How to Become a Full Stack Developer (Step-by-Step Guide) - Columbia Engineering Boot Camps (2023)

Determine Your Ideal Timeline

How soon do you want to go from hitting the books to landing your first entry-level developer position? As with your earlier skill assessment, establishing a concrete timeline can help you choose your educational journey.

Consider the following questions:

  • Are you willing to take part-time courses while maintaining your current job?
  • Would you prefer an intensive, full-time education that would allow you to land a job as quickly as possible?
  • Do you prefer quicker, skills-based courses or formal, theory-heavy education?
  • What learning opportunity will allow you to pursue your education without infringing on your personal obligations?

If you’ve already locked yourself into a full-time career or family commitments, it can be challenging to start a new training regimen. But it is by no means impossible. Think about the changes you’re willing to make to pursue your dreams — and build your educational schedule accordingly.

Start Learning in a Format That Suits You

In the era of open-source everything, it’s easier than ever to learn how to become a full stack developer — but it’s also easier to get lost in the muck. There’s a near-daunting number of distinct educational routes available to newcomers.

Below, we touch on the primary methods that aspiring developers use to become marketable programmers, and provide resources to help you on your journey.

(Video) 3 Reasons Why You SHOULDN’T Become a Full-Stack Developer (and what you should study instead)

There isn’t one best way to learn full stack development, so while you’re perusing the options, make sure to compare your timeline and learning requirements to the listed opportunities.

Boot Camps

Coding boot camps are short-term, highly intensive training courses that equip you with all the industry-ready skills you need to become a fully fledged developer. By the time you complete a boot camp, you’ll have gained the necessary skills, made vital industry connections, developed an impressive coding portfolio, and prepared yourself for the job hunt.

Unlike conventional four-year degree tracks, boot camps provide a quick way for hobbyists and total newcomers to learn the necessary skills. Most of these intensive courses complete within three to six months and are cheaper than a university education. Boot camps also offer more flexibility than pursuing a formal degree; many offer part-time, full-time, virtual, and in-person training options.

If you’re curious, make sure to check out Columbia Engineering Coding Boot Camp, which dives into all the most in-demand front and back end technologies, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, MySQL, MongoDB, React, and Java.

Self-Guided Courses

Are highly structured training courses not your cup of tea? Thankfully, there’s an enormous selection of instructor-guided, self-led virtual courses readily available for new learners.

Compared to boot camps, self-guided courses offer much greater flexibility and a lower cost — some are even free! Depending on the platform you opt for, you may even have access to additional resources, instructor support, and an active learner community.

That said, self-guided courses differ significantly in terms of quality. While some may provide extra resources, many don’t. The amount of support you receive is, in most cases, tied to the money you shell out — although that logic shouldn’t preclude you from thoroughly vetting platforms before you enroll! Check out participant reviews and only take courses that have been published through reputable platforms.

Additional Resources

Below, we’ve listed a few of the most-loved coding course platforms. Each of the linked sites provides easy-to-follow and relatively inexpensive front end, back end, and full stack development tutorials.

  • Coursera: Coursera offers an enormous menu of full stack web development courses ranked by learner star ratings. Many courses focus on specialties such as multi-platform app development, responsive website design, Android/iOS development, and object-oriented programming.
  • Udemy: Nearly 300,000 registered learners are currently learning full stack development on Udemy. Considered one of the most trusted self-led platforms, Udemy offers both technology-specific courses and theoretical materials for those that want a deeper dive.
  • FreeCodeCamp: Want to avoid paying tuition for the fundamentals? FreeCodeCamp provides an easy way to build projects, earn certifications, and learn to code from home. The site covers topics ranging from data visualization to web design, data structures, and coding interview prep.

Degree Programs

Four-year degree programs remain one of the most common educational paths for aspiring developers. According to Stack Overflow’s 2020 Developers Study, roughly three-quarters of professional developers worldwide hold at least a bachelor’s degree, while 49.3 percent only have a bachelor’s degree.

The benefits are evident: You receive a comprehensive, broad education that demonstrates competency to employers. College allows you to build a knock-out portfolio, land internships, and make valuable connections.

(Video) 4 Reasons NOT to become a Full Stack Developer

However, it requires time and financial commitment to enroll in and complete a degree program. College may be best for those that have yet to pursue their undergraduate education or those who want to gain a comprehensive understanding of both development theory and practice. Learners should opt for majors that prepare them for full stack development, such as computer science or web development.

Stack Overflow’s 2020 Developers Study also found that the most popular majors for developers were:

  • Computer science, computer engineering, or software engineering (62.6%)
  • Other engineering discipline, such as civil, electrical, or mechanical (9.3%)
  • Information systems, information technology, or system administration (7.9%)
  • Natural sciences, such as biology, chemistry, or physics (4.4%)
  • Web development or web design (3.3%)

Books and Tutorials

If you’re not a fan of formal courses, you’re not out of luck. It’s possible to learn full stack skills independently by referencing books, online tutorials, and other media.

Stack Overflow’s 2020 survey found that 85 percent of 46,383 developers felt that formal education is at least “somewhat important.” However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to succeed through self-directed learning; nearly 16 percent responded that formal education is “not at all important or necessary.”

Keep in mind that self-learning requires a special blend of discipline and passion. Even with all the book knowledge in the world, many employers are reluctant to hire someone who hasn’t received any formal certification.

However, book learning may function better as an entryway into more formal instruction down the road. By establishing coding as a hobby, you’re much more likely to learn enthusiastically in a structured course.

Moreover, all experienced developers are, in one way or another, self-directed learners. Technologies change so rapidly that developers need to learn quickly or risk being left behind.

Interested? Check out a few of our favorite books covering full stack development.

  • The Full Stack Developer by Chris Northwood. In this pivotal book, Northwood explores the essential skills every full stack developer needs. The book is primarily geared towards developers new to AGILE development, project management, QA, and back end patterns.
  • Eloquent JavaScript by Marjin Haverbeke. Haverbeke balances the nitty-gritty technical aspects of the language JavaScript with a principled approach. The book is tutorial-style, allowing developers to follow along with their own projects.
  • ASP.NET Core 3 and Angular 9 by Valerio De Sanctis. De Sanctis explores the latest developments in designing, building, and deploying a Single Page Application with ASP.NET and Angular. Full stack at heart, the book touches on data management, web APIs, app design, and deployment.
  • Full-Stack React Projects by Shama Hoque. Curious about the MERN stack? Hoque uncovers how to create dynamic web applications and leverage the power of React.js to build complex interfaces.

Once you’re done hitting the books, it’s time to start building an “employer-worthy” portfolio.

Begin Building Your Portfolio

Contrary to what a frustrated job-searcher might think, employers don’t organize interviews to turn people down. A sane hiring manager wants to believe that you’re the perfect person for the position. It’s your job to provide them with as much evidence of your capabilities as possible.

(Video) How To Become a Full Stack Developer In 2020

That’s why portfolios are so crucial: they’re the first impression recruiters have of you. If you have any projects you’re particularly proud of, use your portfolio to showcase them.

Display your work by describing the technologies used, your role in the project, and showing off screenshots. As a full stack design professional, your work should demonstrate an eye for design and excellent technical know-how.

Make sure to publish your code to a public repository on the code versioning site GitHub. Don’t be afraid to include projects that are currently in development, either. Building a portfolio is perhaps the best way to learn full stack development.

Start the Job Search

Once you’ve built a portfolio with two or more polished projects, you’re ready to start job hunting. Although it’s a little daunting, the right resume and skill set can capture a hiring manager’s attention.

Make sure to define your career goals ahead of time, get cover letter feedback, and tailor your resume for the specific positions you’re applying for. Don’t limit yourself to online searches; reach out to companies directly, attend career fairs, and sign up for weekly job alerts.

Most importantly, don’t get discouraged if your inbox fills with rejections (or nothing at all). According to Indeed, it takes the average job-seeker roughly nine weeks to apply, interview, and land a new role.

Do Well on the Interview

Got the interview? Take a moment to pat yourself on the back — and then explore a few of the most important tips for getting that second interview and, hopefully, landing the role.

Refresh Your Coding Skills

Virtually all full stack coding interviews will include a technical portion, which allows the hiring manager to gauge your current skill level. Continually practice on online platforms like HackerRank, LeetCode, or reference a copy of Gayle Laakmann McDowell’s Cracking the Coding Interview.

Keep in mind that there are many different varieties of technical challenges, such as live coding exercises, take-home assessments, design challenges, and soft analysis of programmatic thinking.

Prepare for each type by completing code challenges within a 30- to 40-minute timeframe. Look at examples of broken code to spot bugs, fix them, and then explain how you did it.

(Video) The Best Courses to Help you Become a Full-Stack Developer

Prep for Behavioral Questions

Hiring managers don’t just want to hire a programming wizard; they want someone who will mesh with the company culture and work well with others.

Prepare answers beforehand that show how you deal with stress, work disagreements, or challenges in daily life. Read up on the most common behavioral questions so that you’re not caught off guard.

Prepare for Verbal Explanations

In the tech world, live-coding and whiteboarding are nearly universal. During a whiteboard exercise, you should explain your thinking process and how you arrive at a solution.

When approaching a problem, always ask the hiring manager for more specification: What type of input does the function consume? Should the function return a specific data type?

Be prepared to analyze the efficacy of solutions based on their time and space complexity. How efficient is your code? Can your application be refactored to take up less memory or run faster.

Even if you don’t get it right on the first try, managers are more concerned that you’re able to think your way through a complex problem. Making code work isn’t everything; you’ve got to understand why it does what it does. Employers want candidates to understand all the necessary parts of the tech stack. You should make it known that you’re prepared to be a lifelong learner and feel comfortable exploring new technologies.

Additional Resources:

Final Thoughts

Full stack development allows you to be on the emerging frontier of technology, exploring novel solutions with cutting-edge companies. Moreover, because the industry is rapidly growing, it offers tremendous career potential and security to tech-savvy coders who want to make their mark in the programming field.

If you’re thinking about becoming a web developer, why haven’t you started pursuing your dream? Start considering your educational opportunities now; there’s no time like the present to start furthering your goals and landing a fulfilling position. Make sure to check out Columbia Engineering Coding Boot Camp for a great place to embark on your new journey.


How to Become a Full Stack Developer (Step-by-Step Guide) - Columbia Engineering Boot Camps? ›

It is possible to become a full-stack developer in only 3 months if you put your all into it and do not pursue anything else. Learn front-end and back-end development and start applying for jobs.

How do I become a full stack developer with no experience? ›

A few comprehensive instructions on becoming Masters in Full-stack Development
  1. Be definite about your objectives. ...
  2. Select a development criterion. ...
  3. Sign up for a course in full-stack development Program. ...
  4. Learn the fundamentals of software development and design. ...
  5. Cultivate practicing designing and coding talents practically.
Feb 28, 2022

What do I need to study to become a full stack developer? ›

Top 10 Skills to Become a Full-Stack Developer in 2023
  1. HTML/CSS.
  2. JavaScript. Explore our Popular Software Engineering Courses.
  3. Git and GitHub.
  4. Backend languages. In-Demand Software Development Skills.
  5. Web architecture. Explore Our Software Development Free Courses.
  6. HTTP and REST.
  7. Database storage.
  8. Basic design skills.

Can I become full stack developer in 3 months? ›

It is possible to become a full-stack developer in only 3 months if you put your all into it and do not pursue anything else. Learn front-end and back-end development and start applying for jobs.

Can I become a full stack developer in 6 months? ›

You might already have a full-time job or extensive family responsibilities, but you still have time each week to dedicate to your education in full stack development. The duration for most part-time programs is 6 months to 1 year.

Is 2 months enough for full stack developer? ›

The answer is, as little as 90 days if you can learn full-time, and longer if you're doing tutorials or coding bootcamps part-time. This guide will help you plan a full stack web developer career roadmap, point you toward the web development skills you need, and help you land a full stack developer job.

How many years of experience do you need to be a full stack developer? ›

It depends on your work ethic, you can typically become a full stack developer in 3 – 6 months with dedicated studies. Keep in mind that your learning process does not end after this period of initial training. Because the software world evolves, you must continually keep up with this development.

Is full stack developer a hard career? ›

Well, it is not easy to become a full stack developer. It requires a lot of skills and knowledge. For example, you must know how to develop the front-end and back-end. In addition, you need to know how to work with databases, web servers, and frameworks.

Can I teach myself to be a full stack developer? ›

You can learn to become a Full-Stack Developer without a degree, and because you're in high demand, you can earn a great income. In fact, the job market for Full-Stack Developers (and other Software Developers) is expected to grow by 22% over the next decade, which is much faster than average.

How do I become a self taught full stack engineer? ›

How to Become a Full-Stack Developer
  1. Choose How You Want to Learn full-stack development. ...
  2. Step 2: Learn the Necessary Programming Languages. ...
  3. Step 3: Create a Full-Stack Developer Portfolio. ...
  4. Step 4: Build Your Full-Stack Developer Resume. ...
  5. Step 5: Prepare for Your Full-Stack Developer Interview.
Jun 1, 2022

What is the easiest full stack to learn? ›

The most popular full stack frameworks include Laravel, Ruby on Rails, and Express. js. If you're just starting, you might want to choose a framework that is relatively easy to learn, such as Laravel or Ruby on Rails. Alternatively, if you're looking for something more versatile or powerful, you might consider Express.

Do full stack developers need a degree? ›

A full-stack developer typically holds at least a four-year bachelor's degree. Popular majors include web development and computer science.

What is taught in full stack developer? ›

A full stack web developer is a person who can develop both client and server software. In addition to mastering HTML and CSS, he/she also knows how to: Program a browser (like using JavaScript, jQuery, Angular, or Vue) Program a server (like using PHP, ASP, Python, or Node)

Can I learn web development in 3 months? ›

Web development bootcamps typically take 3-4 months to complete and teach all the skills you need to qualify for a web developer job. Learning web development from online courses could take anywhere from a single month to several years, depending on how much time you devote to your courses.

Which institute is best for full stack developer? ›

Best Full Stack Developer Courses and Certifications in 2023
1Full Stack DeveloperScaler Academy
2Full Stack Java DeveloperSimplilearn
3IBM Full Stack Cloud DeveloperIBM
4BSc Computer ScienceUniversity of London
11 more rows
May 11, 2023

Is full stack developer certification worth it? ›

Is the IBM Full Stack Software Developer Certificate Worth it? This course is definitely worth considering if you want to pursue a career in software development.

Should I learn full stack web development in 2023? ›

Conclusion. Full stack developers will continue to be in high demand through 2023. They are well-rounded and can work on various projects, which is why many companies are looking for these skilled professionals.

Can I become full stack developer at the age of 30? ›

There is absolutely no age barrier when starting a tech career.

Is Python required for full stack developer? ›

When it comes to full stack development, Python is a versatile language that can be used for everything from web development to data science. In fact, many developers consider it to be the perfect language for full stack development due to its wide range of capabilities.

Can Python be used for full stack development? ›

No matter where you are in your journey as a developer, Python is a great programming language to support you in full-stack development. Learning the skills to carry a web application from design to deployment will not only be a fascinating learning process, but an excellent move for your career as well.

How much do full stack developers make a year? ›

According to PayScale, entry-level full-stack software developers earned an average annual salary of almost $66,000 as of October 2021. This figure translates to approximately $32 per hour and $1,270 per week. The average annual wage for web developers of all experience levels was much higher — about $79,000 a year.

How much does a 5 years experience full stack developer earn in USA? ›

As mentioned above, the average total yearly pay for a full-stack developer in the US is $85,469 [1]. This figure includes an average base salary of $79,399 and a median additional pay of $6,071.

Can you become a millionaire from full stack developer? ›

Software engineering is one of the best paid fields to work in. It's definitely possible for Software Engineers to become millionaires. Let's go over the many ways this is possible.

How many hours does a full stack developer work? ›

Those who choose to pursue a full-stack developer career in this field usually spend over 40 hours per week working on projects that are important to their clients.

Who earns more full stack developer or software engineer? ›

The average starting salary for a full-stack developer is USD 115,306, which is 0.8 times more than software engineer when you compare the software developer vs full-stack developer salary. Software developers earn USD 96,782 annually when they are hired and their salaries increase with each year of experience.

Do full stack developers need math? ›

You don't need to be good at advanced math to become a good software developer. While some fields of programming require you to have extensive knowledge of mathematics (such as game development and machine learning), you don't need advanced math skills for most coding jobs.

Is full stack developer stressful? ›

Being a full stack developer can be stressful at times, depending on the workload, project deadlines, and team dynamics. However, there are several ways to manage stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance, such as: Time management: Prioritize tasks, set realistic goals and deadlines, and avoid overworking.

What's the difference between a full stack developer and a full stack engineer? ›

But there is a significant difference between full stack engineer vs full stack developer. Usually, full stack developers hold leadership roles, whereas software engineers may work below the management of full stack developers and implement their skills to build specific project features.

Do full-stack engineers work from home? ›

As a remote full stack developer, you work from home to create back-end and front-end code for software, websites, and other technology applications.

Is the complete 2023 web development Bootcamp worth it? ›

If you want to learn web development, become a web developer, looking for a career change, or want to create your own web applications, then this Web development bootcamp course is definitely worth the investment.

Is full stack harder than data science? ›

The main difference between these two roles is that a Data Scientist has tremendous expertise in data analysis and knows how to analyze data. On the other hand, Full Stack Developer has solid programming skills and knowledge of various technologies such as software development, web development, etc.

What stack should I learn first? ›

If you are primarily a JavaScript developer, then you should learn Node. JS along with React or Angular to become a full-stack software engineer, and if you need a course, then The Complete Node JS Developer course is the best one to start with.

Do companies hire full stack developers? ›

A full-stack developer can prove to be the best hiring choice for a business because they are knowledgeable in a variety of technology stacks, programming languages, and frameworks. Front-end and back-end developers with specialized skills are preferable in some situations.

How many courses are there in full-stack developer? ›

This certification is divided into four primary courses. Students will learn how to use React, Bootstrap 4, React Native, and server-side Development.

How to become a full-stack developer in 2023? ›

How To Become a Full-Stack Developer: A 10-Step Guide
  1. Obtain the Requisite Education.
  2. Master the Essential Programming Languages and Tools.
  3. Develop Your Skillset.
  4. Pursue Volunteer, Open-Source, or Freelance Work and Participate in Coding Challenges To Build Your Portfolio.
  5. Create a GitHub Profile.
  6. Your Network Is Key.
Mar 20, 2023

What are the types of full-stack developer? ›

To help you understand better, here are the main types of full-stack developers based on the specific tech stack:
  • MEAN Stack. MEAN stands for MongoDB, Express. ...
  • MERN Stack. MERN stands for MongoDB, Express. ...
  • LAMP Stack. ...
  • LEMP Stack. ...
  • Full-Stack Elixir. ...
  • Full-Stack Python. ...
  • Full-Stack Django. ...
  • Full-Stack Java.

Am I too old to learn web development? ›

No, You're Not Too Old to Become a Web Developer

Tech-curious job seekers of all ages consistently wonder whether or not they're too old to learn programming languages and make a career change — and if it's simply too late to start. The very easy answer is… No!

How long does it take to learn Web3? ›

It can take around 2 years for beginners to become professional Web3 developer from scratch. Start by taking courses such as Become a Professional Developer Course and extend your application to blockchain by joining other short courses.

Can you teach yourself to be a full stack developer? ›

The best way to become full stack is to build something entirely by yourself. You'll be forced to learn backend, frontend, and everything in between. Start simple. Make a static site with just HTML + CSS.

How many days will it take to learn full stack development? ›

How long does it take to become a full stack developer? The answer is, as little as 90 days if you can learn full-time, and longer if you're doing tutorials or coding bootcamps part-time.

How long does it take to learn full stack developer? ›

It depends on your work ethic, you can typically become a full stack developer in 3 – 6 months with dedicated studies. Keep in mind that your learning process does not end after this period of initial training. Because the software world evolves, you must continually keep up with this development.

Can a non it person learn full stack? ›

While it is possible to become a full stack developer without formal training, most people who enter this field have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. However, anyone interested in Tech Career can become a full stack developer by learning various programming languages and frameworks.

Do I need a CS degree to be a full stack developer? ›

You will need at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, computer engineering, or a related field to work as a full stack developer. Some developers have specialized degrees or certificates in information security, database management, artificial intelligence, or Web development.

What is the salary of a full stack developer in Java? ›

Java Full Stack Developer salary in India ranges between ₹ 2.2 Lakhs to ₹ 13.7 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 5.0 Lakhs.

How many languages should I learn to become a full stack developer? ›

Full stack developers are polyglots. They need to be good at more than one language. The most common ones are Java, Ruby, Python and PHP. However, there are many more.

Is it too late to be a full stack developer? ›

So, the question- “Is 30 really too old to start a career as a developer?” does not make much sense, you see. There is absolutely no age barrier when starting a tech career. Moreover, it's never too late to learn to code.

How much does full stack training cost? ›

Best Full Stack Developer Courses and Certifications in 2023
1Full Stack DeveloperINR 3,49,000
2Full Stack Java DeveloperINR 1,06,001
3IBM Full Stack Cloud DeveloperINR 3,000
4BSc Computer ScienceINR 11,10,482
11 more rows
Apr 18, 2023

Is Python full stack easy? ›

Python full stack development is not that hard to learn compared to other languages such as JavaScript. Having tons of resources available online including courses, videos, and forums, Python has become one of the easiest programming languages to learn and get into.


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