Computer programming and website development are commonly divided into two categories. Back-end developers handle how information is processed and stored, while front-end developers create the interface through which clients interact with your software.
As information technology becomes more and more advanced, employers are now looking for individuals who are skilled in both aspects of software design. By using the job trends functionality of the popular website Indeed.com, we can see that the number of listings for “full-stack developers” has increased nearly 8 times since 2012. If you already have a familiarity with software development, picking up a few new skills is a fantastic way to create opportunities for growth within your career. We’ve identified a few quick and easy ways to help you get started.
1. Know Your Code
Before you start expanding your existing knowledge, it’s important to know which languages are valuable to each end of the development spectrum. If you are currently a front-end developer, look into learning languages such as Java, PHP, Python, .NET, Ruby, or NodeJS. Java is currently one of the most in-demand languages, however if you already specialize in a specific type of software development, one of the more unique languages may pair well with your individual skill set.
If you are a back-end developer, you can consider learning to use HTML/CSS, Java Script, Jquery, AngularJS, or ReactJS. All of these languages allow you to build attractive, easy-to-use interfaces for even the most complicated software. Even though there are many languages to choose from, it’s much easier to start off learning a single language that you can excel in. Trying to take on several skills at the same time may just make you a mediocre coder. Better to be an expert at two things than a master of none.
2. Get Some Experience
Anyone can say they know a language on their resume, but employers want to see proof. Consider enrolling in a coding boot camp for your language of choice. A boot camp is an excellent way to fully immerse yourself in a language. Many of these programs let you take the reins by creating a tangible product. Since you already have experience with one programming language, picking up another will be much easier for you than it would be for an inexperienced coder. Leaving the camp with a functional product gives you something you can show employers to demonstrate your proficiency with your new language.
If you are currently employed as a front- or back-end coder, see if there is any way for you to network within your company and take part in projects that may be outside of your traditional job scope. Many employers will appreciate your motivation. Ideally, this could become a scenario where you are building your skill set while simultaneously increasing your value to the company.
4. Build Something
Once you’ve got the foundation, it’s time to put it to practice. Build a simple app that shows your proficiency in both front- and back-end development. It’s important to have a very clear idea of what your final product is going to look like. With so many new technologies, it can be easy for a new developer to get sidetracked trying to implement the latest features. Be sure to follow the K.I.S.S. theory (Keep It Simple Stupid!) and build a simple, efficient, easy-to-use app. Creating a product that your potential employers can experience will give you an edge that expands way beyond anything you can say on a resume.
Although becoming a full stack developer can see like a daunting task, remember that this is something that gets easier with time. By leveraging your experience with one programming language, you will find the expanding your skill set is much easier than you may think. Even if this does not create an immediate job opportunity, understanding every aspect of software development will make you a valuable asset to your team as you are able to work more efficiently with your co-workers.
Featured photo credit: Phoenix Cosmic via flickr.com