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What Does "Full Stack" Mean?

Posted by Kirsten Agnello-Dean on Dec 6, 2016 11:00:00 AM
Kirsten Agnello-Dean

What does full stack mean? Full stack refers to those elite programmers who have functional knowledge of all of the component parts within software creation. They can work behind the scenes creating some of the powerful code that runs the apps and programs you use every day. But they also work at the front end of the process, evaluating and tweaking the user-friendliness of the software.

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What is a Full Stack Developer?

Full Stack Developers can do most of it, but understand all of it. The term “developers” refers to computer programmers who create software code. The three terms: developers, programmers and coders, are really interchangeable.

But there is only one full stack.

Broader Horizons – Embracing Full Stack

Here is the breakdown of a full-stack developer:


Means all software creation tasks, front, back and in between.


In computer lingo, “stack” is the group of programming languages and utilities that supports software development.


Is the person who uses a computer language (code) to create software programs.

Ten years ago, a programmer could specialize in one part of the software design process. Today, businesses are increasingly looking for the more flexible Full Stack Developer.

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The Evolution of Full Stack Developers

As software evolved, it grew more complicated; by the mid-’90s the trend was toward specialization, which created industry knowledge silos. That increased costs and design complexity, so the demand pendulum swung in the other direction toward full stack developers.

Over time, technology streamlined, and languages emerged that were automated and flexible. Now, five Full Stack Developers can take the place of double the number of specialists. Just like the technology itself, we’re moving faster and doing more with less.

Today, the full stack programmer needs to be knowledgeable in five areas:

1. System Administration

The functional backbone for the internet and cloud hosting. How programs process and interface with data, search features and caching. Programming languages include Linux, Amazon and Gearman.

2. Web Development

Data manipulation and the interaction with a variety of application programming interfaces. You also will need to be familiar with how to convert a website to an interactive phone app for iOS or Android.

3. Back-end Technology

The back end includes web servers that host web pages and programming languages, along with database languages like MySQL, Ruby, and PHP.

4. Front-end Technology

The icing on a website cake. They improve user experience by reducing the number of clicks and making a site more intuitive. Languages include HTML, CSS, or JavaScript.

5. Design

Utilizing software like Photoshop or Illustrator to convert HTML or CSS code to create an attractive design and layout.

The Bottom of the Full Stack Line

Full Stack Developers can be characterized as having an insatiable curiosity about the process of creating or improving a digital product.

They are a jack-of-all-trades and a master of a few of the complex layers that make up a digital product. What puts them in such high demand is their versatility, allowing even the smallest of companies to dream big about making their own piece of digital history. Contact us today to find out more!

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Tags: Design Resources, Hiring

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