What to Look for When Hiring Full Stack Developers?
Finding the right developer isn’t an easy endeavor. There isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to hiring full-stack developers, and this onboarding operation is certainly not an exact science. No two developers are the same. In fact, each web development professional has a unique skillset, meaning specific software development kits (SDKs) are better suited to working with particular solutions, integrations, and tech components than others. Hence, that is why hiring a full stack developer is a big deal.
Having too many options poses a problem for decision-makers who don’t have a clue how to approach the hiring process. Or what they need to achieve from their web development process. More often not, this leads to a costly misalignment of expectations.
Sound familiar? But fear not – you need to know what you’re looking for!
By implementing the advice laid out below, you will find, test, scrutinize, and ultimately hire an engineer that meets your expectations. For guidance on hiring a full-stack developer, be sure to read on.
What is a Full Stack Developer, What Do They Do?
A full-stack developer is a multi-skilled tech engineer who masters the front-end, back-end, and multiple web application databases.
As governed by the unique requirements of their organization/industry, the day-to-day workflow of a full-stack engineer can entail all manner of tasks. Generally speaking, though, all full stackers are expected to design user interfaces, fortify layer infrastructure, and fast-track usability integration. From ideation to deployment, full-stack developers are expected to utilize their technical skills to streamline the web development process.
Typical full stack developer responsibilities include:
- Optimizing network security
- Using HTML and Java to optimize front-end code
- Utilizing existing APIs as well as creating their own
- Writing out back-end code using the likes of Ruby, PHP, and Python
- Understanding, operating, developing, and querying different databases
How Does It Differ from a Software Developer?
Full-stack development is multitudinous. Proficient full stackers are driven by curiosity and have a particular propensity for diversity. Because they leave no stones unturned when it comes to implementing future solutions and troubleshooting the legacy problems of the past.
And this is what sets them apart from the software development team members they are charged with overseeing.
Full-stack developers don’t just differ from their dev colleagues because they are well versed in multiple disciplines; they differ because their knowledge of languages and frameworks is far more expansive than regular software developers.
Simply knowing that something works is not enough for the modern full stacker. These workplace leaders have an insatiable urge to understand how a system is functioning and why it was implemented in the first place.
On the other hand, software developers perform general tasks such as monitoring system performance, managing solution integration, and analyzing data. Their work helps facilitate the full-scale duties carried out by their full-stack managers.
What Are the Full Stack Layers?
Firstly, full-stack developers are comfortable with all the standard web application and software development layers. These layers include:
- Presentation Layer
- Business Logic Layer
- Database Layer
Although the presentation layer is what the end-user sees – it encompasses the usability and responsiveness of the web platform. The business logic layer powers the website; the behind-the-scenes server exposes the system elements to the end-user. And the database layer is where all of the crucial end-user information is stored, secured, and retrieved
Hence the ability to troubleshoot the technical issues that plague these layers is the least you expect from a modern full-stack developer.
What Does a Full Stack Engineer Need to Know?
A formal degree is not enough to dictate the true proficiency of a full-stack engineer. Experience, technical skills, IQ, and the proven ability to straddle multiple domains are what you should be looking for when you embark on your full-stack hiring process.
Here are the domains your full-stack engineer should be able to optimize with ease:
Front End Development
Full stackers live and die by providing the end-user with optimized usability. Front-end developers must keep their fingers on the pulse of the latest languages and frameworks and third-party libraries, such as Ajax, DOM, JSON, etc. They also should have a creative understanding of navigable interfaces and the user experience (UX/UI).
Back End Development
Web architecture and a deep understanding of HTTP help the full-stack engineer run a tight ship on the back-end. Besides full-stack developers utilize NPM skills to configure their servers and manage their databases. SQL Server, MongoDB, or Oracle are typically in this cache/memory storage process.
Programming Languages and Frameworks
Those who are not good at web development are likely to confuse the terms languages and frameworks. Thankfully, full-stack developers provide some much-needed assistance in this instance. Full stackers understand the critical role of programming languages such as Java, PHP, and Ruby and their frameworks, Django, Sinatra, and Grail, within the overall technology stack. They know that it’s the language that tells the system what to do and that the framework is built on top to aid in the application process.
Full-stack developers must also display several hard and soft skills regardless of their specific discipline.
Typical full-stack technical skills include:
- Version Control System (VCS)
- Web Architecture
Key soft skills include:
- Resilience, conviction, and confidence
- Analytical skills towards complex issues
- Time management
- Communicative leadership
The latter, communication, is what sets full-stack candidates apart from the rest of the modern talent pool. These professionals may spend a lot of time with their computer screens. But this doesn’t mean they don’t have to engage in social activity.
Full-stack developers need to remain in close contact with project managers. Besides, they lead technical collaboration among the rest of the team, and coordinate with their clients to optimize their daily performance.
Why Companies Need Hiring a Full Stack Developer?
In today’s ever-changing web development environment, versatility is a must. Because it is imperative to hire a developer capable of handling different stacks, integrating several technologies, and pinpointing multiple inefficiencies.
Also, it’s pretty simple – companies need full-stack development.
Besides other benefits, taking the full-stack development approach allows businesses to pick and choose which tools they use to build their stack. This development style facilitates autonomy, controlled advancement, and the integration of cutting-edge tech maintenance.
The Bottom Line; Why You Should Hire Full Stack Developers
Hiring full-stack developers are one of the best things you can do to take your software development department to the next level. This workplace leader will use their deep domain knowledge to fix the issues currently blighting your development process. They will also utilize their profound understanding of core programming to optimize each unique layer found within your web applications.
You will undoubtedly encounter several challenges when you embark on this process of hiring a full stack developer. Most full-stack developers can perform several front- and back-end tasks, but this doesn’t mean that every developer will have the capacity to meet your specifications.
Prem Khatri is the Vice President of Operations for Chetu, Inc., a global, custom software development company, where he oversees all development projects and technical operations. His primary responsibilities are to lead, track and manage technical teams that create custom software solutions. His background includes software development using C++, Java, and Microsoft technologies. Since joining Chetu in 2008, he has helped the company become an award-winning global presence in the customized software development field. Prior to joining Chetu, Prem worked for Tata Consultancy Services, as well as Blue Star Infotech, and is a graduate of both the University of Mumbai and Savitribai Phule Pune University. Prem is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).