You might have heard the quote “Jack of all trades, master of none”. To put it in perspective, Full Stack Developers and Software Developers can be defined by tweaking this quote a bit.
When we talk about full stack developers and software developers, one is a jack of all trades and the other is the master of one, respectively.
When we talk about website development or web application development, clients usually have two choices.
It is either choosing a small team of cross-functional business and technology experts that comprise analysts and full-stack developers, or they can create an entire team of experts where everyone manages one or two aspects of application development.
It all boils down to the requirements:
But how do we determine which of the two types of developers is better for a web development project?
Well, there is no one straight answer to this question. It is rather a matter of determining the requirements of the project and making an informed decision after leveraging the pros and cons of full-stack developers and software developers.
Website development or web application development has many aspects, such as cost, efficiency, scalability, complexity, go-to-market time, and many others.
Based on what the project requirements are, one can determine whether they need to hire full-stack developers or software developers.
To help enterprises make an informed decision, they must understand the capabilities and differences between software developers and full-stack developers.
But, before we move on to the differences, let us first understand what the difference is between a software developer and a full-stack developer.
Who is a Software Developer?
There are two main parts of a website or a web application, namely the front-end and backend.
A software developer is a technology expert that can only develop either the front-end or the back end of a web application.
They might know one or more programming languages for development, but they cannot handle both the front-end and back-end of the project.
Who is a Full-Stack Developer?
A full-stack developer, as the name suggests, manages every aspect of the website or web app development.
Right from designing the front-end of the web app to developing the back end and database of the website, they can manage all the aspects of the project.
They know many different backend and frontend technology platforms and can handle the entire development of the project on their own.
Apart from their skill sets, there are also other differences between a full-stack developer and a software developer. These differences are mentioned below:
7 major differences between a full-stack developer and a software developer:
Full-stack developers can participate in a project right from the technical feasibility stage until the deployment.
Since they can manage all the aspects of web development, such as APIs, database management, backend coding, frontend coding, and others, you can hire full-stack developers for any part of the development cycle.
Based on the expertise of the software developer, they could be part of the project in which they have their skill set.
If you hire software developers with a back-end programming language, they wouldn’t be needed during front-end development, and vice versa.
When you hire full-stack developers, they take a holistic approach to the project, and they interact at each level of the development lifecycle.
Since they have comprehensive development capabilities, they can also help in the strategic planning of the project along with its execution.
When you hire a software developer in India, they might not have a complete understanding of the project, and hence their involvement and interaction in the development lifecycle are limited to their area of expertise.
Since they cannot fathom the complexity of all the aspects of the development, they are usually not part of the strategic planning, but they get included in the sprint planning of their aspect of the project.
Role in Web Development:
You can hire full stack developers as project consultants as well as execution experts, and they can also be part of quality assurance and software upgrades in the long run.
When you hire a software developer, their role is usually limited to certain parts of the project, and they would only work until that aspect of the project was ongoing.
They can conduct unit testing of their part of the development but cannot manage the quality assurance of the entire codebase.
Skills of Development:
A full-stack developer works on wireframes and prototypes as well as front-end and back-end development, database design, and API development.
Software developers will only require skills for their area of expertise, and they are not expected to get involved in the other aspects of web development.
To remain relevant as a full-stack developer, an expert must keep updating their skill set with all the evolving technology platforms and all the aspects of the development lifecycle.
Software developers must only stay updated in the programming languages of their area of expertise and become masters of their work.
While they are not obligated to understand and learn technology platforms for other aspects of web development, they can evolve into a full-stack developer by gaining the skill set for other aspects of the project.
Cost of hiring:
A full-stack developer can assume many different hats, reducing the overall resource requirements of the project.
But, since they hold expertise in various aspects of web development, their cost of hiring would be higher whether you were hiring an in-house resource or a dedicated resource from a technology partner.
The cost of hiring a software developer is dependent on their knowledge and role in the web development project.
If you require an expert for a complex web application development project, the cost of an expert may be higher than that of an average software developer.
But since their skill set is limited to their area of expertise, comparatively, the cost of hiring a software developer in most cases would be lower than that of a full-stack developer.
A full-stack developer might not be relevant for a project where web development has a complex structure and requires an expert that can tackle any challenge in their area of expertise.
For projects that have limited time and resources available for web development, incurring and including many experts might not be feasible for the client, and thus, they might seek full-stack developers.
Your choice between hiring a software developer and hiring a full-stack developer would be dependent on your project requirements.
If you wish to create a team of experts where everyone holds in-depth knowledge of their area to implement complex development architecture, you will require a rare talent pool of software developers.
If you aim for quick, effective, and affordable web development, a small cross-functional team of full-stack developers would be sufficient.