Full-Stack Web Developer — Income and Opportunity

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Before we learn about the money, let’s get this question out of the way:

What Is a Full-Stack Web Developer?

A full-stack web developer works both with back-end and front-end web technologies.

  • The back-end consists of the webserver infrastructure, databases, and code function integration to facilitate a smooth and secure serving of user requests.
  • The front-end focuses on the graphical user interface (GUI) of the website using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with the goal of setting up the whole technology stack to enable users to view and interact with the website.

Full-stack developers have skills in all those fields so they often take crucial roles in overseeing the technical implementation of large web projects.


A web developer is a programmer who specializes in the development of websites or applications viewed on web browsers, mobile devices, and large desktop screens that are transported over private or public networks such as the Internet.

A back-end web developer focuses on the implementation and deployment of the “back-end” of a web application. The back-end consists of the webserver infrastructure, databases, and code function integration to facilitate a smooth and secure serving of user requests. Back-end developers often operate behind the scenes (from a user perspective) but work closely in teams with database administrators, distributed systems experts and front-end web developers.

A front-end web developer focuses on the graphical user interface (GUI) of the website using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with the goal of setting up the whole technology stack to enable users to view and interact with the website.


This video nicely explains some of the most important technologies and skills you need as a back-end web developer:

And this video nicely explains some of the most important technologies and skills you need as a front-end web developer:

Who Do Full-Stack Web Developers Work For?

Full-stack web developers either work independently as freelancers or as employees for companies, government organizations, crypto projects, or non-profits.

Lately, many full-stack web developers have started to work for decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) in the crypto ecosystem due to their expertise in native web technologies, distributed systems, databases, and web philosophies.

In those web3 projects, both front-end and back-end skills are needed and full-stack developers can shine!

In fact, the whole Blockchain technology stack is built around “back-end” web technologies—the Blockchain can be seen as a distributed, decentralized, and secure database that is replicated among thousands of participants. It’s the world of back-end web developers!

Almost all decentralized projects (including Bitcoin and Ethereum) only focus on decentralized back-end development whereas the front-ends run on a centralized infrastructure!

Almost all decentralized projects (including Ethereum) only focus on decentralized back-end development whereas the front-ends run on a centralized infrastructure!

That’s why decentralized web3 apps still require front-end skills such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Annual Income

How much does a Full-Stack Web Developer make per year?

The average annual income of a Full-Stack Web Developer in the United States is between $79,584 and $108,984 with an average income of $98,454 and a median income of $99,274 per year according to our meta-study of 7 aggregated data sources such as Glassdoor and Indeed.

Figure: Average Income of a Full-Stack Developer in the US by Source.
Figure: Average Income of a Full-Stack Developer in the US by Source. [1]

So, a full-stack developer tends to make 2-10% more income as either a back-end or a front-end developer due to the increased breadth of required technical skills.

  • Back-end web developers make on average $96,545 (median: $97,522).
  • Front-end web developers make on average $89,683 (median: $90,499) per year.
  • Full-Stack web developers make on average $98,454 (median: $99,274) per year.

If you need the raw data for the income of a back-end web developer in the US, this is it:

SourceAverage Income
Glassdoor.com$99,274
ZipRecruiter.com$88,133
Kinsta.com$108,000
Indeed.com$106,934
Salary.com$98,271
PayScale.com$79,584
CareerKarma.com$108,984
Table: Average Income of a Back-end Web Developer in the US by Source.

Let’s have a look at the hourly rate of Full-Stack Web Developers next!

Hourly Rate

Full-Stack Developers also work on freelancing platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr.

If you decide to go the route as a freelance Full-Stack Web Developer, you can expect to make between $35 and $60 per hour on Upwork (source). Assuming an annual workload of 2000 hours, you can expect to make between $70,000 and $120,000 per year.

Note: Do you want to create your own thriving coding business online? Feel free to check out our freelance developer course — the world’s #1 best-selling freelance developer course that specifically shows you how to succeed on Upwork and Fiverr!

Industry Demand

But is there enough demand? Let’s have a look at Google trends to find out how interest evolves over time (source):

This graphic shows that the supply of people interested in learning web development has increased since 2013.

However, if you look at the demand for web developers—it has grown even more in recent years!

As in any market, if demand outstrips supply, prices of this resource tend to increase. That’s why it can be a super lucrative decision to become a backend web developer in the 2020s, 2030s, and beyond.

Learning Path, Skills, and Education Requirements

Do you want to become a Full-Stack Web Developer? Learn both front-end and back-end skills!

Here’s a step-by-step learning path I’d propose to get started with the most crucial front-end web developments tools:

Here’s a step-by-step learning path I’d propose to get started with the most crucial back-end web developments tools and fundamental skills (master basics first! 🎓):

You can find many additional computer science courses on the Finxter Computer Science Academy (flatrate model).

But don’t wait too long to acquire practical experience!

Even if you have few skills, it’s best to get started as a freelance developer and learn as you work on real projects for clients — earning income as you learn and gaining motivation through real-world feedback.

🚀 Tip: An excellent start to turbo-charge your freelancing career (earning more in less time) is our Finxter Freelancer Course. The goal of the course is to pay for itself!

You can find more job descriptions for coders, programmers, and computer scientists in our detailed overview guide:

The following statistic shows the self-reported income from 9,649 US-based professional developers (source).

💡 The average annual income of professional developers in the US is between $70,000 and $177,500 for various programming languages.

Question: What is your current total compensation (salary, bonuses, and perks, before taxes and deductions)? Please enter a whole number in the box below, without any punctuation. If you are paid hourly, please estimate an equivalent weekly, monthly, or yearly salary. (source)

The following statistic compares the self-reported income from 46,693 professional programmers as conducted by StackOverflow.

💡 The average annual income of professional developers worldwide (US and non-US) is between $33,000 and $95,000 for various programming languages.

Here’s a screenshot of a more detailed overview of each programming language considered in the report:

Here’s what different database professionals earn:

Here’s an overview of different cloud solutions experts:

Here’s what professionals in web frameworks earn:

There are many other interesting frameworks—that pay well!

Look at those tools:

Okay, but what do you need to do to get there? What are the skill requirements and qualifications to make you become a professional developer in the area you desire?

Let’s find out next!

General Qualifications of Professionals

StackOverflow performs an annual survey asking professionals, coders, developers, researchers, and engineers various questions about their background and job satisfaction on their website.

Interestingly, when aggregating the data of the developers’ educational background, a good three quarters have an academic background.

Here’s the question asked by StackOverflow (source):

Which of the following best describes the highest level of formal education that you’ve completed?

However, if you don’t have a formal degree, don’t fear! Many of the respondents with degrees don’t have a degree in their field—so it may not be of much value for their coding careers anyways.

Also, about one out of four don’t have a formal degree and still succeeds in their field! You certainly don’t need a degree if you’re committed to your own success!

Freelancing vs Employment Status

The percentage of freelance developers increases steadily. The fraction of freelance developers has already reached 11.21%!

This indicates that more and more work will be done in a more flexible work environment—and fewer and fewer companies and clients want to hire inflexible talent.

Here are the stats from the StackOverflow developer survey (source):

Do you want to become a professional freelance developer and earn some money on the side or as your primary source of income?

Resource: Check out our freelance developer course—it’s the best freelance developer course in the world with the highest student success rate in the industry!

Other Programming Languages Used by Professional Developers

The StackOverflow developer survey collected 58000 responses about the following question (source):

Which programming, scripting, and markup languages have you done extensive development work in over the past year, and which do you want to work in over the next year?

These are the languages you want to focus on when starting out as a coder:

And don’t worry—if you feel stuck or struggle with a nasty bug. We all go through it. Here’s what SO survey respondents and professional developers do when they’re stuck:

What do you do when you get stuck on a problem? Select all that apply. (source)

To get started with some of the fundamentals and industry concepts, feel free to check out these articles:

Where to Go From Here?

Enough theory. Let’s get some practice!

Coders get paid six figures and more because they can solve problems more effectively using machine intelligence and automation.

To become more successful in coding, solve more real problems for real people. That’s how you polish the skills you really need in practice. After all, what’s the use of learning theory that nobody ever needs?

You build high-value coding skills by working on practical coding projects!

Do you want to stop learning with toy projects and focus on practical code projects that earn you money and solve real problems for people?

🚀 If your answer is YES!, consider becoming a Python freelance developer! It’s the best way of approaching the task of improving your Python skills—even if you are a complete beginner.

If you just want to learn about the freelancing opportunity, feel free to watch my free webinar “How to Build Your High-Income Skill Python” and learn how I grew my coding business online and how you can, too—from the comfort of your own home.

Join the free webinar now!

Resources

[1] We used the following code to create the income graphic:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np
import math

data = [99274,
        88133,
        108000,
        106934,
        98271,
        79584,
        108984]

labels = ['Glassdoor.com',
          'ZipRecruiter.com',
          'Kinsta.com',
          'Indeed.com',
          'Salary.com',
          'PayScale.com',
          'CareerKarma.com']

median = np.median(data)
average = np.average(data)
print(median, average)
n = len(data)

plt.plot(range(n), [median] * n, color='black', label='Median: $' + str(int(median)))
plt.plot(range(n), [average] * n, '--', color='red', label='Average: $' + str(int(average)))
plt.bar(range(len(data)), data)
plt.xticks(range(len(data)), labels, rotation='vertical', position = (0,0.45), color='white', weight='bold')
plt.ylabel('Average Income ($)')
plt.title('Full-Stack Developer Annual Income - by Finxter')
plt.legend()
plt.show()
        

You can check out our article on Matplotlib to better understand the code.

Creating Frontends in the Crypto Space

In the following video, Finxter Mikio shows how to create a front-end of a crypto-related website using Python Brownie:

If you’re interested in creating crypto front-end projects, also check out our course at the Finxter Computer Science Academy: