re: A mythical full stack developer VIEW POST


I'm on the fence, to be honest. A mechanic is a mechanic and most likely knows a lot about completely fixing a vehicle. Yet there are a lot of mechanics who decide to specialize in repairing transmissions or even just everyday repairs like brakes and oil changes.

To be fair I think the term "Full Stack" is just a way for developers to advertise to non-developers (i.e. recruiters and employers) what it is we "specialize" in.


"Full stack" is everything though and by nature, one cannot specialize in everything. It's more like the medical/psychology term Not Otherwise Specified, used as a qualifier for X condition or disorder that doesn't fit into any one existing category. At that point, it would be better to simply say Developer.


Well no Full Stack is not "everything" by nature. Full Stack implies you know a Front-End Web Language, a Back-End Server Language, and a Data Store.

Then, by definition, it isn't "full".

That's the thing though, there really is no "official definition" for any of this. That's why developers are so conflicted on this issue.

And that's the danger of using such terms, I believe. "Full stack developer" isn't meaningful, any more than "rock star developer" or "ninja developer". It's just terms cooked up, probably by some HR person somewhere, to make the job sound more glamorous than it is.

We need to be using terms with meaningful definitions, such as "web application developer" (the whole gamut, further defined in the job requirements), "web application UX developer" (a.k.a. what some people mean by "frontend"), "web application database developer" (a.k.a. what some people mean by "backend"), and so forth. These mean something.

Even so, it's odd that we fragment our trade so much. A developer who knows how to use CSS, JS, and SQL is a developer who knows how to use CSS, JS, and SQL, there's no need to call that anything else. I know C++, Python, and XML, but I don't have a fancy term for myself. Such odd naming might be marginally useful in titling job listings on Indeed, but let's face it - developer by any title can wind up needing to work on anything.

Anyway, "full stack" does rather seem to carry the odd implication that nothing exists outside of web application development. It's the current fad, but it's only the top six inches of a very deep iceberg, so saying "full" is pretty dismissive of the rest of the industry. I guess if you had to use the term, call it "full stack web developer" and leave it at that.

You're right, when you boil it down it's just marketing/HR slang.

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