What is full stack developer?
Is it reasonable to expect mere mortals to have mastery over every facet of the development stack? Probably not, but Facebook can ask for it. I was told at OSCON by a Facebook employee that they only hire ‘Full Stack’ developers. Well, what does that mean?
To me, a Full Stack Developer is someone with familiarity in each layer, if not mastery in many and a genuine interest in all software technology.
Good developers who are familiar with the entire stack know how to make life easier for those around them. This is why I’m so against silos in the work place. Sure, politics and communication challenges get in the way in large organizations. I think the point Facebook is going for with their hiring policy is, if smart people use their heads and their hearts, a better product gets built in less time.
layers of the full stack:
Server, Network, and Hosting Environment. This involves understanding what can break and why, taking no resource for granted. Appropriate use of the file system, cloud storage, network resources, and an understanding of data redundancy and availability is necessary. How does the application scale given the hardware constraints? What about multi-threading and race conditions? Guess what, you won’t see those on your development machine, but they can and do happen in the real world. Full stack developers can work side by side with DevOps. The system should provide useful error messages and logging capabilities. DevOps will see the messages before you will, so make them count. Data Modeling If the data model is flawed, the business logic and higher layers start to need strange (ugly) code to compensate for corner cases the data model doesn’t cover. Full stack developers know how to create a reasonably normalized relational model, complete with foreign keys, indexes, views, lookup tables, etc. Full stack developers are familiar with the concept of non-relational data stores and understand where they shine over relational data stores.