Full-stack developers are individuals who have the skills to build the customer-facing and server-side components of a web or mobile application.  These developers possess the necessary skills to handle a full range of development tasks, and the average full-stack developer salary reflects that.

For example, they understand front-end languages and tools such as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS as well as back-end tools and languages such as SQL, JavaScript, or PHP.

Web and mobile developers with front and back-end skills present the most value to an organization from a monetary perspective.  Because of their versatility and experience, full-stack developers represent a significant reduction in development costs for any organization.  Most developers are actively recruited and well-compensated, even at an entry-level.  So, what does it take to become a full-stack developer?

What Is a Full Stack Developer?

Full-stack developers are not just software developers. 

Software developers use programming languages to create machine-readable code that runs on computers.

They use languages such as C++, C#, or python to create applications.  Software developers work on teams where the members work on different modules within a larger program.

For example, a team of developers works together to build applications such as Microsoft’s Office or Intuit’s QuickBooks. A full-stack developer builds web or mobile applications.

As mentioned earlier, these developers have the skills to work on the front-end and back-end of applications.  They can design and develop a web or mobile application from start to finish.

What Skills Does a Full Stack Developer Need?

Not only do full-stack developers need technical skills to acquire competitive salaries, but they also need to know how to apply them in changing business environments.  With their depth of knowledge and experience, they may be asked to perform the following:

  • Transform user requirements into a design architecture
  • Write code for both front- and back-end application
  • Debug database queries
  • Manage projects
  • Troubleshoot performance-related issues

To support these activities, developers need the following technical skills.

  • Front-end technologies such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript
  • A back-end programming language such as Java or Python
  • SQL and NoSQL database technologies
  • UI and UX design principles
  • Version control systems
  • Experience in web services and APIs

Entry-level full-stack developers may not have all the technical skills in place, but they should have some knowledge of them.  It takes time to acquire the necessary experience to use the skills effectively.

How to Become a Full Stack Developer

The first step in becoming a full-stack developer is acquiring the basic skills for front-end development such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and a back-end language such as Java, Python, or SQL.


Other skills related to database design and structure can help differentiate you from the crowd. Once you have the basics, begin to refine your skills.

That means, testing your skills by creating web pages and applying programming concepts.  You need to put your knowledge into practice.  Developing test web pages with different functionality is one way to hone your skills.

As you apply your skills, consider theoretical concepts for development.  Theories surrounding the following can provide learning more insights into how to best structure your design.

  • Server configurations
  • Network configurations
  • Web environments
  • Algorithms
  • Data structures

As the scope of your learning expands, you will realize that there is much more to learn than you can possibly master.  Mastery in all areas is not a requirement; however, an understanding of each area is.

Be willing to learn.  New technologies are emerging at a rate that is hard to fathom.  That’s why you must keep current on the technologies that impact your field of expertise.

Create an end-to-end application to test your understanding.

Learn theoretical knowledge by reading online materials and books but put those theories to work.  To understand application architecture properly, you must implement an actual web application.

Join additional projects in your company that work on technologies outside your expertise.   Always look for ways to learn.

A few companies may insist on an applicant having a degree in computer science to apply for the position.  Most businesses will overlook the lack of formal education if a candidate can exhibit the necessary coding abilities.  A full-stack developer’s salary reflects the focus on skills rather than formal education.

What Does a Full Stack Developer Make?

Full-stack developers’ salaries depend on several factors, such as:

  • Skill
  • Experience
  • Location

According to PayScale, the average full-stack developer salary is $74,958 per year, but salaries may vary from $46,303 to $114,183.

At the same time, ZipRecruiter sees annual full-stack developer salaries being as high as $151,500.  The lowest salary was in Cleveland at $36,000. The majority of wages are currently between $80,000 and $116,500 per year.

  • An entry-level salary in the US is about $85,000.
  • The mid-level salary reaches $97,500.
  • A senior full-stack developer salary averages about $116,000.

Location is the most important factor influencing pay.   PayScale data shows Cupertino, California with the highest salary at a median wage of $153,878.  That is 102% higher than the national average.

Where to Begin

First, set reasonable expectations.  It takes time to become a full-stack developer.  You are essentially learning to be both a front- and back-end developer.

That’s two career paths in one.

Some developers suggest acquiring the skills for either a front- or back-end position and using those skills to land a job while developing additional skills. Although the approach is financially attractive, the demands on your time may become too stressful.

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Be sure to keep that in mind as you map your path to become a full-stack developer.  It is essential that your performance remains at a high-level as you acquire additional skills.

Charting the best course can be overwhelming.  Why not speak with people who understand the demands of a developer?  Our Woz U powered programs are ready to answer your questions so you can take control of your future.


“Full Stack Developer Salary.” 2019. DevSkiller. https://devskiller.com/full-stack-developer-salary/.
Morris, Scott. 2020. “What Is a Full Stack Developer and How Much Should You Care?” Skillcrush. https://skillcrush.com/blog/what-is-a-full-stack-developer/.