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  • Writer's pictureMatt Burrell

What's the Point of Full Stack Developers?

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

Front-end and back-end developers are a valuable and essential part of an established development team.

But specialising in the front or back-end isn’t the only option for developers. Full Stack Developers specialise in a particular tech stack and hiring one gives you a competitive advantage.

To understand why consider a couple of examples.

Let's say you're a boutique software development firm and one of your customers has an Excel spreadsheet that they need to convert into a cloud-based SaaS app.

A Full Stack Developer can build that entire system independently which is highly cost-effective. They don’t require a front or back-end developer to help with the initial UI, server-side tech or database design. They can design, build and deploy the app themselves.

Maybe you're thinking developers shouldn't work in silos and great teams build great software? While that's true for large projects it's not the case for smaller ones like this example. If you deploy a team of developers onto a small project you'll just delay the project delivery. Adding more developers to a project increases the management overhead and the likelihood of developers stepping on each other's toes.

To take another example, say a large corporation wants to create a new product to offer to its customers. Rather than spending months planning, designing and building a product in the background without interacting with real customers, they do the sensible thing and build a Minimal Viable Product (MVP). (If you're not sure what this is read The Lean Startup).

Full Stack Developers are a great resource to have on the team because they can kick-start an MVP for minimal cost. The business doesn’t need to allocate a team of specialists when one or two people can do the job more cost-effectively.

Using Full Stack developers means you can get to market fast with fewer people. And if the developers use serverless technologies you can get to market even faster.

Once an application has gone beyond the MVP stage (once the minimal features have been implemented), there'll come a point where it makes sense to bring in different kinds of specialists. That’s when the expertise of front-end and back-end developers becomes indispensable.

So what’s the point of Full Stack Developers?

Full Stack Developers excel at building products and delivering fast. That’s why I call them Software Product Engineers.

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