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Discussion on: There's no such thing as a full stack developer

sharpdog profile image


The first point, you can think of different strategies when you are proficient in different domains. Your CSS could be enhanced by knowing various visualization techniques through things like D3 and GIS (mapping). Your Kubernetes could be enhanced by knowing about distributed systems, networking, systems analysis, configuration management, etc.

Second point. You need less full stack developers than if you were to hire an expert in every different area and these developers would be more efficiently utilized. What does the CSS expert do when the UI is completed but there needs to be some back end work or cloud configuration done? What does the Kubernetes expert do when the app is being developed and no services/cloud configuration is needed?

The third point, Full stack developers are generally the more experienced developers and can bring other skills to the table like troubleshooting, QA, mentoring, product planning, and communication, project mgt., etc.

As a full stack developer, I believe (and have demonstrated) that I can perform at an expert level in a technology in six months. That comes with (a lot) of practice in jumping into the deep end and learning to swim when deadlines loom.

tevko profile image
Tim Author

It takes a lot of confidence to genuinely believe that you can master any technology in six months.

That aside, D3 is a rather large library that can heavily impact the overall performance of your app -

I have made a career out of fixing performance and front end issues in apps built entirely by full stack teams. There are libraries and tools for everything, and your Kubernetes expert might have a tough time assessing why one of them adds 100kb to your CSS file

sharpdog profile image

I didn't mean to include D3 I meant that after using D3 you will know things like what a Dendrogram is and how to use it to visualize a dataset. Knowing this (for example) might give you ideas of developing a similar visualization in CSS.

One thing we might agree on (or not) is hiring. I don't believe in technical tests, take-home projects or really any demonstration of mastery of any particular skill set. When I interview and hire I mainly look for two things:

  1. Does the individual truly love the art and science of software development?

  2. Are they a self-starter? ie. do they go out and learn new software development tools, techniques, ideas, etc. on their own without having to be told to do this?

To the extent that both of those are true, you're hired!