You’ve got a brilliant idea for a product. Everything’s set; from the design idea to the implementation. You know what you want and how you want it to be.
But now, here’s a question. How will you do it?
Every idea needs finance. It is not always possible to self-finance ideas. You need a financer or an investor to provide a funding to your idea.
How do you approach an investor? Only an idea on a verbal note or a sketch doesn’t work always. You need to give something to them to get back up. You need to see your idea in some action to see it’s success quotient. The answers to your how here is an MVP (minimal viable product).
An MVP will help you understand your audience. Then, the users give a feedback on the MVP you’ve developed. If you receive a positive feedback, you’re more likely to go ahead with the advanced development of your idea and make it a reality.
The next obvious set of questions would be, who will build an MVP for me? Do I need to hire a specific set of developers? Can I get it done from one developer? Can I do it on my own?
Here’s the thing…
You can develop MVP yourself if you have the required technical skills. If you are the next Mark Zuckerberg, you can start building your MVP and once you get traction, hire more engineers.
However, in my experience, many innovators are non-techies themselves and they need to rely on others to build their dream product.
You can maybe, outsource your project to a team of developers or a development company if your budget allows you to. Rather, you can choose to hire in-house developers to work on your MVP. Having a bunch of in-house developers has its own benefits. You are constantly in control of your project (if you’re a control-freak, of course!), know what’s happening on the floor, and are immersed in the project lifecycle completely.
Let’s just say… you’ve decided to hire an in-house team. What would the team look like? Would you choose to hire specialists in their individual domains only (although it isn’t a mandate while developing an MVC) or rather hire a developer who is an expert in a domain or two, but also has quite a knowledge about other technologies? Oh, such all-around geniuses are also called full-stack developers.
What is Full-stack Development?
Full-stack development is covering both the aspects of an app development—frontend and backend. It includes developing the frontend, backend, the database, and linking it entirely. You can hire one or more full-stack developer for app development.
Full-stack development covers all aspects of an app development, from conception to deployment.
The development is dispersed in 3 layers:
The Presentation Layer: This is the frontend of the app. The User Interface is developed here. You can’t be a full-stack developer if you aren’t comfortable with front-end development. You should at least be able to create a dynamic, functional, and a responsive web app.
The Business Logic: This is the backend layer of the app. The frontend is powered by the backend. Developers use server-side languages to create the logic of a web app. A full-stack developer needs to know at least a couple of backend language with their frameworks. Most common frameworks include Ruby with Ruby on Rails, Node.js with Express.js, Python with Django, and Java with Spring MVC, JSF among others.
The Database: The database layer is a part of server-side programming. It includes creating and maintaining databases. A full-stack developer should be comfortable working with at least a couple of database languages.
Database languages are classified into two types—Relational and Non-relational databases. Relational databases use tables and rows to store and fetch data whereas non-relational databases store information in JSON format.
A full-stack developer must be able to work with the 3 most popular database languages. These are, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB. MySQL and PostgreSQL are a relational database; most of the web database is based on these languages. MongoDB is the most-used non-relational database.
What are Full-Stack Developers: The T-Shaped Professionals?
A full-stack developer is an all-rounder. These guys are familiar with most of the technologies to build an app. A full-stack developer is aware and can work on both, the frontend and backend technologies. They’re capable of making an entire functional application on their own.
A full-stack developer is also called a T-shaped professional.
Who is a T-shaped professional? Why T-shaped? How did the term come into existence? Here’s how…
A T-shaped professional is the one who is a master of one or more domain, but also has sufficient knowledge about other domains; sufficient enough to get through issues and work towards sustainability. A T-shaped model as opposed to the traditional I-shaped professional, who are masters of their domain, and that’s it. I-shaped professionals aren’t aware of other domains, whereas T-shaped is.
Similarly, a full-stack developer can be an expert in one or more frontend or/and backend technology. But, he also has a functional knowledge of languages beyond his expertise. This skillset is what makes a full-stack developer edgy than the traditional developers. T-shaped specialists are extremely useful while developing modern web projects, as they are aware of various technologies that will be used during development.
Here’s a classic example…
You want to build an e-commerce app. Your idea is already sketched and all you need is getting an MVP developed for it. There are two ways to go around it.
First, you hire a team of following individual developers.
- UI/UX Designer
- Front-end Developer
- Back-end Developer
- A Communicator
…and there’s finally, you! Communication between the team will be chaotic, the expenses will be huge, and the timeline for individual developers will differ. The concept of co-existence will be a question.
Here’s an alternative. Hire a few full-stack developers; THAT’S IT. These full-stack developers can work in harmony, from project inception, suggesting better design, to its implementation. There’s absolutely no chaos in here, the project can be completed in time, and is a huge cost-saver!
This is exactly why full-stack developers are preferred and are in demand on the web.
Now, you’ll ask this. What exactly qualifies for a full-stack developer? Here are a couple of technologies and skills a full-stack developer must be acquainted with, if not an expert.
Here’s a list of JS frameworks useful to become a good frontend developer:
A dynamic frontend requires a backend. The logic of how the website will function is developed here in sync with the frontend. Hence, it is a compulsion for a full-stack developer to be skilled in backend development. Want to hire an amazing backend developer? Know if the developer knows the following languages:
Database and Web Storage:
All your data needs some storage. You also need to maintain this data in a proper format for using it. Also, there are two types of databases—relational and non-relational. A full-stack developer needs to be skilled with at least a couple of database languages. Here are a couple of database languages like:
HTTP & REST:
HTTP is a communicator. It forms protocols to communicate between the client and servers. It helps web apps to run on the client-side. The full-stack developer must understand how HTTP and REST commands work and how to configure them.
Git is a programmers’ shared Drive. It is a version control system; Git allows you to view changes made in a codebase by collaborative coders. Git also teaches you how to maintain a code architecture and structure. Git assists for code revisions and forking projects for experimentation. This helps developers try a tweak without affecting the original source code. The issue system at Git helps developers to keep a track of issues, tasks, and bugs in the repo.
Web Application Architecture:
Complex codes require a certain level of upkeep and maintenance, especially in terms of understandability.
A full-stack developer knows how to structure the code, separate files, hosting large media files, structure the database for a clean query, and perform certain computational tasks.
Here’s the game; the developers have built the application and it’s time for an upload. But, how do you do it? Full-stack developers use PaaS services such as AWS, Heroku, and Digital Ocean.
Heroku allows you to upload the code and deploy it with minimal required configuration. AWS, on the other hand, serves with an ocean of options for storage and processing.
Basic Algorithms and Data Structures:
It is surprising how many people look down at algorithms as something less important. Here’s a fact, Google asks tons of questions on algorithms and data structures.
It is important for every coder to be versed with data structures, hash tables, branches and how to use them, stacks and heaps, and traversing through the program. Because there will be times when you won’t know the exact code to perform an activity. But, if you know how to do it, you’ll eventually figure the code out (else, Stack Overflow!).
Hiring Full-stack Developers for Building an MVP, Why?
Full-stack developers are heroes of all corners. They know the pros and cons of most of the things you’re going through. You have a one-stop query corner. If there’s anything, you know who to contact or talk to. What better would you want for the first time?
Again, if you want your idea to become a reality (MVP) in a quick succession, hire a full-stack developer. You’ll save tons of money, a lot of time, and have lesser people to interact with you. That’s how beneficial full-stack developers are.
Here’s a comprehensive list of why you should hire a full-stack developer for your MVP…
A full-stack developer can easily switch between the frontend and backend, and vice versa. The developer knows what the end result, is and is aware of probable situations that can arise. They’re ready for foreseen consequences and know their way around it.
Entire Design Structure
A full-stack developer isn’t tied to a specific domain. He can switch through domains as and when required. As the developer knows coding and design both, he can prevent slips during web development.
This is a no-brainer benefit. Hiring specialized developers is any day a costly affair than hiring one or more full-stack developer. It’s always better to have a jack of all trades than a master of one.
Easy to Take Ownership of Design & Implementation
Again, it is better to give ownership of a project entirely to one agency. An off-shore full-stack development will take care of your project from inception to the end-game. You don’t have to worry about inter-agency communication in case you’ve hired special agencies.
Easy to Upgrade
Research shows that full-stack developers are more adaptive to newer technologies as compared to domain-specific experts. If your MVP requires an upgrade or a new technology, a full-stack developer is more likely to adapt and improvise as compared to a domain-specific expert.
A team of full-stack developers can work in tandem. They can divide the entire workflow amongst themselves and work in line. This ensures maximum and effective work done in minimum time.
Complete Solution to Problems
An issue with domain-specific experts is that they focus on the solution more than the underlying root problem as it can be outside of their expertise. This is not the case with a full-stack developer; they can look at the underlying problem due to their wide array of expertise.
The Final Conclusion
This is an undeniable fact…
A full-stack developer in your team will always be the Ace. The amount of knowledge they possess as compared to the normal developer is huge and their T-shape makes them favorable over other professionals. Being a full-stack developer isn’t an easy task either. It requires years of constant learning and exploring domains.
A full-stack developer for your MVP is your best bet. They’re full of knowledge, resources, know their way around situations, and are major cost and time savers. Imagine a situation where you have one person as a solution to all your issues. Sounds fancy, right? A full-stack developer is your one-stop solution towards building what you dream.
Our team of full-stack developers at Alphalogic strive to be the same one-stop creation to our client’s ideas. We assist our clients in building their ideas in developing, deploying, and maintaining their MVPs and web apps.
Ideating over the next billion-dollar apps? Contact us to make it a reality!
Dhananjay (DJ) Goel is the CTO at Alphalogic, passionate about technology, startups, game of thrones and coffee. He enjoys working on challenging problems with innovative startups.