full stack developers Vs Specialized Web Developers. 

Are you a business owner looking to integrate best practices for web or software development in your business?

Especially if you’re a small business, chances are that you’ll be looking to hire full stack developers for your projects in order to get the work done in the most flexible manner.

Well, what you’ll read ahead will help you understand the reality about hiring full stack developers in 2018, and help you make a choice between hiring full stack developers Vs. hiring specialized developers for each specific languages.

Today’s enterprises go to the greatest depths possible in an attempt to hire developers with basic know-how of all front-end, back-end, and database programming. But what they expect to hire is a superhero who knows and understands everything involved in a development project. But in a world where technologies keep getting updated, evolve with time and the needs of audiences, full stack developers aren’t the knights they were once considered to be.


The term “full stack developers” has been a common buzzword since the times when software development initially gained prominence. Back in the 1990s and the early 21st century, full stack developers were developers proficient in the use of both front-end and back-end languages, along with acquiring some degree of knowledge in managing databases. Learning HTML, CSS, Java, C# and a few other languages were all it took for one to be considered a full stack developer.

Read More: Do You Really Need to Hire full Stack Developers?

The term carried ahead even through times when new languages, frameworks, and libraries emerged, and today; the literal meaning of a full stack developer remains the same. However, in 2018, a full stack developer requires to have knowledge in almost a myriad languages in addition to the basics. Some of these include SQL, Bash/Shell, Python, C# and PHP. Front-end frameworks such as React Native and Angular among others. Learning and getting a hand on the basics of these languages alone would take a developer around 10+ years.

Even then, emerging technologies in the realm of software result in the creation of more things for developers to learn. So how, in such a situation would you term someone as a full-stack developer? Well, its meaning has indeed clouded over the years, and perhaps business, and in some cases, the developers themselves have forgotten what being a full stack developer really means.

Full stack developers are a Jack of all trades, but the master of none. But are they better than a master of one?

The annual survey of Stack Overflow in 2016 revealed an interesting fact. Most of the participants of this survey (56,033 participants in 173 countries), at about 28% were full stack developers. In contrast, the same survey in 2018 with over 100,000 developers yielded a different result. This time, the highest majority of respondents were back-end developers at 57.9%, and full stack developers gained the second majority with 48.2%.

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What this really highlights is the decrease in people identifying themselves as full-stack developers in a span of just 2 years. The reason? Perhaps it is the fact that being a full-stack developer isn’t something to be done once and dusted. It’s something that runs the course of an entire career as a software engineer.
More and more developers today prefer to stick with any of their specialties rather than taking the route of full stack proficiency. The choice between full stack developers and specialized developers has become difficult over time.

The argument for full stack developers


Full stack developers are flexible, and much more capable of controlling projects by themselves.
The reason why Facebook exclusively hired only full stack developers in the initial phases of the social media platform, and why large enterprises look for highly qualified full stack developers is their flexibility. Yes, full stack developers aren’t quite an expert in anything. But their knowledge in other languages and aspects helps them see the bigger picture much better than developers mastering in any specific stack.

Full stack developers make the best software product managers and are the most suited to understand a client’s needs in a better context. Say, if you put a front-end developer and a full-stack developer in front of a client explaining his project idea. You may find better suggestions and plans for UI/UX and other design aspects from a front-end developer.

But at the same time, a front-end developer may go overboard with his creativity and perform design stunts which affect the back-end of the client’s website; which is something a front-end developer cannot really deal with.

At the other end, a full stack developer may not give the best design ideas, but he could definitely put a better picture and present a more comprehensive perspective of a clients’ ideas.

An argument for specialized developers & Full Stack Developers

On the surface, a team of full-stack developers might seem to be the best option for business. Arguably, it indeed is beneficial for most business looking for flexibility. But for business which requires expertise in one-specific function of software development, specialized developers might be a better choice.

Full stack developers; being just proficient, and not masters in a specific technology stack often fail in understanding depths. Depth, in this context, refers to the application of creative skills in stacks that only experts could do. Let’s understand this with a simple example. Let’s assume a client wants a unique front-end design for a blogging website; wherein back-end isn’t really a priority.

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In this case, what if both a front-end developer and a full stack developer were made to fulfill this requirement? The results would be predictable. The expertise of the front-end developer would enable him to come up with the most creative ideas for design.

On the other hand, a full stack developer might provide good ideas, but their depths won’t match the levels of the former since a front-end developer has a more narrow, if not broad experience and is more suited to fulfill the specific need of the client.

So Who Should You Hire in 2019? Full Stack Developers Or Specialized Developers.  

It depends. If you’re a business with a broader range of operations in the software side, then definitely a team with a higher number of full-stack developers makes more sense. Though it should be known that full stack developers are expensive, and so the costs are only justified if the flexibility provided by full stack developers is an integral need for operations.

At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re a business focusing on only one core part which is most useful to the business operations, be it front-end, back-end or database management. Then specialized developers must be the top choice since they provide the highest amount of skill for the required job.



  • Small businesses with minimal space and hardware for mass hiring of developers.
  • Businesses which require flexibility in development operations and have no budget constraints


  • A business which only needs expertise in a specific technology stack for enhancing its operations.
  • Those businesses with a limited budget, with ample hardware and space for hiring more developers


By the way, if you’re looking to hire full stack developers, then PixelCrayons can provide you with the best of them. We have highly qualified and experienced full-stack developers who’ve handled 4800+ projects and helps us maintain a 97% client retention rate over 14 years!


About the Author

Varun Bhagat is a technology geek and works with PixelCrayons as a Sr. Technology Consultant. He possesses in-depth knowledge of different web development technology and helps our clients to choose the best technology as per their needs.

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