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Skill Pathway

A CEO's #1 Tip On How Stand Out As A New Full-Stack Developer in A Competitive Market ⚡

matthew_collison profile image Matthew Collison Updated on ・4 min read

Want to listen to the full episode? Check the bottom of the post!

Andrew Brown (CEO of ExamPro.co) joined us recently to talk about a load of topics that would be helpful to anyone looking to get a job in development.

A recurring theme we talked about was how bootcamps (and from what we see, university) tend to set everyone up with a very similar skillset in what are extremely competitive job markets.

That's why a lot of graduates can apply to 200 jobs and hardly get any responses, let alone interviews.

So how do you stand out from the crowd?

Pick a highly demanded skill to add to your technical hamburger 🍔

If a company has to pick between full stack developers, one of the easiest way to decide is to go with the developer with skills that complement their role. Particularly if the skill adds real value to the business.

We like to call this "Supercharging Your Skillset" because it opens up a bunch of new opportunities for your career and even the projects you work on.

In this podcast snippet, Andrew talks about how cloud computing is one of the best choices. Here’s a visualisation of this he posted recently:

And there's many others you can pick from, such as:

UI Design

Most developers think they are terrible at UI Design. The truth is, you just need some simple, actionable principles to follow to level up your designs.

If you can really get a more theoretical understanding of UI Design and what makes a good and bad design, not only will your personal work stand out, but you can bring tons of value to a company you work for by being able to produce better quality prototypes and even giving them a hand in other areas.

User Experience

We all have instincts on what feels right and wrong with our own user experience journey on applications and websites we've used. There are however a set of techniques and research methods you can learn and implement on projects to work towards excellent user experience, and this is something companies really want.

Here's a fantastic post from Emma Wedekind on the "UX Engineer" job title and what it means.

Data Science

As companies collect more and more data, and our computing power and availability with cloud and the tools becoming available become far more advanced and accessible, we've moved into an age where we can use that data to improve so many aspects of our products and businesses. And companies pay a lot of money for people who do this as a specialization.

Also, check this awesome A-Z post out from Helen Anderson, she’s an experienced Data Analyst and Advocate for the industry, and really this is one of the best comprehensive top-level references available


Ever used a great looking website to feel like some of the buttons, sentences, documentation and other pieces of text just didn't make sense, went on too much or just didn't feel right? That's where copywriters come in.

Not only can understanding copywriting principles help your own projects, it improves your resumé, portfolio, cover letter and can be an invaluable asset to any company you work for.

Security (not just the basics, there are specialisations that pay a lot!)

Security comes in all shapes and sizes - from basic security, to penetration testing, to cloud-specific security practices. Learning some more advanced principles can not only get you a much higher paying job (especially when it's your main skill-set) but you'll have a skill set that a lot of CTO and VP of Engineering types will be very impressed to see on your list of skills.

Andrew recently gave a talk on how to implement security in AWS and posted it here on DEV:


Learning more advanced Unix principles and how to actually set up servers locally rather than just through the cloud is something that a lot of developers struggle with - particularly because it's one of those weird things some of us tend to avoid.

Learning it more in-depth and understanding your way around Unix on a more than just basic level is another big way to set yourself apart.

The list goes on but these are some of the things companies hire entire teams of experts for - and if you can pick one or more of these to really stack up those technical skillsets, you massively increase your chances of being considered for the jobs you're applying for.

Check out Andrew on DEV 👇

Andrew has written some epic content on how LinkedIn is a hidden gem full of opportunities, and loads of great AWS-related stuff too. Check his stuff out below.

Listen to the podcast here 🎙

If you want, you can listen to the full episode from the embedded player below. Andrew has tons of unique left field tips that can really help you accelerate your career progression.

Posted on by:

matthew_collison profile

Matthew Collison


I run an educational media brand called Skill Pathway, and host The Learning Developers Podcast. Experienced Full-Stack Engineer that wants to change lives and help millions of people into tech.

Skill Pathway

We help budding developers land their dream job. We do this through our free courses, articles, podcasts and tutorials covering a range of topics from mindset, coding skills, career advice and much more.


Editor guide

My top skill is more on the back-end side of things, as my creative side is not that good to perform UI/UX and stuff. But I can definitely do front-end programming given that I have the UI design and whatnot =)


Thanks Ken! A lot of UI isn't being creative - I'm terrible at creative thinking for design but there are a lot of principles you can read and follow in your designs to make things stand out.

Anyway, DM coming your way with a free course! Thanks!


Oh, I just seriously knew this just now. Didn't know you don't have to be outright "artsy" fellow to be good at it. You just need to follow certain principles. Thanks very much for this information. I'll definitely look it up on the internet.

Yeah Ken, check this tweet storm from Steve Schoger - he puts out strategies you can immediately put in place in your existing designs to make them look 10x cleaner and more professional


Had a lot of interesting things that I learned during the read! Thank you so much for this. I'll definitely keep and apply this one for future use.


Thanks for the comment Ponick! Open your messages and I'll send you access to the AWS course.


Thank You! My inbox now open


A podcast fan here. Nothing better to make dead time a profitable time! My top skill is learning 📚. I'm currently leveling up my Angular skills.


Oh awesome Sebastian, thanks for being a listener! Let us know if there's anyone you want to be on (or even if you want to be on yourself!)

That's also easily our favourite answer - if you can strategically learn and actually have a passionate for the process of learning something, the skills come naturally. It's something I work on a lot and will forever work on, the process of effective self-teaching.

Also, free AWS course coming your way! Thanks again for your support and comment :)


Forgot to ask you to DM us first or follow back - either of means we can send you a message! Thanks


I have been working as a Php backend developer for 3 years now and I would say backend programming is my top skill, I'm trying to also learn some frontend tech, trying to learn React right now 💪


Awesome! Do you use a framework when working in PHP? And React is a great choice and fairly future proof. I'd suggest checking out Vue too as it ties in quite well with PHP's Laravel.

If you want free access to Andrew's AWS course, drop us a DM and we'll send you a coupon for 100% off.


I use mainly laravel as framework, I might check out vue Js too, thanks for the suggestion :)
I'll shoot you a dm thanks!!


Backend development aside, my top tech skill would most probably be being able to use Python to automate most of the simple things I repeatedly do :D though I'm still just learning about automating stuff related to servers and deployment (devops, SRE, etc).

Awesome post, got me more motivated to learn more 👍


I think my Top skill rn is JavaScript.


JS seems to be the most popular answer!

If you want free access to Andrew's AWS course, drop us a DM and we'll send you a coupon for 100% off.


Thanks! Can I DM you on Linkedin?


My top skills are doing the backend as of now using ExpressJS and doing some frontend using VueJS


Vue is awesome - we use it on most of our projects! It's great that you're learning full stack JS too as it's a great way to get backend and frontend experience without the costly time of learning a backend language too.

I'll also send you a copy of Andrew's AWS course straight to the DMs!


Yeah thanks. May I ask, why dis you chose Vue for your projects?

Well, with the abudance of choices, which are all good choices by the way, we went with Vue because:

  • The person who created the framework (Evan You) created the framework with DX (developer experience) in mind. Which means unlike the other frameworks from the big players, he really focused on making everything as readable and verbose as possible.
  • The above point makes on boarding much easier, as it allows to bring Vue developers into the team and train juniors up to use it in much less time. A framework is no substitute for good code, but Vue gave us the best results in that area (we tested this!)
  • It is quite un-opinionated in structure and we didn't want to tie ourselves down to one way of developing. It plays great with our existing tools and classes and that's perfect for us.

my top skill is javascript but i am constantly trying to fill my language arsenal.


Thanks Tyeshi! Send us a message on here and we'll give you free access to ExamPro.co's CCP course to help you get certified.


My top skill is perhaps with backend + API development. I'm still learning though!


You'll get there! If you want free access to Andrew's AWS course, drop us a DM and we'll send you a coupon for 100% off.


Matthew great read! MY best tech skill is CSS.


Thanks Stephen! Drop us a DM and we'll drop you free access to Andrew's AWS course


Hi, mi top skill is PHP + Javascript in many levels now (Laravel + Vuejs). But always near AWS.


Sweet - that's the same stack we use!

If you want free access to Andrew's AWS course, drop us a DM and we'll send you a coupon for 100% off.


My top skill is react.js. I just love working with a virtual DOM and stores like Redux make it even more fun.


Your attitude is on point!!! Check your DMs for free access to Andrew's AWS course :)


My best tech skill is APIs (architect 'em, build 'em, break 'em). Especially in Python!
I could definitely use this course so Thanks!


You've got the process down! AWS course link coming your way


Can someone help me? I graduated as a full stack developer and feel stuck. I want to make a mobile app. My number is+14692265917


We wouldn't help over phone Chad but you can always put #help posts on here! It's an open community and everyone's happy to help.


My top skill is Javascript, currently interested in API development, and as such I'd like to take the AWS courses in order to learn about working with the Cloud. Cheers.


Access coming your way Marco! Enjoy the course.


My top tech skill is not giving up and just learning enough to get productive. (I hope that counts.)


It is. I'm N years in the industry and still find something to learn every day. There is no way one person will know everything. Learning on the go and solving an actual problem in front of you is a pragmatic approach. 👍


My top skill is Node and React........


Nice! If you want free access to Andrew's AWS course, drop us a DM and we'll send you a coupon for 100% off.


My top skill right now would be JS mainly using in front end with React! Thank you!


Awesome, Alexis! Are you working currently or in the learning stages and looking to get a job?

Also, we'll send you free access to the course from Andrew's company if you send us a DM. Thanks for commenting!


My top skill is javascript and react native.


Nice! Into that JS Mobile Dev Stack! I'll send you free AWS course access shortly.


My top skill is discipline. It helps me to develop another skills :)


Gotta develop those soft skills too! :)

If you want free access to Andrew's AWS course, drop us a DM and we'll send you a coupon for 100% off.


My top skill is ruby & rails, and definitely agree with Andrew in that aws is one of must-have skills.


Indeed, cloud in general is just an amazing way to stand out. Drop us a DM and we'll send you free access to his course!


My top skill is back-end architecture design. I use .Net core, Go.


Awesome! I've been trying to learn GoLang, it seems great and unique in the way it handles concurrency.

If you want free access to Andrew's AWS course, drop us a DM and we'll send you a coupon for 100% off.


My top skills are JavaScript, Go and PHP with React. Different language for different things!


You're very diverse there! Having both async + sync and functional + OOP languages under your belt is a huge advantage in this industry. Let's add cloud to that stack - free course access coming your way!


My top skill right now is probably Javascript. But, I'm having fun constantly exploring all sorts of tech.


It's a fantastic attitude to maintain throughout your career to explore different types of tech! You never know what tools can be useful on what project.

Can you open a DM with us Brian, then we can send you access to the free AWS Course 😄


My top skill is in DevOps. Especially, using the Cloud Service provider like AWS and creating a CICD pipelines.


Full stack is a competitive market? LOL ok. We're talking about people doing 3 - 4 jobs in one, which very few can effectively do. Any true full stack dev can get any job he wants.


My top skills at present are HTML & CSS. I am currently learning Javascript with the intention of adding React, VUE, Node & WebGL/Three.js to my skills.


Yo! I am obsessed with learning new things, My best tech skill is HTML/CSS. Non-tech is UX research


Great read my man, I think I'm personally best at backend development. I appreciate what you're doing for us developers!