Full-stack software development

Everything You Need to Know to Hire a Full-Stack Software Developer

Want to work with a full-stack software developer? Not before you know everything about the techies who call themselves full-stackers.

Slowly and steadily, every company is turning into a software company. Just like Microsoft chief Satya Nadella says, “All companies are software companies. You have to start thinking and operating like a digital company”. So no matter if you’re operating a cement company in Nebraska or a multi-cuisine restaurant in Zurich, you’d need software developers for your company, and this is what makes you a software development company. These are the people who will help you build and maintain the software required for your business.

But software developers don’t mean to a single type of people. There are front-end developers, there are back-end developers, and there are full-stack developers. In this article, we’d be focusing on the last type: full-stack software developers and everything you need to know about them.

This article will give you comprehensive information to make your conscious decision about hiring a full-stack developer or even a dedicated team.

Who Are Full Stack Developers?

Like already mentioned, software developers aren’t monolithic. There are different types of software developers, including full-stack developers. But what exactly the term means?

In technical terms, a full-stack developer is a person who is capable of working in all the layers of software development. If you’re confused with the “layers,” then bear with us for a minute. Full-stack engineers possess the capability of working in all three levels and hence are therefore high in demand.

What are the Main Full-Stack Layers?

Software development has three main layers everyone should know about. These are:

  • Frontend or Presentation layer
  • Backend or Business layer
  • Database layer

A frontend is the part of a website/application that’s exposed to the end-user. It interacts with the frontend part and consumes the service. The backend is the part that is hidden from the users. It can live on the web browser, cache managers, and in the server. Finally, you have the database layer where everything is stored. Whenever the user requests anything, the required information is retrieved from the database. When the information is created, the essential part gets stored in the database.

The frontend comprises languages like HTML, CSS, and Javascript. The backend has languages like PHP, Django, Node.JS, .NET, and so on. Similarly, there are different types of databases, like MongoDB, MySQL, MariaDB, and PostgreSQL.

A full-stack developer isn’t necessarily an expert in all the three domains, but can work, understand, and supervise the three domains. So by hiring a full-stack software developer, you’re getting an all-in-one pack who can take care of your software requirements end-to-end.

Full-Stack Developers by the Stack

Just like there are different types of software developers, there are different types of full-stack developers. To help you understand better, here are the main types of full-stack developers based on the specific stack:

MEAN Stack

MEAN stands for MongoDB-ExpressJS-AngularJS-NodeJS. All four frameworks are Javascript-based. Together, they can create a full-fledged website/web app. MEAN stack developers are capable of working in all four technologies.

MERN Stack

MERN stands for MongoDB-ExpressJS-ReactJS-NodeJS. React is another front-end library like Angular.

LAMP Stack

LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP. It’s commonly used by web developers not only because this software stack was among the first to appear, but also because it’s quite simple and reliable.

LEMP Stack

LEMP stands for Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP. This stack is similar to a previous one, with the only difference of usage Nginx instead of Apache. Thanks to this change the server is able to scale when the system needs it.

Sometimes companies are looking for a full-stack developer, but have one core technology of their project. In this case, the name of this technology appears in the name of the development job they open. Here a some most widely used examples.

Full-Stack Elixir

Elixir is a programming language suitable for both the front-end and back-end. therefore a list of technologies for a full-stack Elixir developer can vary. But most often it goes together with the framework Phoenix.

Full-Stack Python

Python comprises various libraries that are suitable for the front-end and back-end. Most often Python is completed with MongoDB and MySQL for database building. And for the front-end development can be combined with the most typical languages and frameworks like JavaScript, React, Angular, Bootstrap, etc.

Full-Stack Django

Django is one of the many Python libraries and can be deployed for both front- and back-end. Python developers 

Full-Stack Java

Java-based full-stack approach to software development.

Full-Stack Ruby on Rails

Ruby-on-rails is a robust web development framework suitable for both frontend and backend tasks.

So depending on the language you’re using for development, you should hire a full-stack developer accordingly. For example, if your project requires an Angular front-end and Node.js back-end, then you’d have to employ a MEAN stack developer.

Why Companies Need a Full-Stack Developer?

Full-stack developers aren’t necessarily the experts in every layer. Some might be good at the front-end and modestly experienced in the back-end. So why companies even bother hiring full-stack developers, and why they’re in so much demand? There are a couple of good reasons, it turns out.

What Full-Stack Developers Can Do

Full-stack developers are in demand because of the following attributes:

  1. Ability to code programs, web applications, or mobile applications.
  2. Coordinate the development process with other developers and team members (including product managers, project managers, and C-level executives).
  3. Troubleshoot technical issues at every layer.
  4. Outline testing techniques for various applications.
  5. Analyzing and debugging database queries.
  6. Testing codes for app validation and compatibility across required devices for quality assurance.
  7. Keeping a tab on important KPIs and taking initiatives as needed.
  8. Laying blueprint for future requirements and communicating the same with upper management.

Therefore, full-stack developers aren’t only confined to coding work. They are responsible for a wide range of tasks that includes supervising and communication, both of which are management-related skillset. Besides that, they’re also terrific coders on both sides of the layers. So by hiring a full-stack software developer for your firm, you’re basically hiring a top-level position that is capable of (and should be given) ownership work and providing excellent development services.

What Roles Do The Developers Fit In?

Full-stack usually end up donning a variety of hats when they join a company. This also depends on what role the company assigns them.

So when you’re hiring a full-stack developer, you can assign them the following roles:

Tech Lead (or CTO)

They can become the head of a technical project and oversee it end-to-end. Most experienced full-stack engineers work as a tech lead. When they work as a tech lead, they generally don’t do any coding stuff and are responsible for other business-related metrics and supervising fellow developers.

Product Manager

This is a step lower in the hierarchy. Developers working as product managers offer a combination of technical and managerial skills.

Database Administrator

Since everything is stored in a database, you need someone to manage them and keep them compliant. Full-stack developers with knowledge of communication with both front- and back-end are suitable for database administrator position.

Senior Developer

Full-stack developers can chip in as pure coders and develop a software system or mobile app from scratch. Usually, they work as senior developers, courtesy of their vast working experience.

Benefits of Hiring a Full-Stack Developer

When you hire a full-stack engineer, you benefit in several ways.

Delegate Everything Technical

Firstly, you get a reliable person who is capable of taking care of everything technical. So if you have little to no software knowledge, you can delegate it to the developer and focus on what you do best. At the end of the day, you can be sure that the technical side of things will get done.

Make the Team Flexible

When building a software development team, you’d want your team to be flexible. Flexible enough to adapt to changing requirements. So today, you might be integrating a chatbot on your front-end, and later decide to integrate smart contracts on blockchain at your back-end. Thus, your team must be equally skilled to work on both the front- and back-end. A full-stack developer brings that expertise to the team.

Cost-Effectiveness

Full-stack developers usually don’t come for cheap. This is because of the skillset and expertise across multiple domains they possess. But when you take the price of a front-end and back-end developer separately and compare it with a full-stack developer, you’ll realize you’re spending less to get the job done.

Besides these, there are many more benefits that justify hiring a full-time full-stack developer for your company.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Full-Stack Developer?

Good full-stack engineers possess almost a decade of experience working across hundreds of different projects. So you should expect to write a fat paycheck. But the main factor that determines the cost of hiring a full-stack developer is location. In this age of distributed teams, you can hire a developer from literally anywhere in the world.

Typically, developers from countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and other first-world countries cost more. You should expect to pay around $10,000 per month.

But full-stack developers from developing or under-developing countries can work for $1,000-$3,000 per month.

Experience also matters. A 10-year experienced full-stack engineer in Ukraine might charge the same as a full-stack engineer with two years of experience in Canada.

How To Hire Full-Stack Developers For Your Project?

Hiring a full-stack developer can be a bit different than hiring a regular software developer. You’d need to dig deep into their work experience and personality. Also, because there are many types of full-stack developers overlapping, you need to take extra measures. Bad hires cost companies thousands of dollars. So, here are a few things to check:

Skill Set and Qualification

The first and foremost thing to look for is the skillset of programmers since you’re hiring for a technical role. Here are a few things to go over:

Front-end fundamentals

Full-stack developers possess both front-end and back-end development knowledge with a specialization in one of them. But they should be skilled in the basics of both. So you need to check for fundamentals for frontend development. This includes topics like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, among others.

Server-side fundamentals

Similarly, you must test their server-side fundamental knowledge if they specialize in frontend development. This can include things like PHP, API, REST, SOAP, Cache, AWS, etc.

User Experience design

When designing an application, it’s essential to consider the consumer’s point of view. How will they be viewing and using the application? Therefore, the full-stack developer must have a knack for designing UX components.

Database architecture and design

Knowledge about the database is a must for any developer referring to himself as full-stack. How the database will be structured and deployed – the developer must answer these questions with complete clarity.

Business Logic

Not only from the consumer point of view, but the developer must also structure the codes from the business point of view. These are those things considered necessary for the business. It might be data presentation, data collection, or both.

Project Management

Since the developer will be overseeing the project from end to end, it’s better if they have project management skills or certifications. Senior developers are often certified and carry project management work experience.

Multitasking

Full-stack developers will find themselves dealing with multiple tasks at once. So you need to check how efficiently they deal with these types of tasks.

Agile Development

 Other than accurate development, full-stack developers are also required to roll out applications quickly. So you need to assess his agility with different projects.

Independence

Last but not least, you need to assess if the full-stack engineer is capable of working independently or not. These developers are usually independent and like working on their own, but you have to assess this quality nevertheless.

Questions To Ask When Hiring A Full-Stack Software Developer

To check for the above things, you’d need to devise a set of questionnaires. Obviously, this depends on your personal requirements and your expectations. But broadly speaking, you must create full-stack development questions that look for both hard skills and soft skills.

For hard skills, here are some questions ideas:

  • What experience do you have working with this stack?
  • Can you walk us through your job duties at your previous company?
  • What tools do you use for testing your code?
  • Are you comfortable with this specific language?
  • What do you do when a code shows an error?

For testing soft skills, there’s no generalized boundary to cover. You can ask questions on how the person solved a particular problem to something as irrelevant as a riddle. The aim here is to check for his problem-solving skills and creativity. Also, look for how well he communicates with you and other team members.

For further assistance, you can take the help of YouTeam’s online interview tool with 150 questions for remote developer interviews.

Where to Find Full-Stack Developers?

Hiring has evolved, and there are multiple ways you can hire a full-stack developer for your company. There’s not a single best way to hire an engineer, and it depends on your requirements and preference.

Best Countries To Hire Full-Stack Developers

There are three types of full-stack developers you can hire based on their location. Those are:

Local Hiring

Local hiring means you’re hiring within your country or state, and the full-stack developer is located in your vicinity. This is the most common type of hiring because of several benefits. Since the developer is located near you, you can arrange meetings, interviews, and discussions any time you want. You can have them work from within your office or freelance. But usually, the cost of hiring local or in-shore talent is high and the offer is limited.

Nearshore Hiring

In this type of hiring, you look for developers located near your country. So if you’re located in US, nearshore talent might live in Canada or Mexico. Nearshore talent offers both talent and cost-effectiveness. Closer time zone and similarities in culture and language also are two advantages.

Offshore Hiring

Finally, you have offshore hiring where the developers are located far-off, in the other parts of the world. For US employers, offshore talent can be in India, Ukraine, Thailand, or such locations. The main benefit of hiring offshore talent is reduced cost. Top developers from these regions charge half or one-third of what inshore talent charges. Also, you have a bigger talent pool of skilled developers in these countries, which makes finding talent easier. But you’d have to overcome issues like the language barrier, different time zone problems, and virtual meeting sessions.

Depending on what your company needs right now and what you can afford, you should outsource accordingly.

Offshore Full-stack developers available for hire

Best Platforms to Find Full-Stack Software Developers

Angel.co

This is the best place to find qualified full-stack engineers locally. It is the world’s largest startup community where developers log in regularly to find opportunities. Companies like Twitch, Stripe are hiring through Angel.co, and you can hire developers too. This is a great option to hire in-house.

Upwork

Upwork is the largest freelance community where you can find top-quality full-stack developers located both in-shore and off-shore. Developers from all around the world can sign up and find work. This option is good for short-term projects and non-core development tasks.

YouTeam

If you’re specifically looking for offshore developers, then YouTeam is the perfect place to find them. It has a diverse talent pool but a stringent vetting process. You can onboard the best, vetted offshore full-stack developers in as little as one week. A great choice if you’re looking for a long-term outsourcing partner for software or application development.

Why Hire Dedicated Full-Stack Developers With YouTeam?

YouTeam is a great marketplace to find talent. The platform works only with web developers from Eastern Europe and Latin America, as these countries can provide a high-quality of work together with work ethics similar to Western Europe and the USA.

Not every development company that wants to join YouTeam’s talent pool goes through. The vetting process has different stages of the company and the developers’ check. Only the best go through and list themselves at YouTeam’s talent pool. Thus, you can be sure that half of the hiring process is done for you—all of this at no hefty recruitment fees or overhead cost. 

Wrap up

Hiring is never easy. There are so many things to look for, but they’re incomplete nevertheless. To find the correct full-stack developer for your project, you should look inwards in your company’s requirements. And that will define the person you’re after. Then select the stack you want your application to be based on. Answering these fundamentals will lead you to the appropriate candidate. YouTeam will do the rest of the job, and you can get a top developer onboarded in less than a week.

Written by
Svetlana Shevchuk

Digital Marketing Specialist at YouTeam, a Y Combinator-backed marketplace for building remote dev teams.

View all articles