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Bootcamps have been around for more than a decade now, and as the industry matures, a trend is emerging. Bootcamps are adopting a narrow focus on one particular category of technology or another, in the hopes of providing the appearance of a deeper education experience in that area. Some of them may be achieving this, but it comes at the cost of the technical proficiency of the graduate.

At Lighthouse Labs, we are firmly committed to teaching full-stack technologies, because we believe it yields better developers who are able to contribute more to the industry as a whole. We also believe that knowing full-stack technologies puts you at an advantage both as a developer and as a professional in the programming industry.

What is full-stack, anyway?

In the world of the web, everything is done as communication between a client, such as your web browser, and a server, which is a program running on an internet-accessible computer somewhere. For example: when you open up your web browser, type in google.com and hit Enter, your web browser (the client) requests a webpage resource from Google (the server).

When building applications for the web, you need to build both the client side and the server side of the application. Modern applications have a fair degree of complexity: even something as simple as a blog requires a database, some mechanism to keep track of how many times an article has been viewed, and tools for the author to write new blog posts.

Any parts of the application that operate in the browser (on the client-side) are built using the techniques of Front-End development, while any parts of the application that operate on the server-side are built using the techniques of Back-End development. Being able to do both qualifies you as a Full-stack developer.

Front-end, back-end, or full-stack?

From an application perspective, knowing and being able to do full-stack development means that you are in full control over the development of your application. This means that you’re only building what is necessary to execute your vision of the application. It also means that you’re one hundred percent clear on what is needed to communicate effectively between the client and server. If someone else has built the back-end, it’s like a mystery box; you don't know what happens to your data once it goes in, and you're unaware of the process behind the data that comes out. It also means you're unable to troubleshoot any problems that come up with the back-end, because you didn't write that code.

Knowing how both the front and back end of your product works means you’re able to create examples, mockups, even entire applications yourself, without needing to rely on someone else's contribution. This improves your flexibility and contribution as a developer. There are hundreds of great companies that started off as a weekend project by a single developer and have turned into full companies in their own right.

There’s an obvious benefit of being more employable if you have the ability to develop full-stack applications. Your job opportunities are limited when you only know back- or front-end development. When going in for a technical interview, it’s a powerful confidence-booster to know that you have the full-stack training to deliver on all of a company's needs for their product.

Full-stack at Lighthouse Labs

While it's possible to learn the other side of development once you know either front or back-end coding, the Lighthouse Labs bootcamp experience is unique as we teach both in tandem. In our bootcamp program, you spend twelve weeks being taught and mentored by some of the best developers in the industry, learning the best practices being used in cutting-edge applications.

Our educational model mandates that our curriculum is kept up to date, and the instructors and mentors delivering the training always demonstrate concepts using the methodologies and techniques they use on an everyday basis in the industry. Our educators come from front-end, back-end, and full-stack settings, so a broad set of skills and knowledge is passed down through our hands-on mentorship model.

Ultimately, our decision to stick with full-stack training is informed by our commitment to deliver the best possible training to each cohort, so our graduates can be job-ready in the ever-evolving marketplace and ecosystem that is the web. You wouldn't plan a dinner without knowing what you could get at the grocery store, would you? Why plan a career when you don't know the full scope of the technology you'll be using?