What Does a Full Stack Developer Do?

In one of our previous articles, we explained the difference between frontend and backend. Both these parts, although dependent on each other, are handled by different technologies and require experience in slightly different areas. Does this mean that we can't have one programmer to handle both the visual and administrative sides of the application?  Nothing could be further from the truth. You can read about such versatile developers in this blog post.

What is a full stack developer?

A full stack developer is a person who excels at working with the frontend as well as the backend side of a web application. This is the development path chosen by more and more developers entering the industry. Although developing as a specialist in only one direction is still a good way to hone one's skills, having abilities on both sides of the barricade can prove very useful in many projects. 

In order to call someone an actual full stack developer without remorse, we must be sure that such a person will be able to develop an entire application on their own, using various programming languages. However, mastering multiple technologies isn’t a simple task, so one full-stack cannot be expected to do everything by themselves and replace a team of several specialists. This doesn’t change the fact that having a programmer who knows both sides of the coin can significantly impact the team's work. After all, it's good to have someone who can independently perform various tasks depending on the moment’s demands.

Responsibilities of a full stack developer

As mentioned, a full stack developer develops web applications from the frontend and backend side, using various technologies and programming languages. But how does this translate into teamwork?

A full stack programmer has all the valuable skills to work on your website where it currently needs support. That’s why they’re a great addition to the development team. This person can help other developers as needed. They’re also the right specialists if you want someone on board who can quickly fix minor bugs in various areas of your web page.

Skills of a full stack developer

A full stack developer can handle every front of the battle for a well-functioning website. So what skills must such a hero possess? Because technology is constantly evolving, a full stack programmer has to be familiar with the various technological innovations and trends currently prevailing in the industry and be able to adapt to them. 

Working in a team with other developers, testers, or designers requires the ability to collaborate.  This is also not without well-developed communication skills (as with any team member). A good full-stack is also a person who can adapt to the situation related to the project requirements and won’t have a problem with any task execution.

We mentioned above that a full stack developer must be able to use various technologies, so that they can develop web applications independently. So what should this developer's technology stack (the set of technologies) look like? We’ll glance at this issue further in the article. 

Technologies used by full stack developer

Different technologies will likely be used to develop the frontend and backend of your website. Therefore, it's worth knowing what a full stack developer needs to be comfortable working on the web page.

Full stack developer works with various programming technologies such as CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.

An application's frontend side is often created with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. So these are must-have positions on your full-stack programmer list. When it comes to the backend part, on the other hand, the field is more extensive. Many programming languages are great for building websites. The most popular in this area is PHP, which, according to W3Techs, supports as many as 78.9% of websites on the Internet. 

Node.js, which allows for working on the backend in JavaScript, is also an interesting option in this case. Of course, with any of these technologies, it’s also essential to be familiar with frameworks and libraries that can significantly improve task execution.

In addition to all this, full stack developer has to be able to work with databases. Familiarity with version control systems or the capability to write automated tests to test your solutions faster and find potential bugs is also welcome.

Frameworks (stacks) for full stack developers

It's worth making sure that your developer's technology stack is based not only on programming languages but also on frameworks and libraries prepared under them. Below are a few that we think deserve attention.

  • React is an open source JavaScript library created by Facebook. It’s undoubtedly one of the most popular solutions when it comes to the frontend. React allows you to create interactive user interfaces that respond to changes in the application state and refresh dynamically without reloading the page. It works on the principle of writing declarative code – it means, more or less, that instead of writing line-by-line code that describes how something is supposed to happen, we input what has to happen. Everything else is already taken care of by React.
  • Tailwind CSS is the most popular utility framework that provides ready-made settings for elements in CSS. It allows the programmer to spend time on other tasks instead of the tedious styling of simple elements.
Tailwind CSS is a popular utility framework that full stack developers like to use in projects.

Source: Tailwindcss.com

  • Laravel is a popular PHP language framework. It offers many ready-to-use features to simplify developers' work, such as authorization, database support, routing, etc. It’s often used for both small and large projects. People who use it praise it for its flexibility and simplicity.
  • Symfony is the best-rated PHP framework. It’s so popular that developers create other tools based on it, such as Drupal. Its great advantage is that it's a project constantly being developed by a vast developer community. 
Full stack developers are usually eager to use Symfony, a popular PHP framework, in their work.

Source: Symfony.com

In what kind of projects a full stack developer can be engaged?

We’ve already mentioned that a full stack developer is a versatile programmer who can bring much good to your website's development team. Under what conditions will his presence provide the most benefits?

The fact that an actual full stack programmer isn't afraid of any job makes them a terrific choice when you decide to have constant support in case minor bugs appear on your website. They also do a great job when faced with a small project to complete.

However, when a project starts to grow, specialized knowledge often becomes necessary. In a situation where a more advanced application is to appear on the backend, to which a developed frontend must be attached, it’s worth betting on a larger team. It would be good for it to consist even no longer only of frontend and backend developers but also of testers or designers. Such an approach will allow specialists to work more efficiently and give you peace of mind and confidence that everything will go well.

It works similarly at Droptica. Programmers in our team are actual full stack developers. However, if a client decides, for example, to use headless technology in a project, this challenge is already taken up by our specialized frontend developers.

Full stack developer and full stack engineer

Although the two names sound almost identical, a full stack developer and a full stack engineer are two different people. A full stack developer is a multi-talented programmer, while a full stack engineer goes far beyond that. They not only do programming but also comprehend information systems and project management. They also know how to implement and maintain an application in production. If we can colloquially call a full stack developer a "super-savvy," we can boldly call a full stack engineer a "superhero."

In a development team, a full stack engineer is usually a leader who, with his knowledge, can have everyone under his wings - programmers, testers, and even cyber security specialists. So, as you can see, the difference between these positions - so similar in name - is enormous.

Full stack developer - summary

You already know that a full stack developer is a person who can do a lot on his own, but he can benefit the project even more by working in a team. You also see what he should be able to do, what technologies he should use, and where he can benefit you most. It's up to you to decide if this kind of specialist is the person you need to work with your website.

If the answer is yes, our team of Drupal developers and other technology specialists will be happy to help you create and support your web page. We have many experienced full stack programmers in our ranks, as well as frontend and backend professionals ready to work on your project.

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