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How to Become a Full Stack Developer and Kickstart Your Career

How to Become a Full Stack Developer and Kickstart Your Career

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.

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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.

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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.

3. Network

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.

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Phoenix Cosmic via flickr.com

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Josh MacDonald

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5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

Not being able to stay productive at work is a problem that everyone runs into at some point; no matter how much you like your job, there are certain factors that prevent you from staying at maximum proficiency throughout the whole day.

A lack of productive focus at work can lead to extra stress on yourself, missed deadlines, passed opportunities, raise denial, demotion and even termination.

So, if you are someone who has trouble with your productivity, here are five effective tips on how to be productive at work:

1. Take breaks

First and foremost, it’s important for you to take regular breaks. Trying to work throughout the whole day will tire your brain, which will then cause you to doze off and think about something else.

If you keep working your brain, it will fill up and get jumbled with information—sort of like a computer hard drive. Taking a break would be like resetting your computer so that it can start afresh, or de-fragmenting the data so that all the information is in order.

This is a great thing because it allows you to solve problems you were unable to solve previously, by seeing it differently; if you are able to organize your thoughts properly, you will be able to take in new information more easily.

There have even been studies about methods of saving time and staying proficient, and taking breaks is one of the leading factors.

According to Christine Hohlbaum, the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, eating lunch away from your work area every day will greatly increase your productivity. Eating in your work area will give you the illusion that you are working, but whether you like it or not, your brain will begin to wander and think of something else and then you will be working tirelessly with no progress.

It’s important to take breaks before and during work too: if you come to work in a rush because you woke up late, your mind will not be mentally prepared for the day ahead, and you will spend the first 10 to 15 minutes trying to get organized and composed before you can actually start working.

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Instead, you should try to wake up 20 minutes earlier than the time it would take you to “just get” to work. Take that time to stare off into space and not worry about anything.

If you do this, your brain will be empty and ready for all the challenges it has coming for the next few hours.

If your employer only allows a set amount of breaks during the workday, that doesn’t mean you can’t just get up and walk around for a quick break every now and then.

Even if it’s only 5 minutes, it will refresh your brain and you will gain renewed energy to do your job.

Learn more about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

2. Pace yourself and balance your workload

One problem that most people run into is that they underestimate the amount of work they have to do, and end up doing 50% of the work in the last 20% of the time they have to do it. This is due to an issue of balancing one’s workload.

When you receive a project, or are doing a job you normally do, take some time to really plan out your work schedule.

Consider how much time it took you to do this last time; determine how you can break the project into smaller parts and which can only be accomplished on certain days, and whether anything might come up that could interfere with your plan.

All of these questions are important for starting on a project, and when answered, they will help you stay productive throughout each day.

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For example, if you needed to design a project to map out the amount of aid offered in various regions after Hurricane Sandy, you can break it up as follows:

You will need to know what organizations are offering help to begin with, how much aid those organizations gave or plan to give, which regions were hit by Sandy, and which regions suffered the greatest losses.

You start this project on a Thursday and know you have until Tuesday to gather this information.

In order to stay productive, you need to plan out your work week—now you know you can find out which organizations are involved in helping the Hurricane Sandy Victims any day since that information is online, but gathering information on the organizations may require you to call them.

Since phone calls can only be done during week days, you have to plan on gathering all of that information before the weekend comes.

That is just one example of a situation in which pre-planning your project will help you stay productive; had you researched the affected regions first, you would not have received the info on the organizations until the weekend, and may have missed your chance to call them.

That, in turn, would have wasted time you could have spent working on this project to finish it.

Knowing what you need to do, when you can do it, and how long it will take you, is important in balancing your workload and being more productive and efficient.

3. Put your work first

This is an issue that usually occurs with young people who are new to the workforce: they’re often tempted with offers to go out at midday, and then come back lost in thought and unfocused on their work-related tasks.

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While it is important to take breaks, your breaks should consist of you clearing your mind, not loading it up with other less important information—like sports.

However, that is not the only situation where you need to worry about putting your work first before all else.

In a work environment, the senior employees will oftentimes push some of their menial tasks onto the newer employees. If you fall into that category, you need to know that their work is not your work, so if you have tasks that need to be done, you need to do it first.

If you are a new employee, you must learn to say no to other people even when it means you may not be in their good graces anymore. You can help others out once your work is done, but you are paid to do your own work, not anyone else’s.

4. Don’t open your browser unless you need them

In this day and age, everyone is constantly monitoring their social network. This is a major pain point for companies, which is why many don’t allow employees to access their social networks on company workstations.

When you are at work, disconnect the internet from your phone and keep your browsers closed so you’re not tempted to log onto your social media accounts or browse any sites that are not work-related.

If you keep your browsers closed and phone tucked away, only to be used in an emergency, you will find yourself being a more productive employee right away. 

5. Try to be happy and optimistic

If you always have a negative outlook on life, you will be more distracted and less motivated to get work done, so it’s important for you to start your day off right.

This can be done by having a good breakfast or by taking time in the morning to watch one of your favorite TV shows before work.

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If you are happy, you will find yourself able to work much more productively as your mind won’t wander into worrying about something else.

Also, if you stay optimistic and keep telling yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to, the tasks will seem much less daunting and will go by much more quickly.

Take a look at more effective ways to stay positive at work:

15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

Happiness and optimism are the keys to being a productive and happy employee.

All in all, heed the five tips above and you will find yourself being one of the most productive people at your company.

While you do not need to master them all, each and every one of them will help you become a better and more efficient employee.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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