IT standards and competencies are becoming increasingly important due to the ever-evolving landscape. Developers nowadays are expected to possess more than just a specific domain of expertise. As a result, full stack developers are in high demand, and they are becoming the preferred choice for many companies.
Nonetheless, is it always more prudent to hire a generalist than an expert? Many of you may have the same question. This article provides some rational responses to this question. But first, let us comprehend the disparity between full stack and specialist developers.
What is a full stack developer?
Despite popular belief, full stack software engineer is not required to write all the codes of a website or application by themselves. They often spend most of their time working on either the backend or front-end code.
A full stack programmer is well-versed and experienced in various areas, including:
- Frontend development (Vue.js, Angular, Node.js, React)
- Backend development (PHP, Java, NET)
- UI/UX design
- Markup languages (HTML and CSS)
- Databases (Firebase, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, MySQL)
- Software testing encompasses a variety of tools, such as TestComplete, Katalon Studio, Postman, Selenium, and many others.
- Scalability, architecture, and project roadmap.
Additionally, coding is only one fraction of full stack developers‘ responsibilities. The availability of frameworks, tools, and libraries that can be customized means that developers can implement these rather than write their code.
Therefore, having expertise in implementing frontend and backend tools and frameworks makes a full stack developer a sought-after candidate for enterprises seeking to hire developers.
What is a specialist developer?
A specialist developer is an expert in a particular discipline and primarily focuses on work related to that area. This does not indicate a lack of knowledge necessary for building and delivering an application, which is comparable to that of a senior full stack developer. The specialist developer is the go-to person for their specialized subject, which can encompass various domains, such as design, database design, domain modeling, and entity framework.
Full Stack Developer VS Specialist Developer: Pros and Cons
Having understood the fundamental distinction between a full stack developer and a specialist, let us now examine the Pros and Cons of employing each.
To begin, we shall consider the Pros and Cons of hiring specialized developers.
Specialized developers pros:
- High-quality work delivered for each part of the project: When you hire a specialized developer, you can expect top-notch work for every aspect of your project. This is because these developers have in-depth knowledge and expertise in their specific technology, which results in superior quality work compared to full stack developers.
- Stays updated with the latest trends and technologies: Specialized developers can keep up with the latest trends and technologies in their particular development area due to their focused expertise.
- Convenient allocation of responsibilities: Allocating responsibilities becomes effortless and efficient when working with specialized developers. The workload can be divided into manageable tasks that can be assigned to each technical developer, resulting in a comfortable workflow for the project’s needs and team members.
Specialized developer’s cons:
- High Cost: One of the drawbacks of hiring specialized developers is that it can be more expensive compared to hiring a single full stack developer. For instance, hiring two specialized developers – one for frontend and one for backend – would cost more than hiring a single full stack developer who can handle both aspects.
- Dependency on Other Members: Since specialized developers are experts in their field, there may be a greater dependency on other team members. For example, in a project, a specialized developer may not be able to proceed until another specialized developer has completed their part of the job.
Now, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of hiring a qualified full stack developer.
Full stack developer pros:
- Jack of all trades: A full stack developer has expertise in various stages of software development such as frontend, backend, QA testing, and more. This helps them quickly identify and solve issues across different parts of the project, which would otherwise require specialized developers to hold a meeting to identify the problem.
- Cost-effective: Hiring a full stack developer can replace the need for multiple specialized developers, which can lower the cost of hiring. In some cases, a single full stack developer can replace two or more specialized developers.
- Flexibility: A full stack developer is well-versed in both the service side and client side of development, making it easy for them to switch between tasks. This reduces development time by eliminating misunderstandings between different parts of the team and eliminates the need for specialized developers to hold meetings to explain issues to one another.
Cons of Hiring a Full Stack Developer:
- Lack of in-depth expertise: While a full stack developer knows various parts of development, their expertise may not be as in-depth as a specialized developer’s. This may limit their ability to solve more complex or specific issues.
- High workload: Due to their versatility, full stack developers may take on more work than specialized developers, leading to a higher workload and potentially longer project timelines.
- Higher learning curve: The wide range of skills required to become a full stack developer can make the learning curve steeper and require a longer time investment than becoming a specialized developer in a single area.
When to choose full stack or specialized developers?
Choosing between full stack and specialized developers can be a challenging task. To help you make an informed decision, consider the following criteria:
Size of the Project
- For small projects or startups with limited resources and tasks, it makes sense to hire full stack developers.
- For mid-sized projects, full stack developers are still a reasonable choice.
- For large projects with an extensive range of tasks and technologies, it’s advised to hire a team of specialized developers.
- For simple projects with a small number of tasks and precise functionality, full stack developers are the right choice.
- For complex projects with a large number of tasks, specialized developers can provide better competent solutions.
- For projects with periodically changing requirements, full stack developers are the right choice as they can easily accommodate those changes.
- For projects with rigid requirements, a team of specialized developers is recommended.
- Hiring a full stack developer is financially economical as compared to a dedicated team, making it a good choice for those with limited budgets.
Quality of Project
- For a top-notch solution that demands complete immersion, a team of specialized developers is required.
When it comes to choosing between full stack and specialized developers, it’s important to consider the specific needs of your project. If you’re a startup or have a small project, full stack developers can be a good fit due to their versatility and cost-effectiveness. However, for larger and more complex projects that require top-notch solutions, specialized developers may be the way to go.
Both full stack and specialized developers have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to carefully evaluate your project requirements before making a decision. We hope this article has provided you with a useful guide to understanding the differences, benefits, drawbacks, and scope of choosing between these two types of developers.
Stay tuned to this space for more insightful articles on this and other tech topics.