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The Best Developers For Your Project: Full-Stack Developers vs. Specialized Developers



The IT universe has undergone a dramatic change over the past decade, and it is only fitting and necessary for organizations to do the same. But to compete at the same level as their competitors, these startups may need to work with either highly skilled full-stack developers or specialized developers.

But is it better to work with a specialist or a jack-of-all-trades professional? To answer this question effectively, let’s find out who full stack and specialized developers are.

Who is a Full Stack Developer?

Full-stack developers are developers who can work efficiently and effectively with both front end and backend of an application and website. They are highly skilled programmers who can work in projects that involve building user-facing databases, websites, and even work with different clients while they are still in the planning phases of the project.

Full-stack programmers are developers that are experienced and well-versed in the following areas:

  • UI/UX design
  • Frontend development (React, Angular, Vue.js, Node.js)
  • Markup languages (CSS, HTML)
  • Backend development (NET, Java, PHP)
  • Software testing (Katalon studio, Selenium, TestComplete, Postman)
  • Databases (MongoDB, Firebase, MySQL, PosterSQL)
  • Architecture, scalability, and the roadmap of the project

Full-stack software engineers do not necessarily write every code on websites all by themselves, contrary to what many people in the business world think. In most cases, they spend the majority of their time either on the frontend or backend code of websites.

What is more, writing codes is a tiny portion of a certified full-stack developer's work. This is because there are a wide variety of frameworks, customizable tools, and libraries that are available which developers can utilize and readily implement instead of writing code from scratch.

This is the primary reason why having competent, and full-fledged knowledge of implementing both frontend and backend framework and tools make full-stack developers highly attractive prospects for businesses or organizations hiring developers.

Who is a Specialized Developer?

As you may have guessed, specialist developers are experts in a particular discipline, and their work revolves tightly around it. Of course, this is not to imply that specialist developers don't have or possess the same understanding and skill required for building and delivering apps like that of senior full-stack developers.

It only implies that specialized developers are the go-to experts for subjects or areas that cover database design, entity framework, design, and domain modeling.

Now that you know the basic difference between full-stack developers and specialized developers let's take a look at the pros and cons of each profession.

Full Stack Developers: Pros
  • Versatile

    Full-stack developers are well-versed in diverse stages of software development like QA testing, frontend, the architecture of code, backend, and so on. It is this versatility that helps full-stack developers to quickly identify and do away with multi-purpose issues, especially when several developers are working on different aspects of a particular project.

    If a full stack developer is not available, specialized developers will have no choice but to call for a meeting. The problem will be identified at the meeting, and this could be a time-consuming process that could affect the outcome or time-to-market deployment of the product.

  • Flexibility

    Full-stack programmers offer excellent flexibility as they are highly knowledgeable with both the client-side as well as the service aspect, which makes it incredibly easy for them to switch between several tasks.

    This implies that when a full stack developer is in the house, development time is considerably reduced as misunderstandings between development sides will be instantly eliminated or non-existent.

    When full stack developers are in the driving seat of any development project, there is usually no need for backend developers to call for a meeting in order to explain themselves on any issue with frontend developers and vice-versa.

  • Cost

    When it comes to how to select the developer while hiring, getting one full stack developer on board can easily replace two – or even more – specialized developers. This means that hiring and working with a full stack developer can significantly reduce the workforce required to handle a particular project.

    This ultimately results in the lowering of the cost of hiring a professional developer.

  • Quick learners

    Full-stack developers possess all-round knowledge which gives them the ability to learn things quickly or within a short period. This relates to particular skill sets.

  • Quick identification of challenges or issues

    If there is one group of individuals who are quick to identify issues when working on a project, they are full-stack developers.

    They have a keen sense of identifying and solving issues or problems that crop up when working on a project. This is because they are usually aware of every stage of software development. They can significantly reduce the required time and also resolve issues quickly.

  • Less number of meetings

    The involvement of full-stack developers in a project significantly minimizes the number of meetings between members of a team. This helps to save a lot of time, and the project will also be delivered within the scheduled period.

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  • Quick delivery

    Since full-stack developers have all-round skills, they are adept at switching between server and client sides. This makes them much more independent compared to specialized programmers.

    Moreover, full-stack development typically minimizes the overall time for development.

    Anything that has advantages also has a few disadvantages. Here are the drawbacks of full-stack developers.

Full Stack Developers: Cons
  • Responsibility control

    Having a team of proficient full-stack developers working on your project sounds great until you discover that they do not split their work into small tasks. Instead, they only work cohesive parts of projects.

    This can make it very challenging for members of the team and customers alike to check, regulate, or define the completeness of the project at any point in time.

  • Inability to keep pace with the latest technologies and trends

    Full-stack developers work in a wide variety of fields, thanks to their expertise or proficiency in numerous programs. However, this could be a massive hindrance as it makes it pretty difficult for them to stay abreast of the latest tools, trends, and even technologies that evolve, day in day out.

  • Risk-prone time management

    When more than a few skilled full-stack developers work on major aspects of a particular project, it could constitute a considerable risk of wrong time management. This is usually because situations of the high workload with several clusters of unfinished or unresolved tasks may arise. And this could hamper the entire project or bring it to a halt as the full stack programmers would be hard at work trying to complete numerous unresolved tasks instead of focusing and working on new ones.

  • Difficulty in project tracking

    Full-stack developers don’t believe in divide-and-conquer strategies. They typically work on huge portions of a project at a time. And the comprehensiveness of the project makes it difficult to identify or monitor.

  • Non-availability

    Recruiting a full team of full-stack developers is one of the most challenging tasks that many enterprises face. This is due to their non-availability in the market most of the time.

    In most cases, full-stack developers take up vast sections of any project, making them reliable resources in the center of projects. And it can be pretty difficult to replace this resource.

Specialized Developers: Pros
  • Always up to date with the latest technologies and trends

    Since specialized developers have highly specialized areas of expertise, it is incredibly easy for them to stay up to date with the latest trends in the technological universe and area of interest, based on their specific development areas.

  • The completed project is always top-notch

    One of the most significant benefits of hiring and working with specialize developers is that clients will always receive exceptionally high-quality work. These professionals are skilled and well-versed in their technology. And so the quality of work they deliver is always top-notch and superior compared to that of full-stack developers.

  • Responsibilities are conveniently allocated

    When specialized developers work on a project, allocating responsibilities becomes incredibly easier, more efficient, and comfortable. This is to ensure the team members know what is expected of them, in accordance with project needs.

  • Difficulty in project tracking

    Full-stack developers don’t believe in divide-and-conquer strategies. They typically work on huge portions of a project at a time. And the comprehensiveness of the project makes it difficult to identify or monitor.

    The entire work can readily be split into smaller tasks and handled by every specialized developer in the team.

  • Easy to hire

    Based on the requirements of a project, any organization can select the desired number of individuals or professionals from the human resources that are presently available in the market.

    Therefore, specialized developers are easier to hire for projects since they are nearly always available.

Specialized Developers: Cons
  • High dependency on other members of the team

    It has been established that specialized developers are highly skilled professionals and masters of their field of endeavor. Nevertheless, they depend heavily on other members of the team.

    For instance, in some particular projects, one specialized developer cannot proceed to the next stage unless the other specialized programmer has fully completed their part or portion of the job.

  • High investment

    Hiring at least two developers each to handle both frontend and backend of a project costs far higher than hiring one adept full stack developer that can handle the same tasks easily.

  • Coordination

    Coordination between different teams working on a particular project is highly crucial. Discussions and meetings may require planning in order to facilitate perfect coordination. This, in itself, requires a lot of effort and consumes time as well.

How to Select the Developer While Hiring

The pros and cons of both full stack developers and specialized developers have been discussed. However, you may still be a little unsure of how to select the developer while hiring.

Therefore, in order to give you a much clearer picture regarding these two professions, the following criteria should help you choose between a full stack developer and a dedicated or specialized developer.

  • 1. What is the size of the project?

    The size of a project can determine the choice of developers. Let's say you are a startup, and the project at hand is small, hiring a full stack developer makes a lot of sense as it is also cost-effective (more on that later). This is because, at this present stage in your business, your resources are severely limited, even though there is a comprehensive range of tasks and technologies at hand.

    It is, therefore, very prudent to hire a full stack developer for medium-sized projects. For large projects, however, it is generally recommended to hire a full team of specialized developers. This is because such a huge project will call for accurate and consistent documentation of the entire process, along with the implementation of applicable technologies and tools.

  • 2. Project complexity

    The complexity – or non-complexity – of a project goes a long way in determining which of these programmers or developers you should go for when you get right down to it. If the project – irrespective of its size – comprises of several tasks, simple implementation along with precise functionality, full-stack developers are the #1 choice for such projects.

    On the other hand, if the project comprises a large number of tasks and extremely complex in nature, specialized developers are the best option for such work.

  • 3. Budget

    Hiring full-stack developers are always financially economical when compared to that of specialized developers. Therefore, if you are a startup with a limited budget, then you have no choice but to hire full-stack developers to handle your project.

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  • 4. Project flexibility

    If the requirements of your project are subject to change from time to time and defined strictly, it will make more sense to work with full-stack developers.

    This is because full-stack developers are generally adept at switching tasks and multi-tasking rapidly. This makes it easy for them to accommodate periodic changes readily.

    On the other hand, working with a team of specialized developers makes it challenging to change requirements. This implies that specialized developers shine through when they work on projects with rigid requirements

  • 5. Quality of the project

    The quality of the project is a vital parameter that will help you choose between a full stack developer and a specialized developer. Extra effort is required if the primary goal is to make a solution of optimum quality.

    As you may guess, creating top-notch solutions calls for complete immersion. And the only professional that can deliver something of that magnitude and quality is a highly skilled team of developers.

    Startups with limited budgets should go for full-stack developers when they need help. But specialized developers are well-suited for top-notch organizations looking to solve complex problems.

    As you can see, specialized developers and full-stack developers have their pros and cons. You must understand your project before you make any decision. How to select the developer while hiring will no longer be a thing of confusion since you already know both the strong and weak points of full-stack developers and specialized developers.