Full-Stack Web Developer 101: Who is it, and why do you need to hire one?

by SOUL
Full-Stack Web Developer 101: Who is it, and why do you need to hire one?

One of the greatest misconceptions about the people building software is that all of them are kind of the same and that years of experience are all that matters. In reality, every coding expert has a specialization, be it a platform, a spread of activities, or a particular technology.

Typology is pretty easy to understand in some cases, even for a non-tech person. E.g., the difference between a web and a mobile developer is evident as most people know the difference between desktop and mobile devices. But often, it requires a little bit of explanation. This time we’ll focus on one of the most sought-after types of tech gurus these days — a full-stack pro. In this editorial, you’ll find out what full-stack devs do, which skills they must obtain, the benefits, and how to hire a web developer and not regret the choice thereafter.

Who are full-stack web developers? 

Any web-based software has two layers: client-side (aka front-end) and server-side (back-end). Ergo, to make the project happen, a business owner will need the front- and back-end specialists.

Front-end experts — are the technicians who work on the elements that users directly interact with.

Back-end pros — are the people who implement the system’s logic and performance, a part that is “hidden” from an end-user.

Full-stack web developers can do both. They are experienced in front-end and back-end technologies and can create web-based software on their own.

Must-have skills for a full-stack pro 

One of the easiest ways to identify a professional full-stack developer is to ask questions about their skills. The number of technologies a candidate is proficient in may be pretty vast, so an employer needs to know and distinguish the “cornerstones” that make a modern and valuable employee.

1. Front-end skills

A tech expert you can trust should be proficient in:

  • HTML/CSS
  • JavaScript
  • Most popular JavaScript libraries such as jQuery, D3.js, React.js,
  • Most popular JavaScript frameworks like Angular.js, Bootstrap, Ember.js, etc.
  • SASS & LESS CSS preprocessors
  • REST & RESTful services/APIs
  • JSON & AJAX
  • Responsive design

2. Back-end skills

The variety of the back-end skills is a little wider. Still, there are some essentials, including the following:

  • One programming language or more (Python, PHP, Java, Ruby, etc.)
  • DB management systems (MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, etc.)
  • Containerization software like Docker, Kubernetes, AWS Fargate, etc.
  • Cloud services
  • Apache/nginx servers
  • Git/GitHub

Why are full-stack web developers so popular?

As a survey by Stack Overflow claims, 49.47% of the respondents identify as full-stack developers. It is a perfect indicator of the market situation in recent years. Well-known brands, smaller companies, and even startups are willing to strengthen their teams with this kind of IT professionals. And there are many reasons for that.

Versatility

Hiring a full-stack developer is often seen as killing two birds with one stone. Why waste time and money on two tech experts (front- and back-end) when you can opt for a single person that will deliver?

Experience

It is impossible to become a full-stack web developer without studying and working with different tools and technologies. And that takes time. So, choosing this kind of a coding professional almost always means trusting the project to an expert with many years of experience under their belt.

High value for the project

Even if you’re working with a team of tech pros, bringing a full-stack developer into the mix is always a good idea. Obtaining multiple valuable skills, a full-stack pro can run supporting action, effectively troubleshoot when needed, and adequately coordinate the team throughout the process.

Flexibility

Proficiency in multiple technologies required for an effective project delivery makes this kind of professionals extra flexible. They can find unconventional solutions if any issues appear along the way. If there’s a need to alter a tech stack to meet specific desired goals, it won’t be a problem in most cases.

Improved efficiency

One thing that makes full-stack developers stand out is their ability to see a full picture during the project’s creation. They understand all the challenges their front- and back-end peers have to face, know how to overcome those, and are more deeply involved in the processes that come with the coding.

For example, a full-stack developer has some experience with UI/UX every so often. They know what it takes to create a user-friendly interface and how to ensure smooth, uninterrupted interaction with the digital product.

When should you hire a full-stack web developer?

Some may wonder why anyone would hire separate front- and back-end experts when you can opt for a single full-stack pro that can do the job alone? The thing is that hiring a single specialist is not always the most profitable way to create a web app.

So when should you hire a full-stack developer instead of a fully-functioning dev team?

Smaller projects and MVPs

A full-stack web developer is often a go-to choice for startups as the resources at this point are usually limited. A full-stack pro is enough to create a backbone, an MVP to test out. But if a company has a large-scale project in mind with many bells and whistles, one developer (even a full-stack one) won’t be enough.

Projects of minor complexity 

An employer should never forget that a full-stack developer has experience working with many technologies, but the proficiency isn’t so in-depth. Therefore, assigning a complex project to a single full-stack developer is not the most brilliant idea. Stick to the ideas that will not require an intricate tech solution.

Tight budget

One of the main reasons to hire a full-stack developer will be budget limitations. It really is one of the best ways to save costs for an entrepreneur. However, it is mandatory to remember that the quality of the final product will always be lower in comparison to a project created by a group of IT experts.

Reasonable deadlines

Even the smartest and the most experienced full-stack developer working independently will deliver the project slower than a team of tech experts. Ergo, the business owner should define reasonable deadlines for the developer to meet.

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