How to Become a Full Stack Developer in Massachusetts

In the tech industry, web developers typically come in one of two varieties, front-end and back-end coders. Each type of coder is well versed in their specific coding languages and both are needed to complete a website that looks good and functions well. However, today’s websites can be built by one technician, with knowledge of both front-end and back-end programming languages: the full stack developer.

Full stack developers learn both front-end languages, like HTML, JAVA and CSS, and back-end languages including PYTHON, PHP and MySQL. What is the difference between front-end and back-end programming?

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Front-end languages deal with the portions of the website that are visible to the user, such as font type, size and color. These languages tell a user’s interface how to arrange and display the website. Back-end languages communicate with the server to keep the website updated with data that may change over time, such as product offerings, pricing, news items or current events.

Educational and Licensing Requirements in Massachusetts

Like most states, Massachusetts does not regulate web developers in any way, but the lack of minimum requirements for education does not mean those in the profession don’t need to be highly skilled. Full stack developers need to be well-versed in several programming languages, which will require extensive training. Employers will favor candidates who have the skills to code for varied functions and have created a strong portfolio.

Massachusetts Options for Education for Full Stack Developers

Education for full stack developers varies greatly, from those who choose to learn in accelerated coding programs (often dubbed as “boot camps”) to those who seek a master’s-level education. When attempting to navigate the myriad course offerings, it will be best to keep your specific goals in mind. For instance, do you wish to start a freelance business or to climb the corporate ladder? A few of the program offerings in Massachusetts include:

  • University of Massachusetts offers an online certificate in Web Design and Development. Students can opt for either a Web Design track or Web Development track, depending on their career goals and familiarity with HTML.
  • Bunker Hill Community College offers a Web Development Certificate. Students will learn HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery, PHP, MySQL and other programs.
  • Middlesex Community College offers online courses in Web Design. Courses include HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

Growth and Salary Potential

Although specific job growth projections for the state are not available, web developers nationwide are expected to grow by 13 percent nationally in the next 10 years. In other good news, for those wanting to work and live in Massachusetts, the state is listed among the highest paying across the country, with web developers bringing home an average of $87,040 in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It should be noted that data collected by the BLS is for traditional web developers and does not necessarily reflect what full stack developers are making, which could be considerably higher due to their advanced skill set.

Massachusetts Career Expectations

Traditional web developers who wish to work for themselves have always been able to translate their skills into a lucrative business, but full stack developers have an even greater edge in the market. With the ability to work independently, these entrepreneurs can maintain a relatively low overhead and have virtually no need to contract for additional services. If freelance work isn’t for you, don’t worry, the job market has an abundance of advertisements for full stack developers at companies like PTC, MassMutual, Amazon, ETQ, Dawn Food Products, iRobot and more.