Full stack Development may be The Hottest Job of 2023, but is it a good idea for you?
In their annual list of the best jobs, Indeed ranked full stack development as the top job of 2023. But how did they get to this?
Well, they did quite a thorough job of it, comparing salary and flexibility, along with opportunity growth and job availability across all roles posted on their system. With the highest number of jobs per million and a significant share of job postings, full stack development emerged as the leading career choice.
Considering the esteemed reputation of this job, the natural question to ask is ‘should I (as in you) consider upskilling and becoming a full stack developer?’
The Standard Advice? Specialise first, build after.
The general advice going is that you should first develop your skills and expertise in either front end or back end development before transitioning to full stack work. — understandable, right?
By engaging with the other side of development in your projects and work, you can gain exposure to the skills required for a full stack role, bridging the gaps in your knowledge.
So, assuming you are already a professional working in front end or back end programming, is it worthwhile to become a full stack developer?
Here are some answers to questions that may arise during your internal debate:
1. Financial Compensation: Is It Lucrative? If financial compensation is a significant factor for you, it’s worth noting that the average base salary across all seniority levels doesn’t differ significantly for full stack development compared to front end or back end roles. According to Indeed’s cross-reference of 11.4k salaries, while full stack developers can expect a salary increase, it may not be substantial in 2023. Front end developers generally earn a lower average base salary, while back end developers tend to earn higher than both full stack and front end professionals.
2. Effort and Time: How Long Does It Take? Learning the other side of development can be challenging if you already possess knowledge in either front end or back end. Acquiring the necessary skills will require effort and learning, but it shouldn’t be excessively difficult. The timeframe for learning essential technologies can range from three months to a year, depending on the time you can dedicate to upskilling. Factors such as your current work schedule and the level of commitment will determine how long the journey takes. Assessing the gaps in your knowledge, taking courses, and working on projects to expand your portfolio can be beneficial. Employers can recognize your full stack knowledge through your projects, even if you haven’t officially worked as a full stack developer. Additionally, 72% of employers consider boot camp graduates to be adequately prepared for work.
The Standard Advice? Specialise first, build after.
Skill Set Limitations: A full stack developer’s choice of tech stack may not always align perfectly with the project’s requirements. Personal preferences and comfort might influence technology decisions, even if they are not the most appropriate or efficient choices for a given task.
Insufficient Time for Specialization: Full stack developers must continuously learn and stay up-to-date with multiple technologies. This can be time-consuming and requires more effort than specializing in either front end or back end development. Failing to keep up with the latest advancements could lead to outdated practices or missed opportunities to leverage newer and more efficient technologies.
Suboptimal Outcomes: Due to the breadth of their responsibilities, full stack developers might face challenges in delivering optimal project outcomes. Some areas of the project may require specialized expertise, and overlooking these considerations while focusing on the overall stack can lead to subpar user experiences, inefficient code, scalability issues, design flaws, performance bottlenecks, or security vulnerabilities.
Advantages of Full-stack Development
So now However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are some advantages of becoming a full stack developer.
Flexibility and Independence: Full stack developers can work independently on projects from conception to deployment. They can assume various roles and responsibilities, reducing reliance on multiple team members and enhancing autonomy. This flexibility is particularly advantageous for startups, small teams, or individual freelancers, allowing them to tackle a wide range of tasks.
Efficient Collaboration: Full stack developers can effectively collaborate with specialists in specific domains. By bridging the gap between front end and back end teams, they facilitate better communication, understanding, and cooperation among different project stakeholders. This collaboration often leads to smoother workflows and more cohesive development processes.
Career Opportunities and Versatility: Full stack developers are in high demand in the job market due to their ability to handle diverse tasks and projects. Their versatility allows them to adapt to different project requirements and industry demands, opening up numerous career opportunities in both small and large organizations.
Rapid Prototyping and MVP Development: Full stack developers can quickly prototype and develop minimum viable products (MVPs). Their knowledge of front end and back end technologies enables them to create functional prototypes and iterate on ideas rapidly. This agility is especially valuable in fast-paced environments, enabling quicker concept validation and faster time-to-market.
And at last, a conclusion ...
Deciding whether becoming a full stack developer is worthwhile and aligns with your goals is a subjective matter. “One size does not fit all.” However, it is evident that full stack developers remain in demand, and as technology continues to advance, starting your journey to expand your knowledge sooner rather than later will allow you to progress and remain current. This will increase your chances of working on the latest and most exciting projects in the field.