Experienced front-end, back-end, or a full-stack software engineer are in high demand. According to stats from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2029, software engineers’ employment will surge by 22%.
Today, 54% of the companies claim that they are short of relevant talent, as reported by ManPower in ‘What Workers Want.’ This gap may take a while to narrow down. In the meanwhile, the demand and prices for developers have gone up.
But before hiring a software engineer to build your product, you should clearly understand which tech specialists you need for your project. Let’s start with the basics.
The Three Main Layers of Software Development
Before looking for an engineer for your project, you should understand a common structure of the software development process. There are three layers of software development overlap. And here is a brief explanation of each:
The front-end is where the users interact with the site or app. A good front-end means that a website or an app is easy to navigate and has a user-friendly and appealing design. That is why companies pay special attention to this lawyer, as it directly influences customer experience and product success.
The colors, graphics, and optimizations are vital for user experience. The front-end, in a way, represents your brand and communicates to the audience. Successful communication would build trust among users and boost the retention rate.
The back-end is the server-side of a website, mobile app, or web app. Back-end developers are responsible for developing web services and APIs.
You can compare the back-end to the ‘behind-the-scenes’ crew of a movie, as back-end developers do the work that no one can see on the website or an app, but they write a code that makes your project alive.
Suggested Reading: The Difference Between Back-End, Front-End, and Full-Stack Developers
The third layer is the database layer. The developers for this make sure that the DBMS can manage a vast amount of data. The database programmers look over the modification and editing of databases, design and develop new databases, and troubleshoot the existing database issues.
As you can see, to build a digital product, you need an entire software development team. However, some companies prefer having a full-stack developer who can build both front-end and back-end layers. But is having one specialist for all technical tasks the best option?
Here are some pros and cons of hiring full-stack developers we explain to our clients.
Pros and cons of hiring full-stack developers
It is an obvious decision for many organizations to save costs and hire one experienced developer for front-end and back-end tasks. But others prefer having separate specialists responsible for different layers. Before choosing the right model for your business, learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a full-stack developer instead of two engineers.
Why do companies hire full-stack developers?
Talented developers can easily manage the entire stack and create your product from scratch. They can handle it from a 360-degree perspective if they take a holistic approach.
Full-stack developers are easy on your budget. Instead of looking for many developers, you can hire one good full-stack developer to shape your project. That is especially beneficial if you’re starting your project and are tight on the budget. Moreover, if you hire a software engineer from a country with a lower living costs than yours, you can save even more money.
Full-stack developers are more flexible. They can deal with the whole design structure, work at any level of the project, and deliver quality results. Full-stack developers also optimize and maintain existing systems. They see the bigger picture and are well-versed with what users want.
Most of the full-stack engineers are acquainted with the latest advancements and technologies. They can craft the best responsive website and input smart features and enhanced user experience.
- Wide range of technology skills
Full-stack developers are more likely to deliver long-term solutions that ensure the optimal functioning of your project. They are familiar with all software development layers and can identify and troubleshoot all the problems efficiently.
While front-end developers create the final picture that users can interact with, and back-end developers code the website and link it to the content management systems, full-stack engineers can handle both processes.
Full-stack engineers can also work with the existing project, add new features and improve your code. This flexibility of different tech skills is highly beneficial for any tech project.
- Management skills
An experienced full-stack developer can effectively lead a team of developers (not always, but as usual). If you already have some junior software engineers, you can hire a full-stack developer to help them and control all the processes.
- Less professional burnout
A full-stack developer has more than one responsibility and a wide variety of different tasks. This variation serves as a relief from daily routine. Since they handle the entire project, they can schedule the tasks simultaneously and switch between different processes to avoid burning out.
While it might be a tempting thought just to hire a full-stack developer to do it all, it comes with its own set of cons.
- Slower development process
A full-stack developer is still a one-person, no matter how many different tasks this specialist can cover. You cannot expect a single person to carry out all the processes with the same speed as two different developers work. If you hire a full-stack engineer, the list of tasks may keep increasing, leading to slower development progress.
- Limitation to a certain tech stack
Many inexperienced company leaders or people without a tech background think about a full-stack developer as a person who knows everything and can deal with any tech problem. But in fact, full-stack engineers are those who know some technologies from the front-end and some from the back-end. Not necessarily their tech stack matches the project needs in full.
- Not always in sync with the latest technologies
Software development is a field where you have to be in touch with the latest technology trends. As full-stack engineers specialize in several areas and different skills, it is hard to keep up with innovations and changes in the IT world. Not all developers might be aware of all the new tools and advancements in the market.
- Lack of clear responsibility zone
Full-stack developers’ tasks often overlap. Even if you have an entire tech team, a full-stack developer must take on much of the workload and often switch between different processes. Sometimes they are confused about their exact role in a project.
- Motivational challenges
This sad lesson we learned from our own experience. For a period of time, we had only one full-stack developer in our team. It was enough to cover our needs at that moment and it was a cost-effective decision. What we didn’t realize back then was that even developers are social creatures. 🙂 We lost our developer simply because he missed having a team around with whom he could discuss work-related questions and solve challenging tasks, missed the feeling of competition and professional growth which is easier to notice when comparing your success to others.
A checklist for hiring a software developer
If you have analyzed all the pros and cons above and decided to look for a full-stack engineer, here is a list of tips that can help you in your hiring process.
The right developer will possess relevant skill sets for the job. Here is what you need to look for.
Often, graduates lack relevant skills. You cannot expect inexperienced candidates to deliver excellent work. In-house talent is not always trained up to the mark. That is why companies have to look far beyond getting the software coders, engineers, and other professionals.
- Technical skills
Full-stacks must know the basics of database structure too. It involves knowledge of MySQL, MariaDB, MongoDB, and more.
The list of technologies can vary depending on a particular stack. Some main of them are MEAN (MongoDB-ExpressJS-AngularJS-NodeJS), MERN (MongoDB-ExpressJS-ReactJS-NodeJS), LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP), LEMP (Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP), and others.
Suggested Reading: The Challenges In Hiring Full-Stack Developers
It would be helpful to choose a suitable technology for your project first and then look for a developer with the required skills. The developer does not have to be an expert in all three layers, but they must be familiar with them to help you choose the right technology stack for your product.
As we discussed, there is a shortage of software engineers and tech talent all over the world. And it’s getting more and more challenging to hire experts on such competitive markets as the US, UK, most of the countries of Western Europe, especially Netherlands and Germany.
Due to this, the value of the offer is quite expensive and has crossed far beyond $100,000. Established companies can afford to hire the top developers, but startups and small businesses simply do not have that kind of budget. The best option for them is to look for offshore programmer and cut down the costs with the outsourcing model.
If you decide on hiring full-stack developers, make sure you count all pros and cons and clearly understand your project needs. Take your time researching leading technologies on the market and searching for a skilled specialist with the required skills. An experienced full-stack software engineer will take on your product and deliver excellent results.
This insightful article has been contributed by Nikita Voloshin, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at YouTeam Inc. – a YCombinator backed platform which makes it safe for startups to hire offshore vendors and fulfill their short-term hiring needs.
Hiring the right talent to develop a tech project can seem easy, but it’s often more complicated than we might think. The folks at YouTeam know about this from both sides as a tech platform that as any product requires constant development, and as a marketplace for hiring developers dealing with client’s requests for engineering talent.
Here's what you can do next
Check out FaceCode:
an intelligent coding interview tool