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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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Last Updated on September 23, 2020

Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More

Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More

Are you waking up each day looking for that perfect thing, activity, or job that will make your life work? Or, maybe you are looking for that perfect relationship. Once you “get” this new thing that will allow you to do what you love, you are sure that you will be happy forever.

In reality, life doesn’t work like that, and we would probably get bored if it did. There is likely no one thing, experience, or activity that will keep you feeling passionate and engaged all the time. What’s important is staying connected to what you love and continuing to grow in the process.

Here, we’ll talk about how to get started doing what you love and achieving more in life through the motivation it brings. Doing this doesn’t have to take a long time; it just takes determination and energy.

Most People Already Know Their Passion

So many people walk around in life “looking for” their passion. They look for it as if true passion is some mysterious thing that is difficult to find and runs away once you find it. However, the problem is rarely lack of passion.

Most of us already know what we love to do. We know what excites us, even if we haven’t done it for years. Instead, we focus on what we think we “must” do.

For example, maybe you love building model cars or painting pet portraits. Yet, each day you work a completely unrelated job and make no time for the activity you already know you love. The truth is you probably don’t need to find your passion; you just need to start doing what you already know you’re passionate about[1].

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No Activity Is Exciting All the Time

Even people who are living their dream lifestyle or working their dream job don’t love it all the time. Every job or lifestyle has parts of it that we won’t like.

Let’s say your dream is to become an actress, and you succeed. You may not enjoy the process of auditioning and facing rejection. You may experience moments of boredom when you practice your lines over and over again. But the overall experience is totally worth it.

Most of life is like that. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by demanding that life be perfect all the time. If things were perfect and easy, you would ultimately stop learning and growing, and life would begin to lack even more meaning in that case.

Be grateful for both the good and bad moments as they are both entirely necessary if you genuinely want to do what you love and love what you do.

Doing What You Love May Not Be Easy

Living a life you love is unlikely to be easy. If it was, you would not grow very much as a person. And, if you think about a great book or movie, the growth of the main character is what matters most.

What if the challenges you meet along your path to living a life you love were designed to make you grow as a person? You may actually start looking forward to challenges instead of dreading them. An easy life hardly ever makes a compelling story.

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If you struggle to overcome challenges, try writing them down each time you encounter one. Then, write down three ways you could tackle it. Try one, and if it doesn’t work, try another. This way, you’ll learn what does and doesn’t work for you.

How to Do What You Love

There are many small steps you can take to ensure you are making time to do the things you love. Start with these, and you’ll likely find that you’re already on the right track.

1. Choose Your Priorities Wisely

Many people claim they want to do something, yet they don’t do it. The truth is they might not really want to do it in the first place[2].

We all end up following through on what matters most to us. We make decisions moment by moment about what we need to focus on. What we choose to do is what we deem most important in our lives.

If there is something you claim you want to do but you don’t do it, try asking yourself how much you really want it or where it’s currently placed on priority list. Are there other things you want more?

Be honest with yourself: what you currently do each day is a reflection of your priorities. Recognize that you can change your priorities at any time.

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Make a list of your priorities. Really take the time to think this through. Then, ask yourself if what you are doing each day reflects them. For example, if you believe your top priority is spending more time with your family, but you consistently take on extra hours at work, you’re not really prioritizing things in the way you think you are.

If this is happening, it’s time to make a change.

2. Do One Small Thing Each Day

As stated above, doing what you love doesn’t have to mean finding that perfect job that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. If you want to do what you love, start with one small thing each day.

Maybe you love reading a good book. Take ten minutes before bed to read.

Maybe you love swimming. Get a membership at the local YMCA, and go there for thirty minutes after work each day.

Dedicating even a short amount of time to something that brings you joy each day will improve your life overall. You may find that, over time, a career path related to what you love to do pops up. After doing the thing you love each day, you’ll be more than prepared to take it on when the opportunity arises.

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If you need help making time for your passions, check out this article to get started.

3. Prepare to Make Sacrifices

If you are an exceptionally busy person (aren’t we all?), you may have to make sacrifices in order to make space for the things you are passionate about. Maybe you take on less extra hours at the office or take thirty minutes away from another hobby in order to develop another that you enjoy.

Looking at your priority list will help you decide what can get put on the back burner and what can’t. Remember, do this thinking about what will help you feel good about how you’re spending your time. 

For example, if you love writing but rarely make time for it, consider getting up 30 minutes earlier than normal. Or instead of browsing your phone for 30 minutes before bed, you can write instead. There is always a way to find time for what you love.

Final Thoughts

If you love what you do, each day becomes a joyful adventure. If you don’t love what you are doing, life feels like a chore. The best way to achieve success is to design a life you love and live it every day.

Remember, doing something you love doesn’t have to include big gestures or time-consuming projects. Start small and grow from there.

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Featured photo credit: William Recinos via unsplash.com

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