Practical Guide for Choosing the Right Full Stack Developer

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In today’s fast-growing environment and emerging technologies, it is the full-stack development that plays a crucial role when it comes to creating a user-driven well-built software. By combining front-end and back-end processes with data maintenance and remarkable user experience, full-stack developers are able to create remarkable complex applications.

Based on the recent Stack Overflow Developer Survey, 52% of interviewed developers called themselves full stack specialists. Of course, the number of real experts in the field is much smaller, but the full stack development is in high demand nowadays and full stack developer salary rates exceed the rates of common front-end or back-end coders.

It is worth noting that often, the companies have a different understanding of what a full-stack developer is capable of. Some expect from the programmer to specialize in every possible technology related to front-end and back-end, while others require at least to be familiar with the most popular, trending, and widely-used approaches. Therefore, it is important that the expectations and the technical requirements of the employer meet the qualification and the working experience of the employee.

Usually, a well-qualified full stack developer should be proficient (or at least, to have a general knowledge) with the following activities related to the software development:

  • Server- and network-based environment
  • Database-related queries
  • API requests
  • Back-end technologies
  • UI/UX features
  • Quality assurance, etc

What Skills Should a Well-Qualified Full-Stack Web Developer Have?

Here is a list of a minimum skill set for a well-experienced full-stack web developer:

required skills for a full stack developer

  • Front-end & back-end. The widely used front-end technologies include HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript and such libraries like jQuery, React Js, Angular, etc
  • A bunch of programming languages. The most popular server-side programming languages are Java, Python, and Ruby, but there are many more other ones used for web app development
  • Strong knowledge of a variety of databases. Such databases like MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle are commonly used by full-stack software developers.
  • Basic UI/UX experience. If a full stack developer has experience with building UI/UX design, you can be sure that you see a broad specialist. At least, a full stack developer should be familiar with basic principles of prototype and UI/UX design
  • Good server understanding. Experience with Linux OS is useful for maintaining virtual servers such as Apache or Nginx
  • Experience with API (REST & SOAP). API or web services knowledge is highly desirable for full stack specialists because it broadens the possibilities for what is full stack programming used.

Besides all mentioned skills beneficial for full stack web programming, let’s look at the front-end and back-end part more carefully. If to talk about the real front-end knowledge stated in a full stack engineer resume, the following are meant:

  • HTML/CSS
  • jQuery
  • SCSS
  • Javascript
  • React (or Angular, Vue JS, Redux etc)
  • React Router (the latest is v4, for Single Page Applications)
  • Babel (for converting ES6 code to ES5)
  • Webpack
  • Canvas/WebGL
  • Git/Github/GitLab

Of course, the more technologies, platforms, and tools the programmer knows, the higher full stack developer salary is. Let’s have a look at back-end technologies which are equally important:

  • NodeJS, ExpressJS
  • GraphQL
  • MongoDB/Mongoose
  • Socket.IO
  • PassportJS

The most popular tasks for a full stack web developer include:

  • Compose the overall architecture based on the client’s technical specification
  • Manage all stages of the project development
  • Develop back-end part in Python, PHP, Java, etc
  • Complete HTML, JavaScript parts related to front-end
  • Team management and communication with the client
  • Test and improve the product based on test results and client’s feedback
  • Complete quality unit tests per request
  • Evaluate, develop, and debug database-based queries, data structures, and other algorithms
  • Include security protection
  • Monitor the performance of the launched web app
  • Troubleshoot the web app within the shortest time

Looking at all these technologies listed, you probably don’t wonder anymore why there are not many full stack developers in the market, how much time and efforts it takes to become a full stack programmer, and why full stack engineer salary rates are bigger than front-end or back-end specialists gain.

How to Evaluate a Full Stack Engineer Resume?

First of all, you need to consider and clearly state and consider the main duties and responsibilities of the future employee. Probably, you want to include a degree in a technical field (preferably in computer engineering) and more than one year of experience working in a full stack development company. For example, in the vacancy description you can mention:

things to mention in full stack developer vacancy

  • Full stack application development

The main duty of the programmer will be the full-stack web development of the project. Therefore, a coder should be experienced in full stack programming and have a portfolio of successfully launched projects. A really experienced full-stack coder usually has at least two years working experience in web app development and has a defined set of languages and technologies he is proficient with. Therefore, besides just mentioning the full stack development, it is important to define what exact languages and solutions are required for the project. For example, it can be JavaScript, Node.js, or even Ethereum. Although full-stack programmers are versatile specialists, they don’t know every and each language and, thus, the need to to clearly state what experts an employer is looking for is quite important.

  • Software development (full life-cycle)

For a well-experienced full-stack programmer, it should not be a problem to work with full life-cycle project development. They can join the project at any stage of development, but it is easier both for employers and employees to work together from the start and till the product is ready for launch because every full stack developer has his own groundwork and approaches for building and maintaining complex technology architecture, features, and additional options. Therefore, it is easier for the same person or team to analyze, create, and deploy the software from the very beginning to the very end. But it is not an issue for full stack developers to test and deploy changes to the product developed by other programmers initially, it just takes time to figure out the core structure and important details.

  • Testing & Analysis

Following the previous section, it is worth pointing out that the data analysis is a significant part of what is full stack programming used for. Full stack developers have to constantly evaluate the development process based on the client’s requirements and performed tests. What is more, an experienced programmer should be able to offer an alternative solution shortly in case the initial development plan goes wrong.

  • Team management and time management skills

It is crucial to be sure that a programmer can join the existing development team and probably lead it through the whole development process. If there will be the only person working on building your project, proven evidence of strong time management skills will be required, so it’s needed to be mentioned in the job description from the start.

  • Technical collaboration

A well-organized technical environment is a must for full stack programming. Therefore, everyone involved in the development process should be kept updated regarding the newest changes and implementations, and regular online group chats and meetings are necessary for a smooth development process. Full stack developers represent a huge part of the project creation and, thus, they should be able to communicate with other branches of the project, technical vendors, suppliers, and the employer.

Besides a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer programming or related fields and at more than one year of proven working experience mentioned, a good full stack engineer resume should include the following lines:

  • UI/UX development – being front-end and back-end specialists at the same time, full stack developer should be familiar with HTML and CSS technologies which make a basis for web app design and content formatting.
  • Server-side experience and back-end programming – on the other side, full stack programmers should be used to server-side programming languages such as JavaScript and back-end solutions like Ruby, PHP, Python, etc.
  • Core development needs structurization – full stack developers should know how to structure, organize, and build an application from the main code and databases used to the design features and proper file hosting.
  • Project management – full stack developers should have a long-time experience managing work of other developers of building up his own working schedule with no time wasted.
  • Technical writing skills – full-stack programmers are usually in charge of describing the technical specification and delegating roles to other developers or setting development priorities for themselves. Therefore, experience with composing functional specifications is always a plus.
  • Communication skills – as mentioned before, full stack programmers need strong communication skills to work with the development team, other departments, and the client.
  • Problem-solving skills – it follows the previous point because the full stack programming specialist should be able to handle any technical and operating problem that may occur during the development process and further maintenance.

Important to know that it may be useful to use the help of a technical expert to verify a candidate for a full stack dev position and to be sure the hired specialist will meet the project’s goals and employer’s expectations. If a developer does not have some skills, there is no need to worry much as they can pick up those along the way. Better to extend the development team with an enthusiast who is eager to learn and contribute to the project’s growth instead of hiring a highly skilled coder with no enthusiasm and ambitions.

Reference

İlan Edilmiş 3 Ağustos, 2020

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