Fullstack is a Fallacy

Rockstar. Ninja. Guru. All these bombastic adjectives have been used when employers and especially IT recruiters have been searching for talented new blood to join their teams. They’re also essentially meaningless. A term tacked on to job titles to make them look relevant and ‘with it’. They’re not. You can now add “Fullstack” to that list. Like “Rockstar” employers are trying to get something for nothing.

Fullstack as a principle is meant to describe that the developer who should be applying to the position has a solid grasp of all the technologies from the server, through the middleware, to the front-end and can write applications securely and safely across all of them.

Which stack are we talking about? Node, Mongo, Redis, Elasticsearch? Angular, Python, NoDB? PHP with PostgreSQL? Your stack might be incredibly different to mine. LAMP, WAMP, MAMP was a standard for a long time and of course things must change as all things do but without industry definition “Fullstack” is just another square to mark off on your BS bingo card.

This is why I think it’s a damaging precedent to set. I don’t want the guy who grinds my keys to be the guy that fixes my car, or my window cleaner to examine a sick pet. The same is true with technology. If you want a fast well-maintained server you get a sys-admin or sys-ops person to do it, you don’t get your database engineer to build you a responsive front-end and so on.

In an industry where personnel are already expected to keep up-to-date with the current latest tech as well do their job and sometimes even learn old tech to fix problems from the past it’s demoralising to see listings for Fullstack only positions and be made to feel that one might be under qualified among their peers. In many cases, I would say the majority, it’s just not true, it’s the greed and ignorance of recruiters trying to seem hip.

So no, I’m not “Fullstack”, I’m a specialist. And so are you.

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