Top 10 Skills You Need to be a Successful Full Stack Developer in 2021
Feb 2, 2021
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Full stack developers are architects of every stage of the development process, using staple and emerging technologies to bring ideas to life online. They manage front end technology, including parts of a website users interact with, and the back end, including back end development languages, API, server configuration, user validation, databases, version control systems, and more.  

Today we will explore the essential building blocks of a successful full stack web developer and how online coding bootcamps like Lambda School can help take you to the next level in your career.

What full stack developer skills top the list in 2021? 

As the demand for full stack developers continues to rise, organizations will need a workforce of talented professionals who can work with both back-end and front-end technologies for client-facing and internal technology. According to HackerRank’s 2020 Developer Skills Report, hiring managers at companies of all sizes agreed that full stack developers were a “top priority,” with 38% reporting it was the number one role they intended to fill in 2020. So how can full stack developers ensure they have the skills needed to put their best foot forward in the field? Here are the most crucial full stack developer skills to know entering the field in 2021.

1. HTML/CSS. Full stack developers often begin their learning with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). HTML is used to add web content while CSS is used as a tool to personalize and stylize websites. Both used together can be considered the foundation for any website, and without these basic skills, programmers are unable to take their ideas to the next level. Online coding bootcamps like Lambda School’s data science program and full stack web development program start with these concepts, then layer in other frameworks and libraries, making it easy for new developers to bring their ideas to life online. 

2. JavaScript. These days JavaScript is considered a mandatory programming language to learn and use as a full stack web developer. JavaScript is not only used to write frontend and backend code for servers to make websites more intuitive, but it is arguably the most dominant and versatile coding language used today. According to Hired’s 2020 State of Software Engineers report, 63% of software engineers use JavaScript, making it the most commonly used programming language by software engineers by almost 20%.

Consider this – JavaScript is the standard programming language of all major web browsers and is taught at most full stack web app development programs including Lambda School because of its versatility in the back and front end. Although it is often useful to learn HTML and CSS first, developers use JavaScript frequently and will add frameworks to JavaScript like Angular, React.js, or Vue.js in the frontend and Node.js in the backend to complete projects. 

3. Basic design skills. For any full stack developer, basic design skills are crucial for making websites and applications look clean, polished, and consistent with a company’s unique brand. Developers must possess the skills to bring concepts to life, while not infringing on copyright issues of other companies with similar conceptual styles or logos. Thus, full stack designers are tasked with creating unique, user-friendly designs and using principles such as prototypes, scalability, and user interface and user experience (UI/UX) design concepts to bring client ideas to life. 

4. Backend languages. Full stack developers are responsible for back end processes and will need to be versed in one (or more) backend language. The more a developer knows, the more they will be able to solve complex problems within different frameworks. However, it is more beneficial for a developer to be very proficient in one than a mediocre generalist. Common backend languages include:

·  Java

·  JavaScript

·  SQL

·  Python

·  C#

·  C++

·  Ruby on Rails

·  PHP

·  IOS    

Full stack training online like Lambda School’s Full Stack Web Dev Program covers backend languages like JavaScript, which makes websites interactive, Python, an extremely versatile programming language with numerous libraries, and SQL, a useful language for modifying data within databases. 

5. Databases and web storage. Building websites and applications require full stack developers to understand data storage solutions to meet content needs such as storing web posts and content. Developers should pay particular attention to relational databases, memory storage, and how to best link a database with your chosen backend language. Full stack developers are a crucial puzzle piece in the safety and security of data, and as companies cyber security needs increasingly grow, the demand for full stack developers with database and web storage skills will grow as well.  

6. NPM. As a full stack web engineer, you will use Node Pack Manager, or NPM for short, and its ample repository of code to integrate with your Node.js projects. NPM is a JavaScript plugin known for its scalability, and it is easy to install, manage, publish, and develop Node programs on. Essentially NPM is a package manager for JavaScript and works with your existing directories, allowing you to install packages of pre-existing code. Some packages can be small, but others can be huge, including libraries and frameworks like React. This will be an invaluable tool for you as a developer as you organize and integrate code.

7. HTTP and REST. HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Representational State Transfer (REST) are essential for any successful full stack developer. HTTP helps to facilitate communication between servers and clients through file transfer in the security sector of any application, while REST interfaces between the frontend and backend using HTTP protocol to gather and test data. The five guiding constraints defining REST principles include:

·  Client-server architecture

·  Statelessness

·  Cache-ability

·  Layered system

·  Uniform interface 

By operating within these constraints, developers allow systems to gain essential non-functional properties like performance, scalability, simplicity, visibility, modifiability, portability, and reliability.

8. Git and GitHub. Learning to configure Git is essential to any new full stack developer and will help you keep work organized and catalogue your development process efficiently. Git is a fast, scalable distributed revision control system allowing use of version control in development work. In other words, it is an open-sourced repository for web-based ideas put to code. In the web development full stack world, most professional developers have a GitHub profile holding both large and small-scale projects, allowing developers all over the world to access teams and collaborate on projects. Mastering Git commands will help a full stack developer better communicate with teammates and improve project productivity. 

9. Web architecture. Full stack developers understand the complexities of software development, including how to structure code, store and separate files, structure data in databases, and the client and server-side computational tasks associated with the project at hand. However, these skills cannot be learned over night by simply watching YouTube videos. Successful full stack developers know that web architecture is best learned hands on, with opportunities to bring front end and back end knowledge together in real time. 

While some full stack developer bootcamp online programs do not provide real world experience, those looking for a full stack web development course online with hands-on opportunities should consider a coding program like Lambda School. Lambda’s data science program and full stack web development program provide an in-house labs apprenticeship program allowing students to work in small groups for real world stakeholders and produce invaluable web products for their portfolios.

10.  Soft skills. While technical expertise is considered most important for a successful full stack developer, soft skills are increasingly vital to employers and teams alike. Many workplaces value competent developers who are also able to manage time well, accept criticism, and have the discipline to be self-directed in their work. In hiring this way, teams function efficiently, and clients are happier with communication and products received.

In fact, upon admissions to their competitive web development and data science courses, Lambda School looks for student qualities such as, “determined, proactive, team player, digitally savvy, career focused, and gritty.” That’s because Lambda students provide continual feedback that these qualities best serve them when working through the curriculum and best serve them as developers and professionals in the field. According to a recent Indeed article, most necessary full stack soft skills include, “problem-solving skills, patience, creativity, and attention to detail.” Other common soft skills for successful developers include: 

·  Creative vision

·  Detailed analysis

·  Analytical mind

·  Discipline

·  Lifelong learner

Whether you are shy or outgoing, seasoned or new to tech, every full stack developer brings different soft skills and unique work history to each position. Don’t be afraid to share your passion and special gifts. 

Ready to start your full stack journey? Lambda School is here to help. Learn how our part-time or full-time coursework can fit your schedule, talk to an enrollment advisor or download our curriculum today.

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