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The Top 5 Skills Needed to be a Full Stack Developer

A full-stack web developer is a person who can work on the front-end and back-end areas of an internet application. Front-end normally means the part of an application the user interacts with, while the back-end is the portion of the application that deals with the logic, database functions, server configuration, and other aspects not seen by the end user.

Being a full-stack developer doesn’t mean having a mastery of everything on both the front-end and back-end. It means understanding the fundamental principles and being able to contribute to both sides of an application.

To be a successful full stack developer you must be knowledgeable in HTML/CSS; JavaScript; back-end language; databases and web storage; and web application architecture.


Almost every web developer instructional program begins by teaching HTML and CSS; since they’re the basis of web technology. To put it simply, HTML enables you to add content and CSS is used to style the content.

Being fluent in HTML and CSS means understanding Semantic HTML, the CSS Box Model, the advantages of CSS preprocessors, CSS Media Queries and Bootstrap.


JavaScript is gaining in popularity each year, with new libraries, frameworks and tools continuously coming out. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that JavaScript was rated the most popular language for full-stack, front-end and back-end development in the Stack Overflow 2016 Developer Survey.

JavaScript is the sole language that runs natively in the browser and can double as a server-side language. Those with a working knowledge of JavaScript know how to work with the DOM, properly structure code, use at least one popular framework like AngularJS and test frameworks.

Back-end language

As soon as you feel you’ve gotten a solid comprehension on HTML/CSS and JavaScript, you’ll want to learn a back-end language to handle things like database functions and logic. The back-end language you learn doesn’t matter; so long as you recognize how it works and the subtleties of the language.

A good approach is to pick one back-end language and learn as much as possible.

Database and web storage

Almost all web applications require the capabilities to store data and access it later. This requires an understanding of subjects like relational data, NoSQL databases, how to connect to a database using a back-end language, the benefits of in-memory data stores, web storage and scaling databases.

Web application architecture

Once you have a grasp on HTML/CSS, JavaScript, back-end programming, databases and web storage, you have to understand how to shape your code, how to organize your files, where to host large files, how to structure data, where to carry out various computational tasks and other topics related to architecture.

A great approach to learning about application architecture is to develop a large application yourself that includes many moving parts. While you can do this on your own, working on a team also allows you to gain valuable non-technical skills and experience.

At Thompson Technologies, we regularly work with people who have chosen a career as a full-stack developer. If you’re currently looking to pursue this line of work, please contact us today.

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© 2016 Thompson Technologies.


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