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How to Find a Full Stack Developer

How to Find a Full Stack Developer [Hiring Guide]

Chances are, if you’re here, that you’re ready to streamline your team, or perhaps your budget keeps you from hiring a team of coding specialists.

Let’s dive into the ins and outs of hiring a full-stack developer, one of the most sought-after coding positions, as well as the info you need to navigate the developer world.

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What Is a Full Stack Developer?

What is Full Stack Developer

Full-stack developers are magical unicorn developers with a wide variety of developing services.

Many developers focus on either front-end or back-end development or even more specific specialties like Ruby back-end development. Full-stack developers have the knowledge and skill to write all types of coding.

This makes them a good option to create an entire prototype for an application in a short amount of time since there isn’t any collaboration with a team necessary.

What Does a Full Stack Developer Do?

What Does a Full Stack Dev Do

A full-stack developer can do “everything,” but what does everything entail?

Here are a few responsibilities that full-stack developers have:

  • Design and manage the full application development process from creation to deployment.
  • Develop clean and functional code for both back-end applications and front-end site architecture.
  • Oversee end-to-end production of the application, including research, analysis, and writing of code.
  • Conducting user testing for applications
  • Designing and developing APIs
  • Testing and fixing bugs during development and reporting back to management
  • Developing security measures to protect data
  • Creating modifications to previously developed applications

Although full-stack developers can and do work by themselves, some may be a part of a larger team and must be able to communicate with team members as well as web designers.

What Are the Full Stack Layers?

What Are Full Stack Layers

The “stack” aspect of full-stack development is comprised of three essential layers, all of which a full-stack developer must understand.

These are the main three:

Logic/Business Layer (aka Back-End)

The back-end or server-side development of web development focuses on how the website or application works and functions. It is responsible for the management of the application database and API.

Presentation Layer (aka Front-End)

The presentation layer or front-end side of a site is the visual part of the application responsible for user experience. It includes web design and content creation for the site.

Database Layer

The database layer involves collecting, modifying, and deleting data from the database as well as organizing that data into reports, tables, schemas, and more.

Types of Full Stack Developers

Types of Full Stack Developers

There are multiple different types of full-stack developers, including:

MEAN Stack

MEAN stands for MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS, NodeJS, which are four Javascript-based frameworks. Together, they can create a fully-functional website or app. MEAN stack developers are capable of working in all four technologies.

MERN Stack

MERN stands for MongoDB, ExpressJS, ReactJS, NodeJS, replacing Angular in MEAN with a similar front-end library React.

LAMP Stack

LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP. This software stack was among the first to appear and is simple and reliable.

LEMP Stack

LEMP stands for Linux, Nginx (pronounced Engine-x), MySQL, PHP and is similar to LAMP, with the only difference being using Nginx instead of Apache. This change allows the server to autoscale when the system needs it.

Full-Stack Python

Most often Python is completed with MongoDB and MySQL for database building combined with languages and frameworks like JavaScript, React, Angular, Bootstrap, etc., for front-end development.

Django Stack

Django is the most popular Python framework for web development which includes all of the necessary features by default instead of offering them as separate libraries.

Ruby on Rails Stack

Ruby on Rails is a full-stack development programming language that’s popular because it uses plain English language rather than more complex coding like Python or Javascript.

Benefits of Hiring a Full Stack Developer

Why Hire Full Stack Developer

Hiring a full-stack developer is a great, budget-friendly option for smaller companies looking to develop an application or website.

A few of the benefits of hiring a full-stack developer instead of a more specialized one include:

Saving Time

Hiring a full-stack developer cuts out the need for interpersonal communication that would happen with a specialized team of developers.

This means that businesses can get their site or application up and running in a shorter amount of time.

Saving Money

When you hire fewer people, you spend less money. Hiring one skilled full-stack developer is far less expensive than hiring a full team of developers.

But if you really need an entire team instead, consider nearshoring talent in places like Mexico.

Leveraging a Full-Stack Developer’s Expansive Knowledge and Experience

Since they are able to handle an entire project single-handedly, a full-stack developer likely has the experience and knowledge to troubleshoot any problems that may arise and share insight with the rest of the team.

How Much Does a Full Stack Developer Cost?

Beginner freelance full-stack developers often charge between $50 and $75 per hour, with more skilled and experienced full-stack developers charging $100 to $300+ per hour.

The average hourly rate for full-stack developers is $61 to $80.

What Are Essential Skills & Qualifications for a Full Stack Developer?

Essential Skills Full Stack Developer

Since a full-stack developer is required to be a one-person team, there are many skills necessary to be successful in the field, and it often takes at least three months (typically longer) to learn the coding and programming techniques necessary.

Front End

Different languages, libraries, and frameworks are required to be a successful full-stack developer.

To name a few:

  • JavaScript, HTML, and CSS
  • Libraries like jQuery, React.js, and Backbone.js
  • DOM, AJAX, JSON technologies
  • SASS metalanguage and LESS stylesheet language
  • Frameworks like Angular.js/Angular, Vue.js, and Bootstrap

Back End

Some of the languages and frameworks that a full-stack developer, depending on their specialty, needs to be familiar with include:

  • JavaScript and its environments like NodeJS and ExpressJS
  • Python frameworks like Django and Flask
  • C# language
  • PHP, Perl, and Ruby, depending on the full-stack specialty
  • REST API (for Node.js and Python full-stack developers)
  • Spring (Spring MVC, Spring Boot, Spring REST, Spring Web) framework (for Java full-stack developers)

Design Skills

Basic design skills like UX/UI and interaction design like prototype, animation, and human-machine interaction experience.

Git and GitHub

GitHub is a distributed version control system that allows full-stack developers to see the full version history of each site and app and manage multiple projects simultaneously using git features.

It offers bug tracking and efficient tracking while allowing developers to communicate and interact.

Database Architecture

A database is a place where all of the data in an application is stored, and a full-stack developer needs an understanding of how to create and maintain the architecture for the site or application.

There are multiple different types of databases, including MongoDB, MySQL, MariaDB, and PostgreSQL.

Other Skills

A few of the other skills that may be required for full-stack developers include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Multitasking
  • Professional certifications
  • Interest and ability to keep up with changing technology
  • Creativity
  • Time management
  • Strategic planning
  • Analytical mindset
  • Problem-solving skills

How to Hire a Full Stack Developer

How to Hire Full Stack Developer

So how exactly do you get one of these multi-talented developers on your team?

You can check out a freelance marketplace site like Upstack or Fiverr, depending on your budget and how large your project is.

If you decide to post a job on one of the large freelance platforms, you’ll need to be specific and detailed in the description concerning what will be expected and required from your full-stack developer.

Full Stack Developer Job Description Template

Job Brief:

We are looking for a Full Stack Developer to create software solutions for our company.

As a Full Stack Developer, you should be comfortable with both front-end and back-end coding languages, different development frameworks, and any relevant third-party libraries. You should also have an eye for design.

You’ll be part of a cross-functional team that’s responsible for the full software cycle of development from conception to deployment, so being a team player is a must.

Full Stack Developer Responsibilities:

Responsibilities for this position include:

  • Work with a team to manage the development of software from conception to deployment.
  • Develop databases and applications.
  • Overseeing and guiding the analyzing, writing, building, and deployment of software
  • Overseeing the automated testing and providing feedback to management during the development process.
  • Write APIs.
  • Create protection and security for sensitive data.
  • Troubleshoot, update and debug software.
  • Technical writing.

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Full Stack Developer

A few good questions to ask a prospective full-stack developer are:

  • What is your preferred language and why?
  • Explain pair programming.
  • What are the most important qualities that a full-stack developer should have?
  • Describe an application that you have developed before. What was your process?
  • How would you protect user data?
  • Describe a time when you faced and fixed a bug.

Best Place to Find a Full-Stack Developer

Best Place to Find Full Stack Developer

Best for Hiring Freelancers

Toptal Logo


  • Top Talent: Get access to elite, pre-screened candidates (only accepts top 3%)
  • Flexibility: Ideal for long-term or shorter-term specialty projects
  • 14-Day Risk-Free Trial: Only get billed if your satisfied

Get Started

Best for Hiring Employees

ZipRecruiter Logo


  • AI matching saves time by finding the right candidates for you
  • Integrate with existing HR systems and workflow to streamline hiring process
  • Access to a network of 12 million candidates

Find Talent

Our top pick for sourcing a full-stack developer is Upstack.

Upstack elevates remote tech teams worldwide through dedicated freelance talent. They actively seek out the best freelance talent by searching and selecting the best full-stack developers from all over the world.

The team at Upstack uses an 8-point hiring process to ensure their site users have access to the best candidates with a large variety of top-notch developing skills as well as communication skills and personalities that will mesh with your team’s. They offer talented full-stack developers in a diverse set of fields, including Java, Python, iOS, and PHP.

They’ve worked to find developers for big-name brands like Microsoft and Lego, but UpStack has a diverse talent pool that’s highly scalable depending on the size and scope of your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the best place to look for a full-stack developer?

Upstack is the best place to look for a full-stack developer. They only select the best talent and do the vetting for you.

How much does it cost to hire a full-stack developer?

It costs anywhere from $50 to $300+ per hour to hire a full-stack developer.

What are the benefits of a full-stack developer?

The benefits of a full-stack developer include saving money and time and having a developer on staff who understands every aspect of the big picture.

Should I hire a full-stack developer?

If you have a more limited budget, but your site or application requires developing and coding, you should hire a full-stack developer.