Any progressive entity desirous of a good market reputation seeks to maintain strong principles in its hiring process. Good organizations look for the best resources with plans to ensure a long-term relationship and mutual gain. While it's common for organizations to recruit individuals with specialized skills, another route includes hiring people with a set of specialized skills -- Such experts tend to have lasting tenures.
The idea of hiring a full-stack developer is not to reduce reliance on multiple sources; rather, the aim is to have a professional who can single-handedly move forward from one phase to the next while retaining all important viewpoints that ensure project value in the long run.
It's worth adding that a full-stack developer doesn't necessarily work alone on a vast project. Such an expert will, however, be the one ensuring that everything fits together airtight while being hands-on and coordinating with all assisting resources. Going by this viewpoint, you could understandably refer to a full-stack developer as a hands-on project manager. Looking for such a polished individual may be challenging, and to ensure you hire the right resource, you must have a clear job description to begin your search.
Overview of a Full-stack Developer's Repertoire
Speedy evolution and expansion of technology push the demand for highly skilled full-stack developers. These individuals with a wide-ranging skillset can handle both front and back-end development to produce a fully functional product with little assistance. Such mavens of development are in demand, but they tend to be available in lower numbers. The reason: it understandably takes more time to build your skills as a full-stack developer – not too many people have the career persistence that is necessary for driving them to such perfection.
Full-stack developers can work on database projects, create user-facing websites, and even collaborate with clients during the planning stage of projects. Full-stack development refers to working on both the front and back ends of a website or app. In other words, if an app or web development project needs both a front-end and a back-end developer, hiring a full-stack developer will fill both roles.
Higher up on the food chain, we have the full-stack engineer. This is a senior-level role for someone with full-stack developer skills (as mentioned above), but also with project management expertise in areas such as systems administration, including configuring, controlling, and maintaining computer networks and systems. For a more complicated project, you would need someone with this level of proficiency.
LinkedIn's 2020 Emerging Jobs Report reveals the rising demand for such expertise: "full-stack engineer" is number 4 on their list of top emerging jobs for 2020. These jobs have seen a 35 percent increase every year since 2015. Apropos the report, "The rapid pace of change in technology has made full-stack developers an asset to any organization." Major industries hiring for this type of talent include computer software, IT and services, internet, financial services, and higher education.
Role of a Full-Stack Developer in the Development of a Website or App
Based on the Scope of Work, a quick rundown of the various stages of the app or website development process will give you an idea of its complexity and the level of expertise required. These are general guidelines that may change depending on the nature of the project. A full-stack developer would be involved at all stages.
At this first stage, a project is transformed from its beginnings into a workable strategy. This includes determining everything from the product's purpose and target audience to the project technologies and performance evaluation. At the conclusion of the planning stage, a full-stack developer will provide you with a package of recommendations, technical considerations, and a project roadmap.
At this stage, you conceptualize and iterate on the UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) design of your app or website until you have a final blueprint to follow. That being said, there are five steps in general that a full-stack engineer will have a grip on, which include: wireframing, conceptualization, collaborative designing, prototyping, and user testing.
Development (aka building the app or website)
Whether you have a full-stack developer or not, vast software projects are built in "development sprints." As part of the Agile methodology, it divides development into two-week increments, each focused on a specific piece of functionality. At the end of a sprint, a build is released for review and testing. A quality assurance check is performed to ensure that the new interface works as expected.
A project includes at least six or seven development sprints. Finally, the full-stack developer will share a UAT (User Acceptance Testing) version to test and sign off on. It then goes to RC (Release Candidate) status, where all necessary refinements are made so that it can be released on the app stores, your website, or whatever the release looks like for the specific project. This write-up will delve into the skills required for the vast development phase, which really is the meat of a full-stack developer's role.
Beyond this stage, clients receive the developed product. They will also get the project's full functional specification and source code. As you can well imagine, a full-stack developer oversees and works on this stage just the way he or she would since the start of any project. Moreover, even the post-launch support stage will also be managed the same way.
This short description of the development process makes it clear that a full-stack developer is a highly skilled and capable hand who can manage an entire project in terms of supervision as well as expertise.
Full-Stack Developers in Today's World
An increasing number of people in the technology industry has broadened the role definition of a full-stack developer. A full-stack developer must have working knowledge of the entire software stack as well as true expertise in a few layers.
A full-stack developer is an effective and experienced generalist with a broad base of knowledge and a narrower scope of specialization. It's noteworthy to mention that this narrow scope itself is broadening.
A full-stack developer must be fully aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses and where the boundaries lie. Possessing the essential skills mean that a full-stack developer will write both front and back-end code to some degree, as well as produce a minimal viable product on their own with little or no support. This individual will be capable of delivering expert-level specialty in a select handful of technologies, along with possessing an elementary understanding of technologies they might not specialize in.
What skills should you look for in a full-stack developer?
The following are some key areas where a full-stack developer must possess proficiency.
Full-stack developers must have expertise in several programming languages, including JAVA, PHP, C#, Python, Ruby, and Perl, as most core business processes necessitate writing in these languages. Familiarity with how to shape, design, implement, and evaluate a project based on one or more languages. If you take JAVA, for example, proficiency in object-oriented design and development, design patterns, and J2EE-based development components are automatic requirements.
Frameworks and Front-end Tech
A full-stack developer must know about and be able to use one or two databases such as MySQL, MongoDB, Redis, Oracle, and SQLServer.
While a great many articles or discussions about full-stack developers are rarely related to design requirements, but basic design skills are important; an understanding of the principles and skills of basic prototype design, UI design, and UX design is required.
Out-of-the-box thinking, excellent communication abilities, imagination, inquisitiveness, and time management are also necessary.
Why do you need a Full-Stack Developer?
Full-stack developers today frequently work with much larger and more complicated websites and technologies, as well as more layered stacks. While one person cannot always do it all, it is advantageous for businesses to hire candidates who are well-versed in the entire stack.
Rather than finding and hiring multiple people who specialize in one or two technologies, many companies look for developers who can work on multiple domains and fulfill different roles as required. This approach is not based on saving money; however, it allows one person to manage and understand all aspects of a project, which helps to avoid misinterpretation and information fragmentation.
The Main Challenges When Hiring Full-stack Developers
It is not easy to find highly skilled professionals. There are also numerous obstacles and pitfalls to which you can fall prey. Here are some pointers for hiring full-stack developers.
Use Technical Expertise When Hiring
When hiring software talent, it is critical to seek the advice of a technical expert. This helps to accurately assess a candidate's skills and detect any hyperbole you may hear along the way. Without a technical person by your side, you run the risk of hiring developers who are not a good fit for your project.
Keep Your Search Open
Traditionally, businesses have had to rely on talent living nearby, and employees were required to travel to their place of work. A lot of that has changed with the rise of the internet and all of the amazing communication and collaboration tools that we now have.
There is almost no reason to limit your search to a local area these days. You have access to the best talent in the world, often at a reasonable price, with just a few clicks or taps. Choosing not to enlist the assistance of the best people available means that someone else will.
Allow Developers to Expand Their Knowledge
You should keep in mind that full-stack developers are well-versed in all aspects of the relevant software stack. While knowing a few core technologies is important, looking for someone who knows every little library is nearly meaningless. However, you may allow them the freedom to learn certain things that may benefit their tenure with you.
A Quick Note on Cost Factors
The salary of a full-stack developer is something to think about well in advance of calling candidates for interviews. According to Robert Half International, a global human resource consulting firm, the typical salary of an in-house full-stack developer in 2021 is over $175,000 per annum (that comes to over $14,000 per month). A more specialized and experienced resource would cost even more.
Office rent and related costs
Keep in mind the costs of renting office space as well as utilities. To make use of an in-house developer, you will also require specific computer hardware as well as development software.
Recruitment process costs and time
Searching for full-time employees is usually a slow and tiring process that includes several steps such as asking for applications, CV evaluations, and interviews.
Development Company vs. Freelance Full-stack Developer
A serious decision to make before starting your project is whether to hire an established company specialized in mobile app development and website development services or to work with freelance full-stack developers. App or website development is a complex process. So, hiring a specialized company makes more sense.
A development agency would have a plethora of technical specialists on hand, such as full-stack developers with a range of experience, creative designers, and testers. It would offer supplementary services such as data protection and backup, quick turnaround, and quality control. Such a company will be able to provide long-term support for your app or website, as maintenance and new functionality are typically required with the passage of time.
Techniques for Pinpointing Dedicated Full-stack Developers
As companies across all sectors move their businesses to the virtual world in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the ability to do full-stack development will make those developers highly marketable.
Those who can design and deliver software projects rapidly using full-stack methodologies have the best chance of being at the top of a company's or client's bucket list. Simply put, there is a huge demand and short supply, and you need to be careful when hiring costly resources. There are, however, a few methods for locating and hiring talented and reliable full-stack developers.
Developer communities like Hashnode, Women Who Code, and SitePoint Community have reasonable talent pools. However, the profiles here, regrettably, have not been verified and seem to provide debatable data. The next place to look for talent is on freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork. However, while these are great for working with single freelancers on a one-off basis, they are less suitable for hiring a dedicated full-stack developer.
Another option is to opt for specialized development companies and agencies. These offer an efficient and tailored process for app or website development. They can help you utilize full-stack developers with the necessary skills and experience for your project, all without the headache of in-house hiring.
Where to Search for a Proper Development Company Online
Certain specialty websites compile lists of service providers based on specific criteria such as previous client reviews and available technical expertise. These curated lists make it simple to find reliable, professional expertise. Suitable companies providing app and website development services may be found on websites like Clutch.co, Topdevelopers.co, Goodfirms.co, and LinkedIn.
Potential Pitfalls to Watch Out For
Instinctively going for the cheapest available full-stack developer may backfire if other parameters are not fulfilled. On the flip side, hiring an expensive in-house full-stack developer as a panacea for all projects may not necessarily work out either; as they say, why buy a cow when buying milk is cheap? A related mistake could be improperly matching project requirements with developer skills. This can only have devastating results as app or website development is a highly technical process.
Apart from the talent and skill recruitment process, project kickoff without proper planning, agreed-on budget, and timelines is a situation that can disrupt any endeavor. You need to get into the smallest of details, obtain technical feedback, and contemplate the relevant options before beginning work on a project. Additionally, at times, post-launch support is neglected. This may seem like a superfluous cost at first, but there usually are very real issues such as troubleshooting, supplementary features, new versions, and general technical support necessities to consider.
Ready to Develop Your Project?
A full-stack developer is like a "Swiss Army knife" in the coding realm. The designation implies that such an expert can produce end-to-end app and web solutions single-handedly, which is a highly agile, costly, and also hard-to-find skillset. By following the pointers and advice in this post, you can avoid likely drawbacks. So, choose a suitably equipped development service provider to get your full-stack developer.
Partnering with such an entity will help you align your vision with a full-stack developer's expertise, which will ultimately produce an app or website development process that's straightforward and cost-effective, with reduced hiccups.