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If you’re in the process of looking for someone who can handle all of your software development needs, you may be wondering who, exactly, you should be searching for. While the terms ‘software developer’ and ‘full stack engineer’ get thrown around a lot, you may be wondering what exactly each of these professionals is able to do and what the differences between them are. The more you know, the more easily you’ll be able to identify the role that best fits your needs. No matter what you are looking for, read on to find out more about who you should hire for your software development requirements.

Similar But Different

The term ‘software developer’ is an umbrella term that holds many roles and areas of expertise under its canopy. Therefore, a full stack engineer is actually a kind of software developer. While there are certain areas of responsibility and expertise associated with a full stack engineer, a software developer is a broader term that encompasses more. Often, software developers differentiate themselves according to interest and education. If a software developer is particularly interested in a specific area of software development, they will generally focus on that specific area. In the case of a full-stack engineer, this professional is still a software developer who has a specific focus.

If you’re looking for something particular, you should perhaps consider searching for the specific role you need. While software developers all have an overlapping base of expertise and knowledge, they are varied in what they focus on and excel in. For this reason, you should not expect a software developer to be able to do anything you need. If your needs are specialized, make sure that you’re focusing on finding the kind of professional who is well versed in the kind of software development you’re looking for.

Full-Stack Overview

So, what differentiates the full stack engineer? What do they do that is different from what other software developers do? The answer is both simple and complex.

Basically, a full-stack engineer is a software developer who focuses on not only the backend software but also the front end software. That means that this person is responsible for the end-to-end features of a system – from the user experience to the code that runs on the backend. This is the simple definition. The real-world application of the definition can be far more complicated and nuanced, depending on the system that the full-stack engineer is in charge of.

While other types of software developers may be responsible for a single aspect of the engineering process, the full-stack engineer should be able to oversee or implement all of the parts in a 360 degree approach.

One of the reasons that this is such a specialized and challenging role is that the individual components of software development are constantly changing and evolving as technology becomes more advanced and ubiquitous. Because of this, the full-stack engineer has to stay up to date with every aspect of software development and must remain familiar with all parts of an ever-evolving system.

Back End, Front End, Full Stack

There are many parts to the internet. As it’s gotten more and more complex through the years, the limits on what is possible have receded. At this point, there are almost endless possibilities when it comes to web design and development. To better understand what a full stack engineer does, it may be useful to know a little bit more about the parts that make up the full stack approach.

Basically, web development can fall into three different categories. These are: full stack, front end, and back end.

Front End

Front end development consists of developing the visible parts of an app or website. The visible parts are the parts that the user interacts with. When you go to visit a website and see the layout of the pages – the images, the text, the icons – you are looking at the front end of the system. The person who designed this part of the website or app was working on the front end of it in order to make it visible to you and anyone else who accesses it. In order to develop the front end of a site, a developer needs to have specialized knowledge of web design languages such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

These languages are used to code the site and create the user interface that a visitor experiences when using a site or app. While you can create a site using only these languages, some have other code tucked deeper into the back end of the website. This is why a full-stack engineer is useful even if they’re mainly working on the front end of a site. Having the full-stack knowledge can help the site be even more user friendly and unique.

Back End

The back end developer is responsible for creating the parts of the website or app that are not readily visible to a user or visitor. While these parts can be accessed with a little digging, they are not the parts of the site that laymen interact with on a regular basis. Like a front end developer, a back end developer deals with web languages. However, a back end developer uses different languages than the front end developer would. The languages often employed and understood by the back end developers include PHP, Ruby, and Python.

These languages are used to develop management systems deep in the heart of a site as well as other components that don’t need to be seen but do need to function smoothly in order to allow the website or app, as a whole, to work successfully.

Often, a back end developer will work with a front end developer in order to make sure that both sides of the site are operating with each other and creating a smooth and efficient user and administrative experience. When you have a full-stack engineer working on a site, it eliminates the need to have the two parts of the site built separately. A full-stack engineer can create the entire thing cohesively without worrying about syncing up programs developed by two different people or teams.

Look No Further

If you’re looking for a full-stack engineer who excels in their field either onsite or to work remotely, you’re in luck. At OSI Engineering, we have the professionals you need to run every aspect of your IT. Our embedded software engineers are unmatched and uniquely qualified to help you achieve what you need.

Contact us today by phone (408) 715-3451 or online. We look forward to hearing from you and learning about how we can best serve your needs. We can help you to find the perfect match for your needs – so that you can create whatever it is you desire.