Full-Stack Developers make excellent salaries because they have a wide variety of skills that most companies need. Think about how essential websites and mobile applications are for just about every business these days. As programming jacks-of-all-trades, Full-Stack Developers' careers are as lucrative as they are exciting.
In this article, we'll briefly describe what a Full-Stack Developer does, what the average Full-Stack Developer salary is for varying degrees of experience, and how to become a Full-Stack Developer.
What does a Full-Stack Web Developer do?
A Full-Stack Developer, sometimes called a Full-Stack Web Developer, can program on both front-end and back-end systems. In other words, they can program across the full tech stack of a company. This also means they know how to build applications from the bottom up, including APIs, frameworks, and libraries using both front-end and back-end languages.
Essentially, a Full-Stack Web Developer can do all the things that a Front-End Developer and a Back-End Developer can do. But there's even more to their job description because they need to understand how the front-end and back-end systems and applications communicate with one another.
We asked Taylor, a Full-Stack Developer at RightNow Media, what a day in the life of a Full-Stack Web Developer looks like. As she explains:
"A Full-Stack Developer is writing code not only for the user's front-end web applications or mobile applications, but they're also writing API code that sits in the middle. They're writing server code that sits in the back, and they're also connecting and communicating with databases."
Full-Stack Developers have various skills, including technical programming skills and those that require a little more creativity. Taylor explained that she loves being a Full-Stack Developer, especially because the role allows her to be both artistic and analytical. When we asked her what she loved best about the front-end aspects of her job, she said:
"I enjoy thinking about how the user is best going to be engaged with the website I'm creating, and I like creating the colors and the styles and the different layouts that the user is going to interact with."
But equally interesting to her was the ability to program in the back-end systems using databases, back-end languages, and data analysis:
"You will problem solve as a front-end developer, but there are some larger puzzle pieces that you get to work with and put into play when you start integrating with the back end."
As you can probably guess from the skills Full-Stack Web Developers must have and the long list of tasks they must do, they are in high demand around the globe. This article will focus on salaries in the United States, but keep in mind, you can work as a Full-Stack Web Developer from anywhere. Especially now, as more companies have embraced a distributed workforce and remote work.
Junior Full-Stack Developer salary
Junior Full-Stack Developers with limited experience can still expect a competitive salary. Talent.com reports that a Junior Full-Stack Developer earns about $87,750 per year.
Note that salaries will also vary based on location and industry. If you have the means, you could take on an unpaid internship to build your portfolio and gain experience to eventually increase your Full-Stack Developer salary.
Average Full-Stack Developer salary
According to Talent.com, the average Full-Stack Developer's salary is $107,487, based on 10,000 salaries across the country. This figure includes Full-Stack Developers from all over the United States, with experience levels that vary from less than a year to decades.
To verify the numbers at Talent.com, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary data from 2020. Full-Stack Developers fall under the category of Software Developers, who earned an average salary of $110,140 per year, which is over 2% more than what Talent.com reported.
Senior Full-Stack Developer salary
Those with many years of experience as a Full-Stack Developer can earn well above six figures. Talent.com reports that the most experienced Full-Stack Developers earn up to $142,186 per year in the United States.
Along with their competitive salaries, there's also quite a bit of job security for Full-Stack Developers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that the field of software development will see a 22% increase in employment by 2029, and skilled Full-Stack Developers will be in high demand. Remember, their tech skills are needed just about everywhere, both in terms of industry and location.
How to become a Full-Stack Developer
Full-Stack Developers are experts in multiple areas, and as their salaries dictate, they're paid quite well for their work. If you're looking for a new career where you can use different technical and creative skills and work on both front and back-end systems in web development, then you might want to consider becoming a Full-Stack Developer.
You don't need to worry about going back to school to get a formal degree before becoming a Full-Stack Developer. You can learn all the skills you'll need by taking online programming courses. If you're starting from square one, then you can check out our Full-Stack Software Engineer Career Path, which takes the guesswork out of which courses to take and skills to acquire.
If you already have a foundation in programming, a different Path might be right for you. For example, if you're already a Front-End Developer, then our Back-End Engineer Career Path might be better for you. Similarly, if you're already a Back-End Developer, try our Front-End Engineer Career Path. That's the great thing about learning new skills today. You can learn online at your own pace, and you can customize your learning path to suit your current knowledge.