Full-stack developers are in popular demand these days. Startups and small businesses looking to digitize their products look for full-stack developers to kick start their product development.
The title itself is very appealing, as it implies that the developer is competent with working on both the front-end and back-end of an application.
Depending on the size and complexity of the application, this can be a major time saver. In other cases, a full-stack developer can jeopardize timelines and quality if they aren’t experienced enough.
What Makes a Good Full Stack Developer?
So what makes a full-stack developer particularly valuable to your development initiatives? What would they need to know in order to make your idea a reality?
Well, it depends on many factors and full-stack developers aren’t always in the position to be making architectural decisions. That’s a process for higher-level roles such as a software architect, VP, or even a CTO.
Does this mean that full-stack developers can’t offer valuable insights? Of course not! Full-stack developers worth their salt have enough years under their belt to know their strengths and weaknesses.
They also have picked up some insights on what clean code and architecture actually mean, and are able to apply high-level principles to their work.
Unfortunately, good full-stack developers are hard to find.
Trio has invested time and resources into training software developers to think and work more like senior developers. Our clients enjoy a level of professionalism that many tech startups and SMBs miss out on.
How Effective Are Full Stack Developers?
If you are building a team, it’s common to hire at least one full-stack developer. If you are a startup and can only afford one developer on the project, the chances are you will need one. However, full-stack developers are humans with preferences and opinions and therefore not all are the same.
Full-stack essentially combines front-end and back-end expertise into one job role however a developer often will be stronger in one area than the other. They will also enjoy one side of the process more than the other as well. As a manager, it’s your job to take a hard look at the product you wish to build and determine what’s more important, the front-end or the back-end.
If you are building a product that is highly visual and requires a UI that captivates your end-user, you will need a full-stack developer with considerable front-end knowledge. On the other hand, if your product is reliant on back-end technologies then you will need a developer who loves back-end.
In the case that you have enough resources to hire 2-3 developers and make a small team, you can use the following combinations based on your needs.
Optimizing for back-end
- Full Stack Developer (focus on the back-end)
- Back End Developer
- Front-End Developer (Optional)
Optimizing for front-end
- Full-Stack Developer (focus on the front-end)
- Back-end Developer (Optional)
- Front-end Developer
What Technologies Should Full-Stack Developers Be Proficient In?
Many web applications can be summed up by their frameworks. There are a number of different application frameworks that all use different programming languages. Below are some popular ones:
Ruby on Rails
Rails is a very popular framework developed by David Heinemeier Hansson. Developers can build applications with incredible speed compared to other frameworks like Java.
Rails include everything you need to create a database-driven application, using the MVC design pattern along with SQLite. Additionally, because it’s built on Ruby, you have access to a vast gem library that can add further functionality to your application.
Framework Link: https://rubyonrails.org
Github Link: https://github.com/rails/rails
Django is the Python equivalent framework to Rails that follows the model-template-view architectural pattern. It encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design. For Python developers, it’s the most popular framework in use next to Flask.
Framework Link: https://www.djangoproject.com
Github Link : https://github.com/django/django
Angular is a framework by Google that helps developers build large-scale and high-performance web applications. It’s also very opinionated when it comes to what design patterns it accepts, however, this isn’t a bad thing. Being a Google-backed framework, one can expect a level of care that has been given to building the framework.
Framework Link: https://angular.io
Github Link: https://github.com/angular/angular
It’s a great choice for applications that want real-time bi-directional communication between the client and the server, microservices that live in docker containers and the ability to build out REST APIs for a range of clients including browsers and mobile devices.
Framework Link: http://www.asp.net
Laravel is one of the best PHP frameworks out and uses the MVC design pattern like many other frameworks. Developers are able to build PHP web applications with expressive and elegant syntax, making the process much more enjoyable.
Framework Link: https://laravel.com/
Github Link: https://github.com/laravel/laravel
Depending on the type of product you are trying to build, you will have to make high-level decisions as to what programming language and frameworks you will leverage. But one doesn’t have to commit to a framework. In fact, many companies put together a technology stack that best fits their needs.
Technology stacks become an advanced topic and will ultimately affect your hiring process. If you have a popular technology stack, it will be easier to find talent.
On the other hand, if your stack is specialized then you will have a harder time finding developers that are proficient in the combination of technologies that you use.
A good CTO will be able to consider these tradeoffs and make a sound decision based on the technologies you use, but that’s a topic fit for another article.
Let’s take a look at some popular technology stacks that are currently being used:
The LAMP stack is a collection of open source technologies used for building web applications. It’s an acronym for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python.
These are just a few of the more popular stacks that are out there. Full-Stack developers will generally have experience with one or two frameworks as well as a tech stack combination depending on their primary programming language.