On becoming a full-stack developer

ICT professionals and practitioners are very much in demand all over Europe. The growth of the digital economy has pushed the demand for better and smarter digital professionals and technical practitioners.

New technologies have emerged in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, Internet of things (IoT) and data science, among others. This has changed the skills requirements of many ICT professionals and practitioners, and various opportunities were created for new roles that did not exist before, or existed in a different way. This is digital transformation at its best, and the indication is that it will increase even further.

One of these roles is that of a ‘full-stack developer’. This has been added to other roles such as software developer, web developer, software engineer, software architect and applications developer.

A full-stack developer differs from the other roles due to the extent of specialisation or how many items are included in the ‘stack’ for which the developer is responsible. A person in this role is responsible from the front-end to the back-end of software development. And in Malta many developers are responsible for both. It is in the depth of knowledge and technology that one masters that makes the difference.

A full-stack developer should be knowledgeable about server, network, hosting environment, databases (relational or not), application programming interface (API) technology, user interface and experience, quality assurance (QA), security, and understanding the customer’s business needs.

A full-stack developer is expected to be proficient in HTML/CSS, Javascript, back-end language, database and web storage, HTTP & REST, web application architecture, git, algorithms and data structures. While some developers may know something about all these subjects, a good full-stack developer will have depth of the knowledge in them. For example, Javascript may include working with DOM and JSON, functional composition, prototypal inheritance, closures, event delegation, asynchronous control flow, promises, callbacks, and code structure, frameworks like angular and React, Jquery, testing frameworks, ES6, and so on. Meanwhile, back-end languages could include SQL, Python, C#, Javascript, PHP, and others. And the same goes for the other subject areas.

There are various e-learning courses available to become a full-stack developer in Coursera, Udacity, Thinkful, and many other learning platforms. If you are interested in becoming a full-stack de­veloper it is important to read more material online on the subject and to attend various e-learning cour­ses. And the best full-stack developers have many years of experience, and they are the masters!

Carm Cachia is executive coordinator, eSkills Malta Foundation.

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