In Search of the Full Stack Human

by Techtonic
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You just need to know where to look…

We’ve written about the difficulties (and often, the futility) of trying to secure IT talent. Even if you find a reliable pipeline, and if they have good candidates, and they are available when needed, and the skills seem to be a match, and there are no Visa issues, and no non-competes, and everyone can agree on pay, and you have enough pancake mix to build a space igloo – who are we kidding. The odds are increasingly against the successful recruitment of tech talent, let alone that most elusive of species – the full-stack human. For HR, it’s kinda like shopping for a new car that plays piano. Nice to have (and a real conversation starter), but is it even the least bit realistic? Well, we can point you in the right direction.

What is a full-stack human?

A full-stack developer was originally describing someone who knew front-end (client-facing) languages like HTML and Javascript, back-end languages like PHP and Python, and how these speak to and interact with each other. A developer with these skills could shepherd a project from beginning to end and be equally at ease talking to the clients or nerding out with the project archi-techs. A full-stack human is a coder, a communicator and a problem solver, while demonstrating a high IQ and EQ. He or she uses their entire brain every day. You can imagine how difficult it would be to land such a person for your team (and what it would cost to do so). Why are these developers so rare, and what makes them so valuable?

Wearing three hats (on three heads)

Full-stack developers were always rare, since by definition this was a subset of the developer talent universe. But their scarcity has increased as the definition of “full-stack” has evolved. Consider that these folks have to wear three hats:

  • Problem solver
  • Communicator
  • Hunger for learning

First, let’s talk about problem solving. Many developers are brilliant at executing client product wishes but have a tougher time handling the inevitable roadblocks that pop up from time to time during a project. In other words, they can hit a fastball (code like a beast) but have trouble with the curve (spec changes, discrepancies, new deadlines, etc.). Unfortunately, developers need problem-solving skills today to help keep projects from bogging down. The second skill is closely related to the first – adaptive communication. Companies don’t want people coding solo any more than a baseball team wants nine players who don’t practice together. Today, software development is a team endeavor where working together always yields a higher-quality result in less time and at less expense. Clear, simultaneous communication between engineers, quality teams and clients is a must for a successful organization. The third quality of today’s full-stack human is curiosity. There are many people who are experts at one or more skills, trades or sports, but what happens if they don’t want to keep learning? Today’s expert can quickly become yesterday’s has-been if (for example) there is no effort to keep learning and try new approaches. This is particularly true in the fast-changing world of tech.

Landing the full-stack human

Not everyone can (or wants to) be full-stack. Many of our best employees use their fierce front-end talents to make interfaces that sing to clients. Others code the guts of a project so commands execute instantly, flawlessly and with minimal resources. But we also have dozens of Apprentice Program graduates who can do it all while explaining the concepts to a client and colleague simultaneously. These are the best full-stack developers, and our unique training and development gets them to this pinnacle of professionalism. Because our program is so well-known, we can only accept the best of the best – those with the innate hunger to learn and a knack for solving problems. Apprentices spend their classroom time immersed in the latest languages most in demand, and once they graduate to the dev floor, they must communicate effectively to survive and be successful. It is by the very design of our training and development program that Techtonic creates full-stack software specialists. If you are skeptical, we invite you to read testimonials from our amazing clients

The gold standard

In today’s tech talent marketplace, full-stack chops makes engineers stand out in the shallow sea of software development experts. And every HR department knows that hiring IT talent is tough – 61% believe it will be the biggest challenge of 2021. If your company needs vertically integrated humans who can code, discuss a project and turn on a dime if needed, you’ve come to the right place. Techtonic reimagined tech training – now isn’t it time for you to take advantage?