Full Stack Developers Or Specialized Developers? – A Tough Call

Hiring resources is a great business model, that almost all organizations, big and small are adapting to. The need for resources and respective technology depends upon the basic objectives, goals and target that the organization is seeking for, best suited to business.

There is much involved while hiring resources – checking out the budget allocated, studying the underlying technology needed, understanding accurately why the chosen technology is the right choice and many more such attributes.

Today, amongst the plethora of technologies that have encompassed the globe, two categories of hiring resources have picked up pace – Hire a Full Stack Developer or Hire a Specialized Developer. These technological groupings are done based on important parameters like business requirements, databases, UI / UX design, frontend tools and backend tools.

Full stack development refers to perceiving the entire gamut of frontend and backend technologies, under a single roof. Specialized / dedicated software development focusses on certain key technologies only that are a must for the business.

You must have heard the saying – ‘A jack of all, master of none’. This applies to full stack development and if we look at a specialized software service, it demands becoming a master of one. It totally depends upon what you are looking for, in attaining your business objective.

Here are the possible checklist questions that must be answered by organizations, prior to choosing either of the developer community:

  • Have you identified the basic purpose behind choosing the resource category?
  • Are you aware of the technologies involved in the software building process?
  • Are your well versed with the allocated budget for resource hiring?
  • Is the top management in sync with the IT department, while deciding either of the two?
  • Does your team have expertise in understanding what technology is apt for them?

Let us have a look at both these categories of developers, their characteristics, benefits they offer and certain drawbacks they possess. This should be key to understanding when to choose a full stack developer and when a specialized developer, while hiring resources.

Full Stack Developers – They Know It All

A full stack developer is competent enough to work easily with the front-end and back-end components of any application / website. Considered highly flexible in development, full stack developers understand client requirements at their finest and possess all-round skills, to offer services in almost all areas.

They deal with the visual part of the application, back-end and database portions, UI/UX, server-side components, mark up languages, software testing, architecture and scalable components too.

These developers possess the knowledge of almost all that is required to handle the project. And that is where comes in the skills of a full stack developer.

  • Attributes

    • Flexible and competent to handle project on their own
    • Best suited to customer requirements
    • A jack of all technologies, frameworks, architecture
    • Contribution at all levels of the project
    • Ability to handle all phases of a software cycle
  • Key Benefits

    • Multitasking capabilities
    • Caters to low budget customers hence economical
    • Can easily transit between technical competencies
    • Fast learners and lesser development time
    • Swift error findings
    • Best usage of time with lesser wastage of resources
  • Drawbacks

    • Tough to track progress
    • Lack of technical alertness and expertise
    • Unavailability of resources
    • Inadequate time management

Specialized Developers – They Have a Dedicated Expertise

As the name suggests, specialized developers or dedicated developers possess expertise in specified areas, technologies, environments, hardware, infrastructure, databases, designs etc. On a common base, these resources have enough expertise and/or experience inIT segments, which is their forte.

They make real strong taskforce and if coordinated perfectly, can turn a project into a huge success. They may not have experience in all areas, say frontend and backend both, but their proficiency in either of them is quite quality worthy.

Specialized developers may / may not have the experience of other peripheries / technologies. It depends on an individual level. Most developers do have a basic know how and hence are able to manage well.

  • Attributes

    • In-depth knowledge in dedicated areas
    • Confident, disciplined, experienced owing to knowledge
    • Fast learners and competent to manage on time
    • A master of one or more, but not all
    • Easy co-ordination with other technology holders
  • Key Benefits

    • High-end quality output
    • Complete knowledge about latest trends
    • Resources easily available
    • Manageable responsibilities
    • Easy allocation of work
  • Drawbacks

    • Higher dependency on other teams
    • More cost and resources involved
    • Tough to coordinate and manage

When to Use What?

Both developer categories are good, both have their own merits and demerits as we saw above. So, businesses may have a tough task deciding which one to opt for. It all depends upon the business requirements, budget allocation, availability of resources, technical expertise, project deadlines and management support.

Here are certain key tips that ascertain choosing either a full stack developer or a specialized developer under certain circumstances:

Choose a Full Stack Developer when

  • The project size is either medium / small or the size of organization is either small or a startup. Because of their detailed knowledge in all areas, they can easily complete the application.
  • The complexity of applications is low. Since they almost know all areas, they can manage the complexity level easily.
  • There is a low budget availability and full stack developers turn out quite reasonable as compared to others
  • There is a need for a fast development and quick delivery
  • The project requirements are not strictly defined and could be subject to changes
  • There is lesser space availability

Choose a Specialized Development when

  • The project size is a large one, with higher complexities. At such time, specialized resources are allocated to their areas of work and is easily managed
  • There is a need for enriched quality output. These developers, owing to their expert knowledge are competent to offer high quality service.
  • The level of complexity is higher and dense. That is when the proficiency level of these developers comes into picture and helps.
  • The project requirements are rigid, fixed and not adjustable
  • There is a relaxed budget allocated to the project
  • There is a lot of space available

Opting for Either – The Debate Continues

Both strands of technologies have their own might and weakness. It is up to the organization to decide which one to choose and why. Based on a lot many parameters, this decision can be made but the final call lies with the resource hiring expert. Even the resource provider and an ideal software service partner can be of great help while finalizing this call. Hire full stack developer or hire a specialized developer – both have their own pros and cons. This discussion can go on till you reach a consensus!