Tessa Norton

@tessanorton

This is why your startup needs to hire full stack developers

Every year, we see new technology trends popping up. With it, come new programming languages, frameworks, and other stuff for developers to learn and build upon. So it’s needless to say that finding a full stack developer, let alone becoming one is more difficult than it has been ever before. But your startup needs them, and here is why.

In any software/web/app development process, there are 3 crucial components. The front-end, the back-end, and the database architecture that connects everything. Full stack developers are by definition, those that have proficiency in all three of these and can work independently on any web development project without the need for additional support.

If you don’t believe in the hype of full stack developers, then definitely you might consider looking for specialist developers. Some of whom who will be front-end wizards, a couple of back-end magicians and some soldiers safeguarding the architecture in between.

But you can hire specific developers for all the above-mentioned specializations only if you have a lot of investments ready to be splurged on fulfilling all the requirements.

But that is not the case with most startups, definitely not in cases where they are bootstrapped. Running a startup requires you to cut corners, especially if it’s one even remotely concerned with using technological advances. There’s no textbook approach for running startups, you have to create one by yourself!

However, there are certain guidelines your “ideal startup textbook” should follow, and here are some of them:

  1. Being flexible
  2. Creating long-term human capital, not one that leaves the ship when they see it sinking
  3. You’re not looking for perfection. If you wouldn’t have had to run a startup in the first place. Every startup, by nature, isn’t perfect. It’s like a small cub born in a jungle surrounded by everything ready to kill it.

Well, these 3 are not the main guidelines for a startup, but would definitely suffice as a foundation to explain why you need full stack developers for your startup business.

Reason 1: Full stack developers keep your headcount low

Running a startup requires communicating and executing clearly defined goals, with a not-so-clear path of execution. Sure, you have a mission statement and an objective in mind. But unlike established enterprises, you have to think deeply about every cent of capital you’ll spend, and on whom you will spend it.

So if setting up a web/mobile app, or any kind of software infrastructure is a part of your plan, you need a team of engineers that can help you set it up. It’s great to hire specialist developers for handling back-end, front-end or database separately. But these specialists will work in their own silos, and none among them would have authority or knowledge about what’s going outside of their own realm. That’s bad news for a startup.

As an entrepreneur, you would want your human capital to share your vision, rather than having it screamed out to them! Besides, a small-scale business can’t control too many people. Too many cooks spoil the cake.

Thus, the fewer people you have on board for your startup, the better. As a matter of fact, even Hackernoon has just 4 main people on board and one of them is a full-stack developer (That doesn’t prove my point, but just wanted to put it out there. I’m excited for Hackernoon 2.0).

Having fewer people gives you more flexibility. Moreover, fewer people also means that any unforeseeable error would put a lower number of people at risk.

Reason 2: Full stack developers are not experts, and its not a bad thing

Startups are not perfect by default, that is obvious. Startups are also subject to all types of problems that established businesses have already faced and come through. Also, you are likely to find experts, not in startups, but in established companies where they utilize their expertise to help their employers not look like a fool amidst the competition.

So in that light, seeking perfection doesn’t make sense. In a similar way, expecting full stack developers to be experts in every language doesn’t make sense either. In fact, I’d say one of the reasons why full stack developers are termed as the “unicorns” of the software development world is because of the assumption that they’re supposed to be experts.

The greatest USP of a full stack developer is not in that they are experts, but that they are flexible to an incredible extent. As a startup founder, you can have your full stack developer(s) commit to the front-end, back-end or the architecture as and when the need arises.

You may not have front-end masters or back-end wizards building the best web infrastructure, but at least full stack developers won’t leave you stranded when the time comes to scale up the business with a flexible approach. As for having an A+ web infrastructure, that can also come along with the scale as you gain greater revenue to invest more into the business.

Reason 3: Full stack developers grow along with your Startup

As I mentioned before, as a startup founder, it is important that those working with you share your vision. As far as the development and maintenance of your web development infrastructure go, only a full stack developer would the closest to sharing that vision.

While you may have IT project managers supervise over everything that the siloed specialist programmers do, having a full-stack developer grow along with the company would deliver much greater benefits in the longer run.

A full stack developer can make the perfect guide for newly employed developers to know the business and to understand how everything works. Similarly, a full stack developer can be the perfect translator who can communicate the objective needs of the clients to the engineers in the correct technical fashion.

Furthermore, as a full stack developer, one knows that their entire career is a process of learning which continues with the growth of software technology. As such, they will most likely be the ones that will want to see a startup they work in grow from stack-to-stack.

Reason 4: Full stack developers CAN be experts in the long term

I apologize for the contradiction. Yes, it is true that a specialized developer with more experience in a particular stack is much more proficient than a full stack developer working on the same. So that makes them as someone considered a jack of all trades but a master of none.

But since we’re talking about startups here, and since I’ve already mentioned why trying to be an expert is not always a good thing. It must be considered that if a full-stack developer serves for your startup for the long term, then the time would be more than enough for them to specialize in any specific tech stack.

In fact, full stack developers can specialize themselves at a much quicker pace than specialized developers trying to become a full stack. This is owing to the fact that full stack developers already have their basics clear. So even if you employ full stack developers at a higher salary in your startup, you can always have them learn to adapt to specialized roles. Sure, it would take time, effort and every full stack developer won’t have the necessary mindset and aptitude to adapt.

Conclusion

The above 4 reasons clearly mention everything that necessitates the need to hire full stack developers for your startup. They take up less space, provide room for flexibility, make for better long-term human capital, and can adapt to the complexities of the development environment as and when necessary.

Most importantly, they are an absolutely essential component for startups leveraging emerging technologies. Their learning aptitude and immense knowledge of different front-end & back-end stacks combine to make them a valuable asset for any organization to have.

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