How full-stack development can ruin your business and what you can do to prevent this from happening
- Hiring a full-stack developer sometimes seems like a magical solution to all the problems. Imagine a developer with many years of experience who can deliver results without the need to communicate with team members and can do things even quicker than a group of qualified professionals. This, however, is not a realistic scenario for businesses to thrive on a long-term basis.
- Full-stack development is great for simple tasks and systems, but this is also where it has its limits. Growing your business and needing to transfer to using more complex platforms or technologies, you have to hire a team.
- If you properly plan the framework and hire T-shaped professionals, the productivity of your communication will increase, providing a quicker high-quality outcome.
When thinking of taking the technical development of your company to the next level, you might find yourself facing a hard choice of WHOM to trust to give you the best business solution. Should you or should you not hire a full-stack engineer, one of the most demanded specialists who seem to be able to magically solve your problems at the right price and deliver the results that you have come to expect?
Short answer: no, you shouldn’t. Choosing to hire a team of experienced developers each specializing in their own field can provide you a better alternative to guarantee your company’s growing revenue and more efficient performance in the long run. For the long answer, let’s dig into why full-stack developers might actually prevent your development.
According to LinkedIn, the demand for full-stack developers has been increasing at 35% each year since 2015. Currently, you will see around 18,000 vacancies available daily on Indeed.com. Full-stack developers are in high demand, and that is a fact.
Hiring full-stack specialists has been saving many companies. By working with one person, you can get a decent result for the same amount of money and maybe even cheaper than if you hired a team of specialists. The perfect senior developer knows how to work with the frontend, backend, database, as well as how to use Vue, Symfony, Firebase, Go, or any other stacks needed to get the work done. This person can also organize it all to produce the most efficient result out of given resources. A full-stack developer is a person of broad knowledge, a unicorn.
Many companies hire full-stack developers because they are expected to deliver results quicker than front-end and back-end specialists working in a team. Since this person can do it all, there will be no need to communicate with other team members, which often wastes a lot of time. One person can see the whole process at once and is able to do both frontend and backend at the same time.
Sounds like a great option then, right? However, despite all of the advantages mentioned above, hiring a full-stack developer isn’t for everyone. In most cases, it can lead to slower growth, lower quality, and a great possibility of causing real pain in the future.
Having a superbrain is almost impossible
Imagine being able to write code clearly, secure network protocol, implement UX/UI, and combine them all into one final solution in the best quality possible within a limited amount of time and budget – all by yourself! This sounds pretty overwhelming, doesn’t it? It sure does since our brains are not designed to multitask effectively. One study has found that just 2.5% of the population are actually capable of doing that. And this is what full-stack development is supposed to be all about.
Full-stack engineering requires people to know everything at once at an advanced level. Furthermore, full-stack engineers have to always stay up-to-date with new and complex development stacks and technologies. Since both front-end and back-end engineering are equally complex and full of nuances, the learning never stops. A person’s capacity to process this much knowledge is limited, no matter how organized and balanced their workflow may be.
Studies have shown that with our brains constantly switching between tasks (especially those that are more complicated and require a lot of attention to details), we become less efficient and more prone to making mistakes, which cost a lot.
Moreover, full-stack developers cannot know both front-end and back-end development at an equally high level that is needed for solving complex and demanding tasks. One area of their expertise is always stronger than the other, even if slightly. In order to achieve the best results, both front-end and back-end development must be done perfectly. Therefore, this is a task for at least two separate specialists.
Read more: How to Outsource Software Development Right: 12 Reliable Tips from a 12-Year-Old Provider
Full-stack development has its limits
If you have ever worked for or with a startup, you know that it comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is working with team specialists who need to know how to do everything. This usually happens when there are not very many of them. It could just be a small team of people learning as they go and taking on a wide variety of responsibilities. Everything usually works out perfectly at first.
When the time comes to grow, though, for them to become more lucrative and work efficiently, they need to hire more professionals – individuals who specialize in their own expertise. This boosts their results immediately. A similar analogy can be applied to full-stack developers as well-rounded multi-tasking specialists.
Full-stack development is good for solving simple tasks like developing an MVP, creating a landing page, or working with WordPress. If we want to scale up, that is, transfer to using more complex platforms or technologies, a full-stack developer should not be the one to deliver high-quality solutions. Complex development requires a deep understanding of every detail of the process.
Let’s imagine we have some code, a database, and a data model with a maximum limit of 500 records. The model should be able to work rapidly well with a database containing 500 records. However, it will fail if the database contains, say, 500,000 records. Since this model will not be able to work with such a high volume of data, it will need to be revamped.
Thus, if we only work with a maximum limit of 500 records, full-stack development is a great choice. If we expand our business and require a model to fit at least 500,000 records, we must hire several specialists who are experts in their field. These can include a database analyst, a front-end developer, a back-end developer, and so on. A full-stack engineer would only be the perfect choice for a business that requires simple technical systems.
When two forces unite
Front-end and back-end engineers who work together in a team are way more successful and effective than full-stack developers who work individually. They all do what is required of them to do and then come up with the best technical solution at each stage of the process.
Deciding whether to employ one full-stack engineer or a team of separate specialized developers, you could pay attention to the fact that teams usually require a decent amount of time on communication, thus more time on result delivery. For example, our experience shows that about 20% of Scrum sprints are spent on discussions and planning.
This might seem like a disadvantage but it’s really communication and cooperation that will make the final product better. Taking the right approach to communicate effectively will allow you to plan out the process in such a way that every minute you invest in it will later result in fewer mistakes and better overall performance. This will also reduce the time and money that have been spent on correcting these mistakes.
In Maven’s own example, by spending the time to communicate effectively, we discuss overlapping tasks to find the best solution so that each individual developer is then able to achieve the highest efficiency possible.
We also endorse the concept of T-shaped professionals, specialized generalists who are masters in their specific areas but great collaborators with other experts as well as broad-minded enough to execute various tasks. Unlike generalists who know a lot but anything specifically or I-shaped specialists who only know their field of expertise but don’t have a big picture on the whole process, T-shaped professionals collaborate well with appropriate team members because they understand their needs which can ensure a quick and effective workflow.
For example, a T-shaped backend developer understands the basics of front-end generation and a T-shaped front-end developer understands network connections, such as DNS, CDN principles, and so on. Having this knowledge within related fields allows them to communicate more productively, which results in a more rapid and high-quality outcome.
The true benefit that you can receive from software development is that it helps you accomplish your business goals. Whatever your goals may be, it is vital to consider every alternative and keep in mind your vision of the company’s future.
When it comes to improving your customer satisfaction and maximizing your revenues in the long run, full-stack development may not be the best choice for you. Initially, you will save a lot of money and get a satisfactory result. But in the long run, you will realize that your company will be operating at a loss.
Genuinely meaningful and thoughtful work is achieved through the collaboration between specialized T-shaped professionals. This is what Maven is all about. Most of our team consists of T-shaped professionals, we never hire full-stack developers and always try to work with separate professionals.
By deciding to work with us, you benefit from a deep technology expertise, 12+ years of experience in making effective solutions that work, and 50+ T-shape team members. After all, teamwork is really what it takes to help you reach your goals. Let`s talk about how we can meet your business needs!