Full Stack Developer Degree Online
A full stack developer is essentially a "jack-of-all-trades" in the application development process, with the ability to take a web-based project from inception to completion. Full stack developers are proficient in both front-end and back-end technologies, handling everything from user interfaces to databases and servers. This well-rounded skill set is in high demand in the IT workforce. Educational institutions have adapted to this increasing demand, providing varying levels of degree programs in full stack development.

This article will provide an overview of full stack development degrees, including benefits, which skills and courses to look for, and a comparison of associate, bachelor's and master's programs in full stack development. We'll also highlight some of the top-ranked online degrees in full stack development and related fields.

Benefits of Full Stack Development Degrees

Project Ownership

You can feasibly take a project from inception to completion single-handedly. In certain cases, it's beneficial to delegate tasks, but it’s possible to create an application from start to finish using your own skill set. This 360-degree understanding is a huge advantage for full-stack developers.


Because you have skills in both front-end and back-end development, you become exceedingly employable. You can pursue a career in full stack or decide to specialize in one or more targeted aspects of software development.


Full stack coding isn't for everyone, but for those computer science nerds who enjoy diving deep into new disciplines, it can be stimulating to learn and master the ever-changing platforms that go into creating a new system or application.

Hot Skills in a Full Stack Developer Degree

To delve deeper into the most sought-after skills and platforms for full stack developers, we'll break them into three domains: front end, back end, and soft skills.

Front End Skills

Front-end development controls the parts of a website that are visible and interactive for users. Many elements go into making the front end integrate seamlessly with the back end so the site looks and functions properly. Marketable front-end skill sets for full stack developers include:

  • Basic web page encoding in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
  • Style control using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
  • Javascript programming of interactive features
  • User experience (UX) & user interface (UI) design
  • Mobile development in languages like Java & Objective-C
  • Essential skills in graphic design concepts and platforms

Back End Skills

Back-end development is vital and complex because it deals with the actual architecture of the database and website, i.e., the tools and structures that enable the whole thing to work. Some of the desirable back-end skills you need to become a full stack developer include:

  • Popular server-side programming languages like Ruby, PHP, Python, and Java
  • Database skills in leading platforms like SQL, MySQL, Oracle, MongoDB, and XML
  • Version Control Systems such as SVN, Git, Apache, and AWS CodeSummit

Soft Skills

Full stack developers will benefit from having a certain set of soft skills, a.k.a. communication skills. Desirable soft skills for this role include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Creative problem solving
  • Team leadership and collaboration
  • Verbal and written communication

Full Stack Developer Degree Levels

Each level of full stack development degree offers unique advantages and opportunities. An associate degree serves as a quick entry into the world of full stack development, while a full stack bachelor's provides a more comprehensive set of skills and broader career prospects. A master's degree in full stack development offers specialization in advanced areas, opening doors to leadership roles and niche sectors.

Let’s examine the full stack development degree levels further.

Associate Degree in Full Stack Development

A full stack development associate degree can provide a solid introduction to the field. Typically, it requires two years to complete as a full-time student. The curriculum is designed to impart foundational knowledge in web development programming languages, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for front-end development, and core server-side languages like Python, Ruby, and Java. A good full stack associate degree will also cover fundamental skills in database management and cloud computing.

Graduates of an associate program in full stack development can pursue entry-level roles such as junior developer, web developer, and application developers.

Bachelor's Degree in Full Stack Development

A bachelor's degree in full stack development is a more comprehensive, four-year program. In addition to essential front-end and back-end development knowledge, it delves deeper into the core concepts of computer science, such as algorithms, data structures, computer networks, and software engineering.

Along with a broader range of programming languages, students in full stack bachelor's programs learn about advanced topics like DevOps practices, user experience (UX) design, advanced database management, and cybersecurity. The program also hones problem-solving, teamwork, and project management skills. Full stack bachelor's grads can pursue careers such as full stack developer, software engineer, mobile application developer, user interface developer, and DevOps engineer.

Master's Degree in Full Stack Development

A full stack master's degree is a specialized program usually completed with an additional two years of study after earning your bachelor's. The master's program goes beyond practical development skills, offering in-depth exposure to complex concepts. A good master's in full stack development will focus on hot emerging domains like machine learning, advanced cloud architecture, big data, and Agile project management.

Full stack master's students often have to complete a capstone project to demonstrate mastery in a specific domain. This degree prepares students for leadership roles, such as senior full stack developer, software development manager, or IT project manager. It can also pave the way for doctoral studies in computer science or a career in academia.

Search IT courses and degrees by job role, technology platform, and concentration.


IT education insiders answer frequently asked questions from full stack development degree candidates.

What Is a Full Stack Developer?

In software parlance, "front end" refers to the user-facing parts of a website, such as fonts, images, and navigation menus, while "back end" consists of the behind-the-scenes elements that power the site, like servers and databases. Full stack developers wield expertise in both front-and-back-end development to build complex sites and web-based applications.

What programming languages will I learn?

A full stack development degree typically covers a variety of programming languages, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for front-end web development and languages like Python, Ruby, Java, PHP, or Node.js for the back-end. You'll also learn database management platforms like SQL, XML, and MongoDB.

Do I need prior coding experience for a full stack degree?

While it would certainly be beneficial, most full stack programs don't require prior coding experience. Undergraduate full stack developer degrees often start with foundational courses designed to bring all students to a similar level.

What jobs can I get after completing a full stack developer degree?

Graduates can pursue a variety of career paths, including full stack developer, software engineer, web developer, systems engineer, and software project manager. Your job prospects will depend on the level of full stack development degree you obtain, i.e., associate, bachelor's, or master's.

Can I pursue a full stack developer degree online?

Yes, many institutions offer online degrees in full stack development, providing flexibility for working professionals or those who prefer web-based learning. The subject matter in full stack developer programs lends itself well to the distance learning format.

About the Author

IT Subject Matter ExpertDaniel Greenspan is the founder and Editor-in-chief of ITCareerFinder. Working closely with IT professionals, world-class trainers, and hiring managers since 2005 has given him unique insight into the information technology job market and the skills and credentials IT pros need to succeed.