How to Become a Full Stack Developer in Virginia

Have you been considering a career as a web developer and don’t know if you want to do front-end or back-end development? Why not do both and become a full stack developer? New to the tech scene, full stack developers have combined the skills of front-end and back-end programmers by learning coding languages on both ends of the spectrum.

What does that mean in more specific terms? Continue reading for a full explanation of front-end versus back-end development and the advantages of combining the skill sets of both.

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Traditionally, to develop a website, a programmer familiar with front-end programming languages (such as HTML, CSS and JAVA) would have needed to combine skills with someone familiar with back-end programming languages (such as MySQL, PYTHON and PHP). It was necessary to have both front-end and back-end developers because they constructed very different portions of a website. Front-end developers created the visible parts of the website, using codes that could communicate to a user’s interface how it should appear, while back-end developers would use codes that could communicate with the server, thus improving a website’s function and keeping it updated with new information.

Because full stack developers make it their business to be well-versed in as many coding languages as possible, they can independently build both parts of the website. These valuable skills are now in high demand with big tech companies and smaller companies who need a versatile expert to handle their website management. Freelancers will also find value in knowing additional languages due to lower overheads and less need to hire contractors.

Licensing and Minimum Educational Requirements

Virginia does not have an oversight board or licensing requirement for web developers, allowing employers to regulate themselves. Although training ranges from university degrees to various accelerated learning courses (commonly called “boot camp” training), employers will be looking for candidates who can perform the essential job functions. In general, this means those searching for employment as a full stack developer should be well-versed in both front-end and back-end codes.

Virginia Educational Opportunities for Full Stack Developers

With a variety of training programs on the market, it might be challenging to decide which one to choose. When considering which type of course to take, you will want to keep your career goals, budget and time constraints in mind. For instance, those interested in management positions might pursue a degree program, while those interested in freelancing might find boot camp-style training more suited to their needs. In Virginia, some schools with potential programs include:

Salary and Career Growth in Virginia

Listed among the states with the highest mean wages in the country by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Virginia appears to be a promising place for full stack developers. In 2019, the state reported an average annual wage of $87,710 for web developers. Note that the data collected was for web developers in general, not full stack developers specifically, who could expect a reasonably higher wage due to their additional skills.

Full stack developers in the state should also expect steady employment rates, as the need for web developers is expected to grow by 15.1 percent in the next ten years.

Career Potential for Full Stack Developers in Virginia

With companies like Amazon, CACI International, Arcola and Booz Allen Hamilton hiring full stack developers in the state, those in Virginia should have no problem finding well-paid work in the foreseeable future. Whether your goal is to break into a big tech company or work as a freelancer, the field appears to be an intelligent and potentially lucrative choice.