What is a Frontend Engineer?
The term and title of “fullstack” showcases the developer's capability to manage the company's FULL tech stack, which requires extensive knowledge of several specialized languages and tools. Because of this, fullstack engineering is not normally an entry-level job. The most common path to fullstack engineer is starting as a frontend engineer and learning the backend with a similar language like Java.
Full Stack Engineers are usually flexed into roles spanning the entire development process of an application, from the client-side (frontend) to the server-side (backend) and the database. They are able to effortlessly switch between environments of an application and have knowledge of how all the different pieces of the application fit together.
What does a Fullstack Engineer do?
At the very basic level, backend engineers are responsible for maintaining product data and ensuring scalability for a website or application.
At companies of all sizes, backend engineers will often work in a pod structure led by a product manager to decide what order to prioritize development tasks. It’s the product managers’ role to decide prioritization of development work based on a function of importance, function and visibility.
An engineer is usually responsible for completing a certain number of tasks– often referred to as “tickets” or “user stories” within a set timeframe (often referred to as a “sprint”).
Difference between Frontend, Backend, and Fullstack Engineers
The term and title of “Fullstack” engineer showcases the ability to work on either the front or back end of the product (hence, full stack engineers are capable of managing the company’s FULL tech stack).
Do I need a degree to be a Fullstack Engineer?
Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need a CS or otherwise technical degree to be any sort of engineer. In fact, no degree is required for an associate/entry level engineering position. Hiring managers focus primarily on previous things built-- in this case, applications built or APIs written, which is usually on display in a portfolio like Github. Job applications will often require a link space for a Github for a recruiter to review. Engineers can be self-taught, as long as they have a decent number of projects featured and can pass a coding interview. Job descriptions will often mention a requirement of something STEM related, but more often than not these roles are filled by bootcamp graduates or those with impressive portfolios.
HOWEVER, if you're looking to enter tech in a coding field, we recommend checking out frontend engineering instead. It is simpler to learn, easier to show off, and usually more fun for beginners.
We've seen these people become incredibly successful fullstack engineers:
- Any sort of college STEM background like mathematics, statistics, or computer science
- Data entry and receptionist professionals
- Accounting and budgeting roles
- Truck drivers (truly!)
If you're new here to bridged, we're glad to meet you! We are huge fans of alternate forms of education, and recommend specific certifications to target skills. Learn more here.
Our Favorite Fullstack Engineering Programs and Certifications
Engineering certifications and bootcamps are a dime a dozen, because it's an alternative form of education. Many of the reviewer sites recommending programs get significant kickbacks for the $3,000+ certifications they're reviewing, and while we respect their hustle and also love money-- that's a little shady.
Our criteria for these programs were that they costed under $300 for completion. Some dev programs come with a job guarantee after placement, which is pretty neat, but also can be expensive down the line with income sharing. For developers, the absolute best thing you can have is a snazzy portfolio of impressive projects. This can absolutely be self-taught if you're motivated enough.
Fullstack engineering is a tricky one because it requires frontend and backend learning.
Backend certifications are harder to find, but we found the Meta program to be extremely helpful due to the portfolio support it provided. We also included our favorite Udemy course (udemy is great because it's affordable) and Duke certification. Good luck!
Complete Web Developer Bootcamp
This course is one of Udemy's most popular, and has had almost 800 thousand students. Learn the fundamentals of coding for building responsive websites, and finish with a completed application as a portfolio project (huge plus!).
At the price point of $24, we highly recommend this course to see if developing websites is for you!
Backend Developer Professional Program
Meta sponsors this Python-forward course that specializes in using code to solve complex problems.
While usually we're skeptical of programs taught by companies (instead of universities or specialists), we loved that you'll end the program with a portfolio-ready web application (most important) and sharable certificate for your resume.
Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals
Duke was one of the only universities that had a program that touched on backend engineering. Duke is a premium university, and the certificate from completion will shine on resumes.
Luckily, all of these programs are hosted on Coursera so you can audit if needed. We recommend seeing which program resonates most with you before committing and paying the monthly fee.
Career Path of a Fullstack Engineer
Fullstack engineers have tons of options-- they can go on to be principal devs, managers, or even product managers. So while this path is common, the #1 thing to keep in mind is this is a fabulous path to get your foot in the door at a tech company.
What is an Fullstack Engineer's salary?
Engineers are some of the highest paid roles in the tech community. A high-level senior fullstack engineer can make an upwards of $500k+ at a big tech company. We've aggregated thousands of salaries across glassdoor and linkedin, and entry-level backend engineers can make anywhere between 115k - 145k, depending on their location and skillsets.
Top Skills of a Fullstack Engineer
We've compiled thousands of job descriptions for fullstack engineers to record the most common requirements to save you time. While preparing for interviews, keep in mind specific times you've demonstrated these skills.
Remember: there are not many soft-skills required for fullstack engineering, and these skills reflect that. Familiarity with programming and language frameworks is key, which can be shown off through a portfolio on Github or Bitbucket. We've marked each requirement as a frontend or backend attribute, so you can see if you gravitate towards one or the other.
- Designing and developing the backend of web applications using technologies such as Java, Python, Ruby, or PHP, and backend frameworks such as Express.js or Ruby on Rails.
- Implementing and maintaining APIs that allow the front-end of the application to interact with the back-end. (BOTH)
- Creating and maintaining databases and designing and implementing data models. (BACKEND)
- Implementing security measures to protect web applications and user data. (BACKEND)
- Participate in code reviews and contribute to the development of best practices. (BOTH)
- Collaborate with other developers and stakeholders to understand and implement functional requirements. (BOTH)
Top Tools of a Fullstack Engineer
We've also compiled the most common tools listed in fullstack engineering job descriptions, which are primarily coding languages and frameworks. If you're serious about becoming a fullstack engineer, get familiar with these and be ready to talk about them. We also recommend starting with either a frontend or backend engineering program.
Frontend Programming Tools
Backend Programming Tools
- Ruby on Rails
Databases & APIs
Containerization & Monitoring
- Elastic Stack
Key Traits of a Successful Fullstack Engineer
Fullstack engineers share the same traits as frontend or backend, and have to be proficient at both. Backend is more logic and mathematics based, while frontend devs will get ahead with better user experience and communications skills.
Duh. Any engineer needs to understand various coding languages and frameworks to complete their work.
Coding takes a lot of problem solving to make sure products are run as effectively as possible.
Engineers will complete things called "spikes" to research the best solutions to product problems.
Engineers need to be able to consume designs and translate them to applications and features.
Often engineers will have to make logic calculations within their APIs. It's extremely helpful to have an analytical mindset.
Coding can sometimes be incredibly frustrating, and patience is an extremely undervalued competency.
Fullstack Engineers will work closely with:
Here at Bridged we are huge fans of stacking micro-certifications to achieve desired career results. We're building a product to make your career planning fun and affordable, and we'd love to talk to YOU! Was this article helpful? Did you land an interview for a fullstack engineering role?
Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign up today & land your dream job!