I remember the first time recruiter asked me if I was a front or back end developer. It took me by surprise and I was unsure how to answer.
A short time later I learned the term “Full Stack,” and liked the sound of it. I am by nature a very curious person, always looking to learn more, and limiting myself to either the back end or front end is not appealing.
As it turns out, “Full Stack Web Developer” is the most popular term used for Developer Occupations (28.0%) in the Stack Overflow Developer Survey, with the closest runner up (“Back-End Web Developer”) coming in at a distant 12.2%.
Staying up to date on all the technological developments going on these days is very challenging, and these challenges increase daily.
Given this, I have come to think that, these days, expertise is the enemy of the good.
I prefer to focus on knowing enough to get things done, and take the time to learn how to do things well when working on important projects.
Essential knowledge of important fundamentals will always be transferable to other domains. For example, keeping things simple (KISS) and reducing redundancy (DRY) are important keys to high quality and success, no matter what sort of project you are working on.
AWD & RSS, and the Three CMSes
Integrating device detection into the three popular LAMP CMSes is a great way to exercise and add to knowledge of the full stack. But working on this project has made me realize a few things:
- I enjoy programming, and make a point of doing it every day
- With all due respect to designers and front end developers — heart you guys, seriously! — in my mind, writing HTML and CSS is not really what I would call “programming,” because those languages do not lend themselves to well-established organizational techniques1
- So although I am knowledgeable about front end work I am more comfortable working on the server side of things, and that type of work fits well with my experience
The take-away for me is, I would definitely be happy doing back end development 100% of the time, but would not be happy doing front end work 100% of the time.
Full stack work is definitely challenging and totally engaging. So my ideal job would have a focus on back end work, and perhaps allow me to help out with front end work if and when the opportunity to do so arises.
But a job doing only back end development would be perfectly acceptable.