A Beginner’s Guide to Full Stack Development

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Full Stack Development

Are you thinking of jumping into the tech industry? With all the buzz surrounding the tech industry nowadays, it is not difficult to think why people might want to make a career switch to this upcoming giant. But, as an outsider, there are some words that you might not understand – for example, Full Stack Development.

Why should you know what a Full Stack Developer is and how does it benefit you? Well, understanding the role and requirements to become a Full Stack Developer can actually help you figure out which part of the tech industry you can find your niche.

Essentially, a full stack developer deals with both the front-end and back-end of a web application, meaning they are responsible for the visuals of the web application as well as the behind-the-scenes infrastructure of the site – what the user cannot see.

What is the difference between front-end and back-end?

An easy metaphor to visualise how the front-end and back-end differs is to use a restaurant. Imagine the front-end being the front-of-house for a restaurant, where the customers come to appreciate the dining experience (your website).

The back-end includes all the things the customer does not see, like the management of the system, inventory, and upgrading. Things that help keep the front-of-house running.

So now that we know what the main difference between front-end and back-end are, we can go into the skills needed for both.

Languages for front-end

There are three main languages that front-end developers use when designing a website. They are as follows: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

HTML

HTML – HyperText Markup Language is the basis for all the elements in a website. It is where the title texts, paragraphs, images and videos are. HTML lets the developer input these elements onto the interface. However, HTML is a relatively basic language, meaning it does not allow for much design to be made, and there is low interactivity if used solely by itself.

CSS

CSS – Cascading Style Sheet is normally used in conjunction with HTML to spruce up the design elements of the website. With CSS, you can create shapes, colours, and even simple interactions.

As it is with a physical store, you would not want your customer to walk into your store that is just barren and the goods just lain on the floor. You would want some design, some aesthetic to reflect your brand image. The same goes for using CSS to style your website, it helps to create a brand image and brings up the standard of your brand.

JavaScript

Now that you have mastered HTML and CSS, you can use JavaScript to make your website dynamic and increase interactivity. JavaScript can help you to create widgets on your application, including drop-down mobile menus, and countdown timers to incentivise your customers to go through with their purchase.

Sources and libraries for CSS and JavaScript

These languages may seem daunting to you but fret not. There are resources out there that can help you along the way. Both CSS and JavaScript have a few frameworks that are out there for you to save time with your codes.

For CSS, you have

  1. Bootstrap
  2. Tailwind CSS
  3. Bulma

Just to name a few

For JavaScript, you have

  1. React
  2. Angular
  3. Vue

The important thing to note is that you should not be engaging in all the frameworks and libraries at once. Identify which one you want to work with, or even if you want to work with any of them at all, and commit to that.

Realise the goals you want out of using front-end development and find out which route of using the frameworks suits you the best.

Back-end languages

The languages for back-end differ from those used for front-end development as they serve entirely different purposes.

There are a few common ones that are widely used by back-end developers. These are Java, Python, Node, and PHP. In general, they are all used as the basis for building websites, with features that allow them to be unique from the others.

Java is primarily used to construct applications for laptops and mobile devices. It has its hands in the development of scientific supercomputers and is the third most popular programming language.

Python can be used to program applications and game development, but its main uses lie in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. This is why it is one of the top-ranked programming languages used on the market.

PHP also has many uses, a bit more distinct from the rest. It can be used to encrypt data, send and receive cookies, collect form data, control user access, and many other actions.

A node can be used for chat rooms, streaming, collecting data, and many other functions.

Back-end languages are far more diverse than front-end languages. As you can tell from the short descriptions of the few back-end programming languages, they serve many different purposes.

It is important to recognise what the premise of your website is. Identify which building blocks you want to work with, and from there you can pick out which programming language(s) you would need to use.

It is important to not jump around these different languages while you are still learning them. It may be tempting to have a dip into each language and strive to be proficient in all of them, but that is a one-way ticket to a programmer’s burnout. To be great, you need to start with being good at one language first.

Conclusion

So now you know the basics of both front-end and back-end development. This is where you decide if Full Stack is for you. By getting your feet wet on both ends of the web development process, you can get a feel of each and see if you are partial to one side, or if you can work with both.

Either way, proficiency in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is a handy tool for a programmer regardless of front-end or back-end. Get out there and explore the programming industry, it has many hills to climb and lessons to learn.