How to Become a Full-stack .NET Developer


The path to becoming a web developer these days can be confusing since there are a lot of programming languages, frameworks, and technologies that you can use to do full-stack web development. Let’s focus on .NET in this article.

The .NET (Dot Net) framework was developed by Microsoft, and it is very widely used for building web applications across the programming world. .NET also provides tools and libraries to build other types of apps such as mobile apps, desktop apps, games, microservices, etc. The great thing about .NET is that it provides you the capabilities to do both front-end and back-end work so that you can build full-stack web applications using .NET.

In this article, I’ll help you to understand how to become a full-stack web developer using .NET. Let’s dive right in.

Back-End Development Using .NET

First of all, let’s see how we can build the back-end of a web application using .NET. 

C# Programming Language

The first technology that you want to master to do the back-end work is the programming language called C# (C-Sharp). 

However, .NET provides the ability to use over 50 languages in their framework. Visual Basic(VB) and F# (F-Sharp) are also two popular choices for .NET. But, C# is the most widely used language for working on the .NET framework. 

C# is very similar to languages like C, C++, and Java, and it is object-oriented. It won’t be difficult to learn C#, especially if you are familiar with other C-styled languages. C# would be really handy when you come to the front-end as well. We will discuss that later. 

.NET and .NET Core Frameworks

Now, when it comes to the back-end, .NET provides two main types of frameworks, which are .NET Core and .NET framework. 

The .NET framework was the one that was established initially. Microsoft brought that for building web applications or other types of applications on the Windows platform. This includes ASP.NET web applications. The .NET framework is not a platform-independent framework.

.NET Core is an open-source and cross-platform framework that can be used to build applications on any platform. It provides high performance and scalability. You should definitely consider .NET Core if you are building platform-independent applications and when you are using Microservices or Docker containers. .NET Core is also a cloud-optimized framework, which is one of the main reasons why Microsoft introduced it.

If you are starting from scratch, I would suggest you master .NET Core, which is the modern version of .NET. But, many existing applications might be already using the .NET framework. So if you want to work on legacy applications that use the .NET framework, then you should consider learning the .NET framework. 

There might be some other cases where you want to use the .NET framework, like if you want to use technologies that are not yet available in .NET Core (like ASP.NET web forms) or when the platform doesn’t support .NET Core (like some of the services of Azure), or if you want to use some third-party libraries that are not available in .NET Core. In all other cases, I would recommend you use .NET Core.

If you want a detailed comparison of .NET and .NET Core frameworks, then you can check out this article.

Database

If you want to build the back-end of a web application, you must know how to store and manage a lot of data that your application will need. To manage and store data, you need a database that can do all the required tasks efficiently.

Microsoft has their own database system called MSSQL, which is widely used in .NET applications. You can also use other relational databases like MySQL for managing data.

Entity framework is also something that you must be familiar with. Entity Framework is an ORM (Object Relational Mapper) for .NET applications. An ORM simplifies the mapping between the objects or classes in your web application to the tables/columns of your relational database.

So if you have learned C#, .NET Core, and a relational database with Entity Framework, you are now a .NET back-end developer.

Front-End Web Development

Now, let’s see how you can add the front-end web development skills to your arsenal and go full-stack with .NET.

HTML & CSS

Obviously, you must learn HTML and CSS, if you are a web developer. It doesn’t matter which language you are using at the back-end, HTML and CSS are mandatory to learn. I hope you might already know basic HTML and CSS. If not, go and learn these two.

To make the front-end attractive, you can also use the Bootstrap framework, which makes designing web pages very easy and convenient.

What about JavaScript?

Then you can learn the fundamentals of JavaScript, which is a language that can be used for client-side scripting (It can be used on the server-side as well). You can also master a JavaScript framework like React, Angular, or Vue for front-end development. Pick any one of these and you’ll be good to go. But wait a minute, are there any other choices?

Blazor

Here comes the latest technology from Microsoft called Blazor. You can use C# instead of JavaScript to build interactive front-ends of web apps. Blazor provides reusable web UI components that are implemented using HTML, CSS, and C#. So if you are using Blazor at the front-end and .NET Core at the back-end, you can build full-stack web applications using C#.

Full-Stack Web Development Using .NET

You have seen how to build the front-end and back-end of web applications. In short, I would recommend you learn C#, .NET Core, MSSQL (or MySQL), and Entity framework for the back-end, and HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, and Blazor for the front-end. That will make you a full-stack .NET developer.

Once you have learned all the required skills for full-stack web development, it’s time to develop some real-world web apps all by yourself. You’ll be able to master the technologies once you have worked on a few projects.

You can either apply for a developer role in a software company or you can go for freelancing. If you do some work to ask business owners or shop owners in your area, you’ll get some local clients from there itself.

If you want to use an online platform for freelancing, sign up for Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer, and start applying for web development projects. You should have a good portfolio to prove your skills to the clients. It can be tough initially to get clients. But once you get a few clients and recommendations, things would become easier.

Final Thoughts

To be honest, I’m not much experienced in .NET web development. So, I have consulted Mishel, who is the founder of Geekinsta.com, and Preeti Gagrani, who is my colleague, to prepare this article for you. Both of them are experts when it comes to .NET development.

I hope this article was helpful to you in getting a clear picture about how to become a full-stack web developer using .NET. Go ahead and learn the technologies and build some amazing .NET web applications.

Thanks for reading. Happy Coding!

Ashwin Joy

I'm the face behind Pythonista Planet. I learned my first programming language back in 2015. Ever since then, I've been learning programming and immersing myself in technology. On this site, I share everything that I've learned about computer programming.

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