Offshore IT Staffing Advice / Remote Recruitment / Tech Insights

Full Stack vs. Specialized Developer: Who Is The Best For Your Remote Business?

Vishal Srivastava
- 3 min. to read

If you’re hiring web developers, you have two main options- hire a full stack developer or a specialized developer. But the choice isn’t as straightforward as it seems because it depends a lot on the context and your specific requirements.. That’s why our team has put together this detailed comparison of Full Stack vs Specialized Developer.

According to LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs Report for 2020, job opportunities for full-stack developers have increased by 35% annually since 2015.

However, despite the increase, many organizations and startups still argue in favor of recruiting specialized developers for their software development teams.  

The decision becomes even more critical if you are hiring for a remote business where you need to be absolutely sure about requirements before onboarding any freelance or contractual developers in your team.

So, what factors should you take into account when deciding between full-stack and specialized software engineers? 

To help you make the decision, today, we’ll look at the differences between full-stack and specialized developers, as well as the ideal use cases for employing full-stack developers.

What are Full Stack and Specialized Developers?

Also known as a “Jack of all Trades,” full-stack developers are well-versed in both front-end and back-end web development (server-side). As a result, they have a thorough understanding of software development. 

On the other hand, specialized developers are highly trained in one or two specific technologies. They can solve challenges at a faster pace and can build robust systems at scale. 

Full Stack vs Specialized Developers

Full Stack Developer Specialized Developer
Must understand both front-end and back-end technologiesShould have a thorough understanding of either front-end or back-end issue
Well-versed in a wide range of technologies and abilitiesHighly trained & experienced in one particular sector. 
Must have a diverse skillset that includes project planning, software testing, and more.Should have deep expertise in one area rather than other skillset
Can take up an entire project on their ownTake care of one specific system in a project
Hiring them is comparatively less expensiveSpecialist developers usually charge higher than full-stack developers

Full Stack Developer Skills

Full-stack developers are in high demand right now and will continue to be so in the future. Jobs for full-stack developers are expected to expand from 135,000 in 2016 to 853,000 in 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Clearly, Full Stack development isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Full-stack developers must have the following skillsets:

  • HTML/CSS basic design skills 
  • Javascript
  • Web architecture 
  • Git and GitHub 
  • HTTP and REST 
  • Back-end languages 
  1. PHP 
  2. Ruby
  3. Python 
  4. Java 
  • Database Storage 
  • Basic Design Skills 
  1. NPM 
  2. Design software skills

Pros of Hiring Full-stack Developers

Identifying Problems

Full-stack developers are well-versed in all phases of software development to see problems early in the project’s lifecycle. You’ll be able to save time that such issues would otherwise consume.

They Can  Pick Up New Information Quickly

The ability to pick up new ideas and technologies is a  great full stack developer advantage. They’ve become experienced developers because of their well-versed knowledge of fundamentals.

Low-cost

One developer’s budget may do the job of both a front-end and back-end developer if you hire a full-stack developer. There is no need to employ multiple staff if you have a full-stack developer on your team who knows how to do everything.

A full-stack developer might be more cost-effective for your business than a specialist developer when you’re uncertain about which role to hire. You’d pay cheaper for hiring a full-stack vs front-end developer or full-stack vs backend developer.

Shorten the Time Needed for Development

Because full-stack engineers work on both the client and the server sides, they can do various tasks quickly and independently. This reduces the amount of time you have to spend developing.

Less Meetings and Conversations 

There are numerous meetings to have when you have various devs in your team. A full-stack developer frees your team from relying on other members, eliminating the need for meetings and additional meetings.

Having said that, there are still a few limitations of employing full-stack developers.

Cons of Hiring Full Stack Developers

There is no free time for full-stack developers since they deal with various technologies. Fullstack developers may not be helpful if your product relies on cutting-edge technology and must be continually updated.

Project Tracking Is Difficult

When your team consists of a full-stack developer, there is no work distribution. Full-stack developers approach the project as a whole rather than as individual jobs. It isn’t easy to keep tabs on their progress after they’ve started working on your project.

Potential Lack of Exceptional Service

Full-stack developers might lack specialist abilities in a given topic since their knowledge base is so diverse. As a result, full-stack developers may not assist your project if it requires in-depth knowledge of a specific topic.

So, in terms of project development, they can deliver many services, but they might be average and not the exceptional service you want.

Job Depreciation

Fullstack developers are in great demand, and as a result, they have a steady stream of lucrative work. Because of this, full-stack developers have a high job depreciation rate.

Difficult To Replace

If you have a full-stack developer on board and they fail your project midway through, you may find yourself in a difficult position to maintain. You cannot afford to lose the full-stack developer since you rely on them.

Pros of a Specialized Developer

Exceptional Performance

Because the Specialist Developers are experts in their fields, you know you’ll get high-quality work. Specialized developers outperform full-stack developers in terms of project development quality.

They Are Keeping Up With The Newest Technological Developments

A specialist developer is well-versed in a specific field, so they stay ahead of the newest developments in that field. Hiring expert developers for your project ensures that the overall quality will be improved.

Responsibilities Are Easily Delegated

It’s easy to delegate responsibility and duties to your team’s specialist developers because of the narrow focus of their work. They’ll have no problem dividing and allocating the work.

It’s Easy To Hire A New One

You’ll have an easier time finding project-specific developers than full-stack developers. Because of this, the number of chances for software engineers is increasing. 

There is a large population of specialist developers on the market. Therefore, it is possible to find the developers you need for your company.

Cons of a Specialized Developer

Expensive 

For front-end and back-end development, you’ll need separate teams of developers when dealing with specialist contractors. On the other hand, full-stack developers  require a single developer to complete your project. This means that hiring expert developers will cost you much more money.

Dependency 

When working with specialized developers on a project, you’ll need to rely on them more. Front-end and back-end devs can’t go forward without each other’s input.

Teamwork Management

Because the specialized development team is more interdependent, it requires more meetings and talks for the project to run well.

Who Should You Hire: Fullstack VS Specialized Developer


Choose a Fullstack Developer IF…

You work on a simple project

When working on a small project, it’s best to engage full-stack developers since they can work independently on a variety of different technologies and only achieve your project’s objectives. Full-stack developers have the flexibility to work on many projects simultaneously and yet fulfill deadlines.

You work on a project with a low level of difficulty

Complex projects need the use of specialist developers who have the necessary expertise. Fullstack developers, on the other hand, are better suited to tasks of smaller complexity or when the project is relatively straightforward. They can also work easily in remote teams where you have already defined SOPs, and the project´s are well-defined.

Limited financial resources

If your project development budget is tight, you will need full-stack engineers rather than specialized ones.

There’s a tight deadline to meet

Multitasking is second nature to full-stack developers, and they possess the skills to complete a project’s development on their own. Hiring a full-stack developer is preferable if you are pressed for time and need the project completed quickly.

Starting a new company or running a small business

Startups are limited by resources like time and money. In the beginning, you might not need specialist resources when you are just testing an idea or preparing for an MVP launch. 

Choose a Specialized Developer IF

You work on a big project

It’s good to hire a specialist development team when your organization is working on a significant project since they’ll break it down into manageable chunks and work toward your objectives step by step.

The quality of the project

Use expert developers if your project is critical and necessitates high levels of quality and accuracy. They will bring precision, professional knowledge, and extensive experience to the table.

Complicated tasks

When working on a complicated project, recruiting specialized experts is better.  To operate effectively and meet goals, they must have extensive knowledge and expertise. Fullstack developers might not be the best bet in these cases.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is full stack same as a developer?

Technically, full-stack refers to both front-end technologies and back-end technologies. A full-stack developer has knowledge and skillset in both areas.

What are the main full stack developer hiring challenges? (Really brief explanation)

Full-stack developers may not be up-to-date on the newest developments in technology because of the large variety of languages and technologies they work with. Moreover, they may not have the knowledge required to complete a project if it is more complex or requires better quality work on a particular part of the stack than a front-end or back-end developer.

What are the main specialized developer hiring challenges?

If your project has a limited budget, hiring specialized developers becomes a challenge as they are expensive. Additionally, you are likely to be more dependent on them for a specific part of the project. 

What is the primary difference between full-stack vs specialized developers?

The primary difference is in terms of their skillset and domain expertise. Full-stack developers know both front-end and back-end web development (server-side). On the other hand, specialized developers are experts and well-versed in one or two technologies.

Final Thoughts

It is impossible to generalize the needs of any project. You must analyze your project to determine if you need a full-stack or specialist developer. 

Before assembling your developer team, make a list of the requirements specified by your CTO or technical team required for the project.

If you have a remote business, you would already be in a stage where the project is well-defined before you decide to hire developers. This will also help you keep a track of the performance of your remote team of developers. 

In recent years, the need for full-stack engineers has grown as startups and smaller enterprises seek rapid fixes and reduced development expenses. On the other hand, larger organizations rely on expert developers to develop innovative solutions to complex challenges. 

If you’re starting to create your team or employ new developers, at DistantJob, we can help you. Our global team of recruiters is skilled enough to help you find the technical talent you need. And if you want to educate more in the fundamentals of development or remote recruiting, we can also help you. You can read more about custom software development as well as comparisons between various languages like Angular vs React for your projects.

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