Increasing digital transformation needs are prompting businesses to look for developers. The market offers two options – hire a ‘jack of all’ full stack developer or go with specialist developers.
Developers who dabble with different programming skills seem to be better. At the outset, they are multitalented, allow businesses to maintain low head, and reduce overhead expenses. So, it’s evident they are better. But are they? Well, not always.
As in any other industry, the mismatch between talent and the role is also common in software development. The struggle between the choices of hiring full stack and specialized developers is real.
This article explores the solution to this dilemma, but first, let’s find out the job profiles of a full stack developer and a specialized developer.
Full stack developer vs. specialist developer
Full stack developers are professionals who have both frontend and backend development skills. Such developers are familiar with multiple technologies and can undertake a project alone. Usually, they possess a broad skill set of project planning, software testing, and software development lifecycle to make crucial development decisions independently.
Speaking of the current market demand, full stack developers are hot in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for full stack developers will increase from 1.35 lakhs to 8.53 lakhs by 2024.
The specialized developers are skilled in either frontend or backend technologies. The frontend developers handle the visual aspect of an application, like the development of web pages, UX/UI interfaces, mobile app designs, and other interactive layers of an app. The backend development takes care of all the server-side development.
Frontend development involves the visual part of the application, user interaction, etc. The backend development consists of the server side of the application. It also involves the management of server resources and databases. The skill set of specialized developers makes them the best for the particular job. This is why technical developers can build a project securely with robust features, as they have in-depth knowledge of the technology they work with. As for the job market, the demand for specialized developers is consistent across frontend and backend domains.
Factors to consider when making the choice
A specialized or full stack developer will bring different skill sets, benefits, and challenges to the overall development project. To choose between the two, you need to factor in these considerations.
1. Quality of work
Specialized developers can undisputedly deliver better quality as they are more proficient with the technology they work with. Multiple specialist developers working on a project might drive up the cost, but the result will be superior in quality. Furthermore, while familiar with most technologies, a full stack developer might not be updated with the latest trends and technologies. Developers focusing on a specialized area keep their skills updated to deliver the best product quality.
2. Development time
As full stack developers can easily switch between tasks and handle client-side and server-side simultaneously, they can deliver products faster. A full stack developer always has a clear overview of the scope of a project as they work more independently than specialized developers. The high dependency of specialized developers on other developers makes them slower. Unless all the specialized developers in the team complete the assigned task, they cannot go ahead independently.
3. Project cost
As full stack developers can handle a project’s frontend and backend developer aspects, they offer price economy. Businesses prefer full stack developers as they are versed in all aspects of development. It requires fewer developers in a team, and there is no overhead to maintain. If a company can manage the quality of the end product to keep the cost of development low, a full stack developer is a suitable choice. Hiring specialized developers is expensive because you need to manage larger teams.
Hiring full stack developers is challenging compared to specialized developers. It takes much time to attain full stack development skills, hence talent is scarce. In comparison, finding frontend and backend developers is easier. Another reason that companies must keep in mind is that hiring full stack developers makes them highly dependent on them. If a full stack developer quits, it will be challenging to keep the project going as they usually handle most of the project alone.
While expertise offers certain advantages, a skillful full stack developer can handle several tasks to fix issues faster and bring down development costs and timelines. The final decision to hire the best talent must depend on the project requirements and the expected outcome.
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