How Full-Stack Are You? Here’s How to Chart It Out - Triplebyte Blog

10 years ago, the software development landscape looked very different. The way it mostly went was front-end was front-end, back-end was back-end. There were clear lines and expectations for development.

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Before the mid-nineties I would have called myself full-stack because I understood and could work confidently in the embedded space from reset onward, I knew operating systems intimately, and I understood TCP/IP in and out. I could install and configure Unix systems and services, and write application software using RPC and other distributed affectations. I thought I had a pretty good handle on computer science. Then things got pretty wild. Microsoft made Windows too complicated to master on a continuing basis. 386bsd broke open the Unix on 386 world, and eventually Linux became usable. In a manner of speaking, there is seldom any reason to write a native application and almost all applications can be instantly cross-platform by definition if they are web apps. There are more front-end frameworks than I can count and job requirements these days often want more years of experience with each than the author has. In contrast, the ability to install and tune back-end middle-ware is much less complicated than navigating the current HTML version and the many frameworks that address it, always in motion. As far as I can tell the hard part of being full-stack is the front end, and there are millions of people trying to compete in that space. I believe specialization is not the key to viability, and picking the right specialty is of course the trick. Trying to become and prove you are “full-stack” is grabbing a tiger by the tail and hanging on for dear life. IMHO


As a side note, front-end roles seem to have the most demand right now compared to back-end or even full-stack positions according to websites like LinkedIn. So there may be a lot of competition, but it also looks like the easiest way to break in to the tech industry - especially since the front-end frameworks evolve so quickly that a dedicated front-end developer can really shine if they stay up-to-date with the latest versions, although the companies often wind up developing products using older releases of the major frameworks like Angular or React. Angular, for example, has a version release cycle about every 6 months, for about two cycles a year, and currently only supports versions back to May 2019 at the time of writing, about a year and a half ago ( Plus, entry-level front-end engineers only need to really know JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, which are relatively easier languages to learn. Finally, a lot of the frontend work is visual, almost graphic design work, which is not as difficult to visualize and understand as some of the more abstract concepts in computer science that relate to back-end or data aspects of full-stack work, like data structures, algorithms, or statistics.