JS library and is for React only. It is used to create components out of every style and is very popular in the React world.
The Continuous Integration/ Continuous deployment is mainly used by DevOps. But a frontend engineer should know its basics. It is used to build, test and deploy applications automatically.
It is a freely available CI/CD pipeline, which directly integrates to your github based project and can be used in a variety of languages.
It is again a task which mainly falls into the domain of Backend engineers and DevOps, but a frontend engineer should know some basic and simple tools.
Node Application Deployment
The projects containing node code cannot be deployed using static deployment. Even if the project is a simple ReactJS project, it also uses node for processing. These applications require services which run the Node code and deploy it. The three most popular services are Vercel, Firebase and Netlify.
Understanding the Backend
Backend is the part of the website that provides the functionality, allowing people to browse their favorite site, purchase a product and log into their account, for instance. All data related to a user or a product or anything else are generally stored in databases or CMS (Content Management System) and when a user visits any website, they are retrieved from there and shown.
One of the responsibilities of a backend engineer involves writing APIs, which actually interact with the database and get the data. They are also involved in writing schemas of database and creating the structure of databases.
For a backend engineer, working in a Linux environment is an essential skill. A lot of the configurations are done on the terminal. So, he or she should be very good with Linux commands.
Also, they should know both commands and the use of any git powered platforms like Github or bitbucket.
Languages and Frameworks
All of the popular languages have some framework, which has been used for backend development. These frameworks are generally used to create API endpoints, which are used to fetch or store data in the database. For example, when we scroll articles on Facebook, these articles are fetched from a database and we use the GET method to fetch them. Similarly, when we write an article and hit submit, it uses POST method.
Now, different frameworks implement this GET, POST and other APIs also referred to as RESTful APIs in their own way.
Java is by far the oldest and the most used language for backend development. It is also used for a variety of other tasks like Android development, but it shines in the backend because of its multithreading abilities. So, enterprise grade web-apps and web-apps with a lot of traffic prefer Java, because it handles loads better.
The most popular frameworks for backend development in Java are Spring Framework and Hibernate. Some good beginner’s tutorials are –
Python is one of the most popular languages among developers and has been used in a variety of fields. The two most popular frameworks for Python are Flask and Django. Some good beginner tutorials are –
It is a very popular programming language which was developed by Microsoft and it has the power of C++. Its popularity increased once the .NET framework was released for backend development.
As Microsoft is very popular in enterprises, the .NET framework is generally preferred in enterprises. A good tutorial to learn .NET is –
Go language which is also referred to as Golang, has gained popularity in recent years. It is used a lot in Backend programming and the two popular frameworks are Gin and Beego.
For a Backend engineer, after making APIs with framework based on language, it’s time to learn about Databases. Databases are used to store most of the things which we see in a web-app, from user login credentials to user posts and everything else. In the earlier days we only used to have one type of Database and that was Relational databases, which use tables to store data. Now we have two other categories also, one being NoSQL databases and the other In-memory databases.
Relational databases allow you to create, update and delete data stored in a table format. This type of database mostly uses SQL language to access the data, hence is also known as an SQL database.
It is one of the oldest databases and was released in 1995. It is an open-source database and was very popular in the 2000s with the rise of LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack. It is still widely in use, but there are other popular Relational databases. A good tutorial to learn MySQL is –
PostgreSQL, which is also known as Postgres is also an old open-source Relational database, which was released in 1996. But it gained popularity recently, as it goes very well with modern stacks containing NodeJS and other backend technologies. A good tutorial to learn PostgreSQL is –
Oracle is the most popular and oldest relational database. It was released in 1979 and still remains the number one preference for enterprise customers. All the big banks and other organizations, run on Oracle databases. So, the knowledge of Oracle is a must in many companies for an Engineer. A good tutorial to learn Oracle is –
MS-SQL is also known as Microsoft SQL and is yet another commercial Relational database. It has got different editions, used by different audiences. It is also heavily used by enterprise users and powers a whole lot of big systems around the world. A good tutorial to learn MS-SQL is –
NoSQL databases are also called non-SQL databases. The NoSQL databases mainly store data as key-value pairs, but some of them also use a SQL-like structure.
These databases have become hugely popular in the 21st century, with the rise of large web-apps which have a lot of concurrent users. These databases can take huge loads, even millions of data connections, required by web-apps like Facebook, Amazon and others. Beside this, it is very easy to horizontally scale a NoSQL database by adding more clusters, which is a problem in Relational Databases.
It is the most popular NoSQL database, used by almost every modern app. It is a free to use database, but the hosting is charged if we host on popular cloud services like MongoDB atlas. Its knowledge is a must for backend engineers, who work on the modern stack. MongoDB uses json like documents to store data. A good tutorial to learn MongoDB is –
It is a proprietary database service provided by Amazon. It is quite similar to MongoDB and uses key-value pairs to store data. It is also a part of the popular AWS services. A good tutorial to learn DynamoDB is-
Cassandra is an open-source and free to use NoSQL database . It takes a different approach when compared to other NoSQL databases, because we use commands like SQL, which are known as CQL (Cassandra Query Language). A good tutorial to learn Cassandra is –
The in-memory database is a database, which keeps all of the data in the RAM. This means it is the fastest among all databases. The most popular and widely used in-memory database is Redis.
Redis (Remote Dictionary Server) is an in-memory database, which stores data in RAM in a json like key-value format. It keeps the data persistent by updating everything in the transaction log, because when systems are shut down their RAM is wiped clean. A good tutorial to learn Redis is –
Storing the data is an important part of any application. Although this is mainly DevOps territory, every backend developer should know the basics for the same. We need to store the database data and also the backend code. Beside this the frontend code must also be stored somewhere. Nowadays everything is stored in the cloud, which is preferred by individuals, startups and enterprises. The two most popular cloud-based storages are –
Good beginner’s tutorials for both are
Services and APIs
These are theoretical concepts and are implemented by various services, but a backend engineer should know them and how to use them.
This is by far the most popular way to get data from a database. It was made more popular, with the rise of web-apps. We do GET, PUT, POST and DELETE operations to read, update, create or delete data from databases. We have earlier discussed different languages and frameworks, which have their own implementations for these operations.
In microservice architecture, we divide a large and complex project into small, independent services. Each of these is responsible for a specific task and communicates with other services through simple APIs. Each service is built by a small team from the beginning, and separated by boundaries which make it easier to scale up the development effort if needed.
It is the hottest new kid in the block, which is an alternative to the Restful APIs. The problem with Restful APIs is that if you want some data stored in database, you need to get the whole data sent by the endpoint. On the other hand, with GraphQL, you get a query type language which can return only the part of the data which you require.
DevOps & Deployment
A backend engineer requires a fair bit of DevOps knowledge. So, we will next deep dive into the methodologies in DevOps.
Containerization & Orchestration
Containers are a method of building, packaging and deploying software. They are similar to but not the same thing as virtual machines (VMs). One of the primary differences is that containers are isolated or abstracted away from the underlying operating system and infrastructure that they run on. In the simplest terms, a container includes both an application’s code and everything that code needs to run properly.
Container orchestration is the automatic process of managing the work of individual containers for applications based on microservice architecture. The popular Containerization and Orchestration tools are –
Good beginner’s tutorials for both are –
DevOps is a set of practices that combine software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). It aims to shorten the systems development life cycle and provide continuous delivery with high software quality. The two most popular DevOps services are AWS and Azure. Both of them are cloud based and are market leaders. Both of these platforms contain a wide variety of similar services.
It consists of over 200 products and services for storage, database, analytics, deployment, serverless function and many more. AWS is the market leader as of now with 33% of market share. The AWS certifications are also one of the most in-demand certifications and a must for frontend engineers as well as Backend engineers.
Microsoft Azure is second in terms of market share of cloud-based platforms, with 18% of the market. It also consists of SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) like AWS.
PaaS (Platform as a Service)
There are several smaller players, which provide Platform as a Service and are much easier to use than services like AWS and Azure. With these services you can directly deploy your React or other web-apps, by just hosting them on GitHub and pushing the code. These services are preferred a lot by freelancers, hobbyists and small companies as they don’t require investment in learning complicated services like AWS and Azure. The three most popular PaaS services are
- Digital Ocean
Serverless computing is an execution model where the cloud provider (AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud) is responsible for executing a piece of code by dynamically allocating resources and only charging for the number of resources used to run the code. The code is typically run inside stateless containers that can be triggered by a variety of events including http requests, database events, queuing services, monitoring alerts, file uploads, scheduled events (cron jobs), etc. The code that is sent to the cloud provider for execution is usually in the form of a function.
It is an event-driven, serverless platform which is part of AWS. The various languages supported by AWS Lambda are Node.js, Python, Java, Go, Ruby and .NET. AWS Lambda was designed for use cases such as updates to DynamoDB tables, responding to a website click etc. After that it will “spin down” the database service, to save resources.
They are quite similar to AWS Lambda, but are for Microsoft Azure. Azure functions have a browser-based interface to write code to respond to events generated by http requests etc. The service accepts programming languages like C#, F#, Node.js, Python, PHP and Java.
It is an open-source web-framework written using Node.js. The popular services like AWS Lambda, Azure functions and Google cloud functions are based on it.
A backend developer should know the popular CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous deployment) tools. These tools help to automate the whole process of building, testing and deployment of applications.
It is a freely available CI/CD pipeline, which directly integrates to your GitHub based project and can be used in variety of languages.
Jenkins is the most popular CI/CD automation tool, which helps in building, testing and deployment of applications. Jenkins was written in Java and over the years has been built to support over 1400 plugins, which extend its functionalities.
Circle CI is also a CI/CD automation tool, which is cloud based and so it is different from Jenkins. It is much easier to use than Jenkins, but has a smaller community and lower user base.
Security is an important aspect of any application. Most applications containing user personal data, like email etc, are often targeted by hackers.
The Open Web Application Security Project (or OWASP), is a non-profit organization dedicated to web application security. They have free material available on their website, making it possible for anyone to improve their web application security.
Protecting Services & databases against threats
Hackers target databases of popular web-apps on a regular basis to get sensitive information about their customers. This data is then sold to the highest bidder on the dark-net. When such public breaches are reported, then it’s a reputation loss for the enterprise also. So, a lot of emphasis should be given to Authentication, Access, Backups, and Encryption while setting up a database. The databases should also be monitored for any suspicious activities.
Besides this the API routes also need to be protected, so that the hacker cannot manipulate them.
Most of the companies hire Frontend developers, Backend developers and DevOps engineers separately. This is because most of the enterprise projects are huge, in which roles and responsibilities are distributed.
But there is a huge demand for Full Stack developers in the startup sector in US and India. These companies need specialists who can get the product out as soon as possible with agile and small teams.
Top companies hiring
Almost every company on the planet is hiring web-developers or outsourcing the development work. Since the past decade, the demand for developers has risen exponentially. The top technology companies which hire full stack developers are Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google, Uber, Flipkart, Microsoft and more.
The sites of each of these companies are web-apps (excluding Apple and Microsoft), with complex frontend and backend systems. The frontend generally consists of React or Angular and the backend is a combination of various technologies. The DevOps part is also quite important in these web-apps as they handle millions of concurrent connections at once.
The salary of a beginner Frontend developer in India starts from Rs. 300,000($ 3980) per year in service-based companies to Rs. 12,00,000($ 15,971) per year in the top tech companies mentioned above. The salary of a Beginner Full-Stack developer in India starts at Rs. 4,50,000 ($ 5989) per year in service companies to Rs. 12,00,000($ 15,971) per year in top tech companies.
The salary for an entry level Frontend developer in USA is $ 59,213 per year and for an entry level Full stack developer is $ 61,042 per year.
Below are some sources for salaries.
Top regions where there is demand
There are plenty of remote and freelancing opportunities in web-development across the world. The two countries with most developers and top tech companies are USA and India. Silicon Valley, which is the San Francisco Bay Area, in Northern California, USA is the hub of technology companies.
The top city in India to start a developer job is the Silicon Valley of India – Bengaluru. The number of jobs is more than all the other cities combined and it also has a very good startup ecosystem. Almost all the big technology companies mentioned earlier and top Indian service companies are located in the city. After Bengaluru, the city where the greatest number of technology jobs are based is Hyderabad, followed by Chennai and then Pune.
Most people start as an intern Front-end developer or Intern Full-Stack developer and in many cases Intern Backend developer. Many companies directly hire junior Frontend/Backend/Full-stack developers.
After that, the next step is the role of Senior Frontend/Backend/Full-stack developers. Many Frontend and Backend developers become full stack developers at this level, by learning additional technologies. Senior resources in Frontend/Backend/Full-stack can then go on to assume Team Lead roles. These people manage small teams in addition to being individual contributors.
After this a professional can become a Project manager, whose main responsibility is managing the team. Another role is that of Technical Project Manager, who manages the team and also has hands-on knowledge in Technology. The last role at this level is that of a Software Architect, who handles and designs big projects and has to look at every aspect of the technology to create the enterprise app. Generally Full-stack developers are preferred in this role, as they need to know all technologies.
The highest career milestone is CTO or Chief Technology Officer, who handles all the technology teams and makes all technology decisions in a Technology company.
There are some Full stack development specializations which I see nowadays in the industry. Full stack developers who work with React in the Frontend and Java in the Backend are in great demand. Similarly, developers who work with Angular in the Frontend and .NET in the backend are in great demand.
How KnowledgeHut can help
journey. Beside these there are many other free resources on the internet, but they are not organized and don’t have a structured approach.
This is where KnowledgeHut shines and serves as a one stop shop alternative with its comprehensive Instructor-led live classes. The courses are taken by Industry experts and are perfect for aspirants who wish to become Frontend or FullStack developers.
Links for some of the popular courses by KnowledgeHut are appended below-
This completes our article on the Full stack developer journey by combining both the Frontend and backend roadmap. There are many people who become backend developers first by working on languages like Java and then go on to learn React to become full stack developers.
We hope you have found this blog useful, and can now take the right path to become a full stack developer. Good luck on your learning journey!