Today, when hiring software developers businesses have to consider their competencies and the tech stacks they work with. Though, just about 20 years ago there wasn’t so much clear division of specializations. One software developer could work with an application’s front-end, back-end, databases, testing, and more, creating the solution from start to finish. Basically, at that time every developer was a full-stack developer.
Does this mean that nowadays companies don’t need full-stack developers anymore? In reality, the demand for full-stack developers is only growing. According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report, full-stack developers are considered “a valuable asset to any company” with a hiring growth rate of 35% since 2015. So, why do companies hire full-stack developers, and how to find and hire a good one for a software development project? Let’s find it out. In this article, we explain when to hire full-stack developers and share the questions that can help find qualified full-stack specialists.
Who Is a Full Stack Developer?
A full-stack developer is a specialist who sees the full picture of the developed application. It means that they know how to work with the three layers required to build a successful solution – the presentation layer, logic layer, and data layer.
Each layer has its own set of tools, programming languages, and frameworks which are piled in “stacks”. Therefore, a full-stack developer is a specialist who knows how to use tools, languages, and frameworks from the three application layers and can create an entire application themselves.
Essential Skills for a Full-Stack Developer
Every full-stack developer should possess a combination of particular skills to be effective at software development. Let’s have a closer look at the technologies a software developer should be familiar with to be called a full-stack developer.
Presentation layer or front-end skills include:
- Libraries: React.js, jQuery, D3.js, Backbone.js, DOJO toolkit, Google Polymer, and others
- Frameworks: Vue.js, BootStrap, Angular.js, Ember.js, Flutter, and others
- Other technologies: AJAX, JSON, DOM, XML, Ionic
Logic layer or back-end skills include:
- Python – is a popular programming language used for creating versatile solutions from web development, to game development, to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The technologies a full-stack developer should know to work with Python are Django and Flask frameworks, REST API, Nginx web server, cloud services, and more.
- Java – is a general-purpose programming language used for building diverse applications that run on any operating system software thanks to its Java virtual machine (JVM). The most common technologies used with Java are API Java EE specification, Spring framework, Google Cloud and Azure cloud, microservices, Servlet, and more.
- PHP – is a time-tested web-development programming language. Popular web solutions written in PHP are WordPress, Facebook, Tumblr, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Vimeo, and many others. The popular frameworks for PHP are Yii, Symfony, and Laravel.
- .NET – is a free, cross-platform solution from Microsoft that allows building any type of app including web, mobile, desktop, games, IoT, and many others. The most common programming languages used in .NET are C#, F#, and Visual Basic.
The data layer involves working with databases and data structures. It requires knowledge of database functions, message queuing, relational databases such as MySQL, Oracle Database, SQL Server, and others, and non-relational databases such as NoSQL, MongoDB, Cassandra, Redis, and many others.
Other important for full-developer skills are:
- Knowledge of a control version system such as GitHub or GitLab
- Basic web development skills such as HTTP and HTTPS protocols
- Mobile development : Objective-C and Swift for iOS, Kotlin or Java for Android, Ionic, Xamarin, Unity for Cross-Platform development
- DevOps includes infrastructures such as Azure and AWS; automation with Jenkins and Ansible; virtualization with Docker and Kubernetes, and many other tools
It’s not necessary that a full-stack developer should know all the technologies listed above. Although, knowing one of the software development spheres such as web development or mobile development is certainly a must.
When to Hire a Full Stack Developer
Full-stack developers are valuable specialists for any software development project. However, there are cases when they are the most needed for a business. Here is when hiring a full-stack development specialist will benefit the most to a company.
- A small business or a start-up. For a small company or a start-up with a unique product having a knowledgeable specialist who understands the product well is practically a business lifeline. A full-stack developer can help these companies build their software solutions from scratch, create the product architecture, establish project processes, select and deploy the necessary product components, and much more.
- When technical lead is required. Big companies can also benefit from having full-stack developers on their projects. A full-stack developer as a technical lead can merge together the knowledge of narrow specialists to create an effective and robust solution. They realize the differences of each software development role and can see the issues and bottlenecks from the perspective of back and front-end developers. This way it’s easier for full-stack developers to understand what is required to make a project run smoothly.
- Building an MVP. Launching an MVP to test the waters in the market and gather feedback from end-users is a common practice many companies use to align their product together with customer requirements. Full-stack developers can see which features are lacking in the product and how to implement them effectively on the presentation, logic, and data layers to make the developed solution more effective, performant, and appealing to the public.
- Hiring issues. Hiring software developers is often a real challenge for businesses and it’s not always possible to find the right specialists at the right time. In this case, they can hire full-stack developers to compensate for the lack of