Should I become a full-stack developer or specialized developer?

Web developers of all kinds are in demand. If you’ve been doing your research, you probably already know that there are many kinds of developers and you might be wondering which to choose.

A good place to start is to decide whether or not you want to specializeOpenClassrooms provides several specialization options: we offer courses in Frontend development, iOS and Android development, Backend development in Java and full-stack development (both Front and Backend). We even have an accelerated 6-month junior web developer program.  

Now it’s up to you to choose.

What’s the difference between a full-stack developer and a specialized developer?

Specialized developers generally work in either Frontend or Backend development. While Frontend developers focus on the user side of things by creating visible interfaces for browsers with languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript, Backend developers are in charge of internal operations. They make sure users can access the relevant data and that the right data is stored at the right place.

Full-stack developers do a combination of the two. While they have more limited knowledge of specific programming languages, they can work in both Frontend and Backend development and therefore follow a project from design, through to launch.

A day in the life

As a specialized developer, you’ll spend a lot of time developing and improving the projects assigned to you. You’ll be an expert in your field and continue to learn throughout your career to keep up with the latest innovations.

As a full-stack developer, you will often work on a wide range of tasks because your role is truly versatile. You’ll spend less time working closely with different team member on the fine details since your role is more top level. You won’t depend on your coworkers to complete basic tasks quite as much.

What certifications will guarantee I find work?

If you take a look at the job offers out there right now, you’ll see that both profiles are in high demand. The starting salary is similar for both types of positions. So the real question is, “what kind of work do you want to do?”.

Large companies are familiar with their specific needs and tend to look for specialized developers. Startups, however, seem to prefer full-stack developers because they can manage all of the company’s technological needs from the get go. If moving up the career ladder is important to you, know that full-stack developers often have a wider perspective on projects so they are better equipped to manage a team.

Planning to start your own business? You’ll be able to design your own products more easily if you study full-stack development.

I’m feeling lost. How do I decide?

No need to panic. The best thing to do is try out the different programming languages to find the right fit. Start with what you like best, and then move on to learn other languages as you go.

A career in web development means constantly renewing your knowledge to keep up with the market, learning new technologies and the latest frameworks.

Start with our beginners’ courses accessible completely for free:


Build your website with HTML5 and CSS3

A precursor to Java

Think like a computer: Understanding the language of programming


Learn to code with Javascript


Map out your project with UML


Take you first steps with Ruby


Immerse yourself in the iOS environment


Develop your first android application

Also consider reaching out to professional web developers to ask them about their jobs and how they got started. This all will help your narrow things down and make a decision.

Ready to start?

If you want to get certified in Frontend development, Java backend development, iOS or Android development, or full-stack development, we’ve got you covered!

We offer a six-month job guarantee because we know you’ll get hired fast once you finish your studies.

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