Recruiting And Retention
Everything You Need to Know About Hiring Full Stack Developers

Everything You Need to Know About Hiring Full Stack Developers

by Maria Gomez   |   May 27, 2020   |     11 min read
facebook twitter linkedin

A good developer is like a secret weapon. If you’ve seen the show Mr. Robot, you might be weary of overly proficient coders. Although if you’re in the market for hiring a new developer, you’re likely not expecting them to start a revolution and bring the whole world down with a piece of code, nor do you want them to be a vigilante hacker. It is true, however,  that through the realm of code, developers have a lot of power and influence over how your company functions and presents itself to the world. That’s why hiring the right person is a serious decision not to be taken lightly.

There are many ways to approach the hiring process and each company does it differently. Knowing what you’re looking for and what to expect can set you on the right path. Considering a third party, like staffing service, might also help your company bypass the dozens of resumes you’re likely to get and focus on more vetted candidates. CodersLink can help! We’ve written about hiring back end developers, tech support, and more. Let’s learn about full stack developers and how you can narrow down your hiring.

What is a full stack developer?

There is some debate on the term. Full stack developers, you’ll hear some people say don’t really exist because all developers are, in a sense, full stack. You might also hear that full stack developers refers to those that are proficient in both front end and back end operations. So while the term might not be a specific designation and refer to a broader developer with a wide-ranging set of skills, it’s still a commonly used term.

As the lines between the front end and back end begins to blur, more developers might be likely considered full stack. The real point is that a full stack developer will be versatile and flexible enough to move through both ends of the stack, which means they understand enough about each to create, problem-solve, and develop.  

Who are Today’s Full Stack Developers?

They are nothing less than versatile tech savvy computer engineers that work the front end and back end of a website or application. They can then tackle projects that involve databases, building user-facing websites, or work in the planning phase of projects.  They may have varying backgrounds and various degrees of training and experience. Typically they will be:

  • Familiar with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and one or more back end languages like Ruby or Python.
  • They might be specialized in a particular back end language (i.e Ruby or Python). If they are more senior developers, they may have more than one specialty.

The Challenge of Finding the Right Developer

When it comes to job listings, the language can get confusing. Developers will know whether they can function as a full stack developer based on their skills. And yet, due to some controversy over the term, you might want to be a little more specific on your job listing, in order to ensure you’re being clear about what you’re looking for and expecting from the candidate.

Common Responsibilities of Today’s Full Stack Developers

Full stack developers can have a wide range of responsibilities. Depending on whether they are the only developer on the project or whether they are working with another developer, their day-to-day may vary some. Typically a full stack developer might be considered more of a veteran, as it takes time to build up skills on both ends and be adaptable and resourceful. It’s why these dev ops are quite in demand in the industry.

According to the AceWeb Academy, some of their responsibilities might include:

  • Writing optimized front end code in HTML, Java, etc
  • Creating and using APIs
  • Writing back end code in Ruby, Python, PHP, etc
  • Network security
  • Understanding, creating, and querying databases

Other responsibilities also involve:

Developing web applications. If a full stack developer is working along on a project, they are responsible for developing the application from front to back. This means writing full computer programs and changing existing programs to better user experience.

Problem Solve and Create Software Solutions. Full stack developers work with building custom software solutions using web technologies, they need to be ready to problem solve and troubleshoot those programs.

Lead technical collaboration or client coordination. Because of their experience and wide breadth of knowledge, full stack developers are often in close contact with clients or project managers, coordinating details, development, and other issues.

Implement technical analysis and testing.  Full stack developers will often work on issues that arise with web applications or solve problems that require data analysis. One of their big responsibilities is to propose solutions to problems and creative ways to implement them.  

Technical Skills of a Full Stack Developer

As previously stated, full stack developers are proficient and knowledgeable in a variety of areas and languages. This makes their technical expertise wide-ranging and in high demand. Some of the technical skills these developers should possess include:

  • Programming languages. A full stack developer is familiar and/or proficient in various languages. This includes front end languages such as PHP, Java, HTML, and back end languages like Python, Ruby, and more.
  • Development frameworks. This kind of goes hand in hand with a well-versed programming language toolbox. A good development framework can include Python, Django, JavaSpring, MyBatis, Hibernate, and more.
  • Deep understanding of front end technology. This refers to user experience and understanding the importance of that while working and building an application will be needed. This includes product features, styles, and more.
  • Backend languages. Working the back end is obviously a big part of developing and maintaining web applications. Seeing how the back end is working is as important as the style and user experience.
  • Databases. Working with databases is a must as a full stack developer. A good understanding of at least one or two databases is necessary.
  • Debugging and version control. In order to manage changes that you make in the computer programs, documents, and large websites, a full stack developer needs skills to develop a version control system.

Soft Skills of a Full Stack Developer

And just like technical skills, when looking for the right developer, soft skills can make a world of difference— particularly if your developer or engineer is frequently dealing with clients, leading a team, communicating with employees and potential clients, etc. Important soft skills include:

  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Ethics
  • Creativity
  • Versatility and the ability to think on their feet
  • Communication and leadership
  • Initiative and Self Responsibility

Common Interview Questions and Skills Assessments

There is no exact science on how to find the perfect developer or engineer. It is true, however, that the more you understand the position you’re looking to fill, the better you might be able to tailor your process to find just the right fit.         

Possible Interview Questions

There are a number of questions you can ask to sense the experience of your candidate. Below are a few, as posted on toptal and fullstack.cafe. 

  • List three things to consider when coding with SEO in mind
  • If you were to write an endpoint for checking if a resource exists, what path and method would you use.
  • What is the inversion of control?
  • What are the success factors for continuous integration?
  • How would you prevent a bot from scraping your publicly accessible API?
  • What is Bridge pattern? What is Observer pattern?

Technical Assessment

A great way to assess the skills of a full stack developer is to give them real-world problems. An example of a technical assessment by hacker earth looks a little like this:

Sample problem:

Develop a pseudo web application that will let users search for and list restaurant deals conveniently.

Define the languages/technology to be used:

-Database

-Back end framework

-Front end

-Functionality of the application

Evaluation Parameters

These are some examples of parameters to consider:

Database: Check the storage of the data in the database and whether it is connected properly.

Back-end skills: Assess key components such as the proper use of a framework.

Front end skills: Observe the aesthetics, HTML structure, etc.

Functionality: Check whether the application works as intended.

Deployment: Check for the ability to deploy the application on a cloud platform.

Job Description for a Full Stack Developer

Your job description should be designed to showcase the kind of company you are and the kind of worker you are looking for. The language, tone, and details you include will tell something about your company’s ethos, mission, and priorities. Consider including the following in your job description:

  • Expectations. What do you expect from your applicants?
  • What are the minimum standards and the kinds of qualifications you’re looking for.
  • Show them you understand the challenges and difficulties of their job and how you support them in the workplace.
  • Show them there is room for growth. One way to attract top candidates is to make your job description one that shows that your company is a welcoming flourishing place that allows room for creativity and growth.

Seniority Level:

  • Junior
  • Intermediate
  • Senior

Years of Experience:

  • 0 to 1
  • 1 to 3
  • 4 to 6
  • 7 to 9
  • 10 to 14

Location:

  • City, Country
  • Remote

Employment Type:

  • Part-time
  • Full time

Salary Expectations:

According to Indeed.com, a full stack developer can expect to make about $113,000 a year. This does vary depending on experience—given that a skilled full stack developer requires a lot of experience. With less than one year, the salary can be anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000 per year.

Beyond the Resume: Rethinking Hiring Process

There are several things companies are doing today in order to find the best talent. After all, the kind of creativity and breadth of experience and knowledge is not always easily transferable to a resume. So as your company gets ready to post its job posting or to hire a new software developer or engineer, here are a couple of things to think about:

  • If possible, reduce the dependency on the resume. The resume can give you an idea of where the candidate has worked and how many years they have been working but it doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of work, their work ethic, or their creativity and ability to solve problems.
  • Look for contributions to open source, past projects, have them perform skills assessments.

Using Third-Party Staffing Services To Streamline Hiring Process

A resume is not going to tell you who the most well-trained, experienced, competent, honest, and the vetted candidate is. This makes the hiring process quite tedious, as it involves going over hundreds of resumes and sifting through details searching for the one that might be the clue to the best candidate. It doesn’t quite work that way. It’s why many tech companies are opting for using third party staffing services to help them through the hiring process and a lot of the administrative stuff.

This does not mean your company is any less involved or has any less control over the hiring process. Yet, using staffing services like CodersLink, will give you access to a pool of qualified and experienced candidates that no longer warrant the kind of suspicion that you might have with a random resume sent through a job board. Here at CodersLink, we pride ourselves in building relationships with incredible communities of developers and engineers and getting to know their strengths and skillsets, as well as their specialties, in order to find them the best place possible. So these are two valuable options for companies to use when getting a third party to help with hiring:

  • Direct Placement Hiring: Using the staffing agency as a way to bypass the recruitment process and use a third party’s connections and experience in the field to find candidates, while you take care of the hiring. This often transitions to a permanent placement, so the third party only assists on a temporary basis until you have fully taken the employee on permanently.
  • Remote Hiring: Staffing services provide direct connections to qualified candidates that have been vetted for quality and experience. This provides your company with access to great candidates that can work remotely.

Find The Ideal Candidate For Your Company’s Vision and Needs

Your company has a vision, and you need the right people to help you bring it to life. The right developer is a weapon. They are a major asset and strength when it comes to your company achieving its goals. So whether you are hiring a full stack developertech support, or other tech role, get the support you need to make your process reliable and effective.

Tell us your questions about full stack developers. What makes a good developer? What kind of candidate are you looking for?

Leave a comment