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What is a Full Stack Engineer?
Full Stack Engineers are highly skilled software engineers that can design both the front-end (i.e. the user end) and the back-end of a website, as well as the underlying architecture and databases that makes up the “full stack” of a website
A ‘Full Stack’ refers to all the layers of a website or application, and includes all the hidden architecture, databases, and servers that the end user can’t see.
What should be included in a Full Stack Engineer job description?
As Full Stack Engineers are responsible for both the front-end and back-end design of websites, as well as the underlying architecture and databases required, they are highly competent and highly trained. This means they have a broad set of responsibilities that may change depending on the current needs of the team or client with whom they work.
However, in general, it is their responsibility to:
- Work with the client to define project requirements and objectives
- Design and build system architecture, data structures, and design patterns
- Write high- and low-level code
- Design and maintain internal software tools
- Debug and troubleshoot
- Optimise website and software efficiency
- Write and maintain technical documents
What skills and qualifications should a Full Stack Engineer have?
Because Full Stack Engineers straddle the line between designer and coder. As such, they need to have a good understanding of both web development and design practices.
While a tertiary education in computer science or software development is recommended, it is not necessary. Instead, Full Stack Engineers should be able to demonstrate:
- Familiarity with WC3 standards
- Advanced knowledge of back-end languages: Python, Ruby, Java, PHP and .net, and any related frameworks
- Experience working with and building databases; SQL/NoSQL, Oracle, MongoDB
- Previous experience as a Full Stack Developer or Engineer
- Advanced troubleshooting skills
Soft skills should include:
- Customer service
- Problem solving
- Attention to detail
- Project management
- The ability to translate complex ideas for non-tech staff/customers
What’s the difference between a Full Stack Developer and a Full Stack Engineer?
While many people use the terms Full Stack Developer and Full Stack Engineer interchangeably, there’s a small difference between the two.
Full Stack Engineers have more responsibility than Full Stack Developers, and often have much more in-depth knowledge. They must have full knowledge of the architecture and design of a website, and should be able to build and design both hardware and software solutions should the project require it.
Many Full Stack Developers have this knowledge too, but they are usually just required to develop code.