Want to become a web developer, but not sure about where you can fit into the digital ecosystem?

It’s OK. We get it – it’s confusing. Put simply, the profession can be divided into three categories:

  • Front-end developers, who use coding languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build and design the elements of the page that people interact with;
  • Back-end developers, who work more on the server side to find, save, or change data and serve it back to the user in front-end;
  • And “full-stack” developers, who have a broad understanding of both front and back end, is capable of developing a complete web application by themselves.

While all of these professions have their specific strengths and weaknesses, today we’re going to look at some of the specific advantages for “full-stack” web developers, especially in the context of Singapore.

Be “startup ready”

If you’re looking to get into a web development career, and you’re also keen on joining one of Singapore’s many fresh-faced startup businesses, then taking the full-stack route is a good way to go.

Because startups – particularly early-stage startups – are often running very lean teams, it’s incredibly valuable to have people who understand all of the fundamentals of web development (front-to-back), as opposed to hiring a number of developers who all have niche capabilities.

Full-stack developers can also help these burgeoning businesses to be more nimble, as their broad range of skills allow them to pivot their business models rapidly.

Singapore, as you may well know, has become a kind of regional hub for startups, and as such, a full-stack skill-set presents a multitude of opportunities in the South East Region across various industry verticals.

Build-it-yourself

Sick of working for the man?

One of the big advantages of becoming a full-stack developer is that you can use your skills to build your own product (also read our article on turning your concept into a product here).

A major issue facing many young entrepreneurs in Singapore is the fact that they have great ideas, but they don’t have the technical know-how to turn those ideas into a product. Finding a technical co-founder has also proven to be an extremely challenging thing to do in Singapore. 

Visit one of the local tech meet-ups and you will find that only 30% of people attending these events actually are technical talents. The other 70% of the attendees? They are startup founders looking for “technical co-founders”!

Give yourself a break and start picking up some real skills.

Learning to be a full-stack developer will give you a broad understanding of software development lifecycle and the ability to bring your ideas into reality.

Depending on the scope and complexity of your project, you may still employ assistance from other specialists for your product at a later stage, but at the very minimum, you will be able to build the prototype yourself.

Go freelancing!

As someone with full-stack capabilities, you’re essentially a one-person web dev machine. Because of this, you’re much more capable of taking on freelancing roles than someone who only specialises in front- or back-end development.

Wanna get out of the office? Check.

Wanna get out of Singapore and see the world? Check.

Just want some variation in your professional life? Check.

Businesses in the region are all going digital. The demand for web developers will continue to rise. And so many businesses will be looking for web services without employing a full-time technical team. If you would like to progress at your own pace and build up a portfolio of projects quickly, then freelancing is certainly another viable option.  

The final word?

Obviously, the tech world will continue to need web developers with deep specialisations in particular disciplines – in much the same way the medical world needs both general practitioners, as well as brain surgeons, heart specialists, optometrists, and so on.

Front-end, back-end, and full-stack developers all have important roles to play in the tech ecosystem, but we do see some distinct advantages for Singaporeans who want to pursue a full-stack career, particularly those of you that are looking for a greater degree of autonomy in your professional lives.