Should You Hire a Full Stack Developer or A Team of Specialists?
The global rapid changes are constantly raising the standards of people’s skills and aptitudes. Today’s sought-after IT specialist has to be able to do much more than it was required recently. No wonder that a full stack developer is a welcome guest in software development now. However, is it always wise to hire “the Jack of all trades” in all the cases?
First of all, let’s remember that the creation of an application goes through several stages, in which following specialists are usually involved:
- UI/UX designers who create the layout of the future product;
- Front-end developers, who turn the design into code;
- Back-end developers, who are responsible for writing the code on the server side.
In a nutshell,
Front-end is everything that happens on a client’s side (a visual (client) part of the website; user’s interaction with the applications’ interface (e.g., in the browser)).
Back-end is everything that happens on a server side (the code that implements business logic and provides processing and safe storage of data).
A Specialist Developer VS a Full Stack Developer: Pros and Cons
As the name implies, a specialist developer is a person who is an expert in a single field and who works only within a framework of one’s discipline (be it creating graphic layouts, transformation of web-design into code, programming using a particular programming language etc.). They immerse into profound studying of one or two areas and systematically work on their part of the project. In this way, the roles in the team are distributed according to each one’s skills and responsibilities.
- High quality of each completed part of the project.
- Staying updated with the latest technologies.
- Reasonable allocation of responsibilities, which is comfortable for both team members and efficient for the project’s needs.
- Higher costs: hiring two specialists (for both back end and front end) instead of one is more expensive than cooperating with a “universal” full stack specialist.
- Dependency on other team members.
- Narrower horizons for climbing a career ladder.
A full stack developer is a person who is capable to contribute to every stage of web development process, starting from server side and corresponding technologies and frameworks, and ending with those parts of an application with which users directly interact in the browser. One is usually able to work with both front-end and back-end and, besides, knows how to manage databases.
- Wide horizons for professional growth and specialization changes.
- Less professional burnout, offered by a frequent switch between tasks, and, thus, better quality and more satisfaction.
- Universalism: an aptitude to debug everything, as well as to read and use almost any code.
- Worse performance in a separate sphere/topic. A person who spends about 3 years on mastering one skill would definitely have an advantage over the one who spent the same amount of time on multiple technologies.
- Poorer time management. Higher risks or being overloaded with assignments. Probability of working overtime and during holidays, since such specialists are difficult to be replaced.
- Lack of clear responsibility zone.
- The latest tendencies can be left out of developer’s sight.
Depending on the project’s needs, various stacks of technology may be used. The choice of the toolsets depends on various criteria, including the project’s complexity, scale, requirements to time, safety, flexibility, budget, and other factors. Generally, the technologies one should master in order to operate in both back-end and front-end fields, include:
Programming languages: C#, PHP, Python, Ruby, Java, JS (at least one or two).
Frameworks: Symfony, Laravel (PHP), Django (Python), Ruby On Rails (Ruby), Spring (Java), .NET (C#), Node.js, AngularJS (JS).
Markup languages: HTML, CSS.
CMS: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, PrestaShop.
For All That, Whom to Choose?
Now as we have got a sense of the difference between a dedicated expert and a full stack developer, we want to know whom to choose. In fact, this choice greatly depends on project criteria, namely:
1. Project size. If your project is a small-scale one, selecting a full stack specialist for all development efforts may be justified. Otherwise, a full-fledged team is recommended.
2. Project complexity. While a full stack developer takes to small projects like a duck to water, complex projects require profound knowledge in various facets of product development, and, thus, hiring dedicated specialists for each task.
3. Project flexibility. If you feel that your project’s requirements may easily flow to other directions, you need a person with a similarly flexible mind. A full stack developer would be an apt choice since he is able to quickly switch from one area to another. For more rigid and stable requirements, it is better to stick to a team of specialists.
4. Project budget. Obviously, if you are resource-constrained, a full stack professional may become a panacea for you. However, in other cases, we recommend hiring several team members for the sake of quality.
5. Project quality. This point was led to by the previous one, reminding us of the fact that extra quality implies extra efforts. While undemanding projects can be effectively led by a“chief cook and bottle washer”, high-quality projects require a full immersion. Premium solutions are always created by teams of specialists.
Finally, it should be noticed that a full stack developer is a lucky finding for startups. Many young companies turn to a multi-faceted knowledge of the latter for building their MVPs and fully-fledged business solutions.
Well, the subject in question is a matter of choice, and each choice can be justified in each separate case. We hope this article was useful for you. And what do you think about the topic? Which programmers did you choose for your business project and why? Share your experience with us in the comments below!