what is a full stack developer?

As a full stack developer, you work with the entire tech stack of a computer system application, from the front end to the back end. Since you straddle both domains of web development, you understand the programming languages used for both the front-end and back-end development of a website.

When handling the front end of an application, you design web pages to improve user experience. You create the layout and add artistic features to improve the website's usability. Apart from enhancing the appearance of websites, you ensure they are responsive to various devices and have optimal speeds for the users.

Your job also focuses on creating a back end that allows the front-end website to exist. You refine the code communicating with databases, servers and application programming interfaces (APIs). Hence, you should learn to code in back-end programming languages and manage databases.

Most companies rely on full stack developers to spot errors affecting a website's front and back-end sides. Your versatility is crucial in incorporating new technologies into web development since you can point out the impact on the technical side and the layout of an application.

Would working as a full stack developer suit your interest in technology and good programming skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a full stack developer role.

full stack developer jobs

average full stack developer salary

According to Job Bank, full stack developers earn a salary of $122,415 per year or $62.78 an hour. Earnings fluctuate based on experience and qualifications. If you recently graduated as a full stack developer, you start with a salary of $97,226 annually. When you have over five years of experience, you lead a team of developers and work as a senior full stack developer. Hence, your salary is over $155,138 per year.

The salary of full stack developers also fluctuates based on location. Some regions or provinces pay a higher salary compared to others. For instance, in New Brunswick, you earn an average salary of $149,126 per year due to the high demand for full stack developers. Other high-paying regions include Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia. Working in urban areas improves your earnings because of the higher demand for developers in tech hubs and innovation centres.

You can increase your salary as a full stack developer by working on complex projects. For instance, working in a large company that handles diverse projects improves your earning potential due to a large number of available resources. While small companies and start-ups have lower salary ranges, they offer you a great opportunity to grow your skills and expertise.

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types of full stack developers

As a full stack developer, you can specialize in the following types of web development:

  • front-end developer: as a full stack developer in charge of the front-end design, you improve the web layout and enhance user experience. Since you focus on the client side, you use your artistic creativity to boost appearance and functionality. It is also essential to optimize the speed of the website.
  • back-end developer: your job is to build the code that runs the website and enables the front-end functionality. You also connect the website to the databases to ensure data flows properly and functions are processed accurately.
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woman smiling

working as a full stack developer

Are you intrigued by website designs and would like to be part of the development process? Check out the duties and responsibilities associated with becoming a full stack developer.


full stack developer skills and education

If you want to become a full stack developer, you need the following educational requirements:

  • bachelor’s degree: to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to work as a full stack developer, you require a bachelor's degree in computer programming or computer science. Other relevant courses in the role include web development and software engineering. Alternatively, pursue a college program in computer science or another related field to gain the knowledge necessary for computer programming.
  • professional certification: while you don't need professional certification to become a full stack developer, it helps to have additional training in programming. Attend programming boot camps to improve your skills in Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Python and Java.

competencies and characteristics of full stack developers

Master the following skills to advance your career as a full stack developer:

  • coding skills: a full stack developer needs exceptional coding skills to develop website frameworks and incorporate various functions. For instance, it is important to be conversant with HTML to create user interfaces and determine how a web page can be displayed.
  • web architecture: as a full stack developer, you should be an expert in web architecture and understand the code structure to help you build a server-side that meets users' needs. With skills in web architecture, you can separate your files and perform computational tasks.
  • attention to detail: as a developer, paying attention to the code you create is critical. Being detail-oriented ensures you build functional applications and websites. You can also save time by avoiding errors and creating clean websites.
  • creative thinking: as a front-end developer, you should design a visually pleasing website and add functionality. Creativity also helps you develop a responsive website that people enjoy using.
  • problem-solving skills: you face many obstacles and challenges as a full stack developer. Sometimes, you hit a snag in the coding phase and need problem-solving skills to resolve the issue and work efficiently.


Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a full stack developer.


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