Have you ever heard the term full-stack developer? The answer is most likely yes. However, have you ever heard of a full-stack designer? The answer to this might be maybe. A full-stack developer is a person who not only specializes in front-end development or back-end development but takes both of those skill sets and stacks them on top of each other. This way, the full-stack developer has a more comprehensive and broader spectrum of skills they can apply when they are doing their job.
Understanding What Full-Stack Means
To understand the term full-stack, there’s no analogy better than that of breakfast. Everyone’s favorite item at the breakfast table is, of course, pancakes with butter and syrup. Then, it has fruit and whip cream on top, which is basically dessert. Everybody loves pancakes. You can eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then, everyone knows you don’t order a single pancake; you always request a stack of pancakes. Do you know why you always order a stack of pancakes? A single pancake would leave you unfilled, and looking for other delicacies.
Therefore, similar individuals with a single skill set might leave the team or the client’s project wanting a little more. So, it might be better if they brought in a developer with a stack of skills. Therefore, a full-stack developer makes sense, but what is a full-stack designer?
What is a Full-Stack Designer?
A full-stack designer is a multidisciplinary individual who offers multiple skill sets but thinks about projects more holistically and comprehensively than a single UI or UX designer. A full-stack designer is thinking about more of the process at one time than someone else might. This is a trendy thing right now, and it’s very different from how people used to look at design. With the rise of startups and consumer-facing products and teams that are small, companies are looking for people who have a wide array of skill sets that they can apply.
If you were to draw a line and create a spectrum of what a full-stack designer might do, they would start with the user experience. Knowing how to do layouts, wireframes, user research, and finding the core demographic so that you know who you should be designing for. That is the very start of the design process, and that is where your stack should start. After that, you’re going to push all that UX over into the user interface design, where you will be concerned with visual design, graphics, typography, colors, layouts, and the things that will make a product desirable.
If you wanted to stop there, that would be fine, but if you wanted to throw another pancake on top of your stack, moving over from user interface over into interaction design would be a positive thing to do. Also, knowing how to prototype, animate, and thinking about the interactions in your designs is going to be a massive help before you hand it off to engineering.
So from start to finish, you’re going to be thinking about the strategy and the structure. You will also think about the visuals and aesthetics. You will even be thinking about the way things move, change, and interact, then you’re bringing it to life in some of the client-side technologies. All of the skills will provide you with a comprehensive stack to offer to any employer or company.
Stacking is also a good thing to do if you’re a freelancer. Knowing the full scope of work when it comes to web or product design will help you land clients easier. Moreover, if you had all these skills, there would be so much that a client could come to you for. Then, when you pair all that together, there is a lot of value there. This helps people from pulling multiple individuals into the project because more hands on the project lead to more inconsistency and miscommunication. Therefore, if a company can strip it down to fewer people, it becomes a little easier for them to manage and maintain.
A full-stack designer is exciting and offers a lot of variety and fun. A full-stack designer may know what they will be working on over the next couple of days, but a few months out, their responsibilities could shift and change. Being a full-stack designer can be very exciting when you have to roll with the punches. There are people out there that don’t, and that’s fine.
However, if that is something for you, you might want to start building out that stack piece by piece and filling out your skill set. If you do this, you will have a powerful arsenal to offer people looking for those particular skills. Also, keep in mind that a responsive website will always convert better, especially if it’s a WordPress site.
Now that you understand what it is to be a full-stack designer. It’s essential to keep in mind that if you want to become a full-stack designer that you start stacking up those skills now. Use the numerous resources that are out there, such as online boot camps and YouTube videos. So, if you’re not suited for traditional schooling, there is still plenty of information out there that you can learn to become a full-stack designer today. Becoming a full-stack developer will, without a doubt, be a lot of work, but in the end, it will all be worth it. You will have a career that is continually evolving and stimulating you to do new things.