Your Complete Guide to Becoming a Junior Full Stack Developer

Full Stack Developer

Does Full Stack development intrigue you? Are you confused about where to find genuine resources to get started as a junior full stack developer? Do you want to kickstart or escalate your IT career with a bang?

You are in the right place!

Through this article, I will provide you with a complete roadmap on what it takes to get into full stack web development. You will learn what you should know in the initial stages of your career and how to take it to the next level. 

But wait. Are you hesitant to trust the credibility of my article and guidance? Well, I too started as a Junior Full Stack Developer five years ago and worked my way towards seniority. So I know the struggles, tips, and tricks of this journey.

Let’s get started without much ado.

The Basics

Regardless of how you want to proceed in your career pathway and goals, there are some basics of web development you should know. They are as follows:

  1. Git/Source control – Git is important for every developer, especially when it’s about working in a team environment. You should know how to clone repos, make commits, create branches, and merge codes.
  2. Debugging – In any software, bugs are more common than you think. You should be familiar with the debugging tools for your IDE. 
  3. IDE – An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software application that provides comprehensive facilities to computer programmers for software development. You can pick from and learn any of them. You will become a better developer.
  4. Methodologies (Agile/SCRUM/Kanban) – The world’s best development teams use a systematic product development methodology. Getting acquainted with such stuff will give you an edge over other full-stack professionals.

Once you know the basics, we can explore the aspects of frontend, backend, and other development tools. 

Frontend

Full Stack Developer 1

As a frontend developer, you are expected to perform the following tasks:

  1. Implement a design using HTML/CSS.
  2. Interact with the DOM using JavaScript.
  3. Interact with an API.

We’ll explore these things in detail now.

HTML/CSS

It is the backbone of frontend framework development. Using HTML, you can position and place elements on a web page, which can be styled with CSS.

You should be thorough with this stuff. For example, it is important to know how to:

  • Use HTML to create a webpage
  • Style elements using CSS
  • Apply CSS to HTML in different ways.

There are some advanced features as well:

  • CSS Grid & Flexbox for layouts and easier positioning of elements.
  • SCSS to make normal CSS more manageable through the use of variables.

Frameworks

The next step after learning HTML/CSS is to understand the CSS frameworks. These are out-of-the-box elements and styles that can be used within your projects. They will save your time to a great extent. There are many different types of frameworks, but you should be a master of at least one or more of them.

Responsive Designs

Modern web users like responsive designs a lot. 

In simple words, responsive web design helps users to view a website from any device, irrespective of screen size. It could be a desktop, mobile phone or tablet.

You will be amazed to know that – 

  • 57% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices.
  • 51% of all business emails are first opened on mobile devices.

CSS frameworks such as Bootstrap, CSS Grid, and Flexbox help in creating responsive designs. 

Be careful about the following aspects when developing responsive designs:

  1. Media Queries: You should understand how to use media queries to define the look of elements for different screen sizes.
  2. Avoid using pixels to decide sizes: Use rem units instead of pixels. An image with a width of 100px will always have a width of 100px regardless of the screen size. Use units such as Rem, VH, and VW to develop responsive designs.

State Management & Dev Tools

According to Wikipedia, state management refers to the management of the state of one or more user interface controls such as text fields, OK buttons, radio buttons, etc. in a graphical user interface. 

Redux is a good state management framework that complements React JS really well.

Speaking of Dev Tools, they will help you in the debugging process associated with a particular framework. The examples are React Dev Tools and Redux Dev Tools.

Deployment and Hosting

Full Stack Developer 2

It is the ultimate and most important step in web app development. You can use a third-party, managed service such as GitHub Pages, Heruko, Netlify, Digital Ocean, and AWS.

On a side note, you can also host independent projects in custom domains.

Backend

Backend is the location where your frontend is saved. Everything is controlled from this place.

Being a backend developer, you are expected to perform the following tasks with ease:

  • Create APIs for the frontend (by returning JSON).
  • Write business logic and validation logic.
  • 3rd party APIs integration.
  • Saving and reading data from a database.

Programming Languages

There are millions of them but the most popular ones are Java, C#, Python, and

Node JS. Master any one of them and rule your profession!

If you would like to go in my opinion, Node.js is the best option due to the current popularity of Javascript in the market. Using this, you can easily create a REST API, which is very important in web apps.

REST API & JSON

Full Stack Developer 3

REST APIs are the bridge between backend and frontend development whereas JSON is the main language used to transfer data over a REST API. This data is represented as Objects and Arrays

You should know how to – 

  • Create a good response
  • Handle requests
  • Authenticate requests
  • Document your API

Databases & DevOps

This concerns the infrastructure of a web application and the broad areas covered in it are as follows:

  • How to manage a database
  • The different platforms for hosting (AWS, Azure, Google, etc.)
  • CICD and tools such as Jenkins, GitLab, etc.
  • Logging and monitoring

Heavy technical knowledge of this stuff is not a requirement for a junior full stack developer. However, in-depth knowledge and experience will help you make the switch to DevOps in the future, in case you wish to do so.

What’s in Store For You?

A bright future lies ahead for you as a full stack developer. The gross annual income for a Full Stack Developer is between $62.1K and $105K. Moreover, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that jobs in Full Stack Development will rise from 135,000 to more than 853,000 by 2024.

You can also go a step further in this domain by exploring things like progressive web apps (PWA) development and server-side rendering. 

All the best!