A Full Stack Developer is a software engineer who is capable of working on both client-side and server-side software. These developers can contribute to the “full stack” of an application including front end technology, back end development languages, database and server maintenance, APIs, and version control systems.
In the early days of mobile app development, full stack mobile developers were incredibly rare. This is mainly due to the technologies being so new that many developers simply hadn’t needed to learn them. Also, because these developers were so rare, many of them were quickly hired to top companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook.
Today full-stack mobile developers are more numerous, and it’s one of the most in-demand positions that tech firms are looking to fill.
What is Included in Full Stack Development?
Full stack development for both mobile and desktop applications involves understanding all the technologies, programming languages, and frameworks used in the creation of a web application, software product or mobile app.
Popular back end languages like Ruby, Python, and PHP are used to fulfill requests created by users and to retrieve information in a database. The code written in these languages is responsible for the actual functionality of the application.
Database and Caching
Full-stack developers not only create the functionality of the app that the user sees, but also setup and manage the databases used for storing information collected from an application. Caching is a technique that stores commonly used data in a temporary memory. This makes data easier to access, which speeds up the app for end-users.
Basic UI/UX Design
Full-stack developers should have a basic understanding of what makes an application easy to use and interact with. Developers typically aren’t expected to have advanced graphic or motion design skills, but the ability to design intuitive user interfaces is an important skill. Many companies rely on developers to create a prototype of an app before passing it along to a design team for finishing touches.
Server management involves monitoring and maintaining servers to insure they are operating at peak performance. Developers should understand how to minimize downtime, secure servers, and backup data stores.
Version Control System (VCS)
Most developers will have some exposure to version control systems. These are systems that track and record changes to an application’s code base and included files. This also allows for developers to easily revert any changes they make in the event that there are any issues with the new code.
Working with APIs
Full stack developers should have experience working with APIs (application programming interfaces). An API is a tool that developers use to communicate with different services. For example, if an app uses information about the weather the app may use an API to collect current weather data from a service that provides it.
What Is Included in a Tech Stack?
A “stack” refers to a combination of programming languages and technologies used by a developer to create an app or a piece of software. There are more tech stacks available for developers to choose from today than there have been in the past. This allows them to choose a stack that aligns well with their development goals. A tech stack includes:
- Server-Side Programming Language: Java, Python, Ruby, or .Net
- Database and Caching Tech: MySQL, MongoDB, Oracle, or SQLServer
- Server Management: Apache, Nginx, and Linux
- Version Control System: Git
- APIs: REST & SOAP services
YouTube’s technology stack, for example, includes Python and Go programming languages, Apache servers, and MySQL databases.
Pros of Full Stack Developers
- Wide Range of Skills
- More Streamlined Apps and Software
- Adaptable for Different Projects and Business Needs
- Can Troubleshoot and Fix All Kinds of Issues
- More Affordable than Full Dev Team
- Desirable to Start Ups and Small Businesses with smaller teams
- Can Build a Project from Start to Finish
Cons of Full Stack Developers
- Less Specific Expertise
- Can Fall Behind as Tasks Pile Up
- Growing Tech Stack Can be Difficult to Manage
- A Single Developer Can Create Systems that others find difficult to work with
How Much Do Full Stack Mobile Developers Get Paid?
Full stack developers’ salaries depend a lot on the the experience and specific skills of the developer. Because full stack developers focus on many parts of the development process the job can vary quite a bit. Full stack developers often transition well into engineering management positions because of their understanding of each step of the development process.
“According to PayScale, the national average salary for a Full Stack Developer is $74,958 in the United States. The salary typically ranges from $46,303 to $114,183″Source: DevSkiller.com
Other sources put the average pay much higher. ZipRecruiter, for example, puts the average entry-level full stack developer salary in the US at $84,903. The field is growing and in high-demand, so it’s an attractive career path for many people seeking jobs in the tech industry.